Life Math: An Essay by Marion Bishop, MD

This is a profound and wonderful essay about the “cost” of doing a residency. By comparing medical training to the life of Anne Bradsteet, a 17th century American poet, Dr. Marion Bishop discusses the sacrifices we make to practice medicine and how to consider them in the context of the gifts we receive as healers.  If you are discouraged about the years of training, the sleepless nights and the financial cost of medical training, please read this beautiful essay.

” …..    life is not a zero-sum game. A gain in one column does not necessitate a loss in another, and winning does not correlate with being debt-free or having the fewest losses in the final tally at the end of life. Rather, all losses are gains. All gains have corresponding losses. This is not harsh or bleak or cruel. This is being human. This is life. Sometimes you are talented enough to write it down.  And sometimes you are lucky enough to read what a wiser writer had to say about it 329 years ago.”

The link for this essay is no longer available to the public, but can be accessed through PubMed (JAMA 2007 Jul 18;298(3):266-8)