So tomorrow will be the first day of “rotations”, where medical students work with physicians in various fields of medicine. At my school in Texas, students were split between various campuses in order to maximize the amount of time that we get to spend one on one with our doctors and patients. Third year, though not as difficult in terms of studying as the second year of med school, is the year with the least amount of time. Many doctors have told me that they wished they would have written down their thoughts and memories throughout their clerkships (rotations). Things move so fast that we stop being able to remember the process and beauty in the development of medicine from a science to an art. I’m writing this simply because I don’t want to forget. I want to be able to look back one day and be proud of where I’ve come from and how much I have progressed. I want to remember the first times I deliver a baby, sew up a brutal cut, hold someone’s hand as they pass on to the next chapter, diagnose emphysema correctly, get pimped (when a doctor asks a med student something the student has no chance of knowing) and surprise my professor with the right answer, hear that I saved someone’s life, and see some of those rare diseases that we focused on so much throughout the science years of med school (and thought we’d never see!). Maybe that sounds strange to you, but, for me, these memories are everything. Each day, I’m planning on writing just a brief story, worry or idea that I have. Obviously, any patient name and information I use will be completely made up (violating HIPAA before I even start as a “real” doc would be very unfortunate), but the story behind that will be truth. The things I’ve already seen have, at least in my mind, been shocking at times – from holding a tiny four year old girl with measles to comforting the parents of a baby born with Pompe’s Disease (a rare lysosomal storage disorder that is a death sentence) to reevaluating all of my political views as I watched families being torn apart when the government decided to send illegal immigrants home. Doctoring is more than medicine and basic science. Maybe in one of those situations I made a slight difference… of course, that’s what being a doctor is all about.
The question, O me! so sad, recurring – What good amid these, O me, O life?
That you are here – that life exists and identity,
That the powerful play goes on, and you may contribute a verse.