I was planning to head downtown (like the Petula Clark song of the 60s) but ended up downtown in one of the suburbs (close second). I wanted to get out of my thoughts, enjoy the hot and humid evening air, watch people and generally celebrate that I finished my weekend work and I am prepared for my ministry duties tomorrow morning. I ran a short run this morning, paying close attention to the heat and humidity as the sun rose. I arrived home in the early morning but didn’t sleep very much; too excited from my experiences of yesterday.
I spent some time with a wonderful clinician whom I have admired for some length of time. He is awake, aware and very invested in this life of medicine and practice that we both enjoy. I hadn’t seen him in almost 20 years; now he’s wise and brilliant. As I sat in his office, I was honored that he could spend the time with me that he took on a hot, sunny day in his busy practice. What a great example he sets for all of us who practice medicine. Great things to come from this man who “gets it” on so many levels and shares “it” with the masses. It was truly a memorable meeting of kindred spirits.
I meditated on professionalism as I ran this morning. Since I was too restless to sleep (slept on the plane trip back home anyway), I thought of how medicine has changed in the years since I began practice. I strive to give my patients what they need when they need it. I am fortunate to be able to move in and out of lives; hoping that I infuse just a fraction of the positivity that I feel on a daily basis. I am teacher, parent and friend/minister all of those roles.
I am heading back to the west coast in a week or so for another recharge visit. That word “recharge” has many meanings for me these days. In the past 24 hours, I have recharged and charged by the experience-packed visit to my medical school; seeing the incoming medical students, knowing what is ahead for them. The practice of medicine is a privilege, a calling but it’s also the product of excellent training and learning what one needs to give their best to patients. That “best” may be at the end of 30 hours of putting out fires and dealing with putting one’s physical needs far behind those of that patient. Still, we move on; putting on our best faces and pulling the knowledge that our training has provided for us. My medical school gave well.
Simply being present; simply being awake and simply being face to face with the spirit in front of me. This has been my goal from the day I assumed the role of physician. I took the Hippocratic Oath; thinking about every word and the meaning of those words. They are as relevant today as they have been for years. Even with the business of medicine, we can’t forget the Oath that we swear and uphold. It keeps us going at that 30th hour.