White coat transition

I don’t know what to write. I really don’t. For the past two weeks, I’ve been thinking about what I could say, to pick up where I left off and comment on what is to come.

I was married on the thirteenth of July. I had a honeymoon shortly after that. Then I returned here for two weeks of what is called “link block,” a transitional course between preclinical and clinical, and tomorrow I begin my surgery rotation.

I have been trying to figure out how I feel about now, and I just don’t know. I was deliriously happy on my wedding day, and on my honeymoon. But as for the resumption of my medical studies… Nothing.

That isn’t to say that I feel hollow or numb or in shock at the suddenness of clinical practice– I just can’t identify my present emotional state. I’m not precisely happy to start clerkship, nor am I precisely terrified. Nor am I excited, nor full of dread, nor depressed, nor nervous, nor anything. I’d say that I have mixed emotions, but I can’t pull anything out to describe a mix.

I don’t have the problem where I dread the revelation to come of my lack of knowledge. I already know that I don’t know quite a lot of things. At the same time, I do know that I do know quite a bit more than some. And that is right about where I should be, as a student.

At times like this, it is important to listen to friends. My husband once said: “you and your classmates shouldn’t worry about impressing preceptors with knowledge. What could a medical student possibly impress a full doctor with?” At the same time, a good friend of mine said I was excellent company at Body Worlds, and made the experience fuller for sharing what I do know. At the very least, I nattered on about anatomy there. So I think I’m at the right knowledge amount.

Since I was wondering how to get around my writer’s block, I thought I’d come to arts quad at the University of Alberta and sit by the fountain. This is where I like to come when I’m feeling off of my usual, and just think. It has reminded me of my creative non-fiction class, which I took two years and a lifetime ago, when I was still just a philosophy major.

It’s getting hard to believe that I was just here less than two months ago, having my wedding photos taken.

Arts quad is better than quad quad because it has this fountain.
Arts quad is superior to quad quad. It has a fountain.

My wedding was easily the best day of my life so far; I had a fantastic time. But it was also incredibly surreal. I’m sure those of you who have gone through the same or a similar momentous occasion can commiserate.

Perhaps it is just the sign of a massive transition, this feeling that I have. Perhaps it is free falling, twisting, adapting to the change, and trying to hit the ground in the best orientation–while also being blindfolded. Yeah.

We had our white coat ceremony last week. I made Cory go. It was the usual blend of pomp and tedium that makes up medical ceremonies, but despite my own cynicism, I felt a chill during the recitation of our student oath. That sort of gut-rising feeling you get at the top of a ski hill, or from a great height…

Oh dear.

I must have jumped.


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