That night discussing Jamison’s failed antiarrhythmic therapy and her cardiologist’s inability to pick up on her alcohol abuse wasn’t the first time I’d heard a doctor say, “When you’re a hammer, all you see is a nail.” Doctors often throw this phrase around when we explain missed diagnoses or a surgeon’s refusal to consider non-operative therapies or even a patient’s insistence that her headache is due to a brain tumor. But we’ve also employed this cliché to describe how we don’t turn off our doctoring outside the hospital or clinic. We wonder aloud if our neighbor has a pituitary tumor. We tell our uncle he will die of a heart attack before he retires if he doesn’t lose fifty pounds. We comment on the salt or fat or carbohydrate content of meals. We speculate on why some of our kids’ friends are always covered in snot.
I realized that I really had always been interested in crazy, ambitious, possibly-endless projects -- I love Diana Nyad, Ernest Shackleton, people who walk across continents, that kind of thing. What a way to live, you know? I am very low-energy and non-extreme myself, and would probably die on the first day of any expedition, so part of my attraction is sheer mystification.
It does not matter what one thinks of it;/ all does as it does as it does.