Less than 1%

One of my fellow surgeons told me that less than one-third of one percent of the U.S. population are physicians. Out of that group, even fewer are surgeons thus we are a rare bunch. Since my colleague is a black female surgeon, we are even rarer, something that is always surprising for me.

Surgery is absorbing, interesting and surprising on a daily basis. These characteristics drew me to this specialty instantly when I performed my first case as a medical student. Human beings are marvels without exception with surgery providing proof of how remarkable the human body is constructed. Surgery has provided me a vantage point to observe humanity from the inside out; I am grateful.

I discovered that less than 1% of the U.S. population has run a marathon. This low percentage is a surprise but I suspect that I tend to be biased. Marathoners are well above average in intelligence as my marathoner friend is off any scale that I can find, in terms of brilliance he’s positively frightening but I suspect that most runners are above average in mental resilience too. My mental resolve increases with every step I take.

“Runners always find the bodies”, one of my surgical colleagues admonished me. “That’s why I am not a runner, Nope”. I have been running since university and have found only an occasional dead animal but no bodies yet. That’s an interesting excuse but doesn’t work. I tend to believe that it’s the dog walkers who find the bodies anyway.

I find fewer and fewer people my age out running. As long as I am moving forward under my own power, I am fine with the people I meet. Many people, my age are looking for retirement but I am looking for adventure. Retirement will be just a job switch for me as I contemplate another Pacific sail next year. I also anticipate one more trip to the Far East as my Hong Kong colleague is begging me to make another visit. I found myself in Hong Kong, found serenity and acceptance. I also found myself as a runner.


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