You are far more powerful than you think.
Your hard edges are chiseled in flesh from the molten steel of apprenticeship and add depth, character, and knowledge. The fibrous scar tissue is experience layered upon experience learned from each searing blow. Your brow furrows, locked in place by years of leaning over texts, squinting to decipher the tiny letters.
Your stamina is unique. Tested by years of restless nights, interrupted sleep, and sequential emergencies, your brain reacts with clarity even in the midst of the deepest fog. Your mind grasps complexities, multifaceted systems, and can bend with riddles and paradox.
You have witnessed both the foibles and strength of the human character. You are a watcher, a listener, a confidant. You walk the tapering line between friend and advisor. You know more of the spirit than many so called men of God.
You are dexterous. Your hands glide over the epidermis. Catheters are inserted, fluid is withdrawn, and diseased organs are extirpated. Your extremities are just as nimble as your mind.
You may be haunted and broken, but your emotional depths are vast. You have withstood lifetimes of pain. Yet you help others find joy in the banal. You bring hope when the light fades, clarity when there is indecision, and a soothing word to break the silence.
You are no Luddite. Technology is neither friend nor foe but constant companion. You adapt. You learn.
So when I write a blog post declaring "It is time for American physicians to rise up" and you reply that you "hang your head" and that I need to "embrace the despair" I start to believe that you have created the cage that imprisons your own mind.
You are far more powerful than you think. Do something!
Create a direct pay or concierge practice.
Work for an acute care facility instead of doing primary care.
Become a hospitalist.
Become a consultant and practice on the side.
Talk to each and every patient who will listen to you.
Write a blog, join twitter, yell from the roof of your hospital.
Lobby congress, lobby your fellow docs, lobby your family.
You have more skill, education, and knowledge than you ever will need.
Just flippin do something. I did.
then you can complain.