Friday, November 18, 2011

Moving Right Along.

"Movin' right along
Footloose and fancy-free
Getting there is half the fun; come share it with me
Moving right along (doog-a-doon doog-a-doon)
We'll learn to share the load
We don't need a map to keep this show on the road. . . ."

~ from The (original) Muppets Movie 

Small group "alpha" was the first small group of medical students I've ever had. I met them in July of 2007--their very first day of medical school. Nearly all of them were strangers to one another, and 100% of them were strangers to me. Countless hours, teaching sessions, laughs, tears and conversations later that has all changed. Now they are family. . .to each other and of course, to me.

Before I knew it, 2007 had become 2011 and they all flew from the nest last year. Six to start their internships and one who took a quick detour to get a Masters of Public Health before heading out to do the same.

My how time flies! It's hard to believe that I have two other small groups now and that I've been on the Emory faculty for a full decade. It's even harder to believe that I started my first day of medical school over twenty years ago! Yep, hard to imagine, but absolutely true.

Although I remember my internship vividly, I often wish I had more snapshots from my intern year. As a matter of fact, I'm pretty certain that I only have one, and actually I don't even know where that one is any more.  Anyways. When it comes to the medical students, I've had plenty of picture chronicling their journey through school. The mama in me has enjoyed sifting through photographs of my small groups. . .starting from that first year and all through the three that follow.  It's fun seeing the growth. But internship is different. You get busy and rarely take pictures--and pretty much never take them on call or in clinical settings or anywhere for that matter. For that reason, I ask my recent graduates to periodically check in with me. . . .via phone. . .email. . .text whatever. . . . but especially I say to them, "Send me a photo. I want to see what you're up to."  Mostly because I want to see their faces and inspect them in that way that mama birds do. And also because I want them to have a collection of photographs of themselves from the year when its over. I bet they'll appreciate it someday.

Well, here they all are this week. All seven not-so-baby birds--the firstborns of the small group family-- checking in at the nest once again. . . .much to my delight. From San Francisco, Saint Louis, Chicago, Detroit, Washington D.C., Boston, and one whose face I get to see occasionally right here in Atlanta. Here they are. Moving right along. And from what I see, they are more than okay. They are great.

Antoinette:  She's back from research experience in Guatemala and now interviewing for residency programs in OB/Gyn.  This shot was taken in Boston which I'm guessing must have been pretty darn chilly from the coat. It's been exciting to see her seeking out her next chapter.

 Hreem:  Still smiling in her Chicago-based internship. This month? Neurology. Ultimately? A life of Ophthalmology. If my kids need Lasik, she had better hook a sister up.

Jin:  I'm impressed by any intern who can still hold up a victory sign on the Medical Intensive Care Unit rotation. Per her last text five minutes ago, she is "enjoying herself."  I suppose it makes sense for a future anesthesiologist to dig the ICU.  Living in Washington D.C. probably helps, too.

Tony:  If this picture suggests that this guy is hilarious, it's because he is. This future otolaryngologist (also known to regular folk as the EAR-NOSE-and-THROAT doctor) is blasting mucous out of nostrils in the Motor City. He's extra happy this month because instead of doing the myriad of other rotations that most interns do before getting the show on the road, this month he's actually working in his chosen field. Here he is with the scope in his hands, fronting like he's not a novice. Mmmm hmmmm.

 Doug:  All smiles on his no-call Primary Care month.  Spending time with his lovely wife and their two pugs.  Just came off of the ICU which, like Jin, he also enjoyed.  Explained again by a future in Anesthesiology.  Lucky me, Doug is actually an intern in the program I direct here at Emory. I just saw him Thursday and got to hug his neck. Next year, that will be harder since he'll be heading up to NYC to start the advanced program in Anesthesia. :(

 Alanna:  I certainly don't recall looking this good on my night float months! But then, I also wasn't doing my residency in San Francisco, either.  She describes her fellow interns as great and seems happy there.  Plus Alanna's husband, Luke, is amazing and supportive--something else I didn't have the slightest idea about when I was an intern.

Sparky:  Adam just finished up a month of wards at the VA Hospital in St. Louis. He couldn't wait to actually get to "do something" -- which has made his rigorous internship a joy for him so far. It made me happy to see him taking a moment to unwind.  And seeing as the dude behind him is wearing shorts. . .it must be warmer in St. Louis than it is in Boston.

Me:  Had a glorious morning teaching Small Group Gamma (class of 2015) in the med school, went back to Grady for a while and closed out the afternoon spending some wonderful time with members of Small Group Beta (class of 2013) -- right on my couch in my own house.  After that, I went to get my kids, came home and popped a gigantic bowl of "real" popcorn. We hung out and watched "Charlie Brown's Thanksgiving Special."

Life is good.  


"Movin' right along,
We've found a life on the highway
And your way is my way,
So trust my navigation

Movin' right along (doog-a-doon doog-a-doon).
You take it, you know best
Hey, I've never seen the sun come up in the West?

Now playing on my mental iPod. . . "Moving right along" from The (original) Muppet Movie


  1. Pretty amazing how far we've come together. Miss you all.

  2. you are a born teacher and a born healer and a born mother. it's a beautiful thing to watch all the lovingness unfolding.

  3. I have not met and will likely never will meet any of these former students of yours, but you have made me care about them and like them and want to know them. If good thoughts count, you have also inspired me to send good thoughts and well wishes to them, and hopes that they will always be well and do well, just as I send heartfelt wishes for health and happiness to your biological family each time I come to read your blog. :)

  4. Awesome! Just one question, how can you have all these random songs in your mental ipod?! That is AMAZING!

  5. from the deck of the poop,

    I loved this post, especially the song and the studebaker.. I actually remember seeing them on the road...

    Love ya,



"Tell me something good. . . tell me that you like it, yeah." ~ Chaka Khan

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