——— Co-Residents ———
I mentioned that I began my training as an Emergency Medicine resident. Besides dealing with the sickest of the sick, the field also requires that you call for help when needed. This could include a call to an Orthopedist for an unstable fracture, or a conversation with a Cardiologist if you suspected a heart attack. Many times, these people whom you are calling for help are less than thrilled to field a call from a green-behind-the-ears Emergency Medicine resident. Once in a while you will be lucky and speak with someone who is warm and at least feigns happiness to speak to you. The first such call I placed was to Megha, a Family Medicine resident, and she is one of the warmest people that I know. Since that phone call much has happened: I switched programs, became close friends with Megha, was diagnosed with a brain mass, and had a child.
Greg, also a very close friend, is the first person I wanted to speak to when I considered running for chief. He is outspoken and opinionated, and is a kind soul. As I mentioned in his post, I hoped to work in a practice with him after completing my residency. Greg’s patients love him not only because of his medical acumen, but also because he is extremely intelligent beyond the scope of medicine. He was the one I went to when I had any questions ranging from medical ones to philosophical ones: he always seemed to know the answer.
Their posts were as different as their personalities. While Greg’s focused on the diagnosis as well as his friendship with me, Megha chose to more fully answer the question, detailing the logistical hurdles my absence presented. There is not one article I prefer over the other; I just think it is interesting to contrast the two. After reading through each of their pieces, I feel a bevy of emotions, most prominently I feel appreciative, as I had no idea that so many logistical aspects were involved. Lying in the hospital bed, I had no idea that so much had gone into filling the void of my absence, I didn’t realize the work it took to make everything run smoothly. I also felt a little disappointed after reading through Megha’s piece, when she spoke of all the resistance they were met with, and how many of the residents were reluctant to take any extra calls. This disappointment, however, came with uplifting thoughts as well. While many of the residents resisted Greg and Megha’s decisions, the rest of the residents, went out of their way to help us. I can only imagine how helpless one must feel when met with resistance to helping a friend in need. But the truth is that they all helped; not only by helping to cover for my absence, but their thoughts and prayers have helped me in ways they cannot know. In the end, the differences in each of their posts perfectly reflected their leadership styles and what ultimately made them such great chiefs. While Megha has a ‘take no bull$*!+’ attitude and dealt largely with the organizational aspects of the residency, Greg many times served as the ‘good cop’ often using his compassion to convey his message.
While Greg and Megha were the chiefs when I was diagnosed, Aimee and Dani were their successors. I am close with everyone in the program, yet I thought their perspectives as co-chiefs after Greg and Megha, would provide a unique dynamic. On the surface Aimee and Dani seem like two completely different personalities: Aimee is warm and always seems to be smiling; bubbly is a good word to describe her. Dani, on the other hand, can be blunt , and has no problem telling you what’s on her mind. To a passer-by they seem like very different people. Since I have the privilege of knowing them both well, I know they possess more similarities than meets the eye. They are both warm people with big hearts. They also both do everything in their power for their patients. If any of my loved ones were to fall ill I would want one of them caring for them. I cannot wait to see how they fare as clinicians. Their articles each serve as reminders to me of where I have been, and where I want to go. I found Dani’s marvel at the human body to heal particularly powerful. Thinking back to the progress I have made since the first hours after the surgery boggles my mind. It really makes me appreciate the power of the human body to heal. Aimee’s perspective of my turning from physician to patient is also poignant yet true. Even though many who see me remark that “now you get to see things from the other side,” I had not given much thought to the transition from physician to patient, Aimee’s piece motivates me to not only recover but think about differing aspects of this ordeal.
—– Titubation —-
While I have learned to cope with my widened, slowed gait, and my delayed, monotone speech, I have not yet learned to deal with my titubation. If someone were to ask me now “what is the biggest issue you face with your recovery?” My response would be my titubation. I take a mental note every time it occurs in front of others and I know that it has occurred in front of most of my guest bloggers. I liken it to the elephant in the room that no one is mentioning. Hopefully this is because I am making a bigger deal of it than it actually is, but the reality is that every one of them are too nice and compassionate to write about it, and fear that writing or placing any attention to it might somehow upset me.
—- Different but the Same—-
I am eternally grateful to everyone that wrote for the blog, as well as for everyone’s good will towards me throughout this ordeal. Writing is unique in that no matter what you choose to write about, your personality comes through. In all the pieces written by family, friends, clinicians, and co-residents their warm hearts and kindness were evident. Hope also pervaded in each of their accounts. In writing this post I have reread every guest article and cannot help but feel the sense of hope that runs through each of their pieces.