Saturday, February 6, 2010

Josiah in the big city hospital

My dearest Nora, wherever thou mayst roam,

What a day it has been. I retired to my quarters at 10 last night and was promptly visited by the sandman. Not only was I not stirred from my sleep by my flatmates, but I had some of the best sleep I've had in a few weeks. I woke up at 6:30 a.m. feeling refreshed and rarin' to go. I'd better have felt that way, for this morning was my interview with one of the local hospitals!

On my way there, I opted to take a toll road to ensure I arrived in plenty of time. I got trapped in a lane for those who have a pre-paid toll pass. I don't own one. Whoops. There was a one dollar toll to pay at my exit later on, and I did indeed insert four quarters into the machine, but it only counted three! Not having any more change, I had no choice but to drive on. Two times a toll offender.

I haven't been to the downtown area of my city for many years. I'd forgotten just how many tall buildings there are. A rush of excitement, on top of the excitement I was already feeling, surged through me. You've got to understand, I'm still a small-town yokel, essentially. Even at 27 years of age, the everyday world of millions of Americans still has so much I've yet to discover. I feel like such a hick, but the excitement is genuine and, indeed, even childlike and I quite enjoy it.

There was a very nice man, a parking garage security attendant, of whom I had to ask a question. Normally in such situations I adopt an accent, just for my own amusement. As I was parking, I thought that I might have started something I shouldn't have. What if I was selected for the position and saw this chap on a regular basis? Oh, dear.

It was a cool morning, a bit breezy. I walked with purpose, head held high, towards the main entrance. To my right as I was nearing the doors, two doctors in scrubs and white coats were walking in my direction. One woman, one man. The woman was quite attractive. They actually both fit the general stereotype of new doctors. Young, beautiful, confident. I grinned at them and waved before I realised what I'd done. They looked a little curious, as if they should know who I was. Ha. I'm just an extremely excited pre-medical student entering a major hospital for the first time...and to interview for a position!

As I passed through the entrance, I instantly felt at home. In passing the cafeteria, there were doctors, nurses, and other hospital employees alike hanging around, drinking coffee, etc. I looked at them like my colleagues, my peers. Several times I had to remind myself that I still have some milestones to pass before all of that is true, but boy, never have I felt so strongly that I belong somewhere. A wholly inexplicable feeling, that is. But it feels good.

REALLY good.

I was grinning from ear to ear by this point, a spring in my step, all was right with the world. The corridor down which I had to travel to meet my interviewer couldn't have left me with more than an inch of headroom, no lie. It reminded me of that part in the Gene Wilder Willy Wonka film where the passageway kept getting more and more narrow.

The lady who interviewed me was quite nice and seemed to be excited by my excitement. None of the positions for which I applied seemed to be of any concern to her...she kicked in with all of the medical units! All of them sounded absolutely brilliant and I wanted to work in them all. I noticed neurology wasn't in her first. When she mentioned it, I couldn't help but light up. We talked a lot more, about all sorts of things, and then she moved to her computer where she sought to schedule me to work... the neuro unit!

My trousers very nearly became unsuitable for wear.

The whole thing was like God smiling down on me, saying, "Yes, boy. Go on. Do me proud."

If you thought I was in a good mood going in, you should've seen me on my way out! A dancing man I most certainly am not, but I sure felt like gettin' down all the way out through the exit and into the parking lot. "Top of the world, ma!" as Cody Jarrett said...only mine were much more favourable, and sane, circumstances.

In passing the physician's parking area, I saw a doctor come in driving some sort of new, sporty car (figured him for a surgeon...initial reaction,  but who knows). As we passed, I was still smiling and nodded to him, which he returned with a smile.

I felt ten feet tall.

As I was leaving, I took further notice of a big grouping of large buildings overlooking a (probably man-made) lake. They all had to have been at least twenty storeys tall. Impressive feats of architecture. I imagined scenes from a time gone by, what with men in suits and suspenders and women very stylish but reserved in their dress, typewriters dinging and file cabinets all over the place. Lots of wood...desks, chairs...

Then I noticed for which kind of companies these buildings served.


The anti-capitalist in me was instantly outraged and sickened by the kinds of nice, honest imagery I was imagining. No, it isn't like that at all. It never was, I know.

Then I began to wonder why there were so many floors. I wanted to walk in and take a tour, to be honest. Again, with the lil' hick in the big city business. Curiosity ate at me for a bit there at that red light with this imposing cityscape laid out before me, but almost as swiftly as the light changed colour, I'd decided that I didn't care to know the reason for so many floors. Best to leave it to the imagination. It's fun and probably much more satisfying than knowing the actuality of the situation.

My orientation is to take place in two weeks and I start in three. Looks like I'm going to have a lot of patient and nurse interaction, which is bleeding brilliant. Not sure how much I'm going to have the chance to interact with any physicians. High on my agenda is making some connections to perhaps set up some shadowing opportunities and such. I have a feeling that I should consult with the nurses to see if I can suss out which doctors are friendly and welcoming to students and which are not. My interviewer said some of the doctors can be real beasts and to steer clear, which I...I find really disappointing. Ah, well. I understand that the life of a physician is a busy and oftentimes stressful one, and I've got a mind to avoid being annoying and in the way as much as possible.

She did speak, however, of a few doctors who absolutely love to take students under their wings. One doctor is all the time trying to get interested parties in to witness procedures, and she'll even "let" us perform some easy and routine things under her supervision. Heh, reminded me of Huck Finn, but you'd better believe I'm going to snap up every possible opportunity.

To say that I'm thoroughly excited is a massive understatement. This is yet another point in my life where I am reaping the rewards of hard work. Sometimes, sitting down in the windowless first floor of the university library all alone and completely jazzed out on caffeine to keep my eyes peeled open, I get a little put off. Every time, though, that I start to really feel the pressure and the loneliness, something comes along and sets me straight again. For that, I'm eternally grateful.

Can't believe I pried my way into the hospital. Look out, nurses!

May the grace of He keep you always,

J.O. Morris

1 comment:

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