In February of 2017, my nearly 25 year run as a contributing columnist for the Orlando Sentinel came to an end. Every week, for 25 years, I worked under a deadline to produce a roughly 700 word column related to medicine for the Lake and Orange County editions of the Orlando Sentinel. The Sentinel paid me $75 per column, peanuts, really, for the hours spent putting something educational and entertaining together. In all of those years, I never took a week off and, to the best of my recollection, only missed a couple of weeks due to circumstances beyond my control. The demise of my column due to downsizing of the Sentinel county editions would have left me a little lost if not for the invitation to join Hypeorlando.
In 2014, I was invited to become one of the inaugural bloggers for Hypeorlando, the Orlando Sentinel’s official blog site. My first blog was published March 5, 2014 ( http://www.hypeorlando.com/house-calls/2014/03/05/welcome-to-my-blog/ ). This was a whole new paradigm. Although I was not paid, I had no deadlines to meet and I was free to write about anything I chose to, and I did. My early blogs were a free ranging mix of topics ranging from presidential politics to Orlando tourism to hunting bears in the City Beautiful to tongue-in-cheek blogs about eavesdropping transmitters in breast implants to the discovery of a virus that causes stress. It was a blast. With the exception of June/July 2016, I never let a month go by without at least one post. I am not sure what happened those two months; I may have been in a coma, but if I was, I have no memory of it. Then, again, why would I?
Over time, I learned that my sweet spot was, surprise, surprise, in the area I knew best: medicine, and most of my later blogs were medically related. With my column shut down, Hypeorlando provided the outlet for my writing jones. The nice part was that I could write as much and whatever I wanted about my own specialty. With my Sentinel column, I had to be careful to refrain from any appearance of self-promotion so I only wrote one or two columns annually that were directly or indirectly related to plastic surgery. I was also subject to editing that sometimes resulted in columns that did not say exactly what I had intended.
Recently, I have found myself embroiled in a controversy of my own making by taking on the issue of breast implant illness. Women who claimed that they were made ill by breast implants took me to task for even suggesting that implants might not be the toxic devices they claimed them to be. I had hoped to continue to investigate this issue and report on it with updates based on my research and conversations with women, doctors, implant company representatives, etc. but now that will not be possible, as Hypeorlando will be shutting down, presumably forever, on April 30. /that is too bad. It is a topic that I feel desires a proper airing.
Now, I will have to find another outlet for my writing proclivities and for reporting on this and other issues in medicine. I have never really known how many people actually ever saw, much less read, my blog posts but I do appreciate the Sentinel and, more specifically, Katie Parsons, for promoting the blog on twitter and in the Sentinel, over the years. I am sure this gave it much more exposure than it would otherwise have received. To those who read and especially to those who read and posted comments: It has been a pleasure and privilege to have been able to participate in Hypeorlando as a an official blogger for these past few years. I will miss this almost as much as I miss my twenty five years as a columnist for the Sentinel.
Hopefully, I will be able to pop up, like one of those annoying wack-a-moles, in another iteration in the near future. Until then, it has been fun.
(I decided against adding a comment section since there will be no Hypeorlando on which posted comments can appear so readers will have to find other ways to deal with their anguish. )