Wednesday, July 18, 2007

July's Calendar Doc is Dr. Schwab

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.


may said...

that's a cute picture of dr. schwab:)

jmb said...

Finally MBA, and it was worth the wait. I loved the interview with everyone's favourite surgeon and he sure is handsome. And he said he doesn't have groupies! Maybe you should have asked about the gropies.
How about Dr Rob, for August or another month? The interview sure would be interesting, just keep away from llamas and goats.

> ScutMonkey said...

Nice work! Glad to see you found time in your busy schedule for us medical types again. Missed your posts and perspective. (I am sure no one else interpreted erect as anything other than a posture!)

SeaSpray said...

I was just about to shut the computer off and thought let me check one more blog and they had this post up - so I came right over here.

First of all- July calendar Doc was worth the wait and something tells me Dr S. that you probably lost a bit more sleep on the hospital shifts then you are recalling. ;)

I was enjoying the interview and then casually looked at the questions in blue.

“I have never had a doctor do a breast exam while erect. Does it matter? Is it something only surgeons do?”

Aside from the fact that anything blue will get my attention every time - I am pretty sure my eyes popped by the time I read the 2nd question and I said out loud, "Oh no- that's ME - those are the kinds of questions (one right after the other)I would ask!"

So, now alert and definitely not ready for bed, I finished reading the interview - which btw had me dying a thousand deaths again!

So you should know that I am laughing, cringing chuckling and dying here. :) So Dr S. I decided to go back over your March/February and April posts until I found it. I knew -but I wanted to be sure.

I honestly did not mean to say it the way we all see it tonight. YIKES! And I posted that at 8 something in the evening so I can't claim a 2 am brain. :)

I remember that I was immediately concerned that no doctor had ever examined me that way - not even the surgeon who checked my breast last fall.

However, that is really funny! I wish I could say that I was intentionally clever with those questions but was just me being naive. :)

Dr. Schwab - you should put that together and send it into one of the doctor magazines. It reminds me of those e-mails people send with erroneously humorous statements made by people. I have always kind of thought they were made up but now I am thinking maybe not.

M.A. - I LaughedOL when I read the anonymous comment and didn't even know that was there. I left a comment - didn't realize it was you in lurking mode. :)

And y'all must know I would never comment about any doc's schwing schwang regardless of what state it's in. True - I have been known to mention the Zeta judged 1st place McNuggets but never the schwing schwangs, not even the Schwab schwing schwang. Some things ...well..I'm just saying.

Oh and Dr S. - I'm glad to know your exams weren't hard! ;)

Dr S - could you please expound on your one word "yes" answer? I am sure M.A's "friend" would like to know. :)

You two should know that I am probably going to bed obsessing- which is probably going to set me up for some interesting dreams. :)

Also, if there is a George Clooney type in the OR in scrubs...well then ya can't blame a girl for being breezy...but ge-e-e-e!

Your collaborative efforts are quite clever! :)

Carver said...

Hi M.A.,

Thanks for the laughs. I enjoyed the interview but did you have to ask about what patients say before surgery. I was already worried about that after being told that the pre-op drugs are forgetful drugs so I wouldn't remember anything. Now with Dr. July answering, yes, I will be obsessing since I have a surgeon who follows part of my care. Here I thought the fact that he walks in the room laughing is because I'm so much fun but he's probably remembering me telling him I could drown in those twinkly eyes or something or another. Thanks a lot. Cheers, Carver

Bongi said...

good interview, but no cross examination? hard or otherwise.

SeaSpray said...

Carver - There is this one episode in Grey's Anatomy where Meredith has been prepped to go into the OR for an appendectomy and she is breezy and "happy" to say the least. She reveals her innermost thoughts to her ex-boyfriend's wife and then proceeds to be very complimentary regarding McDreamy, McSteamy and McVet! YIKES! (looking forward to that show coming back on!)

I am a friendly person by nature and sincerely complimentary. If I have a good thought about someone or something I will almost always share it because I believe in encouraging people. But then we all have those thoughts that are private - our innermost secrets not meant for any other ears.

I'm obsessing!

The thing is I really believe I am alert and oriented even past after I have gotten on to the OR table. No doubt feeling like I just had one heck of a Marguerita cocktail (as the anesthesiologist called it) but aware of everything until a few seconds past when he announces the next push of drugs. I remember asking where my surgeon was the last time I was in the OR. He has always been in there prior to me going under and I noticed he wasn't there this time. And I talked briefly to the staff and then I woke up in post-op!

So - how much more can a patient possibly say past that point? Sigh!

Dr Schwab - when are you doing that post on the effects of anesthesia on patients? You must have some "interesting" stories on this topic. Inquiring minds want to know! :)

I enjoyed your posts about anesthesiologists. :)

SeaSpray said...

I also just want to say that if any surgeon asked if he could pray with me prior to going in to the OR that it would warm my heart and help me feel more confident about going in for the surgery. I have a strong faith in God and his healing powers but it would be totally awesome to know that my surgeon shared that faith and was open to God's guidance. I am a fatalist in that I believe God's will will prevail anyway but I do think prayer can smooth the way and I would definitely feel more secure knowing I am in good hands both my doctors skilled surgical hands and my heavenly Father's hands who I believe work through the doctor. I would be totally receptive to that!

That said - I also think that while that surgeon's intentions were good that if he didn't know them he risked offending them or possibly scaring them if it was a foreign concept to pray for healing because they might think if the doc is wanting to pray with/for me - he must think this is really bad. On the other hand as in M.A.'s case it might be a comfort that the person never considered. Judgment call. Maybe that doc had gotten certain vibes from you M.A. that it would be ok - which it was.

Amanda said...

Hee... oh, the hawtness that is Dr. Sid (or at least his iconic image, LOL).

Thanks for doing this for us, MBA! I like this series... it's a hoot :)

Anonymous said...

"Would that have caused her to say/do anything that she might be a little embarrassed about later?"

Oh crap . . .


Lynn Price said...

Sid, dude, anyone ever tell you you look just like George Clooney? Great interview!

Adam said...

Nice -- keep them up.
Adam at NY EM

Mauigirl said...

Great interview, enjoyed it! Excellent picture too! (Dr. S is hot!)

jmb said...

Heh, you are deleting again but you've got me intrigued. Googling hair apposition technique and Part I and just a few lines, then gone again. If it's Part I you've got something good in mind. Hurry back soon.

Medblog Addict said...

Thanks for visiting and commenting.

JMB--you caught me deleting again. I'm reposting it, but I can't guarantee how long it will stay up.

make mine trauma said...

Loved it. Took me a minute to realize that the pic was George C. I get the impression that there are earlier interviews that I missed?

911DOC said...

seattle. surgeon. NICE!

SeaSpray said...

Hi M.A. and others curious. I put that Youtube of Meredith being "breezy" pre-op in my recent post and also put another Youtube up at the end of the post of ER's Dr Carter checking on Dr Benton in post-op after performing surgery on him. Benton was groggy and revealed some stuff - of course it is TV with both shows.