David broke his nose at least four times between basketball, parties, fights and krav maga.
But that's not the interesting part.
He didn't come to see me because he couldn't breathe through his nose even though he couldn't.
He came for a constant cough and throat clearing which had become annoying to everyone around him.
He blamed it on his allergies or a cold he never got rid of.
But it didn't put him down or stop him from working so he accepted it as a bad habit...
Until people kept asking him if he was sick.
All the time. And closer colleagues actually demanded
"Can you fix that thing you do because it is hard to concentrate when you have phlegm gurgling when you talk?"
For 20 years, I have seen patients like this.
But that's not the interesting part.
I treated David for months with medications and sprays and eventually surgery.
It was not an easy surgery.
His bone was rock hard from all the infections.
But after several weeks, he lost his postnasal drip, his voice became clearer, and he felt better.
In fact, he was shocked.
He never knew he could feel this good.
He had resolved in his mind that his stuffy nose and phlegm was part of who he was.
He had accepted it.
He never knew he could be better.
I love this part!
So many patients come in with decades of a problem which they have considered "normal" because they have accepted it as normal.
Over and over, I see patients who settle for problems because they tell themselves this is "as good as it gets".
This is my normal. This is who I am.
They don't realize that life can actually get better... until they get there!
When we stop trying to improve the problem and accept it,
WE become the reason we have the problem.
We acclimate so well that we forget that BETTER is possible.
It is only when they have healed and improved that they tell me…
"I never knew I could breathe like this!"
"I never thought I could have this much energy!" "
“I've never heard my voice so clear!"
They learn that BETTER is the real normal.
It reminds me every day that what we think is normal may simply be what we have accepted but that does not have to be the way we live.
Whether it's how you breathe, what your work feels like or the job you have chosen,
I believe today can always be better if we don't settle for less.
We don’t know what we don’t know.
Have you experienced this?
Have you experienced something better when you decided to not accept worse as normal?
There are people who love their work every day and who they work with.
There are people sitting outside laughing at lunch on a Tuesday at 2pm
While you are in the middle of your overpacked clinic.
There are others surfing or biking when you are finishing charts after the clinic until 8:00 P.M. at night.
WE can determine what is the normal we accept by the choices we make and the changes we create.
Medicine is in crisis.
The institutional forces of insurance, government, education, and healthcare are beating the passion, altruism and spirit of physicians down.
Our profession is being disrupted.
Some doctors are suffocated and paralyzed.
Others are running for the emergency exits.
Physicians will always be needed.
Healthcare workers are incredibly resourceful, resilient, hard working, brilliant and driven. And I don’t think hospitals, insurance companies and our government are not going to change for us.
The intent of BOOMM is to help physicians grow out of being stuck, reduce burnout and enable them to stay in the game happily.
One of the most powerful ways I have found to change my energy from stress to success is by pursuing what I love.
I remember what attracted me to medicine.
I know what I dreamed of so many decades ago.
Many of those magnets remain, only to be rediscovered if I look for them.
I enjoy meeting new people every day.
I feel satisfaction and purpose when a patient tells me they feel better.
I like operating and using my hands for rapid change.
It is rejuvenating to do what brings me joy in and out of medicine.
When I do the things that I enjoy and fill my time with what makes me happy,
I heal, grow and am thankful to be alive.
It may seem selfish or self-centered to focus on my own happiness but it is not.
Because when I am happy and full,
I share positive ideas and healing energy that help others and make the world a better place.
I am a better doctor and better human.
If I’m not enjoying my days, what’s the point?
Pain forces change.
Remember who you truly are.
What is your dream?
Fall back in love with your dream.
Whatever that may be.
Now you know that better is possible.