Thursday, 3:39 AM. I would venture to say I am having a unique, singular experience at this moment: there is an aggravated bearded dragon named Rusty clamped down on the index finger of my right hand. It doesn’t hurt and is kind of comical.

For Rusty, this is all a matter of life and death. Actually he is correct in his interpretation; in a day’s-time, the condition for which he was treated would have resulted in his demise if not corrected. Even though an injection to sedate him had been given (lizards can be notorious for not realizing they have been sedated), he felt action had to be taken. Since the option of escape was not available, he opted to fight. Rusty was so intent on his attack of my right index finger, obviously the least intimidating finger of my right hand, he failed to consider or anticipate the use of my left hand to distract his attention, pry him off my finger, and gently place him in a heated recovery tank until his discharge. Rusty’s actions and oversight serve as a metaphor for many of my own, current actions.

The last couple of mont-hs I have been working hard in preparation for the next phase of my practice. Burning the candle at both ends is never a good idea but it has to be done sometimes. As a result, being singularly focused on my objective results in my being oblivious to many other aspects of my life-as it goes on without me. I have found myself missing out on developing budding personal relationships, lunch and dinner invitations, and enjoying the exploration of opportunities to just be me. What is it they say about all work and no play?

While I am fixated on the attack of my right index finger and my ambition and goals, the left hand of friends, extracurricular activities, and relaxation is in wait. But the prospect of a more balanced life encourages me to release my tenacious grip on work and participate in a better existence of a reasonable work life balance.

The catch? This better existence will only occur with my constant awareness of the situation and allowing change to happen. Wait! Haven’t I been down this road before? Hard heads learn slowly I guess. It is a shame, but a blessing, that it takes the actions of one of my patients to once again remind me to slow down and enjoy the moment and the journey instead of concentrating only on the destination.

Rusty has an appointment for suture removal in the upcoming week. I will have to remember to thank him for the lesson and revelation. Oh, and wear a glove.