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Gum Wall Art and Beautiful Parents

The Gum Wall is my favorite part of Seattle.  I love the sticky gross pieces of gum all chewed by people and placed up on the wall for people to see. I loved the realness. It’s what I like about medicine.

I love meeting people in my office. I love caring for their children and developing a friendship. I love crying with them and laughing a big belly laugh.

It’s painful to see them go.  Sometimes I don’t even realize they are gone until months or even years later when it crosses my mind that I haven’t seen them. But for that moment that they show up and we connect, I am a better happier person.  They are real and unapologetic.

They are like that gum wall art. A little messy and real and so much better than the artificially created perfection.   We connect and share. People say doctors shouldn’t share. They say it takes away from the patient and the purpose of visit. Well, I share. I relate. We’re human and I’m going to likely say “Me too” to your problems and then get down to what we can do about it.

When we are real and we put our sticky chewed up pieces of life up on the wall to see, there will be some that lean back, say “Ew Gross!” and move on.

But there will be some that take their sticky chewed up pieces of life and place it next to ours. And it becomes this beautiful color combination of art.

 

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Doctoring- The Loss of Control

My stomach is in knots.

The house is slightly askew and the washing machine is on and it’s time to wake up the kids but I have to say something first. I have to lay it out there.

I have lost control.

I have always struggled with control. I control my food, my home, my dogs, my children and my husband. I control my patients and what they say when and for how long.

I diagnose and treat and manage the outcome and it runs along smoothly. Until it doesn’t.

One of the worst things I did for myself was become a doctor.

If you really want control something then it might be better  to not deal with people. Cause the truth is, you can’t control people. I can’t control their pain or their response to it. They have their own neurosis and they bring it in truckloads. When it washes over me I want to run away. Actually if it’s a dribble, I’m ok. But usually it’s not. It’s usually big and ugly and an ocean of sorrow and anxiety. And I drown.

You would too- If you listened.

So how do we gain control back?

You don’t.

You let it go and it frees you. You ride that wave and laugh or cry and you just be.

And then let it be some more.

One of the best things I did for myself was become a doctor.