Looking back over this solar cycle, I can identify so many patterns. So many subtle changes that were imperceptible at the time, but obvious in retrospect. Especially when compared to the previous year.
Like 2016, I divide my weekly reflections into categories: miscellaneous musings, clinical reflections, Step One, physical practices, and love. This way, I can quantify my emotions over the cycle and contrast them to last year.
Miscellaneous Musings (14/52)
In this section, you’ll find my various ramblings on the subjects of life, the universe, and everything.
You can fill in the gaps from other sections: the gap between the start of the year and late May/early June consisted of Step One posts. Then, from “On the calm before the storm” to “On the chaos of life” consisted of clinical reflections after third year clerkships began. In the fall, a resumption of miscellaneous posts during my Neuro/Psych rotation when the clinical responsibilities relaxed.
Almost no idea-driven posts, when compared to last year. Now, quick reflections on life and the feelings of the week. Less time and more emotions.
0101 – On 2016 (as told through weekly reflections)
0115 – On ramps (or merging into the traffic of responsibilities)
0319 – On the change of seasons (or Course Seven: a post-mortem)
0529 – On quiet transitions (or the end of second year)
0604 – On slow starts (or a quiet beginning to MS3)
0611 – On the calm before the storm
1001 – On the chaos of life (or a stream of consciousness battle with writer’s block)
1022 – On a letter from past self and to future self
1029 – On Death, revisited
1112 – On the cold (or embracing an ally)
1119 – On a mish-mash of reflections (or almost halfway done with third year)
1203 – On parental practice and burnout measures (or the beginning of Women’s Health/Pediatrics)
1217 – On a series of unfortunate events (or the second Vanna White debacle)
1224 – On delayed reflection
Clinical Reflection (13/52)
In this section, you’ll read my thoughts on the clinic, both inpatient and outpatient, both the humans being treated and the humans treating others.
It’s funny to look back on the 2016 retrospective, where I had a section for “Medical School”. Now, the clinic is the focus. The stakes are higher and the emotions run deeper.
I started the year with such emotional commitment to the clinic and I feel that I barely recognize the Eugene that entered Internal Medicine in June. My compassion has waned. Where did it go? Will I find it again?
I hope so. I hope that I’m experiencing a necessary slump during my training. I hope that I will rebound into the physician that I want to be.
0618 – On mixed findings (or the beginning of Internal Medicine)
0625 – On the clinical grind (or the cost of earned knowledge)
1015 – On my love for the physical exam (or halfway through Neuro/Psych)
0716 – On showing, not telling (or a meditation on compassion)
0723 – On a long week (or halfway through Internal Medicine)
0730 – On change (or the lack thereof)
0806 – On clinical DGAF
0813 – On time compression
0820 – On nights
0903 – On emotional triage (or Internal Medicine: a post-mortem)
0910 – On taking aim (or the beginning of Neuro/Psych)
1008 – On “Jim” (or a well-deserved death)
1126 – On existential crises and canine companions (or Neuro/Psych: a post-mortem)
Step One (11/52)
In this section, you’ll read my collected writings on Step One: the first board exam of my career.
The subtitles tell a story of their own. With two delays to the countdown, what should have originally been a handful of posts turned into their own entire section of this year.
Eleven weeks, almost a whole season, spent considering this single exam. Eight hours of life that determines a large portion of my eligibility for residency. And thus, a sizable chunk of my career.
0226 – On social weekends (or the start of Step Countdown)
0326 – On Wim Hof and Chill (or 29 days to Step One)
0402 – On time dilation (or 22 days to Step One)
0409 – On bitter pills (or 15 days to Step One)
0416 – On necessary atrophy (or 8 days to Step One)
0423 – On delaying the inevitable (or 18 days to Step One)
0501 – On a goodbye to Tampa (or 11 days to Step One)
0507 – On the move (or 12 days to Step One)
0514 – On the final stretch (or 5 days to Step One)
0522 – On the other side (or 2 days since Step One)
0702 – On a tale of eight data points (or Step One: a post-mortem)
Physical Practices (8/52)
In this section, you’ll read my thoughts on a physical practice.
I want to move like I did last year. During 2016, only 5/52 posts were on the subject of movement, but I had a much stronger practice. Looking only at the dates, you’ll notice that the year started off strong, with lots of Jiu-Jitsu talk through February, then a steep drop-off until a quick post in July and then a final one in December.
This reflects the demands on my time, with clerkships leaving me tired and drained at the end of a long day. However, if I can maintain these practices now, then I can hopefully continue them during residency.
This year has left me feeling old at 28, let’s hope that I feel this old at 38.
0108 – On a New Year (or winter break in Yuba City)
0122 – On a tree a day
0129 – On lobsters and uncomfortable messages
0205 – On game day (or my first Jiu-Jitsu competition)
0212 – On relaxing for long-term gains (or the perspective of competition)
0219 – On a minor concussion
0709 – On the exploration of limitations
1210 – On snow, saunas, and headaches (or getting my mojo back)
In this section, you’ll read posts that are close to my heart.
From last year’s section on Love, I wrote: “Looking at how few posts I’ve written on the love of my family and partner, I’m conflicted… Maybe it’s a sign of good and quiet news: no tragedies which required reflection.”
I’m surprised at my own foresight. Two deaths: a grandfather I barely knew and a cat that wouldn’t stop talking. A car accident that nearly took the life of my brother-in-law.
This year has been heavy and difficult. Not just because of my clinical clerkships, but because of the onslaught of life that accompanies age. Perhaps this year was the crucible that will form me into the human I want to be, or perhaps it will mark the change into someone that I don’t recognize.
Only time will tell and these reflections help me keep track of the shifts.
0305 – On a maternal grandfather
0312 – On happiness and appreciation
0827 – On relaxing, reflection, and reunion
0917 – On holes of the heart (or ode to a garbage cat)
0925 – On family reunions (or the transition to fall)
1105 – On giving thanks, once again
Emotionally, I am rejuvenated by this break. The week with my family and this trip to Fort Bragg with Mackenzi’s family has been a great boon to the both of us.
Spiritually, I feel like I am tuning into the West Coast’s atmosphere and it is lovely. In just our backyard, there are a dozen different fruiting mushroom species. The flora are a totally different type than I’m used to, but I feel like it is a wonderful adventure and introduction.
Physically, stiffness, the third week in a row. Movement started strong with a YMCA trip in San Francisco, but since then we’ve been stretching a bit but moving less.
Relationally, a few missed opportunities to interview my family, something that I’ve been wanting to record for my own benefit. Other than that, quality time has been relaxed and enjoyable.
Emotional – 4/5
Spiritual – 4/5
Physical – 2/5
Relational – 3/5
Total – 13/20
3wk running total – 38/60
Long Form Sundays
- On delayed reflection
- On a series of unfortunate events (or the second Vanna White debacle)
- On snow, saunas, and headaches (or getting my mojo back)