In terms of asking for letters, at least. Now to submit my application.
No, the hardest thing for today was chatting with my old mentor. He is one of the greats of American surgery, is personable, and listens. Pretty awesome guy. But it was a hard conversation - he doesn’t want me to close the door on surgery just yet. He brought up exactly the things I would miss about surgery, and asked me to just sit with the discomfort. UGH.
He apologized for recommending the program I was in, but I told him I didn’t blame him at all and he replied, “No, blame me!” I had no idea (and he didn’t either) that the culture would be the way it was. He also left a program after his intern year, but went into surgery at a different program.
At the end, I know he’s in my corner. But UGH all the doubts. ALL OF THEM.
After my meeting, I decided that I had had enough of my mind doing stupid things like freaking out about what people say, and that a pedicure would help.
I brought along a book sent to me this week by the bestie, called Let Your Life Speak. I can’t even begin to tell you how amazing/needed it was. It’s about vocation, and what happens when we follow the “oughts” instead of our vocations and natural gifts…and was about as refreshing as a bucket of ice water to the face.
That vocation thing > what my old chairman thinks about the awesomeness and applicability of surgery to everyone, even if part of me still doubts.
This is so stressful. I met with my chairman about an hour ago. I was fine during the meeting. But, when we shook hands when I left his office, he asked if my palms were sweaty because I was nervous. Obviously. But I managed to squeak out something about his office being warm while sounding utterly ridiculous.
I really like and admire him, and I know he likes me, but he has this way of sounding…disapproving, even when he doesn’t necessarily mean to.
Case in point: “I’m glad you found something you want to do. But I do wonder if you’ll get frustrated in [what I’m doing next]. I mean, there are new drugs and things.” (Basically, “there’s nothing as definitive as surgery. Why wouldn’t you want to do surgery?”)
I was honest and told him I’d considered coming back, that I’d even had panicky dreams where I told him I had made a mistake.
But he’s also the kind of person you want to please, so part of me came out of there feeling conflicted all over again! Not helpful.
At the end of each day, I write an “atomic sentence,” a single statement that summarizes the most vital lesson about that day.
At times where I flail, fumble, and otherwise seek a signpost, these sentences have helped — personal lifelines indicating a larger story. Each day, an atomic unit in a living network.
I went in to the hospital to talk to one of my old attendings about my new life plan (which I will write about soon, I’m sure), and as soon as I walk into his office he gets a huge grin and says, “how’s my favorite intern?”
It makes me miss it all! But I really love the new plan :):)