Tuesday, October 2, 2012

That which is Important

My dad once said, referring to work, “I am so busy doing the urgent things, I have a great difficulty making time for the important things.” This applies to life as well. Certainly, I’m not the only person who has had this thought. I looked to see if my dad was quoting someone famous, but didn’t find any specific quotes. I did discover that the urgency/important matrix is part of a lot of time management programs. On a more personal note, I found this blog quite relevant http://raamdev.com/2012/urgency-vs-importance/.

I had a couple of opportunities over the week to reflect on the important. The first, unfortunately, started when I received a text from Jenna Silliman that Caitlin had fallen off a horse and was en route via ambulance to Christiana Care. A couple of my new colleagues in the Emergency Department were kind enough to go down with me and get instant updates when Caitlin was brought in. Thankfully, she was doing quite well, but there was a skull fracture, so the risk remained. Best guess on cause of injury was the very low probability event that the horse that tripped while Caitlin was riding somehow clipped the back of her head below the helmet (that Caitlin always wears). I spent that evening in the trauma bay and then the SICU with Jenna, Ryan Wood and Caitlin. Rick (Caitlin’s dad), Boyd, and Dom Schramm also all came by and spent some time. Caitlin continued to stay focused with no noticeable neurologic deficit. They repeated the CT scan after 6 hours and things continued to look about the same. After they kicked us out of the ICU, I was able to persuade Jenna to come home to Chadds Ford with me and we spent the night there, and in the morning headed back, finding Caitlin still doing well, although uncomfortable. During the day, she had an MRI and spoke with the neurosurgeon. While still not 100% out of the woods, reasonable optimism was expressed by the neurosurgeon. Since then, Caitlin has continued to improve and will be released to Bryn Mawr rehab later today. The community has rallied around as the eventing community always seems to. Caitlin’s grandparents, Evie Dutton, the Juvonens, Erin Sylvester, Linsey Taylor (from Boyd’s barn) and many, many others have visited and spent substantial time with Caitlin. Jessie (Caitlin’s sister) came down for the weekend, and because she is a trained therapist was able to help with hair washing and all of those things as well as painting Caitlin’s nails bright pink. And in the wake of this, I was reminded again that the important is not that she is a brilliant rider, but that Caitlin is a brilliant human being and I am very proud to have her as a friend. One of her first longer sentences was how badly she felt for poor Felix (the barn worker who was the first on the scene after she fell), and the first phone call she made was to reassure Linsey that she was ok. The important is that through watching and appreciating Caitlin ride, I have a wonderful friend in Jenna. The important is that the eventing community is truly a community, far beyond just a group of people with a common interest and that I have colleagues who care enough to take time from their urgent matters to stand with me by the door to the trauma bay.

I had a second opportunity in the happy event of my friend Steve Baker’s 50th birthday party in Provincetown. It was a gala weekend, meticulously and impressively planned by Steve’s partner, Gavin. We had a lovely dinner Friday evening, a super brunch Saturday morning and a terrific party with amazing food, drink and cakes.

It was great to see Provincetown for the first time, meet Gavin and Steve’s family and reconnect with old friends. As the blog linked above concluded, “the urgent stuff will always be running away from us, but the important stuff — the stuff that gives our life meaning — is waiting patiently with open arms.” And I found this with the weekend. Steve and I have been friends for 23 years, but I haven’t found time to spend with him in the past couple of years. It was great to be able to reconnect and to realize and appreciate that a friendship like this is there, waiting, strong and special as ever, even after recently not nurturing it as well as deserved.
As life stays busy and the to do list stays full of urgent things, I hope that this week keeps front and center in my mind the value of making time and taking time for the important.

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