One of the greatest dangers of being a doctor is, ironically, forgetting about life. As a group, doctors are motivated and definitely can be labelled "workaholic". However, to be a good doctor, one must first strive to be a good person. A good person does not neglect one's family. But we all get caught up in the rat race, so to speak. First during training, to prove to the professor that one is worthy, then to stay up to date with the current medical literature and finally to get a coveted tenured position. There just aren't enough hours in the day. So it isn't surprising that marriages, relationships and families are the first to suffer from neglect.
At one point I decided that even if my career suffers, I would do my best to give as much time as possible to my family. It's easier said than done. Still the pressure to achieve is great.
Make no mistake, I am no where close to becoming "father of the year". The on calls, the pressure, the nature of medical emergencies all take their toll. I am often short tempered with those that I love the most. I hate it and it's difficult to control, especially when I'm chronically sleep deprived.
For the first time in over a decade, I was able to take the entire Passover vacation to be at home. It was wonderful just to be with the children and not be tired. One of the day trips we took was in our neck of the desert. Every year in Mamshit, an archeological site built by the Nabateans an ancient market is recreated with activities for the entire family. The Sandfamily had the honor of hosting the von Trepp family for this trip. A delightful time was had by all.
Yesterday, I accompanied my daughter's third grade class for their annual field trip. I look forward to these trips for three reasons: 1. I love hiking in the desert (of which we have a plentiful supply). 2. It gives me a chance to be with my daughter without competition from her siblings. 3. And it allows me to observe her in her natural habitat.
We first went to Bet Guvrin which has been wonderfully reconstructed by the Israel Antiquities Authority. We then went cave crawling in the Midras Ruins (sorry, couldn't find an english language site). This was the big adventure of the day as crawling through tunnels just wide enough for an adult to pass brought out the best in the claustrophobes.
Some children opted out before entering. Some started to crawl, but then backed out. Once another group has entered the tunnel behind us, there is no way out but forward. One or two of the children became hysterical and refused to budge. One even cried that he was going to die there. It was all very dramatic. We calmed him down and all emerged from the cave alive and well. The elbows and the knees took a real beating and I used some muscles that I completely forgot I had.
We finished with a visit to Israel's only stalactite-stalagmite cave. This cave doesn't compare in size to the large caves in Slovenia such as the Postejna Cave, but for it's size it has a great variety of stalactites and stalagmites. Besides it's ours.
Father and daughter had a wonderful time. We can't wait for the next field trip.