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The Four Way Test was adopted by the Rotary in the 1940s:

Of all the things we think, say, or do:

1. Is it the truth?
2. Is it fair to all concerned?
3. Will it build goodwill and better friendships?
4. Will it be beneficial to all concerned?

We say the Four Way Test at the end of each meeting.

I have complicated feelings about the Four Way Test. Yes, I am a Rotarian. But I wonder how telling someone that they have cancer fits in this? Or chlamydia? I don't see that either will build goodwill and better friendships. But I still have my job to do, which includes telling people that they meet criteria for opioid overuse or alcohol overuse and that I am recommending inpatient rehab.

I am getting better at these talks, though it's taken thirty years. I have had two people decide to go to rehab in the last year. I didn't make them or push them, I just kept saying that I couldn't prescribe what they wanted because it was not safe, they could die, and my job is first to not kill them. Both times I was actually surprised when they went to rehab. And then I have two more recently who are no longer being prescribed opioids yet are still seeing me as patients. Prior to this the person would get angry and leave my practice. And I would read about at least one person under age 50 dying per year. Drugs and alcohol. UW's Psychiatry and Addiction Telemedicine says "Fire the drug, not the patient." This is a difficult learned skill: to tell someone that you care about them, you don't want them to die, you cannot give them a prescription that may kill them and that you will still take care of them.... regardless if they are making choices that may kill them. It is subtle and requires a lot of emotional control and honestly, a lot of respect and love. I still fail sometimes. I mind every time.

What is your four way test? I got a text from a Rotarian who must have forgotten I was in the group: about me. I don't think it meets the Four Way Test. I am disappointed and sad, but not surprised. It is an opportunity too. This Rotarian talks about other Rotarians and if he has an issue, he needs to talk to the person directly. Not behind their back. Also he no longer has my trust and will have to work to regain it.

I can't even get past the first part of the Four Way Test. Truth: my daughter was one of 6 seniors who did a sermon at the Unitarian Church when they graduated three years ago. She said that we each see a sliver of reality, of what is going on around us, and we do not take everything in. She said that we each see a different sliver, colored by our experiences, our upbringing, our habits.... she said that no two slivers are the same.

She said that we must be generous with each other and listen, not judge. My truth is not your truth. We must listen and open our minds and hearts.


Iron Noder: Tokyo Drift 16

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