Monday, September 12, 2011

Tempus Fugit

By Jacob Schor, ND, FABNO

Last June, Louise Edwards, ND, (who had occupied our guest room the night before) helped me load a grandmother clock into the back of my car and haul it home. We’d been for a walk in the park with the dog and stopped at an estate sale on the way home. Not only did we leave with the grandmother clock (a smaller version of a grandfather clock), but also a new nightstand for her bedroom. Well, actually Rena and my guestroom, but since Louise is such a frequent guest, we sometimes refer to it as Louise’s room.

The clock has the Latin words "Tempus Fugit" on the faceplate. This seems to be a common thing on clocks. It translates, of course, to mean, “time flies.”

Given that the clock chimes on the quarter hour, it certainly enforces that thought. Rena and I have gotten into the habit of saying "tempus fugit" out loud each time the clock starts to chime away. It adds a bit of urgency to what already felt like busy days.

Thus when we attended the AANP convention this past month in Arizona, it’s those two words that started echoing in the back of my mind, something of a little mantra. Over the last few years at each of our conventions, time has been set aside to remember colleagues who are no longer with us or who, at the present, are in such need of divine intervention, that I suppose we figure that some sort of communal prayers won’t hurt.

This year is was Konrad we remembered and Molly we prayed for.

Time flies. None of us are getting younger as the saying goes. We are fast approaching the time when losing colleagues will not be a rarity but for will seem all too commonplace.

On our website Rena and I have a photo posted from the 1934 convention of the American Naturopathic Association:

A group photo from the 1934 convention of the American Naturopathic Association at the Albany Hotel in Denver, CO.

At the time the picture was taken (probably using Kodak black-and-white film), the American Naturopathic Association was celebrating its 38th annual congress.

Time flies. From the look of these delegates, as smartly dressed as they were, the majority, if not all of them, were long passed before the first AANP convention.

Time flies. Our profession experienced a resurgence over the last few decades and that first wave of new doctors are not getting any younger. It will only be so much longer that we have to listen to stories about going to school in Kansas. At some point Kansas will be a secondhand memory.

Time flies. That clock keeps ticking and chiming away the minutes as I write. I’d swear it was going faster and faster. My beloved wife has developed a habit of reminding me that our life together may be more than half over. It’s a sure way to cut the foundation out of any disagreement we might be having. We have those talks about what we want to do with the rest of our lives. Where do we want to live? Those of you at a certain age surely know what I’m talking about.

Time flies and we start making lists of things that we still want to do. We joke about our new purchases and that they should last the rest of our lives. There is that book I keep meaning to write. Is it time to set aside the time? What was it supposed to be about anyway?

Time flies and we keep going to work and seeing patients who it seems each year come in sicker and in greater despair than I recall from years’ past. Or perhaps their despair is more contagious? They certainly seem sicker. How ludicrous that any of our schooling was devoted to otitis media when many days all the patients we see have cancer. Metastatic cancer. Our patient population has aged along with us.

Time flies and I find myself thanking a deity for the minor events in my life, for sustaining me long enough to once again taste a fall apple, for a taste of this year’s honey, for another week of work, and for patients that feel better.

Time flies and I’m reminded by an email from the AANP office that I have a blog due later this week. That clock makes it hard to get lost in distraction. How can one drift into oblivion reading a good mystery when with every tick of the clock another second has been lost.

Time flies and I’m not halfway through with today’s to do list. I’ve got the dishwasher fixed, the Natural Medicine Journal review draft finished and sent in, and almost enough of this AANP blog post written to call it quits. There’s still email to check, the dog to walk, supper to cook and a complex patient to be ready for in the morning. Time flies and what a pleasant ride it is…

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