Part 2."Hawk" or "Dove" - who are you? Cerebral Palsy Peacenik Manifesto...
Getting serious... GMFCS -- the acronym all of you should know and understand

“Ugly Truth”–On Orthopedic Surgeons and Romantic Comedies… Don’t laugh, please, – I am serious :-) – Part 1.

The birthday post...Philosophical, I guess...

 

In the latest romantic comedy I watched … (Oops – Did I just confess to this ultimate sissy anti-masculine sin – watching a romantic comedy? :-) … I guess I did – but hearing no negative reactions upon confiding in my readers of hating the greens and being nauseous on broccoli soup – I either should assume an extreme tolerance to my weaknesses (nice and self-flattering way of thinking about it) or equally profound indifference to my character traits non-related to ABR (not so self-flattering way…)…

Either way, I figured I am safe with acknowledging another sinful deed of mine. (Actually, the only time I do watch videos other than ABR assessments or educational materials – is on the plane; and the only thing I can watch while on the plane is the one that takes zero intellectual effort: enter romantic comedies :-)…

Usually I do not even remember the names of those movies but this time was different. When I started watching the one called “Ugly Truth” everything was as usual, nothing remarkable –busy female executive looking for a perfect romance and expectable collisions…. BUT 15 min into the movie it happened –  Mr. Right Guy appeared. If you ever watched a comedy you should know this classic character – the-ideal-guy-smart-gentle-and-caring-who-is-perfection-materialized-but-still-never-gets-the-girl...

 Who was The Mr. Right Guy? Hold your breath… The Orthopedic Surgeon.

I nearly choked on my cashews… and started to really follow:

By a funny cat-related accident the lead girl falls off the tree hurting her foot and the neighbor in her upscale residence who rushes for help happens to be an Orthopedic Surgeon – he fixes a bandage on the girl’s foot and with a perfect bedside manner assures her that nothing is broken and she’ll be fine…

Well, no it’s time to leave the movie and get back to our own realities…

In the world of families of kids with cerebral palsy we are so used to think of an orthopedic surgeon as that ultimate hawk, the scare-monger who starts talking about massive surgical intervention years in advance instilling an enormous stress and pressure on most of the parents and frequently even threatening with parental rights removal, – that seeing one in the movie as an unquestionably positive persona, Mr. Right Guy and a ‘dream husband’ – was quite a surprise to say the least.

This brings us to some important clarifications.

The orthopedic surgeon who tapes the twisted foot – is definitely a positive character who does a highly needed and admirable job. If the girl in the movie would have broken her foot and he would have fixed it with screws and titanium plates – fantastic, no sarcasm here at all.

These are Emergency procedures.

High quality emergency care is a cornerstone of any civilized society and I have an absolute and utmost respect for the orthopedic surgeons who are the ‘traumatologists’, i.e. the ones fixing broken bones sewing together torn ligaments or muscles.

However, I still do maintain that PLANNED and FORCED Orthopedic Surgery for kids with disabilities is the acknowledgement of intellectual defeat and failure of conservative methods and could not be regarded in the same league of respect as emergency care.

That’s where things get complicated and some important paradoxes emerge.

Paradox #1

Extremely valuable emergency care role of orthopedic surgery creates that justified positive public image for the entire community of orthopedic surgeons.

Credibility and high authority of orthopedic surgery in the public eye and among other medical professionals stems from the emergency care BUT unfortunately the emergency care roots carry a fundamental flaw, a ‘birth defect’ or a ‘neonatal injury’ if I may say so – the mentality of a quick fix put together with a ‘high’ of an immediate result.

This quick fix mentality that is perfectly fine for extremely tight time budgets of the emergency room is detrimental for the decision-making and toolkit development for the long-term challenges.

Look at the sprinters and at the long-distance runners in the track and field – there is no resemblance between them. Bulky huge guys do sprint, and the light-weight ones run marathons. Everything is different about them – breeding, training, mindsets, performance milestones…

The paradox of orthopedic surgery is that it borrows its’ credibility in sprint races –no one denies that– and leverages to wrestle in the authority position in respect to the marathon training.

Paradox # 2.

Another paradox is extremely important as well.

All the orthopedic surgeons feel themselves as the members of the same professional community. The orthopedic surgeons in emergency care – the ones who fix broken bones and torn muscles – enjoy respect and even adoration. Obviously, their colleagues from the Planned Surgery field – expect the same.

And in fact, if one looks from within their professional cocoon – they feel that they have every right for the same adoration if not a greater one. Why?

First, technically the multilevel surgeries performed on kids with cerebral palsy are a lot more technically challenging than most of the emergency jobs. The surgeons you face as the parents of children with special needs are the ones who have a skillset that is on average greater than the one of an emergency care surgeon.

Second, these Planned Surgery specialists consider themselves as the ultimate ‘do-gooders’ within their professional community. Again, looking from within this aspiration is perfectly understandable – they have traded an ‘easier’ life of a ‘regular’ orthopedic surgeon to a more challenging professional path of working with special needs patients.

I hope you are seeing the twist …

The fundamental problem is: A lot of orthopedic surgeons do care about your kids but they stem from emergency profession and carry the ‘hawkish’ tools only.

That limits their options and creates extreme tunnel vision.

But the things get more complicated because they borrow the credibility from a ‘simpler’ branch of their professional community; being technically superior they expect ‘double’ the respect of the regular orthopedic surgeons, which makes them completely incapable of even thinking of changing their way.

Hot air balloons were Ok when one wanted to travel between nearby cities. Hot air balloons were highly intuitive – they are lighter than air. But they had limits, which made them not suitable for intercontinental flights. Did the long-distance flights emerge from within the hot air balloon community? – No, they stemmed from the counterintuitive approach – the aircraft that is heavier than air – the approach that was heavily ridiculed and laughed at.

Intuitive doesn’t make the intercontinental flights – one needs a radical change of mindset.

One thing is for sure –sprinters cannot teach marathon runners.

There could be discussions and various approaches among marathon runners but surely the advice of a sprinter is of little value for that. ..

TO BE CONTINUED….

 P.S. By the way, the girl in the movie was finally wise enough to choose another guy -- not the Orthopedic Surgeon ... (Yes, yes -- I felt a relief as well...)

P.P.S. That made me thinking -- will I ever live until the day that an 'ordinary' ABR professional will substitute the orthopedic surgeon as Mr. Right Guy -- That was the philosophical birthday part :-)....

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