Remember Me?

Man … it’s been a while.

When you’re in school enough hours per week to call it a full time job, other things fall by the wayside. Like the cups and plates stacked in my sink. Like the girlfriend I see those one or two times a day I look up from my textbook. And certainly, the blog where I’d naively hoped to chronicle the daily experience of it all.

If anything, the silence on this page in recent months speaks to where life is at right now. Every day, there are new lectures to learn, new cases to cover. And every night, as the clock hits 1:00am and I’ve downed my third cup of coffee, I count the hours till my alarm clock is set to ring and tell myself that I’ll put thoughts to paper another day. It’s always another day, every day.

I’m reminded often of a post I penned a few months ago, wondering why healthcare providers don’t often enough translate their frustrations in clinical practice into innovative solutions:

It’s attention – or more specifically, the scarcity of it. Nobody recognizes the opportunities for creative destruction in healthcare better than the people who spend each day in the trenches of clinical medicine. But after patient care, administrative hurdles, research responsibilities, teaching duties, continuing education, and something that might resemble a personal life, providers have neither the interest nor the capacity to cultivate an innovative spirit.

And that’s exactly it. Make no mistake, I absolutely love medical school. I love drawing out concept maps that tell a story of disease from the etiology to the pathophysiology and clinical manifestations. I love when I’m able to sit with a patient, elicit the right narrative threads, and connect them with what I’ve learned in class to weave an initial diagnosis. I love working with experts across the spectrum of health and wellness as part of a patient care team.

But when I step back for a moment, I realize that the reason I’ve felt a persistent, nagging frustration these last few weeks is that I’ve been so focused on the present, so concentrated on the lecture notes, the flash cards, and the mnemonic devices, so fixed upon what is, that I’ve completely stopped reflecting upon what could be. In the interest of comprehending the things I’ve been taught, I’ve deferred my curiosity about the things I haven’t.

I came to medical school to be a life-long learner—at least, that’s the buzzword they threw around at the interview, and at revisit weekend, and at orientation. But I don’t feel like one, at least not in these last three months. Still, the one piece of advice I do remember from those days of orientation is to stick with the habits and hobbies that make us who we are.  And, by getting back to writing and reflecting, I plan to do just that.


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