Friday, May 09, 2008

the graduate

So the graduation ceremony was nice, though as with all graduations, somewhat overlong. I didn't get to stay for the whole thing, since part of my task that afternoon was running home to get Cal so that we could make it back up to the graduation dinner. ("Why didn't you just bring him along to the graduation ceremony?" one might ask. Well, because I am an anesthesiologist by training, and my goal is to MINIMIZE pain. The idea of forcing a not-quite three year-old to sit through a three hour ceremony in which the defining characteristic, even for adults, is EXTREME BOREDOM...that would not have been a good idea.) There were some nice moments--I particularly liked the speaker they invited, who though he was the New York Health Commissioner (doctor, check; important, check) was only their second choice, invited hastily after they rescinded the invitation to their first choice speaker earlier this Spring. Who was the first choice? Eliot Spitzer. Nice.

My dad (who is a doctor too, as is my mom...I know most of you know that, but for those who don't it's sort of salient to the observation that follows), watching the processional of the soon-to-be-new-M.D.s filing in, noted that he had been to the White Coat Ceremony for this group of med students four years ago as well. The White Coat Ceremony, by the way, is this little induction-type event they have just prior to starting med school where all the new baby med students get crowded into an auditorium, lectured grandly about the glories of medicine, and are finally "cloaked" with their first white coats, which is, no matter how cynical and jaded you are, a very exciting event. "That was their happiest moment, I think," my dad observed. "They look a little more cautious now. They're not quite as idealistic. The reality has set in."

"Yeah," I chimed in not quite as eloquently, like some asshole frat big brother hazing the new pledges. "Now the PAIN begins!"

Fresh graduates, if I may be presumptuous, let me pass on some advice that my surgery preceptor gave me back in med school with respect to residency. "First there is pain. Then there is more pain. Then you learn to love the pain." Oh, Dr. Edwards, you were exactly right.

Congratulations, new doctors! You're going to be great. Now roll up your sleeves and get in here.