Until We Meet Again
I sat in the airport terminal in
November of 2012 and stared at my cell phone. I flicked the screen on and off as
I waited out another wave of anxiety. I was about to place a call that would
dictate the course of my life. At the time, I could barely comprehend the
changes that would take place over the next year.
It would be the year that changed
the way I looked at life. The year that changed the way I looked at patients
and at medicine. It would be the year that I learned to trust my gut ... that I
even had a gut to trust. It would be the year that I learned my own limitations
and how to first accept, then overcome them. It would be the year that I would
lose someone very dear, but help dozens of strangers overcome that same loss.
It would be the year that I befriended death but fell in love with life.
In 2013, I transformed from a
scared student to a slightly-less-scared clinician. I became a teacher and a
mentor before I even hung my diploma on the wall. I met some colleagues who
seemed bent on stopping my progress but many more who supported me like family.
I discovered that my passion mattered much more than my age and experience to the
patients and families experiencing their own personal hells.
I dipped my toe into the waters of
medicine and-without warning-someone pushed me into its depths. I coughed and
sputtered and kicked my legs just hard enough to stay afloat. But by the end of
the year, I swam.
And, perhaps most important of all,
I was privileged to share my experiences with you. This blog has served as an
outlet for my triumphs and failures. It has connected me to people around the
world who have felt the same fear and pain and elation in their own careers.
It, hopefully, can teach future clinicians a few lessons that I only learned
through sweat and tears and heartbreak.
The experiences of the first year
of clinical practice are invaluable and beyond replication. However, they come
at a cost. Like training for a race, the first day is always the hardest.
Remain dedicated and persistent. Surround yourself with supporters. Heed
helpful criticism. Mute those who detract for their own pleasure. And on the
days when you feel beaten down, exhausted and close to failure, just remember
that somewhere there is someone grateful that you entered his or her life.
Of course, you will have to figure
most of this out for yourself. Because a year ago even this blog would not have
prepared me for what lay ahead. I sat in that airport staring at my phone, took
a deep breath, hit the "Call" button and waited for the voice on the other end.
"About that job offer," I told the
recruiter, " I'll take it."