Thursday, September 22, 2005

The Choice, A Parable of Thought [Exclusive]

Today my thoughts have led me to provide an example of my intentional message rather than using a direct hit. I am not sure how well a slight glance brings the message, but if you hit a deer with a slight glance he will at least get moving rather than wait for the fatal shot. It is a diversion from my usual yarn, but I hope you find it thought provoking. It may also lead you to think different thoughts about me. I don’t intend to mislead you but rather provoke thought. The story is as I state it. You are free to develop your own scenario for another day, but you are faced with mine for now. The end result will be your choice. So with that introduction let me present you with an interesting scenario.

You have not been feeling well lately. So, you make an appointment with your long trusted family physician. He agrees to see you right away. Based on your conversation, exam, and test results that follow he brings you back in for the news. It seems you have obtained an illness that to most would seem improbable. But, this situation is most likely fatal. Knowing you have family to support and you just really would like a little more time you immediately want to hear your options. Of course your doctor’s first advice is to get a second opinion before going down the path of treatment. You look for what you consider is a fairly decent physician, consult with your insurance, and get the news you knew was coming but hoped didn’t. According to the second opinion your personal physician was correct. You are in difficult position. So, you return to your personal doctor to discuss the options and see if there is any hope. In the discussion with your doctor you learn there are two specialists who claim to have any success at a cure. You get the names of the two doctors and proceed to do some research. After all, it is your life we are talking about.

Here is the results of your research:

Doctor #1: Graduated with honors from a top rated medical school. Spent a number of years in Bethesda at the Naval Hospital. They even treated the president once. They are board certified and have several papers published on your illness. So far they haven’t lost any patients to your illness. But, they seem to have a personal problem. They had an affair with an intern at Bethesda. Word got out, they tried to avoid it but in the end they voluntarily left Bethesda. Today the doctor is at Harvard and is highly successful. In personal life one might label him a little liberal because he has spoken out on controversial issues. Rumors still abound that he might be having an affair with his nurse at Harvard, but so far his wife stands beside him. He does attend his local church, but is not a leader.

Doctor #2: Graduated from a regional medical school with passing scores. Spent a number of years in Walter Reed Army Medical Center. Lost a few patients at Walter Reed, but had an average record for most doctors. He left the army after a few years service but you are not sure why. Doctor #2 worked briefly with Doctor #1 and studied the illness you have obtained. They’ve had a couple successes with your illness, but are also involved in a couple of malpractice suits. In fact, the number of his patients lost to your illness exceeds the number of patients that survived. In his personal life the Doctor #2 is a member of a major metropolitan church where they participate in leading the youth group. He did have a small problem with alcohol once, but admitted it and, as far as anyone knows, is alcohol free. He could easily be labeled extremely conservative and during his last malpractice trial his pastor testified on his character. It just so happens that his best friend is the CEO of the hospital where Doctor #2 works.

Which doctor will you choose?

I personally don’t really want an answer. I am a believer that the choices you make are between you and those from who you seek guidance. I know I used the term church. Feel free to substitute any religious belief or moral platform you wish. Frankly I just wanted to provide you a moment of thought.

The story is a parable, but I bet you see where it is applicable. I bet a lot of you once made a choice that might not be your current choice. Life sure does pass down a curvy road.

Friends, let me relieve you of a sad ending. It doesn’t matter which choice was made, my person survived. He faced a few moments of fear and everything wasn’t perfect. But he sought additional advice, made the best choice he could, and somehow he is with us today. Because if he made the right choice all was well. If he made the wrong choice he learned his lesson and sought the opposite choice for help before death took its toll. In the end he learned importance of separating what was valuable and hoped he could influence the rest.