Tuesday, December 7, 2010

The End of the Innocence

By Bill Benda, MD, FACEP, FAAEM

Photo by tibchris via Flickr, used under the Creative Commons License.
Yes, the time has come. After four captivating (and at times interminable) years, the “let’s let an MD on the Board” experiment has come to its predetermined end and the data has been analyzed. The following is my technical report:

It was very interesting.

It was interesting to learn that our commonality was actually based more upon similarities in personality and style then clinical expertise or professional ideology. Idealistic, aggressive, principled, paranoid, outspoken, insecure, clear on others’ shortcomings but in denial of our own, tilting at windmills to save the world – naturopathic medicine has been more a mirror of my own life than anything allopathic medicine has had to offer in 35 years of practice.

It was interesting to discover that our future lies in fact upon the shoulders of our students, and not in the posturing and proclamations of those who claim to really, really know what is best for us.

It was interesting to feel the buffeting between the forces of science and intuition, observing the quick footwork as “evidence-based medicine” shuffles to keep up with the fact that evidence constantly changes with the analytical tides, while intuition remains an immovable constant that no academic text or research submission can ever hope to emulate.

It was interesting to experience the unceasing anger and derision directed at my own professional heritage, allopathic medicine, partly deserved in your struggle for equity, and partly an old story somehow needing to be retold within every conference hall or blog conversation.

It was interesting to feel like a father at a birth, not really allowed to get my hands into the actual delivery, but still knowing I had something to do with the blessed event, even now as I cut the cord.

It was actually far more than simply interesting – it was exhilarating, and painful, and fulfilling, and empty, and all the things we feel when we really do commit to a relationship knowing full well that it will someday come to an end. But of course I cannot hope to write of these things and expect they will be allowed in print, so I will leave this at goodbye.

So goodbye, dear naturopaths – I leave you in mostly good hands, grateful for the time that I have had with you, and how my life is the better for it. Goodbye to my fellow board members past and present – hopefully you have grown as I have, but with a fraction of the irascibility and frustration. Goodbye to Karen and David and Jan and all who have dedicated your emotional lives to this profession – you can still call on me to be your hit man from time to time if you find you just can’t pull the trigger yourselves.

Goodbye. Another adventure awaits . . .

1 comment:

  1. Bill has been like a stray dog that we picked up on the way home. At first meet, can it really be, four years ago, my thought was, as he no doubt remembers, "Why do we need an MD on the board?"

    But like that stray dog, he has become part of the family and I am saddened to hear that he will not be with us at all times in the future.

    Bill has been an asset and I for one will miss him.