Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Lessons from life....Medicine

Intensely Orange Oil Pastel aprox 15x30

This morning I awoke with this single thought in my head: what have I learned in my 68 years of living that is worth noting? I have pondered this question before, but this morning it insinuated itself in my mind and could not be dismissed. So, I have tried to address the issue, and plan to do so in a series of small posts over time, starting with my experiences in medicine.

During my years of training, which consisted almost entirely of inpatient medicine, it was easy to imagine that life was over run with disease and illness. Only after going into private practice did I appreciate that most people are not sick, and do not have low blood counts, abnormal renal studies, or abnormal electrocardiograms.

In the years that followed I began to see the randomness of disease and illness. Yes, there are habits and behaviors that we can adopt to maximize our well being, but still there are no guarantees; we are all vulnerable to the vagaries of genetics, circumstances, and chance. Thus I have learned to appreciate my good health, and that of my family, and not take it for granted.

I have also seen the amazing resilience of the human machine and its ability to compensate and/or overcome a variety of physical and emotional assaults. This has led me to believe that good health is more than the absence of disease and illness, but also includes the ability to heal and or compensate in the presence of either.