Third year is won and done. Noon came and neurology ended. We [almost] did it. To celebrate [almost] finishing, my friends and I gathered for the last two-days-before-the-shelf-one-dollar-taco night.
We swapped stories from the trenches. All of us have given up daylight to be able to say that we caught babies, missed syphilis, and never shook the “MS3” tacked on our foreheads. Someone yesterday emphasized my pond-scumminess. I received a lecture whilst accomplishing the task someone else yelled at me to do. My friends agree, it happens/happened/will happen. You can play dead, act murderously–but we admitted that kindness kills and forgiveness breeds professional happiness.
We giggled over salsa. I cannot count the number of times I have said or done something and wished someone would laugh with me. Not gun or grade or send labs. Just a lil haha. My favorite patients give me a good ribbing when I can’t elicit reflexes or forget their names. I love when attendings make fun of residents who make fun of us and us of them. The hospital already overflows with stat this, stat that. To laugh reminds us we’re human, but to laugh in good company is divine.
Then we thought–woah! Is this year finally ending?
Everything resounded with a yes! Even the two rising-third years who just entered taco haven. Did they want to join? Pulling up chairs, they eased into small talk then ramped up to questions about the wily world of clinical medicine. In between our giggling and gnoshing, we shared. We gave our two cents afforded graciously by student loans totaling the mortgage of a home.
Egad. There is something beautiful about rising third years. Dazzling white coats. Shiny stethoscopes. Our last week of third year happens to be their first week, counting orientation. As our year winds down, I see them trekking off to EMR sessions and centipeding along hospital tours. Their presence sends electric jolts to my soul as if reviving fears unrealized, dreams yet forgotten.
Do you like third year? They asked.
Meh. I told them it’s not that awful. One friend said people wouldn’t have gone into medicine if they had started with third year. Another piped up–she loved it. The clinical curve looks steep but presents challenges that are just different from second or first year. She called me out, Hopeful–you love your patients. You know you do! Well… I do. My white coat bears the markings of a hundred pens from a thousand notes. My reflex hammer wanders along the journey of a million steps. My stethoscope echoes, and echoes, and echoes.
Soon, the restaurant closed but our chatter continued. Between the twilight of third year and the dawning of the fourth, we lingered. Sharing life came just as easily under a flood light in a parking lot. And when the study-reflex finally snapped, as it invariably does, us [almost] fourth years parted with full stomachs and even fuller hearts.
For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever! So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.
–2 Cor. 4:17-18
Tomorrow brings a shelf! Woot! Next year is my fourth!
Go on a safari?
Colorful ribbon art