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What you do speaks so loudly that I cannot hear what you say.
—Ralph Waldo Emerson
How we treat ourselves has profound effects on the way we treat our patients. I learned this seeing Ted once a year for 10 years as he slowly put on weight while his triglycerides and glucose began to rise. To perform at our highest level, we need to examine our attitudes and behaviors as what we believe is conveyed to patients in our every gesture and intonation. Each year I would discuss diet and exercise and nod as he smiled and said, “I hear you, Doc.” He worked hard and had little time for exercise. He loved watching football and enjoyed tossing a ball with his 2 boys.
Around the same time, I began to ignore changes in my own body. I had been gaining a few pounds each year and clearly wasn’t listening to my own advice. Then one day while walking through the Philadelphia airport to go to Chicago, I noticed I was short of breath and sweating. When we landed, I took a taxi to the hotel, went over my lecture notes, and lied down. I woke the next morning and looked in the …