On aging

When I do complete these years of residency, these long, seemingly endless hours in the hospital, medicine will have aged me. Filled in gentle wrinkles around the lips, placed faint circles beneath the eyes. It is not just the hours that do this, but the very nature of the work. But I will also emerge from this residency with perspective, and with an unparalleled appreciation for life. You only begin to appreciate it when you watch as it is taken away from those around you, one after another after another. You begin to value it when you realize – and see with your own eyes – what the alternative is. I walk out of the emergency department each day thankful that I can inhale deeply, break into a slow jog towards my car, feel my muscles tense and stretch with each stride. These are the things life is made of. They make each day worthwhile. And I love medicine for revealing this to me, over and over again.

I also love children. Working in the pediatric emergency department makes me happier than anything else in the world. Time flies. More so than on the floors, where time drags while we are waiting, making phone calls, filling out paperwork, and caring for children who are sicker than we would like them to be. My shift this evening was delightful. I am finally starting to teach – I walked a PA student through sewing up a fingertip laceration on a 7-year-old boy. Teaching is another highlight of medicine, and I have only reached the tip of the iceberg in that regard.

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