In my other life, I practiced medicine as a pediatric anesthesiologist for five wonderful years before chronic migraines forced me to take a medical leave of absence. That leave turned into the opportunity of a lifetime, although I would have been hard pressed to admit it at the time.

Instead of taking care of children, I now write novels for them. In my academic life, I wrote simulations:

“Simulation Roulette” is a new method of “on-the-fly” simulation scenario creation that incorporates a game-like approach to critical scenarios and emphasizes prescenario preparation. We designed it to complement our traditional anesthesia simulation curriculum, in which residents are exposed to predefined “criti-cal” scenarios. During typical scenarios, trainees are often given minimum preparatory information; they then start the scenario knowing only that “something bad” is going to happen. As a result, trainees often report anxiety, which can be a barrier to learning. To overcome this barrier and to augment traditional critical incident training, we developed the “Simulation Roulette” game. (Abstract “The ‘Simulation Roulette’ Game, HJFrederick et al, Sim Healthcare 6:244-249, 2011)

Now I write speculative short stories, which, research shows, are nothing more than simulations for your brain:

Although fiction treats themes of psychological importance, it has been excluded from psychology because it is seen as flawed empirical method. But fiction is not empirical truth. It is simulation that runs on minds of readers just as computer simulations run on computers. In any simulation coherence truths have priority over correspondences. Moreover, in the simulations of fiction, personal truths can be explored that allow readers to experience emotions — their own emotions — and understand aspects of them that are obscure, in relation to contexts in which the emotions arise. (Abstract, Why Fiction May Be Twice as True as Fact, Keith Oately, New English Review, August 2010)

Everything comes around again. But I think the next anesthesia simulation I write might have to include Chthulu.

Getting paid is over-rated.


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