The five types of medical fun

March 19, 2019 Beth Oliver

We were plugging away up the side of a famous mile high canyon, six days into our hike. It was snowing on Bright Angel Trail. This was fun initially but once it started generating five inch platform heels on the bottom of our crampons, it was less fun.

After the euphoria of waking to a glittering snowy Grand Canyon wonderland, but before the time when everyone is just grunting or silent, we had a conversation about fun.

“This is definitely type II fun,” said Kurt.

“What are you talking about? I am definitely having type I fun right now,” said Glenn. He would retract this twenty minutes later.

It was cold. I was wearing twenty eight items of clothing. I took my fourth tumble and had a moment. A little, “oh I think I’m gonna cry,” moment.

Type I fun is, we’re all having fun, right now. An example of this in general practice is when I am listening to a kid’s belly with my stethoscope and he is giggling.

woman smiling in snow

Bottom of trail. Type I fun.

Type II fun is, we’re not having fun now, but we will think of it as fun, later. An example of this is when I am draining an abscess on a screaming, writhing teenager.

woman looking out of breath in snow

Halfway up. Type II fun.

Type III fun is no one is having any fun. Not now. Not later. No fun at all, for anyone. There are many examples of this in general practice, but I feel like describing them will dampen the mood.

woman exhausted in snow

Summit in blizzard. Type III fun

Type IV fun is something else again. It’s fun for me, not fun for anyone else. An example of this is draining the pus from Abscess Teen when she is being brave and lying very still. It’s fun (but I don’t show it). The friend she brought along for support is also having Type IV fun – she loves watching the scalpel, and the pus flow.

Type V fun is when it’s fun for everyone else and not for me. I never allow this to happen. I always make sure at least one other person is suffering with me. So I will use the example of the supportive friend, who comes back a week later to have a contraceptive rod inserted into her arm. She brings Abscess Teen for support. Abscess Teen is now having fun, and I am having fun but Implanon Teen is not having fun. Nope.

Here is a picture of Kurt having Type IV fun, and me having Type V fun.

woman scowling man smiling in snow

Kurt – Type IV fun. Me – Type V fun.

The word fun just started to look really weird.