What Chocolate Tastes Like

Even as an attending, I relied heavily on our nursing staff to lean about what we could do to help patients, and how to do it more efficiently. I was constantly learning from the nursing staff and leaning on their expertise.

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I had a little help writing this piece from our pet parakeet, Louie. She’s an albino parakeet, and a good companion for writing.

“Try to tell them about it, they’ll stare at you with those big round candy eyes. They won’t understand zip. It’s like trying to tell somebody what chocolate tastes like.” -Tim O’Brien, The Things They Carried

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Bootstraps

Your success is not predicated on another person’s (or group’s) failure. Success, compassion, and mercy are not finite propositions.

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Me encouraging my good friend Dennis Fricks at the 1999 Midwest Conference Cross- Country Championships in Monmouth, IL

How did I get to this point? I consider myself to be “successful”. It’s fun to look back and try to figure out where all the forks in the road were. Now, I’m able to laugh at all the possibilities that maybe were not real possibilities. I’m amused by the “decision points”. I was going to be, in no particular order:

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Win-Win

After all, we’ve put the Hubble Telescope into orbit to see into the farthest reaches of the galaxy. We’ve eradicated polio (if not for the anti-vaxers). We’ve invented Crystal Pepsi. We can handle this one, too.

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This is about 15 months ago. Recharging after a long day at the hospital. I was out cold, and I did not know my picture was being taken.

I’ve been marinating on this one for a while. And 3.5 months into sabbatical, I think I have it. While the AMA and other governing bodies in medicine have been running around in circles lighting their heads on fire, I have the answer to address the “how to address the mental health needs of physicians” issue.

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No Parachute

I went in to Medicine with the best of intentions, to work tirelessly to do good for people, and hopefully all would turn out well. However, doctors and nurses are subject to the same stressors as other professions.

“If life has taught me one lesson repeatedly, it’s to know when I’ve been beat.” –Principal Seymour Skinner, the Simpsons

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Stones, Ponds, Ripples, and Two-by-Fours

I’m a pediatrician. And I recently did something that most people in the medical world would consider career suicide. In fact, many people that I talk to don’t really seem to understand the idea. I decided to take a sabbatical.

“Because, as it turns out, you have to start somewhere.”

–Mike Birbiglia (“Sleepwalk with Me”)

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