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…

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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….

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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…

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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…

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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…

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"Yes, Caleb, love. Love costs. It always costs. Sometimes it costs everything." Island of the World, Michael D. O'Brien

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…

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Still, there are times I am bewildered by each mile I have traveled, each meal I have eaten, each person I have known, each room in which I have slept. As ordinary as it all appears, there are times when it is beyond my imagination. Interpreter of Maladies, by Jhumpa Lahiri

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.”

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Ten Tips for Dating During Medical Training

how to make dating a little simpler when you work 80 hours per week

As a single resident, I’ve made every dating mistake in the book. Let me save you some trouble! Here are ten tips I’ve learned about dating during med school and residency.

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