Oh, the Places You’ll Go! I have always loved that Dr. Seuss tale of excitement, caution, and preparation for all of life’s challenges that encourages us to remember we are capable of achieving our dreams. As we explore all of the places we go this year as women emergency physicians, I encourage us to remember that no matter how many unexpected twists and turns arise, the one thing that remains in our control is how we individually respond to those twists and turns.
As a managing partner of my group and a traveling physician, I go many places each week. Recently, I took a 5-hour journey to absolutely nowhere. My flight from Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW) took off to Lubbock. I was supposed to land in an hour and go straight to the emergency department, but Mother Nature had other plans. After circling my destination for more than an hour, my plane was diverted to Midland and then ultimately back to DFW. There was nothing I could do to make it to my shift in the emergency department. I had to rely on colleagues to cover my shift and then make alternative plans to work another time so that I didn’t miss out on the income. It was annoying, it was inconvenient, and it felt like a complete waste of time. Instead of lamenting the experience, I chose to take advantage of that time to take a mental break to a happier place — I relaxed, caught up on some emails, and then watched some television shows on Netflix that I rarely find time to enjoy. At the time, I had no idea that a tsunami of patients with Omicron would be coming to flood both the emergency department and urgent care clinics within a few days. I didn’t realize that taking that time out on my adventure to nowhere would leave me with an internal tank that was a little more full than normal to take on the challenges of the days ahead.
In all of the places we go and all of the roles that we play as women emergency physicians (eg, leaders, chairmen, politicians, physicians, family caregivers, mothers, grandmothers, daughters, wives, coaches, employees, and bosses), we need to remember to find time in at least one of those areas to take care of ourselves. We each need to go to our happy place so that we have emotional, mental, and physical fuel in our tanks to get ourselves and others to the next destination. No matter where you are going, make sure you take the time to arrive happy and maybe even rejuvenated. Regardless of what happens to you (as many things are out of our control), how you respond is completely within your power. Use it!
I leave you with some final wisdom from Dr. Seuss‘ tale, Oh, The Places You Will Go!:
So be sure when you step, Step with care and great tact. And remember that life's A Great Balancing Act. And will you succeed? Yes! You will, indeed! (98 and ¾ percent guaranteed). Kid, you'll move mountains.
Carrie de Moor, MD, FACEP