Monday, June 13, 2005

It’s Been the Best of Year and the Worst of Year

My second year of residency has come and gone. It’s the one good thing about a blog in that it allows you to reflect on some of these experiences. Even better, it allows me to examine my progression and who I have become. Officially, as of eight this morning I am on vacation for the last two weeks of the second year, in essence, already a third year resident.

You’ve been there for it all. From my beginnings in the ICU and CCU and as I moved on to night float. When I had my own team and when I quietly served my electives. You've remember the Widow Maker and my trepidation. Times I was sure and others when I wished for divine intervention. Times I was ecstatic and others when I wished reality would leave, felt close to anoxia. You've shared my emotions and along the way cheered me on, some useful bit of advice, a kick in the pants. You pulled me from the mud, wiped me off and said “Go get’em Madman”.

It was a long and wonderful time, when I’ve witnessed my growth and changed in ways I never imagined. My thoughts meant all too much for me as I translated them to words. They became the experience. This forced me to take it all in. At times I wish I hadn’t. Paradoxically blissfully aware these are experiences others only dream of. Moments that change lives.

I’ve witnessed death in its most despicable form as it slowly drains all strength from those others depend on for life and inspiration. I’ve felt disease in its final stage as I pounded and electrocuted a father’s chest, trying to breathe life in. I’ve watched the monitor as a heart I cared for beat slower and then slower still until the pleasant rhythm ceased. I have lost many patients and with them many friends.

When I look back on the second year though, I would like to remember others who have neared death’s valley, who with our help, returned home to their loved ones. TYTD comes to mind. I helped them do that. Late on my twenty second hour I helped them do that. They will never know. Most probably, they will never acknowledge their near non-existence or my sacrifice, but when I look back at those days I will remember them and hope that they are making good use of their time. It is time paid for in the tears, sweat and energy of others who have come before and those who serve now.

Most of all I will remember this year for the biggest moment of my life and the beginning of hers. The birth of my favorite intern was my defining moment of Post Graduate year number two and I will forever remember it as 36 hours that transformed who I am. Today, I officially begin my vacation.

How I miss the Mediterranean Sea, its blue waters as exquisite and pleasant as the sand that lines its beaches. It’s been two years since I admired it from within.

Tomorrow evening I am flying to Israel for two weeks to join Future Intern and the wife who got a head start. I can’t think of a better way to spend my time then sitting on a beach chair with a beer on the side table, a watermelon on my plate and a little girl in my arms.

I may try to blog a bit while there. Maybe show some pictures of the nothing that I’m doing. I will refuse to talk politics or watch the news and there will be no medical blogging at all, sorry.

When I return, I will be a third year resident with all new interns. There will be new Chiefs and new Attendings and I will have to begin searching for a real job. That sounds amazing, a real job!

For now I hear faint whispers making their way through Europe and over the Atlantic. Aha, I recognize it now. The waves of Haifa beach are calling my name.