No. of Recommendations: 34
Erick:

Anything I could say has probably already been said by the many who responded to your first thread. I'd re-read the response by lungdoc. Then read it again. I can't tell you what to do, but I can share my experience (.....).

I've been a physician for 25 years, most of it direct clinical work, a lot of it management work. I've been investing for a long time, fairly seriously since 1987.

Here's how I feel about it. Making money is fun. Losing money is not fun. I've done both. When I get done with some investing work, nothing fundamental has happened to me. I may have more or less money, but my spirit hasn't been enriched, and I haven't contributed to the universe. There may well be some who DO get these fundamental values from investing, but I'm not one of them.

I won't bore you with my thoughts about being an exec, other than to say the ego-gratification is deferred, it's often quite frustrating, and can be very rewarding. And you CAN make a difference.

Medicine? Last weekend I saw a new patient with abdominal pain. It was no biggie, but for a variety of reasons, I ended by thinking it was appendicitis. The patient and his wife, both highly educated, thought I was nuts, that it was just a bug. But I talked them into an immediate surgical evaluation, on a Saturday evening in the Emergency Department, even if just to humor me. The wife called on Monday to thank me for saving her husband's life. The appy was retrocecal, hard to get to, subtle, but red hot.

I've delivered babies in the back of the taxi in the Emer Dept driveway. I've had my finger in a gunshot-induced hole in the left ventricle while a colleague purse-stringed the defect. I've had to tell people their husband or wife was dead, and I've been lucky enough to tell a lot more that he or she would be OK. I've shouldered the enormous responsibility that comes when someone says, "Doctor, what do YOU think I should do?" I've had the tremendous good fortune to make a difference in the lives of many people.

For me, there's not much that could compare. The business of medicine isn't what it used to be, there's all kinds of cynicism around, but when I go to work in the morning, I get to enter a place where not many get to go. It almost gets mystical for me. If you understand what I mean, if you feel that way when you're at the bedside, then you may need to be a doctor. You can always be an MBA some other day. If not, then maybe you should look at a career change.

There's a book called "Mortal Lessons - Notes on the Art of Surgery", by Richard Selzer, MD. You should read it quickly before you make your decision. I feel moved to insert a fairly long quote here:

"I do not know when it was that I understood that it is precisely this hell in which we wage our lives that offers us the energy, the possibility to care for each other. A surgeon does not slip from his mother's womb with compassion smeared upon him like the drippings of his birth. It is much later that it comes. No easy shaft of grace this, but the cumulative murmuring of the numberless wounds he has dressed, the incisions he has made... In the beginning it is barely audible, a whisper, as from many mouths. Slowly it gathers, rises from the streaming flesh until, at last, it is a pure calling - an exclusive sound, like the cry of certain solitary birds - teling that out of the resonance between the sick man and the one who tends him there may spring that profound courtesy that the religious call Love."

If that means something important to you, enjoy Birmingham.

RBob
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