Saturday, July 6, 2013

Doctoring Requires A Loss Of Freedom

It hit me all the sudden.  The feeling of calm washed over my body as I relaxed my torso and let my legs stretch forward in the passenger's seat.  My wife was driving and the kids were in the back.  I had just signed out, and taken off my pager for the holiday weekend.  I knew the feeling was false.  The phone calls would eventually come whether I was covering or not.  And they did.  The nursing home was a responsibility that was mine only.

Freedom.

I can't imagine someone outside of medicine understanding this empirically.  The act of doctoring requires a certain loss of freedom.  When we open our doors to those who seek us, we close our lives to restfulness.  Gone are the lazy days in the backyard hammock without a care in the world. 

Yep, I said it.  Taking care of people is a burden.  A wonderful calling and a privilege, but a burden none the less.  And one of the consequences of taking on this great privilege is that you will never quite escape the covenant which you have signed up to fulfill. 

Weekends, holidays, vacations, they have all been interrupted by unexpected emergencies.  I accept this responsibility and have long ago forgotten how to lament the loss of placidity.

But sometimes, for a moment, I forget.  My mind a drift on the hope that comes with an uncommon day of rest in the middle of the week, I escape the beloved chains of the endeavor I have dedicated my life to.

It usually lasts for about a moment,

before my mobile rings and pulls me back to reality.

3 comments:

dp said...

Well said.

Anonymous said...

Very well said. Agreed.

Anonymous said...

We physicians have lost control over our profession. Even defining "The Practice of Medicine," developing and enforcing "Medical Care Guidelines," Professional, Personal, and Financial practices we and our colleagues from the late 1950's onward have passively ceded moral, legal, and even professional authority to non-physicians (even some with MD (or equivalent) degrees but who no longer really understand medical care of individuals.
Our 'professional' organizations no longer represent practicing physicians, rather they foment for themselves, having been co-opted
by BIG $$$ and the illusion of power and infuence. We have permitted substandard care by some of our colleagues until Legal or Administrative (rather than our profession) censure or penalties occur, closing our collective eyes and ears to impaired or 'burned out' physician colleagues until they are 'beyond repair.'
We have passively (and perhaps even voluntarily) 'Lost Our Freedoms.' It's easier to
be inner focused rather than to care about our patients and our profession. Yes, being a physician requires a 'Loss Of Freedom' before the 'Age of Medical Management,' but since then, our freedoms depend on those who practice the most ancient meaning of 'The Golden Rule' - Those with the most Gold
Rule(e.g. Mayor Bloomberg). LDML