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Monday, October 13, 2014

No political correctness on the RT Cave

In honor of this being the 7th birthday celebration of the Respiratory Therapy Cave, a respiratory therapy student recently asked me some questions, and requested I share them here.  So, here we go!!!

So how long have you been a part of the respiratory therapy cave and what is your involvement with it?  I started this website on October 13, 1997, and I am a regular writer.

What qualifies you to do this? I'm a registered respiratory therapist working full time since 1997.

Do you have any other writing jobs?  I presently also work for as an asthma and COPD expert.  I usually write about two posts on each subject each month.

Do you have a writing degree?  Have you ever had any other writing jobs? Have you ever had your writing in print? I have an associates in journalism from Ferris State University.  I learned a lot about writing, although that career path never really interested me after I graduated.  I also have a degree in advertising, which I think helps me to keep my writing pithy.  I have had my blogposts published in the online versions of various newspapers around the nation, including the Chicago Tribune.  I was also a writer for for a while, although I wrote so much they couldn't afford to pay me.

How has your writing improved over the years?  My writing is more pithy now.

Do you get paid to do the RT Cave?  If not, would you like to? No.  I do not want to get paid to do this.  This is my hobby.  If I started doing this for the money it would become a job, and it would become something I would have to do instead of something I choose to do.  Plus, not being in it for the money makes it so I can say whatever I want, even what is politically incorrect.

But you do have Adsense on your blog, don't you?  You get paid for that? Not enough to make this a career.  Usually that money is enough to pay for a couple evenings out with my wife each month.  It's usually not much, and it's inconsistent money.  It's essentially just enough money to keep this blog going.

What is your favorite part of blogging? Why do you do it?  The answer to both questions is because I love to write and I like to educate, and I think blogging provides me an opportunity to do both.  I love writing for the RT Cave because I don't have to be politically correct, and I have no editor to tell me otherwise. I like that I don't have to say certain things, or write in certain ways, so that I don't offend certain readers.  I can actually tell my readers what I actually think, as opposed to what they want to hear.

What do you mean? When I began my writing career in the late 1980s, we were able to write the truth, write in a style we were comfortable with, and not worry about offending people. That all kind of changed over the years as writers have sort of been forced to write in a manor that doesn't offend.  Here all gloves are off. I think that's one of the reasons people turn to the blogosphere, because here we can give honest answers.  Writing outside the blogosphere, when answering a medical question, I might have to justify it by saying something like: "You should talk to your doctor." I think that's poppycock, mainly because, in some instances, a nurse or a respiratory therapist may be more knowledgeable than a doctor.  In many cases respiratory therapy is beyond the scope of a physician's knowledge.  And I'm not the first person to say that either, as you will find credible physicians saying the same thing as you read my history of difficult breathing. The blogosphere is great in that it allows real people like me to say what we mean and mean what we say.

Do you worry about saying something that might cause you to lose your job? Not really, mainly because I do not write about my place of employment and I do not write about my patients.  All RT Cave writers are instructed to write in generalizations and to stick to the facts.  For example, we are not to write about how albuterol affects a specific pneumonia patient, but how albuterol affects the pneumonia patient population.

But you have to be careful.  Absolutely.  There is definitely a line that cannot be crossed.  I have some writers who have noted fear that what they published might be taken the wrong way, and in such instances I encourage them to either not publish it or delete it if already published.

Do you have advice for other RT bloggers?  One of my top writers likes to say, "Write about the profession and not the individual."  Stick to that when blogging and you'll stay out of trouble.  Be honest, but be safe.

What is your worse part of blogging?  I'm just happy to have the opportunity to write. There really are no negatives to writing for the RT Cave.

Well, I hate to use this term, but do you have a pet peeves then?  I would never do this on the RT Cave, but I hate it when I'm writing elsewhere and I find myself writing cliches like "you can live a normal life with asthma and allergies if you are a gallant asthmatic."  I find that to be totally bogus.

Before I go any further, you are an asthmatic, right?  That would be correct.

And you have an asthma blog too, right?  That would be correct.  I created the blog hardluck asthma.

So you are a credible asthma expert then?  I would say so, by default anyway.  I have lived this disease in more ways than one.

What do you mean by that?  Well, I was diagnosed in 1972, I do not remember any part of my life where it has not affected me. Between 1976 and 1985 I had many asthma attacks, so many in fact that I sometimes would not tell my parents and would needlessly suffer.  By 1984 I was making unscheduled doctor visits on a regular basis, and made eleven trips to the emergency room that year.  I was admitted four times.  In 1985 I spent 6 months at National Jewish Hospital/ National Asthma Center, so, along with my RT experience, that sort of qualifies me as an asthma expert by default.   So asthma has affected every aspect of my life.

Okay, so we can't argue with the fact you are a credible asthma expert.  So, why can't you live a normal life with asthma?  Well, you can live a relatively normal life.  However, most asthmatics are forced to take medicine every day, which is not normal.  Most asthmatics are forced to avoid asthma triggers, which is not normal. Many asthmatics have to avoid certain jobs, which is not normal. Surely we try to be as normal as we can, but when we forget we have asthma and get overly ambitious, we too frequently get into trouble.  And every thing I just said also applies to people with allergies too.  Considering 75% of asthmatics also have allergies, that's a double whammy there.  I would also have to add that COPD patients cannot live a normal life either.

Do you write a lot about COPD:  I have written quite a bit on this blog, and so have other writers, although I started in February of this year as a COPD expert at, and so I have been writing a lot about it over there.

How long will you be doing this? I will end this website when no doctor ever orders a breathing treatment that isn't needed.  I will end this site when no asthmatic and no allergic person suffers.  I will end this when there is a cure for difficult breathing.

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