[M.M.X.I.V. 211] Unexpected biographical sources

For famous people, there are many ways to get information on them, many through biographies written by other people.  Some people, like myself, write autobiographical information regularly, such as via a journal, blog, or social media.  (Of course, there are autobiographical details that I will not readily share.)

After reading a certain newspaper column today (thanks for the inspiration, Mary Schmich!) there was another method of biographical information, and to make it even more fun, the slug of this post has a stealth pun.

Schmich had recently obtained her paper medical records from her doctor that retired, and took some interest in her article to read some of the things that were written on her medical record.  As it turns out, this can be interesting in more ways than one.

The doctor can see many problems and quirks of the body that their patients would not be able to on their own, and Schmich refers to this as how the medical record is, plain and simple, a record of one’s mortal body.  I know that after the Character Building Trial is over, I probably will have had more medical contact for a single problem than even after the Car Crash.

Why is this?  In addition to teaching EXCEL, the research has ground me down, and between these, the stress of inability to write or ride or keep the cast area clean, and late nights, my usually strong immune system has definitely been compromised.  In particular, I am recovering from viral gastroenteritis (stomach flu) which is something that I have not suffered from since I was 6 (or was it 7?).

Thankfully, the case ended up being quite mild in some sense, as I have not been confined to a bathroom and/or bed–diarrhea has really been my only symptom (no vomiting, weakness, or fever), and it has not happened in response to absolutely everything that I ate.  Still, it has been very annoying.  Yet, it could always be worse, so I have to count my blessings anyway.  It is yet another thing that makes me eagerly await August 11 when I can get this blasted set of characters to LEAVE MY PARTY!

Back to the point of the article, I can actually relate somewhat to this idea of medical records giving a personal history.  During the summer of 2009, I worked at my parents’ office, scanning charts for a transition to electronic medical records.  Sometimes, while waiting for scans, I would curiously read some of the information on the charts and try to get a picture in my mind of what the person was like.  Obviously, I will not repeat any of that information here, for several reasons: (a) I don’t recall the details now, and (b) HIPAA, (c) HIPAA, and (d) HIPAA.

I will say that the notes are not always fully objective, just as Schmich said with one of her records: “Cooperative and alert.”  From my Dad’s office, I sometimes read descriptors like “Pleasant (CENSORED), no acute distress” or “Quite fussy and uncooperative.”  There has to be a human element in these dictations, because even if doctors go about their business as professionally and without bias as possible, they are human too!

Even if medical records are moving to fully electronic in many places, there is still the old charm of paper records.  In some sense, I am insisting that once the Extra Characters leave my Party, I will be returning to my old technique of writing notes and in the journal, and never take for granted the ability to write again!

My medical record is pretty thin and I am thankful for that.  However, reading it would give me a feeling of an old journal, because even though some illnesses and injuries would stick out in my mind, others would fade in time until I saw them in a chart or something.  Of course, since I am usually healthy, any case of illness (whether an actual illness or just a common symptom of illness) will stick out in my mind due to the unusual nature thereof.


Today is the two-hundred and eleventh day of M.M.X.I.V.  That makes thirty weeks and one day.

Today is the sixteenth day of the Character Building Trial.  That makes two weeks and two days.

Oh, yeah.  The stealth pun? Bio is also an abbreviation for biology.  So that means that the biology of purpose keeps my nose above the surface (sorry, Brian Eno 🙂 )!


2 thoughts on “[M.M.X.I.V. 211] Unexpected biographical sources

  1. Fascinating insight into the world of doctors, Noah. I think many of us forget that they are human too – and come to see them almost as gods. But, as you have shown, their responses to their patients cannot be entirely objective because other people cause reactions in the brain and emotions! Sorry to hear that you have been run down and under the weather. Like the people leaving party metaphor!


    • Thanks, Ali! I knew that you would pick up on the leaving the party metaphor, and when I say that, I use party in the sense of group (“WEISS! Party of six, your table is ready!”)

      The boldface that you occasionally use in your posts was why I thought you would pick up on it 🙂


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