Wednesday, June 24, 2009

I’m extremely distracted by a conversation. I’m sitting at Panera, trying to read, and in an adjacent table, a former medical resident is getting information from an office administrator about her possible job.

All the talk is about numbers: salary, bonus, benefits. I think she is a family practice resident, although I don’t recognize her. She asks about the salary structure, about the “paying back” to the practice on the way to partnership, trying to maximize her salary. The administrator talks about knowing how things are at first, the pace of practice, how the confidence that a doctor straight out of school compares to one who has been in practice for years.

The practice has a Doctor Leadership Series, the administrator says, “we encourage our doctors to go to it. We spend the first half of the day talking about leadership, how do to become a medical leader. In the afternoon we bring top medical leaders from across the country, for example Dr. ... a Professor at Harvard who does a lecture in the afternoon....”

It reminds me of why I do what I do. This conversation gets me interested (it’s a recurring interest) into why I do pediatrics, and why I’m not interested in a higher paying specialty. I still could, although it would be a significant economic struggle for my family (although it already is). Maybe emergency medicine, or something like it. On the other hand, do I want to give away the time I get as a pediatrician, time I use for my family, and to write?

Again, more money would make life easier, but I suspect it would take away from what I truly value in life.

And that’s what it’s all about, right?

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Just so you know

Silence is a double-edged sword, a prism through which myriad interpretations can be filtered.

It’s a dangerous thing, this business of silence, because in the absence of noise, anything can fill the void. Doubt, remorse, anger, frustration, all those can ravage the void created by silence.

But silence belongs to the incandescent truth; silence is the necessary projection of the self, the needed rest before action can be taken. Silence belongs to the golden rule, it belongs to the scriptures, and it belongs to the epiphany of all that is worth anything in this life.

In silence you find inspiration, repose, reenactment, imagination, succor, joy, enlightenment. Yes, it may sound trite, corny, worn. But in silence is where I find peace, and also a whirlwind of emotions and thoughts.

Yes, silence is thought, and to think is to be.

So, pardon the interruption of your silence and forgive mine. We’ll keep thinking.