1/2 Doctor

In the 1978 smash hit Grease, as the movie was nearing its end, Sandra Dee (look at her!) turns to Frenchie and says, “Frenchie babe. I desperately need to ingratiate myself to unreliable 18 year old playboy Danny Zuko! So you get to work on changing my outer appearance, and I’ll get to work internally transforming the sweet lovable Aussie I’ve always been, to become a carbon copy of the fantasy girl that I believe this immature boy really fancies!” And BAM, in the next scene, Sandra Dee Olsen (Sandy for short) has completely changed everything about herself for the attention of a manĀ boy. Then there’s this random scene at the very end of the movie where they get into a car and it flies around the school carnival or something. This is especially frustrating when the whole movie up to this point has been grounded in reality and has had zero fantasy aspects to explain this magical/fantastical element and we as the audience are just supposed to accept it. But alas, I’m not here to talk about the missteps of Grease. I’m here to talk about change. Change change change. As Heraclitus said in an effort to sound profound, “Change is the only constant in life.” He was right. Everything is constantly changing. Sandra Dee (look at her!) was inevitably going to change, but it’s slightly disappointing that her change was brought on by chasing the affection of a manĀ boy that up to that point, hadn’t been so great to her. I recently have had a big transformation, so I’m no stranger to change. Two years ago I never would have had the confidence and ability to command a patient experience in a medical exam setting, but here I am. I’m halfway through my education and I’m seeing patients with a newfound attitude that has been cultivated through my two years at Ohio State!

Look Sandy, I get it – you needed a transformation. I recently had a big transformation too, but I did it on my own terms. You changed yourself for a guy with a magic car. Well actually, when I take the magic car into account, it starts to make more sense that you’d abandon your values for him, but was the car really magic? Maybe the car wasn’t magic. Maybe you hit your head in the Shake Shack (the carnival fun house) and hallucinated the magic car. I need to stop thinking about this magic car … but seriously, what was up with that magic car?

That’s right, I’m halfway through my training. I’m half of a doctor!

Sassy Mister Jenkins: “Which half of the doctor are you?”

Ugh, is that sassy Mr. Jenkins? Always with the sass! I’m not literally half a doctor sassy Mr. Jenkins, but rather I am halfway through my training. At this point in the program, I am dividing almost as much time seeing patients outside of the classroom as I am sitting in the classroom. It’s exciting and for me to get to this point has required tremendous change to the person I was two years ago. I’m not going to pretend that I’m cool and calm (Like Danny Zuko), I definitely get nervous before my exams, but I’m finding out that I’m able to roll with the punches and deal with the setbacks with a surprising amount of calm during my exams. I never knew I could be cool and collected in any situation, so that’s a big change for me! In clinic, I’m learning not to catastrophize failures, but instead use them as learning experiences to improve myself as a doctor. It’s scary to enter the patient arena knowing that I don’t know everything, but that’s why we have safety nets (the attendings) who double check our work, point out our mistakes, and help us to move on and grow. It would be nice to walk into clinic, do everything perfect, and go home at the end of the day in our magic flying cars, but that is unrealistic. I’m going to need to see thousands of patients and make numerous mistakes before I’m anywhere near ready to be a doctor. That is however, going to take some time. I look forward to seeing how much I grow in these next two years and how much more I will change before I transform into a complete doctor. And I promise, all the change that happens to me will only be to make me a better, stronger, and more confident health care provider for the good of my patients. I won’t allow a sweet talking leather jacket wearing renegade with a magic car corrupt me or jeopardize the person I want to become. I will not be a Sandra Dee (DON’T look at her )!