Thursday, December 17, 2009

Hard work does pay off

I have been just spent the last couple of months in intensive study for my Family Practice Board Exams. I was kind of dreading this because frankly I knew it would be a lot of hard work. And it was.

All Board Certified Family Practice physicians have to re-certify every 9 years. Of course this is a good idea – who wants to see a physician who has not kept up with the practice of medicine. It sure didn’t seem like 9 years since I last recertified. During that time quite a lot has changed. New drugs have been invented and come into practice. Some old ways of doing things have been determined to actually be harmful. In many situations research has determined the optimal ways to treat diseases that we used to treat in a less scientific manner. Brushing up on my family practice was especially important to me because I have been specializing in Substance Abuse more and more, so it was important for me to do some extra study.

So I was not looking forward to all the reading and extra study that I was going to have to do. But I have to say that embarking on the study program, and completing it was a great experience for me. I read a lot. I went to a very intensive conference in St Louis. I took a lot of practice tests. I made notes. I tested myself over and over. I really put a lot into it. And the benefits I got out of it have been awesome. I got to re-learn a lot of stuff that I had not thought about since medical school – there are a lot of very rare diseases that they want you to know about even though you will never see one in your lifetime. I got to remember just how much I love learning. I got to remember just how much I love studying medicine. I have always been so fascinated with how our bodies work - how absolutely marvelous they are. And studying diseases has always been fascinating. Little TB germs that get into our lungs and sit there for years until our immune system slows down and they come back to get us. Funguses that love to live between our toes. Autoimmune disease where our own antibodies start to destroy our thyroid gland. And sometimes our arteries get clogged up because we eat the wrong things and don’t exercise. I also got to remember just how much I love being able to practice medicine. It also felt good to realize that my brain is still quite good at understanding things and remembering things.

As I thought about my recovery, and what this study program experience has taught me, I realized that more and more I think the purpose of our lives is to learn and to love. We have all been given a marvelous mind and keeping it inquisitive and active is a real treasure. Loving ourselves, our neighbors and our communities is the second part of what we should be doing. In many ways studying and relearning medicine was an act of love - for myself, and for my patients.

So even though it was a lot of work, I sure did get a lot out of it. As my dear old mum used to say, “Peter, you get out of life what you put into it” I think she was right.

Peter C.

1 comment:

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