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A Piece of My Mind
April 28, 2015

Gripers and Whiners

Author Affiliations
  • 1Bethlehem, Pennsylvania
JAMA. 2015;313(16):1621-1622. doi:10.1001/jama.2014.13628

The second worst day of my entire life was January 16, 2003. That was the day I had to stop practicing medicine because of a worsening, chronic, incurable neurological disease. (The worst day was March 21, 2009, the day my wife died of lymphoma.)

There hasn’t been a day since the day I stopped practicing psychiatry that I haven’t missed it, desperately. I think about it every day. At night I am tormented by dreams: In the first sort, I am 56 years old (my actual age) and realize that I am too old to go to medical school; that by the time I finish residency I will have too few years to practice. In the second sort, I am back in medical school or residency, being forced to do it all over, even though I know I have a medical degree; I can’t find the degree and I am humiliated by trying over and over to prove I can make it through my clinical rotations.

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