To pause

One of my “goals” this year is to write at least once a month.   Residency has been such a whirlwind, and days have become weeks, become months, and a year and half after my last entry, I realize I have been drifting through experiences without processing them.

Last week, I bumped into a first year on my way to do an enucleation.  I was pleasantly surprised by her enthusiasm to join me, as I myself was dreading the awful smell and cold of the morgue. There is a medicine mantra of see one, do one, teach one – so after I showed her how to do the enucleation on one eye, it was her turn.  As she struggled to put in the eye speculum and was mortified at her own struggle, I was struck by how easy it was to forget.  To forget, how the “simplest” things are the most intimidating; to forget, that the thought of “they’re-judging-me-even-though-they’re-not-judging-me-and-it’s-all-in-my-head” can keep circling in your mind over the silliest manoeuvres; to forget, that it’s so easy to catastrophize the little mistakes of innocence and of inconsequence as a defining sign that you suck; to forget, that one day the biggest challenge may become a mastered skill and a not-so-scary thing; to forget, that the reason why residency training is five years is so you can learn and do the best for your patients.

As I approach my surgical years with great trepidation, I know that I will encounter daily moments of self-doubt and feeling defeated.  I may encounter those who have forgotten what it was like, on that first day, to be handed the instruments and expected to “do” – but here’s to hoping that I will remember that I am here to learn and to do the best for my patients.


PS.  Also, to remember the sense of wonderment at simple things in life.  Check out this video of a fifteen-month baby girl – in the rain for the first time!


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