Puerto Vallarta: Practical Updates in Anesthesiology Fishing

The good people of the administration of the Anesthesiology department at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital have been kind enough to allow me to use my “conference money” to attend the University of Michigan’s “Practical Updates in Anesthesiology” conference in Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco, Mexico. As I peer out of my room through the palm trees and out over Banderas Bay my thoughts can’t help but drift away from ultrasound guided interscalene nerve blocks towards large game fish and how I might pursue them. More importantly, how a poor medical resident might fund his passage on a boat to fish for them…


The obvious solution to this dilemma is to find others who want to fish. In a room full of about 150 doctors there has to be at least two or three who want to go fishing and to defray the costs as much as possible, right? The second dilemma is one that arises from my own preferences and prejudices… The simple fact of the matter is, and you can probably guess this from the majority of the content on this site written by my friend and colleague Dr. Boryan, I prefer to fly fish. This brings up an important point: for the most part fly fisherman hate bait fisherman and vice versa. This prejudice is akin to the tenuous relationship between Surgeons and Anesthesiologists at academic medical institutions…
(Disclaimer: the following is a generalization and hyperbolization of the relationship between Anesthesiologists/Surgeons and Fly Fishermen/Bait Fishermen.)
“We” (the Anesthesiologists) view “them” (the Surgeons) as uncouth brutes who know nothing about anything but the organ that they have specialized in cutting/removing/transplanting/repairing/looking-at,-touching,-and-closing-without-having-done-anything. The classic image amongst practitioners of medicine is the Orthopedic Surgeon, previously amongst the best and brightest of his medical school class, now reduced by an abusive residency to a troglodytic Neanderthal with a club in his hand running around croaking the word “BONE!” incessantly as it is only word he remembers how to pronounce properly. A wonderful and hilarious example of this perception is available for viewing on YouTube and is entitled “Orthopedia vs. Anaesthesia” (Ah the British and their funny spelling. P.s for the non-medically-inclined, asystole=cardiac arrest).
To be fair I should report that surgeons view us in a similarly negative light. It appears to me that they view us as specializing in delaying and or canceling surgery after ordering a myriad of mysterious tests. Some of this contempt comes from our specialty’s high content of “medicine” (and we all know that Internal Medicine doctors like to perseverate for hours over minutia and trivia whilst engaging in vigorous mental masturbation all the while forgetting that there is an urgent patient care decision to be made). They sneer at our assertions that “the patient has multiple organ systems that ‘need blood’, (such mythical organs as the ‘brain’ and ‘kidneys’),” and such surgical heresy as “patients are capable of perceiving pain–and for some reason don’t like it”.
The relationship between bait fishermen and fly fishermen is equally antagonistic. We fly fishermen view our sport as being the descendent of that practiced by British nobility. Often choosing to release our hard-earned prey back into the wild in a relatively unharmed state. We insist on doing such unthinkable things as “picking up our trash” and (God forbid) “fishing while sober”. Though we are no strangers to the lure of “catching the big one”, we are often just as excited to go after quarry that is only four to six inches long, crawling on our bellies to arrow cast a dry fly into a secluded mountain stream that we pray holds a brook trout–a wild, native brook trout. One of the most beautiful fish I have ever seen. We sneer at “stockies” viewing them as little more than “meat in the freezer” that our trout tag bought and paid for. On the other hand, we view bait fishermen as underdeveloped semi-human barbarians who content themselves with such horridness as “Budweiser in a can”, “throwing their trash in the river/lake/pond/woods”, “fishing right next to each other–and sometimes next to us, and impaling helpless creatures on metal hooks in an attempt to get a fish to eat them. Often embedding the hooks so far down the poor fishes’ throats that even if they are able to be removed, the poor fish likely die from the insult. (I do not fail to note the irony that the overall goal of any type of fishing with a rod is to “impale a helpless creature on a metal hook”, but let’s not interfere with good old fashioned prejudice by attempting in inject logic into the discussion).
Bait fishermen similarly view us with contempt. Characterizing us as snobbish, out-of-touch blue bloods who look down our noses at them. We are seen as the bourgeois oppressors of the proletariate that bring to bear our powerful lobby groups such as Trout Unlimited to trick a hapless government into designating more and more areas as “catch and release only,” “artificial lures only,” and worst-of-all: “fly fishing only”. We participate in the unfathomable with such activities as “giving each other a wide berth so as not to spook the fish,” and “tying our own flys”. They can be heard to say that we “probably also hunt quail with a 20ga” whereas they “wouldn’t be caught dead hunting anything less than an 8 point with anything smaller than a .30-06.”
The good news is that I have found two other guys interested in chartering a boat to go fishing. We’re in the process of trying to coordinate this effort. Hopefully I’ll be able to report success along with an exciting story of big game fishing off the Spanish Main…


About robsju

Resident physician
This entry was posted in Fishing Report and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Puerto Vallarta: Practical Updates in Anesthesiology Fishing

  1. Katie Boryan says:

    Love it. Miss you Rob!

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