Friday, September 5, 2008

Vacation...



I've become a huge fan of the Wire. The wife and I have churned through seasons 1 and 2 in a few weeks and now we're on to season three. Best show I've ever seen. It's not even close. In the clip above, we have the old veteran detective Freamon teaching the incorrigible McNulty a little lesson about the difference between the life we lead at the "job" (whatever that may be) and the time we spend at home; our hidden, often unacknowledged life. It could just as easily be an old surgeon like Sid Schwab giving a young guy like myself some wisdom.

In medicine, it's easy to get caught up in the Job. It's a rush. It's exciting to come into the hospital most days. Every case is a new adventure. You can change someone's life either by making a crucial diagnosis or performing a timely procedure. There are few career options that are so privileged. It's the best job in the world, as far as I'm concerned.

But in the end, it's still just one facet of my life. As Freamon says, "how do you think it all ends?" There will always be another case. Another sick patient. Another complication. Another chance to to do some good. But it never ends. And it keeps going long after we've shuffled off this mortal coil. Life is more than the Job. It has to be or else you'll eventually be overwhelmed by despair, as you realize that you can't fix everyone. There has to be something else outside the hospital, something that is an alternative source of edification. Life goes on when you turn off your pager. It's all around us, everywhere we go. Sitting here writing this, it's happening to me right now.

Eventually there will be no Job to save us. And it's up to us to make something of those rainy Saturday afternoons, the quiet Wednesday night in winter, the 16th anniversary dinner date with your wife, the lonesome retirement, the empty house when the kids have grown and moved on. These aren't just events to fill the gaps between the hours you spend working as a doctor; this is the essence of life itself. As Lester eloquently states, "life is the s*** that happens while you wait for moments that never come."

Anyway, sorry to get all corny and depressing on everyone. I suppose I do need a vacation. Fortunately the rental house has WiFi so I may post a story or two from the beach...

12 comments:

rlbates said...

"life is the s*** that happens while you wait for moments that never come." Great line!

Enjoy your vacation

make mine trauma said...

Enjoy your much deserved vacation.

tom said...

Sounds like you are on the verge of seeing the value of balance in your life. My eye opener was 15 years ago when I was having a conversation about grades with my son-His comment, "why do you care?", I get up in the morning you are generally gone, I go to bed a night, you might be home-you are never here for me, so why do you care about my grades?

Anonymous said...

Wow
Gorgeous and thoughtful too!
Dee

Sid Schwab said...

Thanks for the shout-out. I'd love to have the chance to empty my brain into the head of someone like you.

Your post was on my 37th anniversary, speaking of old.

HudsonMD said...

Parks, i agree. Great show. Also well-written is Californication. What a great statement of life. After my divorce i met Laura. She is the "shit that happens". I no longer wanted to work late and stay at the office or the hospital. I am very grateful to have her back in my life now. I couldn't imagine not having "the other stuff". Have a great trip. Your patients will actually survive while you are at the beach!

Phorun Medipoxy said...

I think that blog was exactly what I needed to hear right now, trying to navigate my way through my courses and not live under a rock. Thanks

pinky said...

True. The hospital was there before me and will be there way after I am gone.

These days I would rather stay home and make stained glass, make jewlery, water plants and cook.

Health Train Express said...

Old surgeons never die, they just lose their patience...
Enjoy your vacation, while Sid and I commiserate and perseverate on the good old days of whine and roses.
Not only does s--t happen it also tends to spread out a bit. And there are lots of layers.
Put on the sun block, where's the beach near you?

Jared At The Doctor Job said...

Just wait until you get to Season Five. The Wire somehow, gets even better.

David said...

Parks... I stumbled onto the blog, after googling Prasad for my MM presentation. it's great to read your blog. Your legend is still preserved here in Chicago. Keep up the great work. Though Stephen has moved on, I'm still working my way through 6/7 years at the altar of Richter and Donahue.

washington said...

Enjoy your much-deserved vacation, Doc!