Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Don Quixote and the Health Professional’s Endless Quest | THCB

Recently The Health Care Blog featured a post by Richard Gunderman M.D.

Don Quixote on his mount, Rocinate, with Sancho Panza

Are we as physicians destined to also flail at windmills?  In the modern era we face similar obstacles

"April 22 marks the 400th anniversary of the death of the greatest novelist who ever lived, Miguel de Cervantes. Though the day will pace unnoticed by most physicians, it is in fact one many should note. Why? Because both his life and work can serve as vital sources of inspiration and resilience for health professionals everywhere."

Cervantes faced numerous disappointments and setbacks in life – poverty, imprisonment, slavery, serious injury, and repeated rejection. Not unlike many contemporary health professionals, he had many reasons to become discouraged and give up. Yet he found the will to carry on. Where did he find such inspiration and resilience? I believe that he found them above all in his work – not the reactions of critics or the royalties he collected, but his deep belief in his life’s mission.
Though the novel is filled with battles of various kinds, Don Quixote reminds contemporary health professionals that the real battle takes place within.
"In giants we must kill pride and ignorance. But our greatest foes, and those we must chiefly combat, are within. Envy we must overcome by generosity and nobleness of spirit; anger, by a reposed and quiet mind; riot and drowsiness, by vigilance and temperance; lasciviousness, by our inviolable fidelity to the mistresses of our thoughts; and sloth, by our indefatigable peregrinations through the universe. . . . This, Sancho, is the road to lasting fame and good and honorable renown."
Richard Gunderman makes me realize it is time  to re-read Miguel de Cervantes.

Don Quixote and the Health Professional’s Endless Quest | THCB
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