Hitting a Nerve

Hard habit to break


“I love practicing medicine.”

The speaker was one of my patients. A distinguished, friendly, gentleman in his mid-to-late 70s, here to see me for a minor problem. He still practices medicine part time.

Since his neurologic issue was simple, we spent a fair amount of the time chatting. We’d both seen changes in medicine over time, he more than I, obviously.

Dr. Allan M. Block, a neurologist is Scottsdale, Ariz.

Dr. Allan M. Block

Some good, some bad. Fancier toys, better drugs, more paperwork (even if it’s not all on paper anymore).

But we both still like what we do, and have no plans to give it up anytime soon.

Some doctors end up hating their jobs and leave the field. I understand that, and I don’t blame them. It’s not an easy one.

But I still enjoy the job. I look forward to seeing patients each day, turning over their cases, trying to figure them out, and doing what I can to help people.

After almost 30 years as a doctor the job becomes a part of your personality, one that’s as important as many other aspects of what makes us who we are.

I see that it is similar with attorneys. Maybe it’s part of the time and commitment you put into getting to a job that makes it hard to walk away as you get older. Or maybe (probably more likely) it’s some intrinsic part of the personality that drove you to get there.

I’m roughly two-thirds of the way through my career, but still don’t have any plans to close down. Granted, that’s practical – I have kids in college, a mortgage, and office overhead. My colleague across the desk can stop practicing whenever he wants, but gets satisfaction, validation, and enjoyment from doing the same job. At this point in his life that’s more important than the money.

I hope to someday feel that same way. I don’t want to always work the 80-90 hours a week I do now, but I can’t imagine not doing this, either.

Dr. Block has a solo neurology practice in Scottsdale, Ariz.

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