“Write your name,” he said. I complied on a little scrap of paper. He was, after all, the senior in college who had just been accepted to medical school, and therefore all wise and all knowing. “Now write Dr. in front of it.” Again, I complied. “If you don’t feel a little surge of adrenaline when you see that, maybe medical school isn’t right for you,” he continued.
I didn’t feel shit.
Standing here in the hall of the medical school I’m going to graduate from in May, I can’t help but feel he had a point. Today is Match Day, the day I find out where I’m going to be a resident physician — and if I didn’t feel shit then, I might shit myself now.
This day marks the beginning of the end of a $250,000, four-year-long journey, littered with hundreds of coffee cups and not a few tears. This day is a year of tradition and torture every senior M.D. candidate in the country has come to with high hopes and loosening bowels.
As much as I’d like to believe this day is all about me, it’s really not. This day is about the people who’ve brought me here.
This day is about my grandfather, the first person to say with unending hope in his eyes to his cardiologist — “he’s going to be a doctor” — when my tenuous grasp of cardiac anatomy during first year helped me explain to him what we were seeing on his bedside echo.
This day is about my parents, my unconventional Indian mother who told me to go into business school — why did I want to spend my life studying away for test after test? Mom, I wonder that to this day. It’s about my stepfather, who with my mother, sacrificed and worked to get me to college and beyond.
Today is about my loving and kind girlfriend, who has put up with hours of complaining, self-doubt and moaning from this self-absorbed, terrified medical student. She lifts me up when I’m down in the dumps, and knocks me down a peg when I’m far too arrogant and cocky.
Today is about the nurse in the ED who taught me how to start an IV. After she guided me through my first successful IV, she walked out of the room and whispered to me, “Wear gloves next time, sweetie.”
Today is about my attendings and residents, the ones who put up with my fumbling histories and clumsy physicals as they attempted to educate me. The ones who pimped me mercilessly, but always kindly, about how to treat torsades and distinguish it from polymorphic ventricular tachycardia.
Most of all, today is about my patients. The first life I brought into this world, and the first life that left this world with my crossed, gloved hands on her chest. This day is about the patients I learned to practice medicine on, the patients I laughed with and cried for.
As you finish reading this, I will probably have opened my envelope. I’ll probably have shown the fateful words written on that slip of paper to my girlfriend and my parents and grandparents, FaceTiming in from across the world well past their bedtime. I’ll know where the next part of this crazy ride is taking me — and maybe I’ll be the face you’ll see when you come to the emergency department, introducing myself by the words I wrote on that paper four long years ago: Dr. Sarab Sodhi.
The Fourth-Year Faux-cisian deals with the trenches of medicine, the dirty details and the inglorious scut, as well as with the sublime and transcendent moments. The posts I write are about medicine, humanism, life, philosophy, and most of all the ruminations of a young doctor-to-be as he embarks upon the transformative journey of becoming a physician while attempting to hold onto his humanity.