White Coated


So the moment has come in which I have a white coat on my shoulders and I look down, and realize in some sort of mixture of amazement and terror that there’s a name tag on it with my name on it,.. this isn’t some sort of sick joke or mistake, someone actually thinks it’s a good idea to send me out into masses of poor unsuspecting patients tomorrow, assuming that something other than nausea/mayhem/confusion/stupor will result. Something resembling a legitimate patient encounter in which a patient presents a problem, and leaves with some sort of appropriate plan in place. Orchestrated in part…. by me.

Sorry I had to take a moment to hunt down that barf bag I saved from my last plane flight for just such an occasion….

It’s true that I have been spending hours too numerous to count in the classroom and on my couch and at my desk under a pile of syllabi, tissue, coffee mugs and cats,… and it’s also true that I have some grades to show for it,. but here’s the rub: I now have to REMEMBER everything I’ve learned. Maybe not tomorrow exactly, unless I have a patient who comes in with a rash and upon examination is also found to have glaucoma, murmur, kidney stones, bunions, nose polyps, stomach parasite, and hemorrhoids at age 7 which would just about cover the classes I have had,… but chances are the patients I see will have something I know nothing about, and won’t know about until April, which by then will be far too late to impress my apparently “incredibly smart” preceptor, Alex, who will surely shake his head muttering something in Russian (he speaks Russian) and call our program to see if they sent the right person, or if they were just seeking revenge on him for something he did when he was in the program in the recent past.
Despite the angst and vexation I feel, I do intend to hold up my end of the bargain and show up with my stethoscope in tow. Alex seems to be a nice enough chap who may not send me to my death on the first day, but I’m pretty sure that over the next, oh,..say six months’ worth of Fridays the most common sentences you will hear coming out of my mouth will be a mixture of: “I don’t know.” “I forgot to ask them that.” “I’m going to go look that up.” “huh?” “Nope,.. I don’t know.”
I’ve actually gone to Costco, there was a coupon in their monthly deals so I stocked up on 10-packs of Humble Pie, I intend to indulge myself readily this spring. Care to join me? Just go to PA school.
Well,.. I think I have adequately expressed the joy and trepidation I feel at this moment,… Friday clinicals were one of the main reasons why I wanted to come to Utah,.. I’m not sure what I was thinking but here I am! Our faculty has assured us that we’re ready, and perhaps they’re right,. you never feel ready for any major endeavor you undertake,.. think I ever felt “ready” to teach third grade each year that I taught? I was excited if I went home thinking, “yep,. I knew what I was doing today.” So perhaps it’s going to be overwhelming for a while, and then slowly I will be able to wean myself off the Dramamine and be able to sit through a whole office visit with a patient without peeing my pants.
Thanks for the support,. I’m a stress eater so if you feel sorry enough you can send anything chocolate my way! Anyway, here’s to making it far enough in PA school to earn the coat, and to 18 more months of effort to ensure that I get to keep it! Blessings.


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