I am convinced that I have one of the best jobs a writer can possibly have. I practice medicine, in an emergency department. My life, every day, is filled with conversation with humans. I see their faces and touch their hands. They bring me their children, their very children (!) and trust this stranger to make their precious ones well.
I hear their stories! Such stories. Of sorrow and sadness. Loss and pain. Joy and new life! Stupidity and remorse. Bad judgment and criminality. Addiction and depression.
What a gift! All day, every day, my mind takes a situation and says, “You should write about that! That’s good!” And I say, “I’ll do that later!” And I move on to another patient, or eat something, or (worst of all) bury my idea by wasting my mind on some ludicrous website.
But perhaps most frustrating is the fact that without even distracting myself from those wonderful visions of humanity and human story, I come home tired and simply forget. And my hands and arms are already weary from typing all … day … long. Or I’m simply “blocked.”
I used to carry a notepad eveywhere. Why did I stop? Probably because of this ridiculous, soul-less phone. Or because I was overwhelmed with all the wonderful things in life, or the enormous number of insights and ideas to pick from every day and write down.
But I know, at the end of every day, that I bear truths and insights home.
I just wish I could remember them with the intensity they struck me as I moved from patient to patient, to computer to computer, and home to exhaustion, in order to start it all over again.
Any of your physician artists face the same? I’d love to know how you cope with the frustration of sudden, blinding insight followed rapidly by a dull, foggy brain aching for bed and or the TV.
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