Doc in the Sky

Silhouette of a soldier against the sun.

Take Off!

Listen to the Podcast of Blog Post:


Today, it’s a blog I want to introduce to you.  With a title like Fighter Pilot to Physician, who wouldn’t be intrigued?

Chris Varani is, by his report, a medical student at the University of Colorado. But, hey, so what? After a Masters in Business Administration and a Masters of Science in Finance, what a little MD among friends?

Oh, yes, and after being a F-15E Strike Eagle fighter pilot for the United States Air Force.

Just another day at the hospital.

I write this column as an old guy who needs to sip his venti soy latte slowly in the morning just to get the juices flowing. Simply reading this man’s prose, I’m exhausted. In a very good way.

As I look back, though, on my third-year medical student experience, back when Morse Code was a required subject, I’ve got to admit: I’d have been exhausted by our young pilot-financier-student even then.  I was only twenty-two when I hit those wards, with plenty of energy, true, but certainly energy not even a tenth as focused as Chris Valenti’s has been for quite the while. Getting through the day was often a victory in itself.

I certainly would have admired him then. As I do now.  Age doesn’t temper all things, after all.

Combat veterans have also known what it is to focus even in the midst of chaos, in the air, on land, on the sea. I strongly suspect that Chris would urge his fellow veterans never to forget that. I couldn’t agree more wholeheartedly.

When I was an attending at a teaching hospital, I always addressed the medical students as “Doctor.”  They’d already earned my respect for the name, I figured, even if they’d not yet earned all the credits for the diploma.

So here’s to you, Dr. Valenti, still having what it takes to do what needs to be done. I have no doubt whatsoever that you will fly into your future and, even more, into the future of your patients with the same vigor with which you flew those planes into the stratosphere.  Good for you.

Good for us all.

Until tomorrow, be well,


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