Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Blogging about Alzheimer's and Social Responsibility?

     After Joe P's last post a couple of weeks ago, I started thinking about the purpose of this blog. Joe says people with AD read the blog (I am not sure who besides Joe) but then again it is a blog. Joe's posts have been fantastic and articulate, I know he works hard on them and for someone with AD, he challenges all of our stereotypes of an Alzheimer's victim.
     I wish there was a way I could get rid of Joe's disease to make him well again, for every victim and every family I wish I could do that. If someone waved a magic wand and said change your blog or stop blogging or jump this high and you will cure Alzheimer's- wouldn't that be fantastic? Joe talks of the frustration in reading this blog, not always understanding what I am posting. This shows the same frustration and the helplessness and out of control feeling I felt with my mother many years ago, as she succumbed to the disease. I still feel it for Joe and the five million other people suffering with the disease and the 40-50 million loved ones affected. All those feelings.
     I know if I tried to change the blog it would not stop the out of control disease. I wish I could.
     The posts are getting a little hard for him to read and of course being a person who happens to be a doctor and a physician and basically spending all day, every day trying to help people giving all of one's inner strength to others to help and heal them (because that is what being a real doctor actually does, ( contrary to our societal prejudice and stereotyping of physicians and psychiatrists.), I started thinking are my sometimes angry, even sardonic, sarcastic yet honest posts not nice? not helpful? not therapeutic?
     Do we blog for ourselves or do we blog for everyone else?
     I am not interested in making anyone feel bad or confusing them-with hard to read posts or in any other way, so honest to God, if you read this blog and you are a caregiver or a victim in early Alzheimer's stages and you read this and it makes you upset in any way, DO NOT READ IT. That is not the intent.
     I promise that there are thousands of blogs out there written in so many different ways, some offensive or hard to understand and some much more self-help and user friendly than this one, and everything in between.
    I hope it helps some people by providing info, knowledge or wisdom or experience, but that was never really the primary goal. In fact the primary reason for blogging was to just write, to blog. I know sometimes the posts are helpful, filled with info that might not appear on other blogs. Sometimes it is just writing and publishing, and it is about the reader, like a book, a connection for better or worse, between a writer and a reader.
     Other people get to blog freely, so why can't I, freely and honestly? Pressure and a conflict in myself.  If I blog as a person who happens to be a physician, do I have an ethical obligation (that others don't) to always try to make my blog helpful to people? Thereby compromising my integrity, freedom and honesty? People complain so much that physicians are not human and disconnected, so if you are human like in this blog: I have learned that people are not always happy with that either. People are not really comfortable letting go of their stereotypes of docs.
As much as people have their terrible misguided animosity towards physicians or psychiatrists, based on their own terrible experience that they expected or they heard about from someone else, would it be better to start over and lie (like some many blogs out there and pretend I was something other than what I am?) I guess I just can't do it.
     I promise not all psychiatrists are low life weasels, but so many people need to hold onto that, serves some purpose. Frankly it gets a little old. Truly it upsets some people if you even try to defend your profession, you just can't win.
    My book like the blog, sort of lets people in on quite a few things, that are totally upsetting to read about and certainly not something the medical world openly discusses. People don't like that part, it makes some mad, I get so tired of pretense and lack of honesty, so someone needs to talk about things.
    This blog is not really clinical, it is just my thoughts and feelings, not meant to be above or below any one's intellect. Its just how I think as a human being, we all get some slack don't we? I mean sometimes it is clinical but sometimes it is just thoughts, that's the beauty of blogging isn't it?
     When I went into psychiatry, 20 years ago, I really thought it was the most humane of medical specialties in so many ways. It took many years to figure out what a scapegoat the entire profession is. Think about it, people bring their terrible upbringings to you- pain, trauma, abuse, in-humanness, terrible experiences, with an expectation that another person will fix it all. Do you think a little of the pain, rage and anger,  if not like all, gets displaced onto that "SHRINK" especially when they can't fix it all. Throw in the wonderful world of psychopharmacology and there you have it.
     Perhaps the toughest part of the work, the most emotionally grueling aspect, is that as a doctor you basically give up most of your life in an effort to help others, you must treat everyone with the same empathy and compassion and positive regard, no matter how much your moral compass disagrees or disagrees with the actions of that person you have taken an oath to care for, you still care.
     In other words think about it, you get to (you must) treat a child molesting, murdering, rapist, in the same nonjudgmental compassionate way as you would that sad depressed old lady who is now widowed and whom basically gave up her whole life serving others and is now suffering with Alzheimer's disease- and do all that in the span of a half hour.
       Remember we are all connected by this disease, 5 million people have Alzheimer's. I hope this blogs helps somebody, if only by enlightenment, validation or simply, entertainment. I have considered the original intent of the blog, and always struggled with the moral or social responsibility or obligation I might have in blogging, I mean I'm not practicing medicine, I'm just blogging. Somehow by speaking the truth, my Truth, am I violating that social responsibility, probably not, I am just letting some people down maybe, by challenging some of their pretenses. If as a blogger I do have some higher ethical obligation to do whatever I can as a blogger (who happens to be a person and a doctor) wouldn't everyone who blogs, every human being have that social responsibility and ethical obligation as a human being to help others in some way? Yes? or No?


Joseph Potocny said...


You are not a weasel and I forgive you ror being a shrink. What the hell someone has to be, why not you? My comments are made out of my brain which we know has problems, but also as one friend to another.

God Loves You and so do I.

Joseph J. Sivak MD said...

I Love you to, you dumb SOB, and you are my friend, and always will be.
You make people think, including me, in so many ways, you make people really think about a lot of stuff, you make people look at themselves, rotting brain or not, you make people stop and really reflect. That is good.
I'm no expert but I would have to say God loves you too.

Joseph J. Sivak MD said...

I better clarify, I only call my closest friends "dumb SOB'S" it is meant with true affection.

Talking about the book with the Lake Superior wind....... a calm day