physican burnout

Reflections from a Knee Scooter

I’ve had ankle surgery twice in the past year and so I’ve spent a LOT of time by myself, unable to walk or really leave my apartment unassisted. The time has been productive, in ways I didn’t expect.

I set up many projects for myself when I knew the time off was coming. I sent out proposals, read tons of books, created lots of content for clients. I watched a ton of Netflix and found Kim’s Convenience and the entire DCTV world.

But there were days when I couldn’t read or look at any more Powerpoints. There were days I didn’t want to hear my own voice echoing at my desk, rehearsing and trying out “new material” for audiences. I started calling friends, reconnecting to people who I love dearly but too often forget to touch base with. I felt our friendships come alive again with a simple phone call. My heart felt full after every call.

After the first surgery, I relied on my family (ie) parents, to get me to and from appointments. When I had recovered, so many of my friends asked, “why didn’t you let me know? I could have helped.“ As a physician, I’m not used to asking for help….ever…for anything….It felt uncomfortable and burdensome to ask people who were not sanguinely obligated to help me. The second surgery offered me an opportunity to practice what I so often preach to clients-you’re not an island, you’re not supposed to be an island. I had friends take me food shopping, drive me to appointments, just take me for a walk (or a scoot I should say) just to get some fresh air. Turns out, it wasn’t that burdensome, it was fun and enjoyable and it deepened my appreciation for them.

And then today, after spending another day alone in my apartment, trying to keep busy but honestly feeling the pangs of loneliness creep in, I didn’t know who else to call or what else to do. A dear friend of mine gifted me a bluetooth speaker recently and I decided to play with it. The sound quality must be good, cuz I was grooving in my chair to some dope beats. In fact, I’m still grooving, just me and my Sonos speaker. Enjoying music as a companion for my soul.

I guess the point of this blog was to just shout out connection. To acknowledge that healing isn’t just the tissues coming together correctly after surgery. It’s also about nourishing your soul and your heart with love and friendship that makes you feel whole and healthy. I think as a doctor, I too often forget this aspect of healing. I focus on the treatment plan, but not the care of the patient.

This surgery has taught me how deep and wide the healing process is. And how fully supported I actually am, through friendship, music, and nature. The first surgery didn’t go so well. I’m pretty sure this second time will. I’ve got a lot more on my side this time around. Be well all.

Motown Philly, here I come! Bringing Stress Management Skills and Energy Leadership

I’m so excited to be heading to Philadelphia today for a series of workshops for program coordinators and residents at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital. I’ll be discussing the Energy Leadership (TM) model for the program coordinators, giving them tools to lead any interaction or situation they find themselves in. I’ll also be delivering my signature stress management talk, LIFE HACKS, to give the uber-busy residents some quick and easy stress management tools, most in under a minute, that they can use to keep themselves sane, balanced, and actually happy, in the midst of the whirlwind that is residency. Pics below are from my last trip to Jefferson in Sept 2018, discussing the importance of living by your values. So grateful for the opportunity to bring my message of practical burnout prevention to our healthcare providers!

Will post more from this trip when I’m back!!


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