You Should've Seen Me When I First Came Here

Today I listened while two doctors discussed a patient who is also a friend. This patient has alarming findings on MRI of the spine, and spends his entire day in active, physical work I got an excellent refresher on spinal pathology and also a glimpse into what it's like to provide medical care to someone you've come to know well, and really love as a member of your own community.

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Kaila loving the big sky before snowshoeing.

The discussion centered on going back to the reports, reading the radiologist's notes, and stepping away from the emotion of it all. The collaboration between these two docs bounced back and forth from supremely rational to emotionally weighted. They made a concerted effort to remove their worry about their friend from the case analysis. They discussed referral for a second opinion, and reread the reports several times. In the end, they concluded that perhaps things weren't as bad as they thought, and that first things first, they must check in with the patient regarding actual symptoms.

I spoke to my mother, a dermatologist in the Boston area, over the weekend and she told me that four of Friday's patients thanked her for being there. My mom's comment was, "You probably hear that all the time." She's right, I do. It's probably every third patient I see that tells me I should've seen them when they first came in here. They tell me Dr. Beeson has completely turned their life around. Dr. B always smiles, hugs, thanks them for their kindness, and remembers to acknowledge that very little could actually come of her doctoring if the patient wasn't ready and willing to contribute their own effort.

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Off the Beartooth Highway near Red Lodge.

Doctoring is absolutely an art. Yes, I'm learning about when to order which type of ultrasound, but I'm also learning a heck of a lot about the core of just being there so that the patient who needs the ultrasound comes seeking your help in the first place. Last week, my classmate Kaila came to stay with me here in Billings for a residency interview at YNC. It was such a treat to have her company while dancing to live music on Friday night, followed by a trip over to Red Lodge for a spectacular snowshoe hike in the mountains on Saturday. I loved sharing an appreciation for being outside in the sun and snow with all that crisp fresh air all around! And, we got to talk and talk about our respective experiences of applying to residencies and the stress of not knowing what happens next. It was a relief to realize she also has had a lot to mull over concerning the future.

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Where Kaila and I went for a drive after our hike.

I recently took stock of the past few years of my life. It's silly, but I did this partially by looking through my Instagram feed (@zoozzah). What I learned in looking back is that I've really thrived by studying hard. I am enlivened by intellectual conversation and by practicing medicine. I'm so excited to start life as a doctor, and also to have my conversation partner back in my life. Hanzi comes to Montana next week! He will help me wrap things up here, and then we will make the drive back to Chicago for graduation. The day is fast approaching! Just a few more posts from me, and then you'll be hearing from a new blogger -- speaking of which, anyone out there interested?