Sunday, October 19, 2014

Encouraging Word for the PreMeds: "Dr. Diet, Dr. Quiet, and Dr. Happy"

I've been reading a very good book called "God's Hotel" by Dr. Victoria Sweet that was suggested to me by Dr. Jeff Baker, a wonderful Duke Pediatrician, who is also a medical historian, with a PhD, no less.  Jeff had suggested this book as a good way to learn more about the the history of medicine, during the "pre-modern" era.

In the book, Dr. Sweet not only shares what she learned about healthcare in the mid-evil times, she shares about her experience practicing in the modern days, but working at an old almshouse in San Francisco called Laguna Honda.  If I could summarize her main findings it would be that perhaps we "threw out the baby with the bathwater" when we switched from Pre-Modern to modern medicine within the last 150 years.  She describes how modern medicine does not tell us much about the heart/soul of the patient which we can tell is gone when a patient dies, and they leave their body behind like some left over clothes.  She also talks about how Pre-modern medicine had a better feel for balance, and also for understanding the energy/spirit level of each patient -- something you can't quantify with an MRI or blood work, but you can sense it.

I was also struck by the common sense interventions that were always a part of Pre-Medicine treatment:  "Dr. Diet, Dr. Quiet and Dr. Happy"  :  Diet, Sleep, and happiness treatments.  Physicians used to give treatments for these things.  

It reminds me how important it is for all of us, even doctors, and pre-meds wanting to be doctors some day to listen to this advice as well:  Eat well, get enough sleep, and do things that nurture your heart and soul and grow it over time.  I've read several books on the importance of sleep, after being fed a lot of bad information during med school and residency about "sleep is for wimps"  -- it's not.  You need your sleep to learn, to serve and to not be miserable!!!  Get your sleep!!

Diet and exercise habits are also super important -- lessons I've learned a lot about personally in last 20 years.  The fuel you put into your car really matters -- if you put gas into a diesel car, like I did one day many years ago (sleep deprived!!), your car doesn't run real well!!

Exercise is key --  seek to get 30 minutes of exercise at least 5 days a week.  Try to do it in the morning since you are less likely to skip it.  You can combine this with daily encouraging devotional reading, so you are getting a 2 for 1!  This helps get your endorphins going which power you through the day.  It also helps with weight management as you get older.

This past week I did some special "Dr. Happy" margin time by taking off a few days to go to the mountains of North Carolina and just hang out watching the fall leaves, and the water run down 5 different water falls, and just feel the warmth of huge solid boulders below me.   I almost canceled the time because there is always so many patient things that come up, but I knew I needed the time to regenerate, and also to encourage my family.   Spending time outside in the beauty of God's creation is good for the soul, especially this fall.  Time with family was also very, very precious.  Lori and I really enjoyed hiking around the Cornell campus and down and around the gorges -- something we enjoyed together during our high pressure college Pre Med days.  I had been studying in the book of Psalms how God is our Rock and our Refuge in Psalm 18 ---

"The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold."

Actually climbing between a couple of big rocks, and sitting on a big rock for quite a while did give comfort --- I could imagine the comfort it would be to be able to wedge myself in between 2 big rocks in a storm.  Rocks and Fortresses are like the earth's magnetic field -- so constant, and we can always count on them.  We need these external references to keep us on track, and to keep us safe, and solid, away from the high anxiety of feeling all alone.

Combining special verses that I have been meditating on, with real world experiences out in the beauty of nature is really good for the soul.  Pre-Modern Medicine knew this.  We all know this somehow on the inside.

So, if you are a stressed out pre-med out there, or stressed out surgical intern, here is your prescription from Dr. Hey, standing in for Dr. Happy:  Take a half hour off sometime this week, lie down on a warm rock somewhere, or maybe a leaf covered lawn, and look up at the sky and the trees, take several clearing breaths, listen to the birds.... and remind yourself how wonderful it is to be alive, and enjoy this beautiful world!

Then go encourage another student to join you next time.

Now, for me, it is time for "Dr. Quiet" to get some sleep before 2 very important surgeries for 2 very  precious people: one adult, and one child.  

Have a good week!

Lloyd A. Hey, MD MS
Hey Clinic for Scoliosis and Spine Surgery

1 comment:

Noelle said...

Dr Hey,
Thank you for sharing! Very encouraging words. So glad you take time to refresh, enjoy your family and meditate on God's word.
Noelle Cowell