Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Change Is Inevitable

Drs. Will and Charles Mayo founded their eponymous clinic in 1919. "Dr. Will," as he was known, was a surgical pioneer, and surgeons were quoting his aphorisms long after he died. One I particularly remember was, "Only pinheads operate through a pinhole." In other words, make a large enough incision to see what you're doing. As my chief surgical resident used to say, "Incisions heal from side to side, not end to end."

Fast forward just a few decades, and surgeons were operating through endoscopes, tiny telescopes that allow surgeons to see inside body cavities and manipulate instruments inserted via other small openings. Surgeons were really operating through pinholes--and the result was less patient discomfort and a shorter recovery time. Times change.

About the time the Drs. Mayo were becoming famous, books were printed on paper and published in bound volumes. Now, over half of consumers in one survey chose e-books over their printed cousins. Times change.

The point isn't to argue the merits of endoscopic surgery vs. conventional open procedures, or to debate the e-book revolution vs. traditional print options. Rather, I'd suggest that what we think is the norm, perhaps even the pinnacle, of what we can achieve may be superseded tomorrow by something better. I bought my first cell phone so I could be available when my father had his first heart surgery. It was like a brick, heavy and bulky. Now I carry a small phone in my pocket that makes calls, provides addresses, and lets me surf the Internet. (Other people play music and games on theirs--I don't go that far).

What other things have you seen in your lifetime that have been improved beyond what you thought was possible just a few years ago? I'd love to hear.

(photo via Wikipedia)

SPECIAL HEADS-UP: For those of you with an e-reader, watch tomorrow for a one-day-only reduction in price on all four of my prior novels (including one of them free). Check my Twitter messages or Facebook fan page tomorrow for details. And if you haven't subscribed to my newsletter, use the tab at the right to do so--the first chapter of Stress Test goes out to those subscribers in a week.


Theresa Lode said...

Ah, yes- The only thing constant is change. :) Looking forward to seeing the deal on your books tomorrow!

Mocha with Linda said...

Ah, technology. I remember what a wonder it was when the IBM Selectric typewriters came out with the balls that you could switch between pica and elite type. Then these amazing word processors were invented. Now I sit here typing on a laptop - and wishing for an iPad!

I also remember doing temp secretarial work during the summers when I was in college. One year there was this new invention - it was rather large but was amazing because it could transmit a copy over the telephone line. LOL We were so impressed with the new facsimile machine!

Showing my age here!

Richard Mabry said...

Therese, I'll post on Twitter and Facebook as soon as Abingdon sends me the links.

Linda, if you feel old, think about me--I still HAVE a FAX machine in my office, and I use it. And I learned to type on a manual Underwood. When I got an IBM Selectric, I thought things could never get better.