Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Do What You Can Do . . .Today

I'm exhausted.  Up at 4am this morning to teach an early morning class at 5:45am.  Patients begin at 7am.  Finished seeing my last patient at 4:30pm, and spent three hours finishing my charting, participating in a training lecture and completing the piles of paperwork on my desk.  
These 14 hour days are killing me.  
Home at 7:45pm for dinner with the family.  Spent a few precious minutes talking with my wife and children.
Spent 2 hours preparing for tomorrows lesson and information for another class.
Here I sit, now, at 11pm composing a blog entry.  Am I nuts?   I think I must be.  
So, in looking for solace I read the words of Albert Schweitzer, "A man can do only what he can do. But if he does that each day he can sleep at night and do it again the next day."  Really?!!  You didn't mention anything about the sleeping only three hours part!
So, I read a little further and Dr. Schweitzer goes on to say, "Anyone who proposes to do good must not expect people to roll stones out of his way, but must accept his lot calmly, even if they roll a few stones upon it."
OK.  I've accepted my lot. I'm calm. . . I think.  But its hard. 
"But that's why you earn the big bucks, right, Doc?" I hear the recent voice of a patient echo in my mind.  "Apparently, you didn't read about the 'Doc Fix' that hasn't been fixed, I echo to myself." 
Great!  Now I'm talking to myself. 
But, I am reassured . . . I think back over the day.  
Two of today's patients seen in the office were in their late nineties, almost centenarians.  Both were smiling and both were happy.  Both sweet spirits in aging bodies, but both were a lift to my spirit.  
Somehow, both were energizing to talk to, even though both were curved and whithered and slightly rumpled by the years.  Is happiness nothing more than good health and a bad memory?  Not in the lives of these two.
The one is legally blind, but that has only made her more of a philosopher and a thinker.  Her words are simple, but profound. 
The other has severe arthritis and cannot walk, yet just shaking her hand brought hope and energy back into my limbs.
So, maybe Schweitzer is right: "Life becomes harder for us when we live for others, but it also becomes richer and happier." I know I am happier and emotionally richer for the experiences of the day. 

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