I have a lot of energy. I have been going and going and going for so long.
And today, it hit me.
I began this pursuit of medicine in 1983 when I decided to be a zoology major. I worked and went to medical school. And I went to medical school and worked. Then I worked and went to three years of emergency medicine residency and worked hard for those three years.
I took a job and worked all sorts of days, nights, weekdays, weekends, and holidays in one group for 20 years. Then I left that seven years ago and started doing locums. And I’m still at it, working in various places in an attempt to have some degree of freedom and control over my schedule. I love what I do. But sometimes I feel like I’m wearing thin. This specialty, this weird world of emergency medicine, isn’t for the faint of heart. Maybe it isn’t for those getting older. Or maybe, it is. I feel better and more capable of enduring than ever. Just tired.
In addition, I have been writing since 1994. Newspaper columns and magazine columns. Books, blog posts, and social media posts. And now, untold hundreds of thousands of words later, I’m tired. I love writing. I love words and connecting with readers. But now and then, I just feel like I’ve run out of anything to say. Rather, anything that remains relevant today in a world when opinions and words, videos, and sound bites fly like so many snowflakes in a white-out.
And this morning, in a hotel room, I woke up at about 4 a.m. and felt tired. I slept poorly, and I’m at work. And I’m tired. I’m writing to keep my brain alert, to process, to try to get a handle on the fatigue and the chaos. And to process this place where I am in my life.
I always assumed I would hate the 9 to 5 world. But now and then, between overdose and chest pain, cardiac arrest, and social disaster, I try to imagine a life without unexpected encounters, unknown dangers, unforeseen complications. A life of regularly scheduled sleep, a life of weekends, nights, and holidays at home. Hmm.
I feel like I’m stronger than the average bear. But now and then, I feel like I just need to hibernate for a bit and wake up in the spring.
And I know, in my heart of hearts, that I’m not alone.
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