Tuesday, February 14, 2006


There are some benefits to having your doctor live two doors down. My primary care physician, Pat, is also my neighbor and good friend.

A few years ago I was de-boning a leg of lamb for Easter dinner and I looked up to say something to my wife at just the wrong moment.

A very sharp knife cut deeply into my thumb. Pat was working in his yard and came right over with his doctor's bag and stitched me up in no time flat. No emergency room or co-pay.

There are some downsides too. I have some cholesterol issues and, let's just say, Pat likes to keep an eye on what I am grilling. While chicken breast and lean cuts of meat get his approval - bratwurst does not.

And at neighborhood cookouts your doctor is always watching the sweets you consume. It is a hard knock life!

But Pat is just holding me accountable.

He and I have had some talks about cholesterol and he wants to be sure that I am his patient for a long, long time. He is sympathetic - but he wants the best for me.

We live in a country where individual personal freedom is highly valued. "I'll do what I want to do, when I want to do it, and no one will tell me otherwise!"

The whole notion that someone else might hold us accountable for our diet, our work or the way we use our resources almost sounds foreign to us.

And yet isn't that exactly the way an ordered society works?

Growing up my mother held me accountable for my chores. My professors in college held me accountable for knowing the course materials. Law enforcement holds me accountable if I drive too fast.

"Some favorite expressions of small children are: 'It's not my fault. . . They made me do it. . . I forgot.' Some favorite expressions of adults are: 'It's not my job. . . No one told me. . . It couldn't be helped.' True freedom begins and ends with personal accountability." - Dan Zandra

I am not sure who Dan Zandra is - but I think he sure got it right!