The precious things always come dear,
The tradeoffs will always be here
The positive spin
That just makes me grin
Is that I’ve been writing now for a year.
Synopsis: I’m a family practitioner from Sioux City, Iowa. Avoiding burnout, I’m taking a sabbatical while my one-year non-compete clause winds down, having adventures, visiting family and friends, and working in out-of-the-way places. Currently I’m on assignment at the hospital in Barrow, Alaska, the northernmost point in the United States.
I’ve been writing this blog for a year now.
I went back and reread, for the first time, what I’d written a year ago. I could see the brink of burnout, black between the lines. I didn’t know how close I’d come. I had no idea at the time that the stress, vigilance, ownership position, and sleep deprivation had taken so much.
Nor had I realized how many times my plans had changed.
None of the writing was bad; a few of the pieces were really well done. The four best between February and July were April 8 (First and last days to remember), March 2 (Reflections on a zoo of an afternoon, and the flu is back), March 24 (Pharaoh’s law: nothing happens on schedule or to budget), May 23 (Can a soprano beat a Naked Lady?)
I’ve learned a lot in this last year, about myself, writing, life in general, and medicine.
Money can’t buy happiness. Peace in the home can. A good night’s sleep comes close.
Cheese and crackers savored tastes better than steak bolted.
If you can’t have a good time in bad weather you need more practice.
If you have to pay more for a smart employee, do it.
If you don’t understand the task at hand, computerization will increase the confusion, not the understanding.
The Natives are friendly in proportion to how much land they haven’t had stolen.
You don’t really know how much you’re working if you haven’t filled out your timesheet.
Contrast is the essence of meaning.
The human condition includes a lot of drama and irony.
Happiness is an inside job.
When you cut your stress level, don’t be surprised if your spouse gets a better sense of humor.
You can be happy or you can be right but you can’t be both.
Speaking out brings more regret than staying silent.
People who need to write should be writers. People who want to be writers should be writing. If updating your blog isn’t something that comes easily, don’t expect to enjoy hacking out a novel.
Two hundred and fifty blogs later, I’m a better writer.
A flakey recruiter with a great opportunity is still flakey; approach with caution.
You can’t slow down if you have an ownership position in a high overhead operation.
If you believe in signs, you will see signs of whatever you want everywhere you look.
Music improves the quality of life; the drive from New York to Anchorage will be nicer if you can listen to music.
A day that starts at eight and ends at six and runs full speed is not nearly as fun as the same day with four fewer patients and time to enjoy them.
Don’t worry about the government, it does no good.
You can have a great time taking care of patients whether or not the system is going to pot.
Every bell curve has two ends.
Never argue with a drunk, a crazy person, or a woman in labor.
Life is about tradeoffs; precious things come dearly. The freedom I’ve found in the last year came at the cost of letting go of a 23 year practice.