Thursday, June 21, 2012

Clearing--Six Dollars and Eighteen Cents



Today I had a guidance to clean an old bookshelf.

Those medical books are hard to throw away. They are the more expensive than Engineering books from undergrad. And the study guides that get you through your Board Examinations? Super expensive and so hard to let go because you spent so much time on them.

I thought, 'Why don't I look up some of these books to see what value I have to trade them in?'

So I looked on Amazon book trade-in. Guess what? Out of fifteen books, only four were eligible. And the price? Cardiac Anesthesia, by Kaplan, fourth edition: seventy-five cents! That book had cost me almost two hundred dollars! But that was twenty years ago.


Cardiopulmonary Bypass by one of my heroes, Christina T. Mora, M.D. is worth $4.93!
And Decision Making in Anesthesiology, an algorithmic approach? A steal at fifty cents!
(there are terrible reviews on this function of trading in textbooks--it is outsourced. I opted not to try.)

How time does fly! And how classic textbooks get new editions. So then you wonder, what do I keep? What do I toss? Have I really looked at any of this? It is so old that the information is hardly any use.

Want to know a secret? The straight-A students in medical training no longer buy books. They go online. Yes. Because resources on the internet are up-to-date. And the process of writing and publishing a book takes over two years. (incidentally, Up-To-Date is an excellent site for medical research).

I wrote a chapter once. It took all my free time for about six months. And the editor never used it. For some reason, technical writing is something I enjoy but editors seem to hate.

My big break was supposed to be an article on anesthesia for the separation of conjoint twins (thoracopagus) who shared a double-heart. I wrote on that thing, and wrote on it. But my lead sat on it. And never published. He wanted it perfect.

I have papers you can find on a search. Articles I have written, or contributed to. And I am proudest of my letters to the editor and case reports, for I did several of those completely by myself.

There was a mentor at San Diego, Jon Benumof. The most famous in the department. He came up with the anesthesia algorithm for the unanticipated difficult airway. Saved a bunch of lives.

Everyone ragged on him about his lousy game of golf at conference!

What I remember most is his smile. His encouragement. His excitement for unusual, unpublished discoveries. And the little plaque on a break room that was dedicated to his parents. He must have paid a lot of money for that.

As I went over my career, the one in academics that was okay but not as super famous as I have envisioned, I was wistful. I got rid of Jensen's Big Blue and Big Red. He is an amazing man, Niels. He took failing the written boards and turned it into a million-dollar business helping others who are in the same situation pass. I went to him because the people I wanted to study with said four was plenty and had no room for me. Devastated at the rejection, I opted to 'study with Niels'. I ended up sitting next to the one who rejected me at the actual written exam. And you know what? God was taking care of me. Two of those four classmates failed their boards. And one of them sat next to me!

Today, I found an old receipt from a case I did in private practice from December 2004. I could not believe my eyes! It was like God winked. Super famous? I had taken care of a writer you would know not once but twice! This was the second time I had taken care of them, and I had forgotten. I probably put this one in sweats and wheeled them out to the car, because at this small boutique facility, I had to do nursing work too! I had no clue at the time who this person was. Or that is was the second time.

One day, at a different place, but still in private practice. I had a patient who is known for affirmations. I did not know at the time who this patient was. As I prepared to insert the i.v., this patient said one, like, 'this is going to be painless and I am going to be fine!'. I got irritated. I thought, 'Duh! You're here with me and I work with angels!' But I didn't say a word. And that was before Reiki!

Now is the time to clear. Time to let go. Of old character traits. Of old baggage. There was a lot of fear locked into to that Big Blue and Big Red from written and oral boards. I kept MOCA Big Blue, though. I love that man Niels Jensen so much.

The books I kept are all from people I know. Irene Osborn. Jon Benumof. Christina Mora. Carol Lake. (Did you know I did a heart dissection under the guidance of Dr. Mehmet Oz once?) The ones on Thoracic surgery, which I love more than cardiac. And all of my binders of notes, all of my flash cards written in letters so tiny I need glasses to see them now--information packed densely on the page. I found my study notes from the hardest test I ever took, the Perioperative Transesophageal Echocardiograpy Examination. I had to take that one a second time to pass.

And my favorites of all, are my old Chemical Engineering books and notes. Transport Phenomena was so elegant. The notes are almost incomprehensible now, so many years later.

So let go of old dusty items--be they in your heart, in your memory, or on your shelf.

Let it go and experience a freedom you did not know could exist.

Namaste,

Reiki Doc


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