Rabbi Efrem Goldberg writes: He was a complete stranger when I sat down, but after a three-and-a-half hour delay, I had made a new friend. The elderly gentleman sitting next to me bemoaned our unexpected wait and we proceeded to exchange pleasantries for a few moments. It turns out he lives in Boca too, and while he had a more traditional upbringing, he confessed that he hasn’t been to “Temple” for many years.
I took out my laptop and my cell phone and began to use the newfound time to get some work done. A significant amount of time passed in which I returned email, made phone calls and spent some time learning.
All the while, my new friend stared at his iPad. When I inquired as to what he was doing, he told me he was watching his stocks. For three straight hours, he literally stared at the screen and watched his stocks go up a few cents, down a few cents. He didn’t read a book or newspaper, talk to family on his cell, or even watch a movie. He just stared at his portfolio endlessly.
As I observed my new friend and his singular activity, I couldn’t stop thinking of an expression that dominated two difficult conversations that I had this week – “quality of life.” You see, the culture of medicine has shifted radically of late, particularly in end-of-life situations.