Tuesday, August 11, 2009

I’m finishing up my last minute packing for my business trip to Hawaii. Before you think Oh boy, she’s got the life, let me remind you I added the word “business” in the last sentence purposely. I do not get pleasure, nor do I seek pleasure in my business trips. You may think that I should, but you are entitled to think what you want. Very few people understand why I feel this way.

I remember years ago I was invited to go to a beautiful Caribbean island to speak in front of a group of pharmacists. I had to get my passport. The planning was longer than I would have liked and the flight (although not nearly as long as Hawaii) was also longer than I would have liked. It was a constant reminder that this is not what I would have planned for vacation. Still you might think - enjoy it while you're there.

During that trip years ago I flew in and arrived at 7:00 pm, enough time for a networking dinner and by 11:00 am I was on my way back to the airport. I love the Caribbean water but never went near it even though it was only yards away. To dip my feet into the beautiful water, or sit on this beautiful sand, would be, for me, a disloyalty to all the patients and family’s I am doing this for. How can I enjoy the ocean, a sunset or the sand when the reason I am there is because people are dying every day from preventable medical errors?

It may be a form of post traumatic stress that is just now becoming recognized following a medical injury. I live with the death of my son daily not just because I do - but because I have chosen, and been given the opportunity to share his story and other stories so I can help make a better and safer health care system.

It could be that I am just a loyal person to this cause or, it could be that I just don’t know how to have a good time and “lighten up” as some folks have told me. But it is very personal, and very important to me, as an individual, that I remember why I was given this opportunity to travel the country and share the tragic stories of those who passed on, or suffer today because of medical injuries. It is not to swimming, sunbathing or having fun – although this time I did pack a bathing suit.

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