Go balance that lot!
I sent out a challenge, and dozens answered it, in comments on the blog, on Facebook, on twitter, in person. I have received suggestions, thoughts, ideas, humbling compliments, and on the whole, a strong recommendation not to reveal the face hidden behind the Insomniac's mask.
The main reason, although not the only one - an anti-management stance of mistrust. That in itself, is a sad reflection of the way social media is still perceived as foe rather than friend by the establishment. There is, of course, the potential to bite the hand that feeds you by blogging, but that was never one of the reasons for writing this blog. I'd like to take on the challenge of changing their view, but I'm not sure I'm up to that task.
Patients and their right to anonymity and confidentiality are clearly king. They are the reason we do what we do, they are the people who allow total strangers into their homes, their lives, and their vulnerabilities, with the promise that we don't then divulge their most intimate details to the world. To this end, as you all know by now, I change everything. Locations, ages, genders. I combine different calls to make one story, or divide one event into several different, unrelated posts. The tales I tell are effectively that - tales. Fiction based on real-life events. No patient has had their identity compromised.
And then there's the challenge of public education. Ideas such as the Chronicles of EMS, groups of visionary paramedics looking to advance their profession via open social networking and public media, could never work if we all hid behind masks. I'd love to get more involved, but at the moment, as an anonymous blogger, that's impossible. I could get involved in podcasts, as my face is probably more suited to radio anyway, but the options for exposing this to the public are limited, and therefore flawed as a plan for mass education.
Personally, my anonymity used to mean everything to me. It's still important to a certain degree, but every time someone guesses or knows outright that I'm the author of this blog, the pride I feel when they tell me they enjoy reading it, outweighs the shadows of anonymity that I crave. There's a voice that says I should be proud of what I have achieved, and that I should have no reason to hide, but then there's the other voice.
The voice that continuously asks "What if?".
What if there were repercussions from management? (Maybe one of them is reading this, and will have the courage or foresight to contact me? The email address is in the profile...).
What if I slipped up and did reveal a patient's identity?
What if I had to give the blog up all together?
For now, and I stress for now because this whole decision is finely balanced and on the brink of collapse, I'm staying hidden. It might well be the worst kept secret in the Ambulance Service, but for now, it stays a secret.
One day, hopefully, common sense, mutual trust, and pure, unadulterated ego will prevail.
When that happens, I'll lose the mask.