I invented blogging. No really. As a first year medical student in 1998, I was trying to develop a Visual basic application that would auto-publish entries from an access database on my home computer to my University web account, but alas, I was busy with things like anatomy and biochemistry.
The following year, a senior student introduced me to the idea of creating a blog, which at that time, was still an unheard of medium for creating web content (and who had ever heard of “content”?). Finally, by the end of my intern year, while sitting in the ICU trying to keep a twenty year old race car driver alive, I wrote my first blog post. Then I wrote another and another. I documented my revelations about learning medicine, the journey that my own patients revealed to me.
Daily as my sleep deprived mind both memorized standard practice and absorbed new journal articles, I was constantly writing. I’d care for a sick child and in my mind I was blogging about it. I performed my first trauma resuscitation and in my mind I was blogging. When the Amish family of a dying man sang in the ICU…I blogged about it.
At that point, my blog was one of the most popular medical blogs and the first emergency medical blog that I know of. As popularity increased I tried hard to both capture my thoughts, emotions and experiences while remaining anonymous. I shared my journey of becoming a physician with my readers..through the cold clinical discoveries, to saving my first life, to learning (again) that patients are people…my thoughts were all open. All of these things I shared publicly, with the world, with anyone who had an internet connection.
Interview requests from medical writers came and I declined. I did not want anyone to know who I was, I feared that I had shared too much about myself. But at the same time, my family felt closer to me than they ever had. My father still recounts stories from that time…stories I’d never told him personally, yet he’s got the words nearly memorized. My grandmother kept a printed stack of my stories on her reading table. When I miss my grandfather…I can just revisit my blog and the memories come flooding back (and I usually shed a tear or two).
Through my anonymous blogging life I made friends, grieved for friends, watched friends rise to (relative fame) and yet I retreated. At points in my life my blog was my solace, my retreat and my joy. My blog sits now docile for the most part, a series of a thousand or so tiny milestones in the process of becoming a physician. It will always be a part of who I’ve become, who I was then and who I’ll be tomorrow.
Blogging is a powerful tool.