Writing Is Remembering

Story: Chapter 5

Part 5 of my graduation speech accompanied a series of photos. Formatting and phrasing reflect the oral presentation. “People come and go in our lives; that’s as old a story as there is. But some of them the heart cries out to keep forever; and that is a fresh saga every time.” – Ivan Doig, The Bartender’s Tale Writing helps me remember, process, and think…

Read More

My Sister, Ella

Story: Chapter 4

Part 4 of my speech given at residency graduation. Formatting and phrasing reflect oral presentation. Why Pediatric Otolaryngology? Kids are amazing. They think outside the box and ask questions no one else would ask. They’re either practically invulnerable or entirely medically fascinating. Pediatric Otolaryngology allows me to do subspecialized surgery without giving up any major aspects of ENT. But there’s more to it than that….

Read More

Choosing ENT

Story: Chapter 3

Part 3 of speech given at residency graduation. Organization and phrasing reflect oral presentation. There are two kinds of medical students: those who enjoy every specialty, and those who hate all but one. I was the former, which made it difficult to choose. In the middle of third year, I did General Surgery at a busy community hospital. I spent six weeks working everything to…

Read More

My First Patient

Story: Chapter 1

Part 1 of speech given at residency graduation. Organization and phrasing reflects oral presentation. In medical school, we often refer to our first year anatomy class cadaver as our first patient. I knew my first patient long before medical school, though, and she is very much alive. This story begins in Seattle, in 1987, in a sixth-floor apartment four blocks from Pike Place Market. In…

Read More

Story: Preface

personhood, stories, and residency

Preface to speech given at residency graduation. Organization and phrasing reflects oral presentation. “The three things I cannot change are the past, the truth, and you.” – Anne Lamott, Thanks, Help, Wow: the Three Essential Prayers.  After five years, I’ve concluded that the toughest thing about residency isn’t actually the practice of medicine or the learning of surgery. Rather the toughest thing is how much…

Read More

How I Became a Surgeon

Two years of medical school classes flew by, followed by three brutal weeks of preparation for the USMLE. “Enjoyed” doesn’t adequately describe the excitement, inquisitiveness, and joy I experienced when I finally left the classroom and board exams behind to take care of patients. Every rotation brought new challenges, which I embraced wholeheartedly. Then, in the middle of third year, I did General Surgery at a…

Read More

The Best of Times, The Worst of Times

Charles Dickens on the subject of residency

Residency is best described in the immortal words of Dickens: “It was the best of times; it was the worst of times.”

Read More

Let’s Visit a Friend!

Guest blog post today!

How did I become a surgeon? The answer is in my guest post on #LifeofaMedStudent! Check it out and let me know what you think. For more great content and information for medical trainees of all stages, follow my friend and host on Twitter: @LifeofMedstudnt

Read More

When It Hurts

how giving bad news affects a physician

The phone weighed heavy in my hand as I punched the numbers in one by one. Two rings, then three — I started planning the discreet voicemail asking you to call me back so I could say words we’d both wish unspoken.

Read More

Not a Routine Procedure

for your patient or their family

A week ago Thursday, my mom texted me between my cases. We chatted for a bit about the family and then she told me that she was at urgent care. My baby brother, 9-year-old M, had just started football practice on Monday and came home with a headache and nausea. On Wednesday, he spent most of the night vomiting. On Thursday, he felt worse, and said his stomach hurt,…

Read More