This weekend we celebrated Jon's graduation from residency. Graduations are accomplishments, for sure; but residency graduation is really something to celebrate.
Seven years ago Jon entered this program right out of 4 years of medical school, which had followed 4 1/2 years of college (engineering degree). He was smart and a hard worker, but residency is a task that pushes a person to the limit even more.
Intern year was insane. Converting your body and mind to working crazy hours, staying up past the normal limits, and being the lowest man on the totem pole is difficult. And then two "junior" residency years of working crazy hours with the stress of learning to operate and learning appropriate patient care. When those three years are over there is light at the end of the tunnel: two lab years - except that those years are spent operating and juggling research and lab time, so they are only slightly less busy. And then a year overseas to learn even more in a new environment: shifting from everything that's been learned over the past 5 years to accommodate a new system, new attendings, and added responsibilities. And then another move back to the US to become chief resident - being at the top of the residents should in theory have advantages but then you're also responsible for everything that happens below you. The hours are crazier than ever, and it is just as mentally draining as the beginning.
But something incredible has happened over the past 7 years as I've watched my husband go through his residency. All the hard work and efforts serve a greater purpose than just mere torture: he has become a true surgeon and a great doctor. I am just so proud of him.
Charlottesville is a small community. And recently someone that we see in our daily lives needed brain surgery. And Jon was the resident in charge of her case. I saw her family member a few days ago and she said that Jon was an amazing doctor. They were so impressed by his patient care - going to her workplace to speak with her personally about the procedure, the way he discussed everything with her family before and after the surgery in the hospital. She called him amazing and an angel. And most importantly, her complicated surgery went well, thank goodness.
It puts things in perspective that this is not just a job or a career: this is Jon showing up every day to help someone like this woman. I'm impressed.