On the first fall of spring (or halfway through Surgery)

With this weekend, I am finished with my 3wk surgical immersion. Lots of similar surgeries with different twists: thyroid removal, breast lobe removal, bowel surgery, kidney removal. Definitely neat. Felt that I reached diminishing returns by the end of the second week.

I’m looking forward to the outpatient rotation, starting with ophthalmology, then plastics, and finishing with burn. I have only heard great things about rotating through the burn service: that the patients and their stories will stick with you, that the preceptors are warm and welcoming, and that the learning environment is encouraging. I hope to find a few guests for the podcast while there.


Halfway through surgery, I feel like I’ve dodged a bullet. Perhaps it is luck of the draw, or perhaps it is the time of year. Maybe I’m just better at knowing when I can slip through the cracks on rotations that don’t really interest me. Whatever the reason, my surgical rotation has been far more relaxed than I had expected.

The interns are no longer spry recent med school graduates and are collectively settling into the mantle of jaded resident. The chiefs are getting ready for their fellowship or their first position as an attending. Expectations are relaxed until the new wave of interns arrive in July and fresh-faced medical students show up in the OR eager for their first clerkship.

This rotation has been all about finding a new balance. I do not want to go into surgery. I want to pass the surgical clerkship. I want to maintain my wellness and perform the necessary duties in the OR.

Simple, no frills.

Do what I need to do and get out.


With the turn in weather back towards spring and away from winter doldrums, I got out on the slackline. While learning to slack in Florida, I forgot that the Pennsylvania winter would drive me indoors and away from the line. I felt rusty and returned to this movement practice slowly, first sitting on the line and then swinging gently upon it. No standing or walking, quite yet.

I setup the line in a rodeo fashion, meaning instead of the high-tension skinny trampoline that most trickliners utilize, I secured the line high and allowed lots of slack and no tension between the points. The slack line requires a higher level of skill and engagement with the walk when compared to the tight trick line setup.

When I had to leave for lecture, I decided this would be a great time to try standing and walking. And of course, I ate it immediately: slipping off the line like a banana-based pratfall on the sidewalk. Landed squarely on my left hip with my left wrist taking a little lump. Mostly a bruised ego.

Reminds me to ease back into the season, not to crashland into spring. The plants are patiently waiting to send up their winter reserves of energy and sugars until they know the weather will keep. Some are jumping the gun and suffering for it. This slackline fall allows me to get the first big fail out of the way and to humbly return to this favorite practice.


Long Form Sundays

On Death Podcast

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