Old Yeller Alerts will appear at the first of a post that doesn’t have a happy ending.
I like to use real cases to illustrate an important or interesting medical situation. Unfortunately, some of those cases don’t have happy endings. Recently a reader told me that they avoid some of my posts to avoid an unhappy ending, much like not watching "Old Yeller" (Disney, 1957) because the best doggone dog in the west dies and everybody cries. It is true that Old Yeller has been a hero, and his death is not in vain, but he sure enough dies and everybody cries.
I like a happy ending as much as anybody, but sometimes the case that prompts me to post is deeply affecting to me as well, simply because things didn’t go as hoped for. Rather than simply posting as a catharsis, I try to give it a broader context.
If you think that might be hard in a blog, try it in real life. In a one-doctor hospital, I sometimes have to go from emergencies and critical care cases right into a consultation with folks who are bubbling with enthusiasm for their brand-new puppy. It can take a few minutes to get my game-face back on. Life goes on, and so must we.