This post was originally published on 09-09-09 as One Fish, Two Fish, Left Brain, Right Brain. I’ve decided to republish that post (with some minor editing) as a 10-10-10 post because (1) it’s 10-10-10 and (2) the content of that post still applies today. And if my blog still exists on 11-11-11 and 12-12-12, you can look forward to reading this post on those dates as well.
Today is a special day. It’s not a birthday, anniversary or holiday…it’s October 10th. What’s so great about October 10, 2010? It’s great because October 10. 2010 is
There are two types of people in this world – those that look at 10-10-10 and think, That’s nice, it’s Sunday and those that look at 10-10-10 and think, Wow, that’s so cool! This latter group was also enthusiastic about 03-03-09, 03-14-09, 12:34:56 pm on 07-08-09 and 07-11-09. Why? Well…
03-03-09 ==> 3×3=9
03-14-09 ==> Pi day (Pi = 3.14)
12:34:56 pm on 07-08-09 ==> Do I really have to explain this one? (Psst…it’s numbers 1 thru 9)
07-11-09 => free slurpee day at 7-11
This group is also looking forward to 11-11-11 and 12-12-12. Guess which type of person I am? I’m a geek nerd number lovin’ fool. Ever since I learned to count, I’ve liked numbers and math. In 2nd and 3rd grade I liked math so much that would I race through my math book and end up finishing it before the school year had ended.
Me: Yay, I finished the math book!
Teacher: Oh crap! What am I supposed to do with this kid for the rest of the year?
Algebra, calculus and statistics, despised by many but not by me. I’m actually looking forward to helping my kids with this type of math homework. Who balances the checkbook in our house? Me. Who categorizes a street address like 1304 as “good” because it can be made into the mathematical equation 1+3+0=4? Me. Who can still ramble off phone numbers of childhood friends a la Rain Man? Me. When the accountant finishes our taxes each year, I’m the one to double-check them to make sure they’re correct. If wasn’t a doctor, I probably would have been a world famous blogger an accountant.
Yes, math and science were always among my favorite subjects. People who are good at math and science are typically considered left brained people. The left brain is the more analytical hemisphere so left brained people are logical and organized. The right brain is the more creative hemisphere so right brained people are imaginative and good at the arts. Although it seems like I fit the bill for a left brainer, once upon a time I was creative as well. I was a writer, a creative thinker, traits that categorized me as a right brained person. Both of my hemispheres were being utilized – I was a bilateral brainer, left brained and right brained. But ultimately I chose to pursue medicine, a profession well suited for left brained people. From that point on, my left brain took center stage. Medical school killed my right brain and the creative me was a distant memory. Medicine, although not always black and white, is filled with logic and standard guidelines that are followed. Typically doctors aren’t very creative in their practice.
Me: Let’s see, you’re complaining of a sore throat, fever and swollen glands. Normally I would order a throat culture and start you on some antibiotics, but that’s so boring. Let’s be creative! Your treatment for today is to quack like a duck, eat this green jello and then click your heels together 3 times and say “Abra-abra-cadabra. I’m gonna reach out and grab ya”. You should feel better in 3 to 5 days.
Patient: How is that going to work?
Me: Hell if I know! Consider it alternative medicine. Now get out of my office! I have to tweet about that ugly shirt you’re wearing.
Patient: You’ll be hearing from my lawyer!
Me: No worries. You’ll be hearing from my lawyer just as soon as he’s finished representing Dr. Conrad Murray, the doctor who killed allegedly killed Michael Jackson.
So you see, there’s not much room in medicine for creativity; being creative in medicine can get you sued. I spent over a decade as a predominantly left brained person, but about 2 years ago something happened in my brain. My right brain hadn’t died at all. It was just hibernating all those years. Suddenly my right hemisphere woke up, the neurons started firing again and my right brain went into overdrive trying to make up for all of those lost years. Logic was pushed aside as my creativity started flowing again. In fact, the rebirth of my right brain is directly responsible for the creation of this blog (Good thing it did – if my left brain had started a blog, it wouldn’t be nearly as interesting and fun to read).
It’s great to have my right brain back and I think it’s even better than before. I think my left brain may be slightly jealous of the attention my right brain has been getting and feels a little neglected. But I’m doing my best to achieve a good balance and use both hemispheres equally. Seeing patients at work, makes my left brain happy, and creating Facebook statuses, Twitter updates and blog posts makes my right brain happy. For now my left brain and right brain are peacefully coexisting because in the battle between my left brain and right brain, there are no winners or losers, only headaches.
Start the countdown now….only 397 days until 11-11-11! (Thanks left brain!)