adventure is out there

Infectious disease is one of the few genuine adventures left in the world. The dragons are all dead and the lance grows rusty in the chimney corner…About the only sporting proposition that remains unimpaired by the relentless domestication of a once free-living human species is the war against those ferocious little fellow creatures, which lurk in the dark corners and stalk us in the bodies of rats, mice, and all kinds of domestic animals; which fly and crawl with the insects, and waylay us in our food and drink and even in our love.

– Hans Zinsser, 1934

 

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adventure is out there

35. On quitting

I circle back around to residency and flirt with being a doctor the same way you do an ex-boyfriend. When things are good you could care less. But the moment you hit a rough patch of bad blind dates and lonely nights in with Netflix, you wonder what could have been if you had stayed. One day you’ll see him having brunch with someone new, laughing and enjoying each other’s company; a glimpse of what once was. What could have been.

It’s easy to forget the downsides when you want to overlook them. When there are dollar signs and prestige at the end of the rainbow.

Many of my friends will be entering their last year of residency soon, well on their way to being full-fledged doctors. I cannot imagine the things they have learned or the pains it took to learn them, but I am jealous of them just the same. It’s the sister life I could have had, staring me in the face.

Around this time two years ago (two!)  I remember googling the words, “quitting residency.” I wanted someone to tell me that it would be ok. I wanted a role model with a success story that I could hold up to my family, friends, and myself.

I never found one.

Not one I identified with, anyway. I was no Michael Crichton or William Carlos Williams. I didn’t have any interest in business school or equity research.  I had done that thing so many poets and motivational speakers urge people to do – I had forged my own path. And it was/is terrifying.

So…I’m doing the work. To become my own success story.

It’s still a work in progress. It’s not at all glamorous. And I have a new definition of success. I don’t know where I’ll end up or how many times I’ll get it wrong before I get it right. But I will own every decision I make.

Because we should all be writing our own stories.

35. On quitting

21. Hodge-podge

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This is what today looks like:

Waking up early, and then sleeping in late.

Gratitude for having the time to read lengthy articles about medicine and a neurosurgeon’s account of his mistakes. My heart swelling with pride for all my primary care doctor friends.

“Our philosophy is that the primary-care physician and patient should become the hub of the entire health-care-delivery system,” Hernandez said. He viewed the primary-care doctor as a kind of contractor for patients, reining in pointless testing, procedures, and emergency-room visits, coördinating treatment, and helping to find specialists who practice thoughtfully and effectively.

“Do No Harm” is an act of atonement, an anatomy of error, and an attempt to answer, from the inside, a startling question: How can someone spend decades cutting into people’s brains and emerge whole?

Ear-marking recipes for butter chicken (or murgh makhani).

Reminiscing about my favorite place in Paris.

Pining after beautiful things I don’t need and are sold out.

Getting in that lesley fightmaster yoga.

Waiting for 5pm.
(Photo: Aziz Ansari as Tom Haverford in Parks and Rec. Because that face)

21. Hodge-podge