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Post Thanksgiving Thoughts

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Post Thanksgiving Thoughts

Post Thanksgiving Thoughts

Thanksgiving is over and I’ve had some time to think about the holiday season. Here is what I’ve decided:

1. Life is short. I am glad I took Friday after Thanksgiving off and had a long long weekend. It gave me time to refresh and spend time with my family. It’s a cliche but true that to be a good caregiver, you have to first learn to take care of yourself. In years past, I booked the Friday morning after Turkey Day with college kids who were home. Twenty years ago it worked out well, but over the past decade, a greater number of patients no-showed or cancelled at the last moment leaving me with only about 1/3 of the patients actually showing up at the office. Is it my imagination or is this current generation of kids more self-centered and rude? Do they have to text friends during office visits or put their dirty shoes propped up on my desk chair? But that’s fodder for a future post. Check back soon!

2. The holidays are filled with lots of “to do” things. My new rule is that if it isn’t fun, I’m not doing it. We used to decorate the office for the holidays. We would have to scramble for one or two lunch hours to hang the garland and the decorations and none of the staff actually had fun doing it. It was nice when finished but was a chore we came to resent. So we stopped doing it. We have the same rule for our family. Holidays should be about love, family, spirituality, and, of course, chocolate. For many, they are times of great anxiety. None of us needs any more stress in our lives. It’s okay to just say “no thanks.”

3. Facing so many fearsome changes in our profession, I still am grateful to be a doctor. I love taking care of and being present for people to share their fears and burdens and, hopefully, help relieve some of their anxiety and pain. To me, it’s not a job but a calling. Unfortunately, like so many other sacred institutions, medicine has fallen prey to the bean counters who do not understand that my relationships with my patients are sacred. I’m not selling them widgets but offering my skill and my compassion as we share the human journey of life in a body. No matter what changes are imposed on me, I intend to stay focused on the reasons why I became a doctor — it’s not about what I do, but more of who I am for those I serve. Free time during the holiday season allows me the time to feel that gratitude. I’m the luckiest person on the planet — I’m a physician.