Celebrating Column No.500

Five hundred columns for Medicine Hat News! That is hard to believe.

It was the summer of 1998, when I had a meeting with Gordon Wright, the then Managing Editor of the Medicine Hat News. With his help and encouragement, the first column appeared in the News on August 13, 1998.

People ask me: How do you do it, doctor?

With a busy practice and family life, not to mention all the time I spend on golf courses in summer months and little bit of skiing here and there in winter months, the joy of writing never leaves my mind, body or soul. Sounds poetic? May be. But that is the truth. My mind is always buzzing with ideas. Occasionally, I fire a letter to the editor if something is bugging me too much.

My columns also appear in Oyen Echo, Brooks Bulletin and I believe in the Commentator. Occasionally, I have written for the Medical Post and the Globe and Mail. I have been fortunate enough to have one book published (A Doctor’s Journey). There are many more projects on my list. Let us see how many I can accomplish.

My desire to write (and my ego) is also boosted by all the wonderful comments I get from the readers. They come by emails, letters, verbally on the golf course, ski area lift chairs, restaurants, shopping malls and from the patients in the office. These comments are highly appreciated. I also learn from people who write to me disagreeing with what I write.

My columns and interesting clinical photographs are also posted on my website (nbharwani.com). You can see some columns generate a lot of discussion worldwide. It is amazing how people use Internet to find solutions to their health problems because doctors cannot fix everything. I also admire their desire to share their ideas with others. I find such feedback a learning experience for me as well.

And I would not be able to write and get published if it wasn’t for the wonderful editors I work with at the News. They are always kind and accommodating.

Why do I like to write?

To explain this, I will borrow what Charley Reese of Orlando Sentinel wrote on December 27, 1998.

My purpose in writing a column….. is to stimulate people to think about what I consider fairly important issues. It does not matter to me if people agree or disagree. I don’t pretend to be omniscient, and, in fact, I am no smarter than anybody else.

There are other reasons too. I try to help the reader understand the various aspects of health care spiced with a local touch and some humour.

I try to explain to readers why it is important to take certain proactive preventive measures to live a happy, stress free and healthy life.

I try to explain that medicine is not a perfect science and doctors are like any human beings – from time to time vulnerable and prone to making mistakes.

Writing the column has also been a selfish endeavor. Teaching is the best way to learn. Sharing knowledge is the best way to improve one self. In the process I have learnt a lot about myself, my health and my own deficiencies.

One change at a time has added up to a better and satisfactory lifestyle so far for me. Rome wasn’t built in a day. So there is still hope to achieve nirvana – an ideal condition of rest, harmony, stability, and joy. We can continue our journey together.

Start reading the preview of my book A Doctor's Journey for free on Amazon. Available on Kindle for $2.99!

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