My small group advisee who just graduated sent me a text saying he'd just left something on my porch. He was heading out to go to New York to start his new life as a surgery resident and wanted to leave a token. And yes, he knew exactly where I lived because he'd been in my home along with the rest of that small group more times than he could count.
"Oh man! I was home! I wish you would have rung the doorbell so that I could hug your neck!"
This was my response. And his response?
"I am not far. I will turn around."
And he did. In fact, I met him in between where he was and my home. I hugged his neck just like I said and wished him well. Then we both said the thing he said to me when I hooded him on commencement day:
"It's been a dream."
And that was that. On a very rainy day, that was that.
While I was in L.A. I sent a text to another former advisee who just finished up his internship at UCLA.
"Just saying hello while I'm out here visiting the family! I hope you are well!"
And his response?
"Dr. M!!!!! Where are you?!? I wanna see you!!!!!!"
And so. On a post call day, we met up in a cafe. Him in scrubs. And me in my sister's Clipper's sweatshirt.
And it was great. And that was that.
"I got engaged!!! She said YES!!!!!"
This was another text I received a few months ago from another student. With this photo attached.
And that was that.
And this was the advisor meeting I had over whole wheat pancakes in the Virginia Highlands this weekend.
A colleague once told me that I should be careful to keep the line between my students and myself hard and never blurry. "You are their advisor, not their friend," he told me. "But can't I be a little bit of both?" I asked. The response? "No. Not really. Too much caring can be dangerous."
I always remembered that. And you know? I'm sort of glad that I continue to fail miserably at it year after year. Because it's been a dream. It has.
Honestly? I write this blog to share the human aspects of medicine + teaching + work/life balance with others and myself -- and to honor the public hospital and her patients--but never at the expense of patient privacy or dignity.
Thanks for stopping by! :)
"One writes out of one thing only--one's own experience. Everything depends of how relentlessly one forces from this experience the last drop, sweet or bitter, it can possibly give."
~ James Baldwin (1924 - 1987)
"Do it for the story." ~ Antoinette Nguyen, MD, MPH
Details, names, time frames, etc. are always changed to protect anonymity. This may or may not be an amalgamation of true,quasi-true, or completely fictional events. But the lessons? They are always real and never, ever fictional. Got that?