Thursday, June 21, 2007

on silence and medicine

At Vipassana:

I recently spent 10 days in silence. Absolute silence. With 30 other folks. no glances. no speaking. 12 hours of meditation a day. until your leg aches and your ability to be even minded is broken. I was a little scared to spend my short vactation in residency with hours rolled out long as a airplane runway. Waking up at 4 am. And I had just come off 80 some odd work weeks and dying people. The wards in a county hospital. Six of my patients had died over the last month and no emotion really came through until ten days of silence. It wasn't that I sobbed or broke down or anything but I realized at some level my absence of any emotion was not respectful of those lives. I got to thinking that maybe why the American health care system spends so much money on end of life care, is that most of us aren't very comfortable with death. And for someone to become DNR(do not resuscitate) has something to do with their world view and the way they see life and death.
And moving from death, there are so many things American medicine gets wrong or not quite right.
In those meditation hours I got pumped about Cure this. I want to feel after I leave a long day at the hospital and walk into Whole Foods(on those super bourgeois days) that the person behind the counter doesn't have more to do with health and healing than I do. All those startups in the tech world because of their littleness and creativity on the fringes can innovate and come up with new paradigm solutions for old problems. Or charter schools dealing with super low income kids and really breaking ground. What is possible on the fringes of medicine that can be creative and radical? Simple and successful. small or big
A new American medicine. Or international medicine. Can we organize off this website, brainstorm, redefine ourselves, our direction? What we came to the table for as doctors or nurses and what piece of the pie we expect as patients.

As JJ says:
Its on. you and me, the both of us. the all of us. We're on.
It was wierd how many things come up in 10 days of silence. One sit, I heard JJ's laugh clear as a bell. over and over. so many things stored up inside all of our heads.


Blogger solmatic said...

i dont know how you did it. and lets organize off this website! its sad that i dont even know where to begin - but ill go with you.

8:21 PM  

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