Without burdening my gentle readers with too much of my life, it’s important to today’s blog entry to mention that I suffer from an exceedingly rare cancer. Pathologists specializing in neuroendocrine cancer beg bits of my tumors from the oncologists who happen to be treating me at the time. One University Health Sciences Center had the temerity to ask me to pay them three thousand dollars for the privilege of having bits of my rare cancer excised so they could study it. They should live so long, another state university medical center (with which my current surgical oncologists are associated) are going to fillet my tumors and marinate them in various chemo drugs at no charge to me.
The objective there is not to be able to chirp “Bon Appetit!” at the end of the procedure a la Julia Child, but to be able to treat my cancer without recourse to radiation (which didn’t kill ALL my tumors) or more surgery (which will, starting tomorrow, probably have me in the hospital for at least a week, longer than I’ve been confined in a hospital bed since I had peritonitis after an appendectomy). It’s a case where Real Life edges into being as “dark” as the scariest dark RP.
Faithful readers will recall that in Second Life, I have role-played at being a physician (which is where my RL experience as a medical writer, clinical data analyst and student of biomedical engineering comes in handy).
Obstetrics was my first choice of medical specialty in Second Life. Since this IS Second Life we’re talking about here, perhaps I was being sunnily naïve about what would happen after I started seeing patients. The same patients began requesting repeated consultations, with long, slow pelvic examinations, some more than once a week. I shouldn’t gripe, I made a good friend during my rotation in OB/GYN, a talented SL photographer and steady companion. I withdrew from that SL medical specialty on good terms with my former practice.
After that, I would occasionally reprise my roleplay in OB/GYN for friends who needed a kindly gynecologist to look over their “property.” While I do not relish D/s or B/D personally, I am sympathetic to those who do find it a rewarding part of their SL.
Then, I signed on as an emergency room physician in a “dark” combat sim, which had its high and low points. I did more actual SL medical role play there in a few months than in four prior years of Second Life.
I was, in fact, too enthusiastic, and my long-suffering patients apparently didn’t have the heart to complain about my long, slow, technically correct role-play trauma surgery – to me, anyway. When word got back to me that the pain in those consults wasn’t just RP for my patients, I did what I ought to have done the first time around, and read the sim’s role play manual – leading to slightly less exciting medical care from my standpoint, but seems to have been more rewarding for the people who RPed with me as “patients,” and that was fair enough.
My tenure as an RP trauma doc, complete with lots of RP melodrama infrequently tainted with Out of Character drama from those who preferred their female RP partners submissive, sliced, diced and molested to a fare-thee-well, ended when the sim did (which was a true shame, because the sim was so well done, both build-wise and conceptually).
Now, I’m having a real-life episode which I hope to be able to use to make medical RP more rewarding to myself and people who choose to RP with me as patients in the future.
Assuming, of course, I survive and am capable of and inclined to continue my Second Life.
I’ll have plenty of time to reflect on how oncology might work as roleplay in Second Life. Certainly, for those of us who enjoy RP drama (as opposed to RL or Out Of Character drama), I’d think the situation of being poised literally on a surgeon’s knife edge between life and death has its possibilities. But the concept does need work.
In the meantime, I’ve had chances to RP as a science-fiction drama, sort of a distaff Simon Tam in a Serenity/Firefly RP sim, and look forward to more of that. Perhaps I’ll gain insights from RPing with others there….
UPDATE: Patty is alive and well in RL and SL!
I’m recovering from being gutted like a trout during exploratory surgery, but am recovering, the important thing in all of this.
So, for those of you who were worried, please don’t. I’m fine and getting better by the day. *HUGS!*
It’s wonderful to have so many good and loyal friends who do care. It’s a pity that bad things have to happen to make one aware of just how good one’s friends are, when they’ve been that good all along….