I’ve been to 17 countries and almost every state in the U.S. I was a professional musician and as Bon Jovi said, “I’ve seen a million faces and I rocked them all”. I liked recording and the creative process of being a musician, but my true passion was touring and playing for an audience. When you ask people “How’s it going?”, you’ll often get a reply of “Same old, same old” or something similar that alludes to their dissatisfaction of life. To me, it sounds like they’re just barely tolerating the life they live. My response to that question was usually, “Living the dream!” Touring is like being at summer camp. When you hit the road, it feels like it will never end and when the tour is over, it feels like you just got started. I loved the life I lived.
From a very young age, I remember wanting to have an impact on the lives of many people. I didn’t want to live my life and be forgotten when I died. In 1995 The Smashing Pumpkins summed up my feelings in the song “Muzzle” with the lyrics, “I fear that I am ordinary, just like everyone.” Music helped me to have the impact that I yearned for. Whenever interviewers asked what I loved most about playing music, my answer was always the same. I loved looking out into the crowd and seeing people lose themselves in the music I was making. For the time I was on stage, they weren’t thinking about problems they may have at work, with family, or in a relationship. They forgot any bad that was in their life and they were immersed in the joy of music. I remember meeting one of my musical icons and how he treated me as a fan and I vowed to pay it forward. When my fans would ask for an autograph on a CD or shirt, I knew that moment in time had the potential to be a mark on the timeline of someone’s life. I loved the life I lived.
Now I’m embarking on a new career, but my goals are very similar. I still want to have an impact on people’s lives. I want to be remembered and I can do that in a different way through medicine. Spending time in the hospital is a big event for most people and it’s not something they’ll experience a lot in life. I can make their time there a little less scary by not treating what I do like a job. The things I see and do everyday may seem mundane to me, but they’re huge life experiences to my patients. I enjoy explaining things to them so they understand what’s going on and how I’m trying to help them. Most of my patients will be discharged and live a long life. I hope that they remember that nice guy that took care of them in the hospital and that I have an impact on their life. Some of my patients have no family and the end of life comes for them, as it does for all of us. When I remove them from life support, I’ll be there and I’ll hold their hand because no one should die alone. I hope I impacted their lives, too, even if only for the last few moments of it. I love the life I live.