Dr. Schwab was the first person to read Addicted To Medblogs so he is special to me. But he scared me back then. He still scares me. I've read Dr. Schwab's book* and every single one of the posts on Surgeonsblog, but I still had difficulty coming up with interview questions. I finally threw these questions together and hoped that Dr. Schwab would make them entertaining. And he did.
Q1. What are your some of your favorite blogs to visit?
I'm more likely to be found reading political blogs than medical ones: Huffington Post, Andrew Sullivan, Crooks and Liars. Pharyngula, which still has the occasional really interesting biology/evolution post. Bunch of online newspapers, magazines. I'm a total political junkie, which is causing my ruin. There are lots of medical blogs I read, most of them less than daily; but regularly. I'd say my current blogroll is representative, if not comprehensive.
Q2. What is your favorite post from Surgeonsblog? Your least favorite post?
To answer that, I'd have to scroll through the whole list and do some thinking. If I liked convoluted thought and make-work I'd have been a lawyer... OK, I liked the series about deconstructing an operation, and the one post about the liver. One of the posts I did on anesthesiologists was pretty lame. Bad, actually.
Q3. Have any of your patients asked you to pray with them before surgery?
Patients have asked me to pray. I've bowed my head and shut up.
Q4. Tell us your favorite dirty joke.
For decades in a little park in the middle of town, two statues stood across from each other: a male and a female in the classic style, barely clothed, beautiful. One day an angel appeared and spoke to them: "You've brought beauty and joy to the people for many years. Now I'll grant you life for four hours as a reward." As they felt their bodies become warm and pliant, they gazed at each other, stepped off their pedestals, moved eagerly across the square with years of pent-up desire pushing them forward; embraced, and disappeared into the underbrush, from which, for the next hours, were heard grunts and groans and the sounds of deep joy. Finally they emerged, spent, and happy, holding hands. The man looked at the woman and said, "I think we have a little more time. Want to do it again?" "Sure," the woman said. "But this time you hold the pigeon and I'll shit on it.
Q5. Any tattoos or piercings?
Scars. A plate and six screws. No tats. I've thought about getting a heart on my shoulder, with the words "Your name here" or "wife."
Q6. This was asked in your comment section a while back, but you never posted a response. Care to answer it now?
“I have never had a doctor do a breast exam while erect. Does it matter? Is it something only surgeons do?”
Some of my patients are very beautiful. Oh, I see what you mean. It referred to the fact that I do breast exams while the woman is lying down, and also sitting up. "Erect and recumbent," is how I'd dictate it. Before you, no one thought it was dirty. But yeah: I think surgeons do better breast exams than other docs. And no, it's not hard. [Just so we're clear on this, I am not the one who asked that question in Dr. Schwab's comment section. But I have to admit I'm the Anonymous who left the comment saying that I thought it was one of the funniest things I had ever read.]
Q7. Sometimes when I read Surgeonsblog, you come across as “Dr. Nice Guy” with your patients. While I’m sure that’s true 99% of the time, I know there has to be a dark side to Dr. Schwab. Tell us about an incident where you regretted your behavior/attitude dealing with a patient.
I'm sure there are some but, at the risk of stretching credulity, they were rare and minor enough that I can't think of any. I'll freely admit, however, that I could be a complete asshole with nurses sometimes. I may have blogged about it, a little. I think I overly-freaked when anything was less than perfect, and at some level saw it as an accusation. The saving grace is that lots of nurses came to me or sent their families when they needed surgery. Still, I wish I'd had the wisdom of my later years in my earlier ones. I could be a jerk, all right.
Q8. You are a writer and a popular medblogger, you must have some groupies. Have you received any “interesting” e-mails? (umm, you know, from anyone else besides me?)
Funny: I went to med school hoping I'd get laid a lot with all those nurses around. I worked days on end at hospitals, meaning nights, too. Can't say it never happened; but not much. Nope, no groupies. Guess I'm not that attractive.
Q9. If you had to give a last minute dinner party for eight, what would be on the menu?
Judy, could you answer this one? No? OK. Last minute is tough. When we've done dinner parties, it's usually a big production: days of planning, going to the Pike Place Market to get fresh stuff. Fish. Maybe butterfly a leg of lamb and grill it. Bernaise. Stuffed artichokes. Fresh blackberry cobbler, vanilla ice cream. Got lots of really good wine at all times, though. If someone dropped in right now, it might be peanut butter, Costco rolls, and a nice Merryvale Profile, '99.
Q10. You and Dr. Dino haven’t been bickering lately. Have y’all called a truce?
Not that I know of. I don't think Dino comes around much anymore. I comment over there now and then. We're sort of alike, actually.
Q11. Did you discuss Flea’s medblog drama with your lawyer brother?
Flea didn't like my book very much. I think surgery is hard for pediatricians to grok. No, I didn't. Should have. He's into multi-billion dollar stuff, though. Heading into a possible 18 month trial, co-counsel with David Boice. He'd probably have said "huh."
Q12. Speaking of lawyers, do you treat them any differently than other patients?
Naw, and I try not to treat doctors/nurses differently, either. Joke about it, maybe, with lawyers. But I can rise above pity. I've had a couple mention, with meaning plastered all over their faces like the final shot in a porno movie, that they do med-mal. Like I'd be impressed or fall all over myself to be nice.
Q13. Ginger or MaryAnn?
Is that a literary reference? I'm a surgeon. I don't read stuff.
Q14. I’ve read that, occasionally, a patient will get amorous while under anesthesia. A “friend” wanted me to ask you this question. What if, right before a patient received her happy drugs, she was thinking about how hot Dr. Gastro looked in his scrubs. Would that have caused her to say/do anything that she might be a little embarrassed about later?
Q15. And of course, what color scrubs do you wear?
*Blogger is being a bitch tonight and won't let me add links, but if you like Surgeonsblog, you'll really like Dr. Schwab's book Cutting Remarks.
Photo: Dr. Schwab at work.