I wanted to thank everyone for all of their helpful comments on my recent post about my surgery evaluation. I’ve since come to accept the grade and have vowed from now on to always seek guidance from my higher-ups as to their expectations of my performance. Also, I couldn’t help but notice one theme running through the majority of the comments, and that’s the advice to just accept my grade by chalking it up to the ambiguity of the grading policies. Since receiving a “B” is a relatively minor incident in the grand scheme of things, I don’t feel bad accepting that advice, being happy with my grade, and moving on with things. However, it really got me thinking (and a few commenters pointed this out) about what it means to accept things because “that’s just the way it is.”
In life, we all have to pick our battles. The world is full of unfairness, rules that don’t make sense, inequalities, and things that just aren’t what we think they should be. Most of the time, I just accept all of this to the best of my ability. But sometimes I witness inequalities or injustices that are so egregious, I can’t just sit back and say nothing. These are the times when I take a stand about what I believe is right. I’d like to believe that I do this more often than most people, but that’s probably just wishful thinking.
But what if we all just said, “that’s just the way it is” about everything? Think about how history would be changed. Black people would be forced to give up their seats on American buses had Rosa Parks not decided to take a stand. Doctors wouldn’t be washing their hands after performing autopsies if Dr. Semmelweis had simply bowed to the popular notions of his time. Didn’t smallpox seem impossible to eradicate before Edward Jenner developed a vaccine?
I guess my point is that, while sometimes it is necessary to accept that things are unchangeable, the world seems like a much larger place, with more possibilities, if we instead reject all notions of immutability and decide to take a stand against things we believe are not right.
In that vein, here is a list of medically-related ideas that are viewed by many people as unchangeable facts:
- Physicians can never be replaced by computers.
- Doctors can’t have pink mohawks.
- Patients will never completely comply with their treatment.
- Medical school has to be grueling.
- It’s impossible for everyone in the world to receive equal and high quality healthcare.
- Cancer is unavoidable.
- Medical education has to be expensive.
- Doctors don’t have enough time to give their “all” to every patient.
- Kendra will never stop complaining about everything.
- Mortality is a certainty.
Perhaps we are just simply farther away from achieving the ones that seem completely ridiculous. After all, isn’t it easier to imagine being hit by a train if you can see a glimpse of the engine on the horizon?