Serious question

What is the difference between a crack addict in their 20s presenting with an MI and a skater kid who gets his high off extreme sports and dangerous jumps?

What is the difference between a chronic marijuana user who develops schizophrenia and a morbidly obese fellow who develops type 2 diabetes?

What is the difference between an alcoholic who periodically goes on binges that put him out of commission, and a young hockey player presenting with his 5th fracture so far this year?

Somehow it is completely reasonable to harshly judge one category of people and not the other. To me, it makes no difference if your drug is cocaine or the endorphins you get when attempting dangerous things. You are both idiots. If anything, I judge you both hardcore. But I will treat you both equally and adequately. So why on earth is it acceptable to do something moronic like fly 20 feet into the air on a bike or skateboard, break your leg (or much worse), immobilize yourself and be unable to attend school or work for some time, but all the while the ER doc will congratulate you for being brave and doing your awesome sports? And then turn around and tsk tsk at the Native patient who’s in for a drug overdose, apprehending them for using up our time and resources?

Worse still, why do these hockey moms and hockey dads think it is completely normal and a rite of passage to break your ankle, arm, whatever, so many times a year because they’re dedicated to their sport? Like… do you realise your kid is in the ER at this moment in pain and will be out of commission for the next 6 weeks because of your insistence that they play this sport? Yes I know they may enjoy it on the ice but are they really going to make a career out of it, or continue after high school, or remember all these hours they poured into it?

Working in a small town emergency department has blown my mind to see the sport obsession and all of its repercussions. 95% of the small talk around here is, “So how’d your kids’ hockey tournament go?” The parents–including ER staff–will whine about how many hours they spend driving their kids from city to city… yet they are the ones insisting on it. Nurses and docs will playfully shake their hands when they see a 10 year old with a gruesome fracture, but congratulate them as if they’ve won an award.

But the lower class, uneducated folks in from a reserve, or here for drug intoxication–no mercy for them. What the hell is that about?

I guess it’s one more defining aspect of growing up in an immigrant family: for one thing, no money to do sports, but for another, no logical reason to put yourself through pain and increased risk of injury. No coverage for health care if you do break your arm. No excuses for not going to school for several days and not being able to write out your homework for 2 months. Athletics, extracurriculars–all these are extra to the most important thing which is school itself. And if anything secondary to school can impact school attendance or performance, it’s a no.

Yes, maybe my parents were a little extreme, but I can see where they’re coming from–especially when I come to athlete city here and watch everyone come in with every kind of injury imaginable like it’s no big deal, get stitched up or casted and go home. I’ve never broken a bone. I certainly don’t think that’s a “normal” part of life. This is one case where some hardcore immigrant practicality makes a lot of sense to me.

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