Every day is a gift

Issue: BCMJ, vol. 49, No. 4, May 2007, Page 175 President's Comment

Often the most intuitive and simplest revelations are overlooked. They hide in plain sight waiting to be discovered like shells washed up on the shore. Live life to the fullest. Carpe diem (seize the day). I imagine we all know these to be true.

It can be a challenge to seize the day or even the moment as we pack our lives full with work and a multitude of other activities. But sometimes we encounter someone who makes us think a bit harder about the quality of our own lives, and then we come face to face with an extraordinary event that drives that message home. 

Last fall I had the opportunity to present the BCMA Terry Fox Award to Dr Victor Lam, an outstanding cancer researcher. At the awards gala, I met Terry’s younger brother, Darrell. We spoke for a few minutes about the wonderful work of the Terry Fox Foundation and the amazing legacy that Terry left behind. I asked Darrell if it was sometimes hard being Terry’s brother—wondering if the worldwide attention to their loss for more than 20 years had been difficult. Darrell said that, in fact, it was a privilege to be Terry’s brother, then shared Terry’s philosophy that every day is a gift.

Every day is a gift. I found those words moving and thought about them quite often after that night. I wanted to pass on that simple and inspirational message from Darrell, and indirectly from Terry. 

Then in February, my husband had an unexpected, life-threatening illness. We suddenly found ourselves on the receiving end of health care in a major way. Many of the 16 days my husband spent in hospital were inexpressibly difficult, but he is now safely home and doing well. We experienced professionalism and exceptional medical care from a very large number of competent, caring individuals to whom we will always be very grateful. Doctors, nurses, and other caregivers make a profound difference every day in a multitude of ways.

As physicians, we know that life is fragile and that we are all mortal. My understanding of this is not just intellectual now. Stopping to smell the roses is much more than an old adage; it is a prescription for understanding how to live. It is about feeling, comprehending, and acknowledging that which you do every day, and not to simply go through the motions. 

Every day is a gift. I now have a much deeper comprehension of Terry’s philosophy, passed on by his brother. I will have no trouble remembering the life lesson that I have been taught so well this year. 

—Margaret MacDiarmid, MD
BCMA President

Margaret MacDiarmid, MD,. Every day is a gift. BCMJ, Vol. 49, No. 4, May, 2007, Page(s) 175 - President's Comment.

Above is the information needed to cite this article in your paper or presentation. The International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) recommends the following citation style, which is the now nearly universally accepted citation style for scientific papers:
Halpern SD, Ubel PA, Caplan AL, Marion DW, Palmer AM, Schiding JK, et al. Solid-organ transplantation in HIV-infected patients. N Engl J Med. 2002;347:284-7.

About the ICMJE and citation styles

The ICMJE is small group of editors of general medical journals who first met informally in Vancouver, British Columbia, in 1978 to establish guidelines for the format of manuscripts submitted to their journals. The group became known as the Vancouver Group. Its requirements for manuscripts, including formats for bibliographic references developed by the U.S. National Library of Medicine (NLM), were first published in 1979. The Vancouver Group expanded and evolved into the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE), which meets annually. The ICMJE created the Recommendations for the Conduct, Reporting, Editing, and Publication of Scholarly Work in Medical Journals to help authors and editors create and distribute accurate, clear, easily accessible reports of biomedical studies.

An alternate version of ICMJE style is to additionally list the month an issue number, but since most journals use continuous pagination, the shorter form provides sufficient information to locate the reference. The NLM now lists all authors.

BCMJ standard citation style is a slight modification of the ICMJE/NLM style, as follows:

  • Only the first three authors are listed, followed by "et al."
  • There is no period after the journal name.
  • Page numbers are not abbreviated.

For more information on the ICMJE Recommendations for the Conduct, Reporting, Editing, and Publication of Scholarly Work in Medical Journals, visit www.icmje.org

BCMJ Guidelines for Authors

Leave a Reply