It’s Time to Walk Nigella

Nigella bogarting my computer

Move over; I’ve got work to do!



I’ve been thinking about our psychiatry consult service’s new mascot, Nigella. She’s on my mind a bit more since yesterday because I took my first turn walking her down to the gift shop to get her helium tune-up. She was looking a little wrinkled, almost as wrinkled as me. Nigella is a reminder for us to try not to take ourselves too seriously. I felt that acutely as I marched across the hospital holding a giraffe balloon by a string, in full view of patients and doctors. The most frequent look I got from them was a smile.

Smiling is a good thing. It’s October and I’ve been getting the usual reminders in the mail from the American Medical Association (AMA) to renew my membership. Soon, the American Psychiatric Association (APA) will be sending me similar messages. I’ve pretty much decided I’ll not renew either one. Membership in these organizations is becoming too expensive. I have to finance the Maintenance of Certification (MOC) despite the victories I’ve achieved with the support of the Iowa Medical Society sending the message to the Iowa Board of Medicine that Iowa physicians neither want nor need MOC or Maintenance of Licensure (MOL). Isn’t it ironic? I can introduce resolutions that are supported by the majority of doctors that MOC is wrong for Iowa but I can’t retain hospital privileges without participating in MOC.Dr. Jim Amos, Medal of Irony

I can’t support the AMA, and the APA, and dole out dollars to the MOC machine at this stage in my career. I’m getting very close to phased retirement. How do you like that term, “phased retirement”? Musing about this in October is fitting. I’m approaching the autumn of my career. My wife tells me I can’t quit working. I know a few colleagues who retired and came back. It happens all the time. October is also Halloween month and the endless regulatory pressure on doctors feels like a bad Halloween prank. Many of us feel tricked.Comply and Oppose

Fire BrigadeOn the other hand, I treasure hearing from former trainees who are having outstanding careers. Even though I’m still running a one man hit-and-run consult service which has been little more than a fire brigade putting out fires all over the hospital–I’m still proud of it. And I still practice mindfulness, which helps me keep my sense of humor on the busy days.Little Buddha

When I go, I hope the one who takes over will treat it with love and not take it too seriously.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, it’s time to walk Nigella.Nigella ready for her walk


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