Friday, August 9, 2013


          On the medicine front, I've seen four patients die in the last week (none my fault), made a few good diagnostic catches, fumbled the ball on a few other patients (nothing too bad), and placed my first PICC line (peripherally-inserted central catheter) on the first stick. I've co-run two codes-- and had opportunities to intubate both patients but didn't visualize the vocal cords on either one. In retrospect, I should have manipulated the cricoid cartilage. Next time.

          I'm learning a lot from doing, making mistakes, watching others, asking questions, reading, reflecting, discussing, teaching medical students, and coming in after hours for training on PICC lines and central lines. I've come in to the hospital for at least an hour all forty days since July 1. Last Sunday would have been a day off but I came in to work on lines. I might make it to fifty-six, we'll see.

           Despite being busy with medicine, I do have a lot of free time after work that I'm still trying to decide how to use. There is only so much reading one can do, and I don't want residency training to overtake my entire life. As I mentioned in a previous post, I want relationships to be my biggest non-medical priority. I've played disc golf with classmate Brandon Tackett a few times, which I've really enjoyed (despite the fact he always blows me away). I'm spending quality time with my roommates and neighbors, and plan on getting coffee with classmate Garrett Schwab this Sunday, which is going to be a blast.

         Third on the priority list would have to be exercise. Yesterday evening, I ran barefooted around a golf course less than a mile from my house, which was a pretty flow-state experience. I'm working out in the back yard a lot too, having created a simple little ditty I call the Woodpile Workout that consists of pressing, pushing, throwing, squatting, and carrying big logs all around the backyard. And sometimes dancing, if I get in the zone. I tried doing Parcour one time after reading an article about it on The Art of Manliness but my knees boycotted that one.

          One thing keeping my life from perfection (aside from original sin and lots of pride) would be my habit of aimlessly lying / lounging / sitting around the house after getting off work. It's a particularly attractive default when I'm sleep-deprived, which is most of the time. I need structure and motivation to accomplish things, serve people, and better myself. The most obvious such entity would be a wife, but as I understand it, marriage won't automatically make me a better person, will make life more complicated, and isn't going to happen tomorrow. What else out there has the power to motivate a single guy to get off his behind?

          When I think about motivation, my mind jumps to guys like Eric Liddell, John Calvin (both of whom stare at me every night from my bedroom walls), David Brainerd, David Livingston, and Hudson Taylor. Productive, heroic, and inspirational dudes. How did they stay so fired up and accomplish so much? What was their secret?

         Here's my best answer to that question: Jesus was more compelling to them than the couch. He was... shockingly motivational. These guys weren't super-humans. But they got to know the super-man.

          In John 14:21, Jesus says that He will manifest Himself to whoever has His commandments and keeps them, because those people are the ones who truly love him. What are His commandments? Well, there's really just one: "This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you (15:12)." Now, I don't claim to have had any particularly vivid experience of God like some have had, but maybe that's because I'm not loving people all that well. Countless Christians down through the ages have loved so deeply and experienced God so vividly they couldn't keep themselves from putting themselves in harm's way for Him. Changed by love and motivated by salvation through Jesus Christ, they held their lives cheap and gave themselves up to lion, sword, spear, and flame.

          And they got off their behinds to do it.

          May we so practice the love of God that we experience the same shocking motivation.

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