Between Palm Sunday and Holy Thursday…..the last four days of Lent. I missed Palm Sunday services because I was at a conference. I had a challenging weekend, especially with regards to my Lenten sacrifice of ‘Expectation’. I did have plenty of time to reflect upon the degree of expectation I place on myself. Far more than I place on any other person….I hammer myself with it. Expectation is the 86lb 3’8″ jockey on my back, whipping me and making me run faster. And when I am running at my top speed, the little bastard whips me some more and chides me as if I am hiding some extra compartment of energy. “Come on! Is that all you got?” I can ignore the munchkin, run unaware of him on my back until I step out of my daily patterns and change the track on which I run. Put me someplace new, let me canter or trot and I realize….holy moly…that little dude is a monster task master. And my rump hurts.
Since Thursday I have been at a medical conference. Reassuringly, physicians are required to maintain a professional license and part of that maintenance is to complete continuing education. We do home study. We read journals and listen to Audio Digest. But osteopathic (D.O.) and allopathic (M.D.) doctors must also go to live conferences and actually interact with their peers. I’ve been sitting in lectures from 7am until 9pm each day. We had a small social function each day from 5:30-7pm but then they lectured to us through our roast chicken and filet. It was like going to you niece’s wedding but while they served that fancy hotel meal instead of watching Uncle Chester and Aunt Matilda trying to do the electric slide, you got high def slide reviews of ulcerating leg wounds, the miraculous repair of a ruptured abdominal aneurysm that used 70 LITERS OF HUMAN BLOOD to complete. Seriously, it looked that a blood bath of epic Quentin Tarantino stature. And we asked for coffee and ate our cheese cake. The non-physician companions were easy to pick out of the crowd; their eyes rarely left their plates. When they fell to temptation and looked up at the screen, they always regretted it.
But I got 34.5 hours of CME. That’s HUGH. I also got the five hours the state requires: domestic violence, prevention of errors, prescribing controlled substances, risk management. Cha-ching. I did not get to play a round of golf on the TPA Players course. Not that I would want to, mind you. But I learned new stuff. And I realized that I miss being a student. Learning shoves you out of a comfort zone, breaks a pattern. Like a panoramic angle or a wide angle lens, group learning interrupts automatic, heuristic thinking processes. And I took copious notes, made my pearl list to share with my colleagues back at the office and made side bar notes of “light bulb” ideas. Overall, it was a very productive four days with a small break from the office. Winning! It’s a good Monday morning. Easter’s on its way. And I am doing well with this whole Lenten sacrifice I made…..