What is a Hero?

03/02/2009 at 6:48 AM Leave a comment

There are people that are real life Heros ( capital H). Not just because they were caught in a bad place at a bad time, but because they knew it was a very bad situation and went in anyway. Think Firefighters, Policemen, etc. Then there are the Heros ( still capital H) who found themselves in a very difficult situation ( no choice) but surmounted the obstacles and performed beyond what most of us mere mortals can. Such as  the crew of  the Hudson river plane. That is hard to do, Your human/survival side is going, Oh shit what do I do now? and it is doing so at a very high volume. Sure they say training helps and it does, but the individual person makes it happen.

There are many heroes ( capital H) in our lives. I remember a very long time ago, a woman was in the potomac in winter and was about to drown, when a passing motorist jumped into the raging river and kept her going just long enough  for the rescuers to get them out.

Although I may have barely and rarely reached the lowest rung on this ( captial H) level, what I mostly manage to do is reach the regular hero level ( lower H). This is where the patients trust me enough to tell me the real story, the story that is embarrassing, painful, vulnerable. Then I reach past the safety net of ‘standard’ medicine and strive for  the creative art of medicine. In some cases this is risky, not because I put the patient in danger but because the legal climate is so bad any deviation from the basics can be hard to defend if anything whatsoever goes wrong.

But the prize is that on a regular basis I get to be a hero ( lower case H). I get to be the one that puts it all together, takes a small risk to try some things and fixes ( or manages) something that no one else has been able to manage.

Not that I am the only one who could do this. Not at all, but it feels good being the one who is doing it. As a friend said many years ago, it is now our turn to make the world turn. We were kids and it was our parents turn, Now we keep it turning for our kids and all too soon it will be their turn. So when I am very tired and perhaps frustrated with the non medical things I have to do, I remember this is my time in the center ring of life and I will miss it when it passes to the next generation.


Entry filed under: Doctor Musings. Tags: .

Physical or not? Would not let you? how did he do that?

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