That's the way the cookie crumbles.

Funny how life always throws you a curve ball when you least expect it. One minute you are doing fine. The next, "Houston, we have a problem." But hey, that's the way the cookie crumbles.

In my line of work, pray that you don't get a complicated case. Because if you do, you are pretty much on your own. No peer support, you are all in one and one in all. (The House officer, Medical officer, Phlebotomist, and Consultant all rolled into one). And it can some times be very labour intensive. All it takes is one sick sick case in ICU or NICU (Neonatal ICU). It is not even the hours of on call. It is the stress that comes with the package. And you can't choose the package. And no refund either.

So, after many moons into this line, one develops a kind of "fail proof" approach to it. If in doubt, let someone else take over. Refer out to another hospital if there is a choice. Not that you cannot "handle" it, (God forbid the pride that is at stake here!) But it is better to have 20 relatively manageable case than one case that will seriously weigh you down. 

But even with this well designed fail proof approach, sometimes, one still cannot avoid these situations. Well then, it is time to engage and face it head on. 

I have always asked myself, "How long can you go on like this?" Sometimes, I feel that I just simply don't have the stamina to endure this kind of life anymore. The more I think of the prospect of it, the more I dread. 10 years? 15 years? How does one handle this? 

Then I am reminded of something that strikes an odd similarity in another area of my life. And it has to do with running marathons.

I am not talking about marathon races alone. But everything that leads to it. A life of marathoning. Because it is more than just a simple race. It's a life of discipline. A way of life that requires devotion, commitment and sacrifice. Often viewed and misconstrued as "extremism" in the eyes of non-marathoners. But it is a life driven, and consumed with the desire to attain that 'perfection' in running. Throw Passion into that equation, and you have a driven life that is self sustaining: Recharges after every run. And keeps us coming back for more. To outsiders, it is insanity. But what would they know? Yes. We will continue running until the day we die. It's that serious. 

However, it is only fair to talk about the other side of the coin. It is not all easy as it seems. And many would at some point contemplate quitting. Marathoning, to me, bears a remarkable resemblance to life situations. It is never just a bed of roses. More like a bed of roses, with thorns. At some point, I have to ask myself these hard questions. Is it worth it? Should I go on? Do I have what it takes to persevere? And again, I emphasize, this is not just a matter of running a marathon race alone. But it applies to all the preparation work leading to it. Do I have want it takes? How long can I go on like this?

"Champions do not become champions when they win the event, but in the hours, weeks, months and years they spend preparing for it."  T. Alan Armstrong.

Cliche as it sounds, it is true that we are the champion of our life by the way we choose to live. If I choose to quit, then perhaps in other areas of my life, I will also be a quitter. Marathon training has taught me a valuable truth: Never Ever Quit. 

Some would probably know this famous quote: "Run when you can, walk if you have to, crawl if you must; just never give up. " Dean Karnazes.

I can say that it is never going to get easier. But just to quote from the man himself again.

"Struggling and suffering are the essence of a life worth living. If you're not pushing yourself beyond the comfort zone, if you're not demanding more from yourself - expanding and learning as you go - you're choosing a numb existence. You're denying yourself an extraordinary trip."Dean Karnazes.

In my work life, I draw the same analogy. The only difference is that I cannot choose to quit from the job. Which makes marathoning a tougher choice when it comes to persevering. But all the same, if I choose to quit, then I will be a quitter in whatever area of my life.

So, what do I do? Soldier on! Never EVER Quit!


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