When Do You Game if You’re A Brain Surgeon?


How can someone possibly balance a love and passion for gaming with the need to be constantly on call to save peoples’ lives as a brain surgeon?

Let’s be honest here: Even when we work the daily grind, almost all of us make some time to take an hour or two out of our evening to sit down and play TF2 or Uncharted or whatever catches our fancy. Work is done, and we don’t have to think about it until our alarm goes off tomorrow morning, right? But what if you’re a brain surgeon? What if you’re constantly on call? Should you spend your little free time gaming, or becoming better at saving peoples’ lives?

As Rich Retractor, M.D., writes in Issue 224 of The Escapist, balancing a love for gaming with a job as a surgeon is pretty damn hard, but you can’t just give it up, either:

It’s hard to reconcile this lifestyle with my love of gaming. A lot of people who don’t have enough time to play games still manage to stay current by browsing through gaming forums at work or reading gaming news via RSS feeds. I, on the other hand, often go 36 hours without ever touching the Internet except for the hospital medical records system. I’m not complaining, and I don’t feel the least bit sorry for myself, because no one is forcing me to do this. If I wanted to work less, I’d get a different job. But sometimes introspection can be dangerous.

Surgery often involves the placement of drains. The theory is simple: If you make an incision, you need to take the pressure off the surgical wound by re-routing blood and serous fluid to an alternate drainage path so that the tissue at the surgical site can approximate and heal. Neurosurgeons place lumbar drains after repairing cerebrospinal fluid leaks so that pressure on the leak closure is relieved long enough for the dura mater to heal. One day, on the way home after having placed just such a lumbar drain on a patient, it hit me: That’s exactly what I use gaming for.

Even the greatest brain surgeon needs a “drain” to stop thinking about his job every once and a while. For some people, that drain is gaming – but even then, it’s a luxury at best. To read more about this precarious balance, read “Gaming Isn’t Brain Surgery” in Issue 224 of The Escapist.

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