Have You Ever Built A Literal or Figurative Bridge?
July 7, 2021
Hopefully yesterday was the last root canal. I felt literally “beat up” again. My dentist reminds me of my former co-chief resident in Pediatrics at Mans Greatest Hospital Dr. T. He. She is a really kind person. My dentist was very young, and she was very skilled with her nerve blocks and I hardly felt anything when she was doing things. She had a brusque manner of speaking but she was gentle in her care of me. I appreciated that.
I woke up irritable today. I watched too much Dawson’s Creek, as I was recovering from my hopefully last root canal. I must not be the only one getting root canals, the dentist office seemed busy. My mortgage broker also said that her family member needed a root canal too. It must be a trend post COVID. Too much snacking.
But on reflecting upon yesterday, it had been a good day. I made it through 3 hours at the dentist, handling appointment access problem without bothering anyone. I also led my first Immunization Task Force meeting and it went really well. I’m really proud of myself for helping to reorganize that meeting and stream-line that entire committee. It’s a huge accomplishment, saving the organization time which is saving money. Yet that committee is now more effective because I made it project focused. We also decided it would be completely virtual, and save on travel time. We no longer take minutes, and only do action items.
And today I’ll just be a doctor today. I’ll show up at clinic and see my patients. I miss seeing my patients. I’ve been either in medical school or a doctor 22 years now. That is a long time. I’ve been studying medicine or practicing medicine longer than the before. It’s why I call myself Dr. Plastic Picker. That Doctor was something I had wanted so much, and to lose that – would be not the ending I wanted.
I’ll send some work emails and deal with some scheduling issues, and send an email about the mentoring award. Did you know about the department mentoring award? That was months in planning and thinking and a labour of love for me years ago. It meant a lot because the person the mentoring award is named after gave me a professional home when he took a chance and hired me. I have felt throughout my career sincere gratitude for his support. I have to remind myself that I’m at that stage in my career that there are some people who care about my opinion. It’s hard for me to make that adjustment. I tend to view my premedical students with clear eyes and I mentor them with my whole heart. My colleagues, it’s harder. To be a true departmental leader, is truly about building future leaders. If one does not hold that as your north star (a phrase our HMO holds up constantly) than one better leave your position and let someone else in it. Physician wellness is about effective physician leaders as well. That is why physician wellness and burn-out is so complicated. It’s not an easy problem to fix. Neither is climate change.
But through the last two years as I’ve gotten better, I realized that I have to keep on trying. I have to keep on plugging along. Why would I leave the rest of my colleagues behind? We all need to do this together. We need to bring back meaning to medicine. We need to save the earth for our children. For me, these two tasks go hand in hand. Physician wellness. Climate and health activism. It motivates me and gives me urgency.
But today I’ll take a breather. The root canal did me in again. It’s my kryptonite. 22 years in medicine. That’s a long time.
The picture of the bridge? I just wanted to show it to you – that is all. Architectural or technical drawings are works of art.