Low-tier, Intermediate Level Medical Advice

For those of you not in the know, The Devin Townsend Project is a low-tier, intermediate level, progressive metal band fronted by [gasp] Devin Townsend. I have been a huge fan of Devin’s for the last 15+ years, ever since I first heard the first track from his first solo album, Ocean Machine. I show my fandom by buying every album and live release, subscribing to his youtube channel, and occasionally “liking” one of his tweets on occasion. Recently, though, I felt compelled to try to reach out to him and sent him a tweet; I knew it would go without a reply.

You see, a member of Devin’s touring crew (Zim) has been vlogging on youtube, posting tour updates almost daily. On September 7, Zim posted a video that showed Devin hitting the gym with the rest of the band – apparently, they try to stay in shape while on the road (some are more “fit” than others). In this particular clip, after warming up, Devin tries lifting/flipping a large tire at the gym.

(8:32 thru 9:25)

He went to see a PT the day after the injury, but had to continue down the road. As time progressed, his symptoms worsened and he asked for medical advice from an MD. You can view the clip here:

1:36 thru 3:00

I am sure that the gentleman was trying to help, and without assessing Devin, I wouldn’t dare to postulate what type of injury he had suffered or what the most appropriate approach might be to hasten (or at least not delay) the healing process. I will dare to postulate that Devin didn’t have a “Grade 2 anterior and posterior ankle sprain”, as was diagnosed by the well-meaning obstetrician (OB). [sigh]

Once I saw the video, I first shared my frustrations with my wife. Then I took to twitter:

Alas, there was no reply. I wish he had replied – I know people – some who also know other people – in Philadelphia, New York City, and Toronto (3 of his next 4 tour stops).

He tried some massage at one point, but he was too sore to tolerate much more than the application “essential oils” from the massage therapist. Finally, 7 days after his initial injury and another 3 days after having his ankle evaluated by a guy who delivers babies for a living, he was visited by a podiatrist.

In my mind, I imagine a well-meaning fan (much like mysefl) laying in bed a few nights earlier with his all-too-warm laptop on his bare-belly watching the video of the OB assessing Devin’s ankle injury. I imagine him turning to his wife (who is probably listening to Adele through her still-wired iPod earbuds) and tapping her on the shoulder. After she rolls her eyes (not caring if he notices her obvious contempt at his interuption), she removes a single earbud and he asks her, “This can’t be right, can it?” After she views the clip, I then imagine her eyes opening-wide and shrieking, “Good God, no.” Then, somehow – probably working more diligently than sending a single tweet – this concerned fan works to arrange for his wife to visit Devin and provide an appropriate and professional assessment in what is her area of expertise. It turns out that in the opinion of a podiatrist, Devin didn’t have a “Grade 2 anterior posterior ankle sprain” after all.

3:14 thru 5:32

So, why should you give 2 shits about the foot/ankle of the front man of a low-tier, intermediate level progressive metal band? Because he fuckin’ rocks, that’s why.


But seriously – take a moment and think about all the times that you may have casually offered advice or a quick assessment for someone with an ache, pain, or injury without a fully-informed evaluation. Maybe you wanted to shut them up. Perhaps you really wanted to help, but didn’t have the time for a more comprehensive assessment. Irrespective of why you completed a half-assed evaluation, you may have – like the OB – tried to help but failed, miserably.

So, the next time you are at a dinner, or chatting with someone in the office and they ask for your advice, please remember that – whether you end up right or wrong – you will still make a difference.

It is up to you to decide what kind of difference you choose to make.


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