As you’ve all noticed, I don’t get very involved with the comments on my blogs. I get an email when each comment is posted, and make a point to read every one. I’ll say something when a comment has been particularly vicious, gratuitous, and personal. My theory being that if they stab you, you shoot them, if they shoot you, you burn their house down . . . that kind of idea. Or I’ll say something when there’s a clear misinterpretation of what I’d posted, or a clear need for some medical information.
Remember, this is my first, and only, blog. Having comments at all was a surprise. That people would take the time to think about what they wanted to say, then actually TYPE it and send it was quite amazing to me. And of course, I had to think carefully about how was I going to deal with this unexpected phenomenon – was I going to be interactive, chatty, available, or rather a bit removed.
As you can tell, I chose the latter attitude. Besides not having the time to continually interact, the great majority of comments express opinions, or ask questions, that either just need to be stated, or don’t require answers, or are answered by subsequent commenters.
Stepping back just a tad, in order to grab some perspective, I think it’s useful to point out that what brought the vast majority of my readers here is my slant on what’s been happening with Michael. So it’s pretty inevitable that sooner or later this kind of situation would lead to people, already very involved emotionally with the shock and unexpectedness of this tragedy, to express their thoughts about some VERY deeply personal issues. The nature and limits of privacy, the meaning of respecting a grieving family’s wishes, the nature of fandom and how that exchange works when it’s not all about fireworks and Ferrari tee shirts anymore, right down to advanced directives and end-of-life decisions. At risk of sounding trite, what we have in common is our humanity, our concern for all victims of seemingly random life-changing events, and a desire to learn and understand more. This has sure pushed me into exploring an area of medicine with which I was only indirectly involved (persistent disorders of consciousness; I’m usually only really involved in the acute phase of head injury, not this less “medical” phase).
It’s normal and expected that the powerfully held, deeply felt, and strongly expressed opinions jostle each other, bang against each other, sometimes even crash into each other.
Now don’t get me wrong – I’m as cynical, sarcastic, and “noir” as anyone I know. Actually a damned sight more than most people I know. That said, I’d love it if we could get back to making the comments section an enriching, respectful place, where opinions can be challenged without the holder being attacked. A place where even the most seemingly difficult statements are considered in their context, and if necessary, clarification sought . . . before the Uzis come out. By trying to keep in mind everything we have in common we might just be able to take the edge off the things that make us each unique.
I’m going to start a series of posts reprising something I did when I first started tweeting – the sequence of events starting with an accident and ending with the patient being evac’d from the circuit Medical Centre. This format (a blog) gives me the possibility to do so with a few more than 140 characters! Aiming at a first installment later today, but that depends on how wrathful the Gods of the ER prove to be.