I love Anesthesiology. That's a good thing because I've been practicing now for better than twenty-five years. I acknowledge that there is every sort of reason to not like anesthesia; surly, arrogant surgeons; shrinking reimbursement; cold OR's; unreasonable administrators; emergence delirium. But I love it anyway. Most days.
I like to talk about medicine, too. Medicine is broad and deep, and what we do is important, although it is easy to forget that in the day-to-day irritations of navigating a schedule. Anyway, one day I went out on the web looking to see who was writing about their anesthesia experiences... And I didn't find anything. There are some excellent educational and informational sites out there, some of them written by old friends (and heroes) in academics. There are the journal sites of course. There are some anesthesiologists who have personal blogs that occasionally touch on their professional lives. And there are serious editorial opinions in the ASA newsletter and such, but I was looking for something else. As far as the web is concerned, we live up to our reputation as a dour bunch. Of course, if I am mistaken, I'm sure readers will point us and our readers in the right direction, and we'll enter those sites into our blogroll to get them some attention.
I myself am interested in the philosophical and emotional state of our specialty and of what it all means, in the end, to be an anesthesiologist. As Thoreau wrote of his time in Walden:
I wished to live deliberately... and see if I could not learn what it had to teach...if it proved to be mean, why then, to get the whole and genuine meanness of it, and publish its meanness to the world; or if it were sublime, to know it by experience, and be able to give a true account of it...
Adventures are best pursued in congenial company; I have known each of the co-authors of this blog for at least twenty years. They are all fine physicians and anesthesiologists; I would not hesitate to put my life in any of their hands. They each are something else, too. Pain medicine, Intensive care, administrators, professors, fathers. They all can tell interesting stories, and have kept me thinking over the years. They are all enthusiastic, and well worth a listen when they choose to speak. And most importantly to me here, none of them is afraid of an argument. Unlike some (most) multi-author blogs, I am hoping for dialog to take place between the authors not only in the comments section, but in the body of posts as well.
Of course, each of the authors will have his own reason for writing; I expect some wildly varied content from this bunch of thinkers, so in the future, if my post seems a little treacly or cloying, just wait a week...
Along the way, we plan to invite visiting authors with interesting things to say about anesthesiology and their place in it.
The best experiments, the ones really worth doing, always start with an air of excitement. To steal the climactic line from Dead Again, "I for one... am very interested.. to see what's going to happen next."
And, in deference to Thoreau's wise counsel, this is one enterprise that requires no new clothes.