This morning I took a hike with a friend through the hills along the California coast. My friend is a thoughtful, deeply intellectual academic, and our conversation turned to the topic of what legacies we hope to pass onto our children.
Bringing order to chaos and stamping out small fires as they occur in the emergency department turn out to be great preparation for family travel. It's like any other shift, only it stains your regular clothes.
My daughter, a budding third grade artist, has begun to reflect on what she likes to do and whom she looks up to as a source of career inspiration. A few weeks ago, without prompting, she announced she was going to become either a teacher or an artist. This led me to do some soul searching about what kind of guidance I ought to give, and what kind of father I ought to be.
Growing up with immigrant parents, you find that certain “old country” practices your folks learned as second nature don’t always translate so well in the new country.
Some concepts that would be perfectly acceptable in the home country were a little off here in the U.S. When my great-grandmother died while my siblings and I were away at summer camp, my parents decided to postpone telling us until we returned, so as not to ruin our special camper experience. I was an irritable thirteen year old at the time, and I was convinced that they had violated my right to contemporaneous grieving. I argued passionately to my parents that they had no right to withhold this type of information. Dad listened patiently, then dryly observed, “The half hour you just spent berating us, Soviet kids spent mastering physics. This is why the Russians are beating us.”
I have an embarrassing confession to make. Despite my otherwise frugal instincts, I’m a sucker for a well-designed Apple product. My brother-in-law, a conscientious consumer, reminds me that the equivalent PC or Android product offers far more flexibility and bang for my buck, but I see a sleek aluminum case and my rational mind turns to mush. The prospect of a less buggy, more integrated ecosystem of products (supported anecdotally by my wife’s frequent expletives while using her Android phone or PC computer) are usually sufficient for me to feel vindicated despite the additional expense.
Heading into a recent Monday overnight shift, I was greeted by a six rig salute (six ambulances parked fender to fender in the ED drop-off lot). As is my custom, I bounded down the staircase from the physician parking lot taking two steps at a time.
A recent debate held simultaneously on the WCI forum and PoF blog touched on whether physicians owe a long career in practice as part of a greater debt to society. As a doc pursuing FI/RE, here’s my contribution to the discussion: