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On the Brain
January 2019

Learning to Surf

Author Affiliations
  • 1St Vincent’s Primary Care–Double Oak, Birmingham, Alabama
JAMA Neurol. 2019;76(1):11-12. doi:10.1001/jamaneurol.2018.3650

I’ve only tried to surf once, and I dislocated my shoulder in the process. It was our first day of a family vacation in Costa Rica, and my sense of balance did not show up. The rest of my trip was not completely ruined, but this was a harbinger of what would be the 1 event that permanently threw all aspects of my life into the waves.

Balance has always been important to me, and I had managed to achieve that within my personal and work spheres. I met my husband, Harvey, in college. We married after our first year of medical school, and, independent of each other, chose the same specialty. After residency, we created a practice together and started a family, sharing responsibilities in both realms. When we started the practice, one of us would be at the office, and the other would be home with the babies. We alternated days so that we were both part-time physicians and the children had the equivalent of a full-time parent. As our children grew, so did our practice, so that by the time they were in elementary school, the practice could support both of us being at the office until one left for the day for carpool. The ultimate plan was for both of us to be full-time at the office when the youngest turned 16 years old. It was a perfectly balanced life plan.

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