It can get worse Dr. Udembga! One of the lasting lines I can remember from the hit television show St. Elsewhere…that may be before your time…is “they can always hurt you more.”
After practicing 20 years of trauma emergency medicine, including two years and 300 transports aboard the Stanford Life Flight helicopter making me the first African American woman in the country to fly for a hospital based aeromedical transport program in 1986, I developed PTSD compounded by shift work disorder, obesity and degenerative disc disease of my cervical and lumbar spine contributed to by occupational strain.
I survived by making a radical career change, a change in lifestyle and a change in outlook. By prioritizing my health and safety over duty to an industry that does not protect my interests. Today I am the corporate owner of a sports medicine, nutrition and fitness practice now 13 years in operation in two cities with a statewide telemedicine component.
I credit simple interventions including meditation, physical activity and nutrition, community and family support and the emotionally stabilizing influence of pets as being key to my survival…but most important to all physicians is the need to “heal yourself” and take courageous stances to make changes in your life when you see yourself heading towards a life threatening collision of values.