Dr. NO…part 1

I often refer to myself as Dr. No or the Doctor of No, because I find myself telling patients more of what they can’t do than what they can do. It doesn’t feel good to do it, and other than dictating charts and dealing with electronic medical records, it’s one of the most unrewarding things I have to do on a daily basis.  Occasionally I start out the day promising myself to tell more patients about the things they can do rather than focusing on what they can’t do. But it doesn’t last for long. At the end of a long day in the office…I’m back to Dr. No.

And I’ll stand by my words, because when it comes down to it…we keep doing a lot of things we shouldn’t be doing. Now I’m not talking about things like cigarettes, drugs and alcohol, even though I’ll just take a moment to say “NO” to that for sure. I’m talking about our activities; our work, our chores and our play. Many of the things we do today are going to wreak havoc on our bodies later on in life and make us wish we had never done them. Even glorious football. As much as I love that sport, it remains high on the list of things which wreak havoc on the human body and I’ve had more patients tell me they wish they had never played, than those expressing the opposite. Sorry. Simply put… football players suffer later on in life. And you can only hope that the college tuition, the glory or the money make up for the suffering.

We’ve got to look at things from a risk/benefit standpoint too. There are many activities which afford us great benefits; like championship belt buckles, money, prestige and warm fuzzies. I fully understand, and in my role as your doctor I will never be judgmental. Your priorities are yours. You own them and only you can judge their value. I guess I’d have to say that no matter what the risk, high benefits suffice for most. Evil Knievel made a lot of money. But as your doctor I must remind you of the risks to your health.

Some of the things I’m going to tell you not to do are completely elective activities. You don’t have any reason to do them other than the thrill it gives you. Some of the obvious ones; sky diving, bull riding, and riding motorcycles. The activities which come with the saying, “It’s not IF, it’s WHEN…” I ride horses and I’ve been tossed off more often than I’d like to admit. With horses, it’s not IF you’re going to get tossed off, it’s when. I’ve done damage to many bones and joints and yet I still feel compelled to ride…and ride dangerously. And there’s no NEED to ride horses. So trust me, I’m not going to judge you in any personal way when I tell you it might be better for you not to do something. I just want you to understand the realities. I certainly understand them for myself. More on this next time…

4 Responses to Dr. NO…part 1

  1. maggie nicol December 23, 2012 at 4:05 pm #

    Dr. Bergin, i came to see you about my arm and hand pain. Good news, bad news, it did not need surgery. i am following your directions and wearing a wrist brace, trying to monitor/curtail some of my more extreme physical activity…after a lifetime of doing – it is nearly impossible not to just step up and do. working on it. i am experiencing less pain and that is wonderful. thank you.
    my writing is still difficult and will just have to work on that issue. grrr.
    i have a mare that became sick last month and spent from the 13th to the 27th of november in intensive care at elgin vet hospital. i have established a web site for donations – buy a book or just donate – to help me with the vet bill. if you could pass this link along to your horse people, it would be most appreciated. this has been a very difficult year for me and this is just over the top. i appreciate your consideration and hope you will share the link. the mare is doing better daily!! thank you, maggie http://www.billthehorse.com for more of her story.

    • Barbara December 27, 2012 at 9:08 pm #

      Glad to hear about your hand. Sorry to hear about your horse. Elgin vets do great work. I hope she gets well and I’ll check out her story.

  2. Rick Ingraham January 9, 2013 at 10:07 pm #

    Dr BB,

    I love your blog, been a fan for many years now, but it literally pains me to read your Football comments. (knowing you are a huge fan yourself) Personally, Im not sure water skiing, pickup basketball, beer league softball and partying like a banshee as a youth (pre 40s) hasnt done more damage to my body than Football ever did. I was very lucky to have a father that forbid Motorcycles and Horses, even tho we grew up in Abilene, TX till moving here at age 13. I still have butt pain from gettin thrown off a bull(prob a cow) at 12. Life is too short to worry about how much we will hurt when we’re older. I relish the pain because Im still here, when some of my runnin buds are already gone. Guess its persepctive, and as a Physician, you have to give your pts the absolute truth as you see it. Still, I just cant agree about not playin Football!

    • Barbara January 12, 2013 at 2:34 am #

      I love football too and if I found the magic lantern, I would wish to play football. What is it about that sport? But I do have to make my points about the toll it takes on those bodies. I’m losing sleep over RGIII…playing it over and over again in my mind.

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