On slow starts (or a quiet beginning to MS3)

This week, we’ve had a few required days filled with computer systems and BLS training. Nothing that could be considered demanding. The only days I needed to show up on the hospital campus were Wednesday and Thursday, and for far less than a full day.

It has been a wonderful on-ramp to third year. I am acquainting myself with the area and my soon-to-be-morning commute. I’m knocking out the “what did you do after Step?” and “where do you live now?” conversations with my returning peers and classmates. Additionally, we’ve been told nothing about our actual rotations, leaving us in the dark and I’m blissfully ignorant. Since I don’t know anything, I cannot be worried by anything. I’m enjoying this hurry-up-and-wait time.

There are glimpses ahead.

On Friday, when we went to the main hospital for bloodwork, I ran into fellow classmates in the waiting room. We talked and chatted about the past month and the upcoming mystery box. My partner and my roommate waited for me in the cafeteria and as I walked over, I felt a shock of recognition toward a patient sitting on a bench with two women standing around him: my landlord, the victim of the shooting a few weekends earlier.

We had heard from his mother that he had been transferred out of the ICU and into a rehab wing of LVHN. I didn’t imagine that I would run into him, and he didn’t either. This was his first walking excursion since the surgeries. This was my first direct contact with him, as we had been only playing telephone through his close family members. He seemed well, a bit dazed from the cocktail of painkillers, and in good spirits.

After an appropriate amount of small talk, I wandered into the cafeteria to let my partner and my roommate know that our landlord happened to be sitting right outside. He probably walked over between their arrival at the cafeteria and mine.

That is the life that we are about to enter, where we step into a person’s life and see them out and about. Where we need to keep some level of professionalism on at all times, just in case this type of chance encounter arises. For this reason, I am grateful that I live away from the hospital campus in Coopersburg: far fewer chances to run into a difficult clinical case while shopping for groceries. A physical separation to foster an emotional boundary.

I don’t know what to expect in the coming months. Next week, we’ll enjoy a more formal introduction to third year with early mornings and most of the afternoons off. We’ll receive information packets tomorrow and on Thursday have our student clinician ceremony, to get our new LVHN white coats. I’m enjoying every chance to be lazy while I still can.

Speaking of which, I’m going to garden on this cool, overcast day.


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