Mans Greatest Hospital Pediatric Residency Reunion
December 18, 2020
I wasn’t sure if I was going to log-in last night to the virtual reunion for our pediatric residency at Mans Greatest Hospital. I thought I needed to go for a run or pick up a bag of plastic pollution, but honestly the pull of seeing some old friends so easily without spewing carbon into the air was too tempting. So I logged in a few minutes late (not to seem too eager), and I was thrust back in time. Even without the glory of the marble facade of Mans Greatest Hospital, the tone of the meeting was the same as over a decade ago. A lot of older white men reliving their glory days and syncophantic individuals in their 50s nodding obsequiously. Politicing when so little is at stake. I sat and watched with a bemused Dr. Plastic Picker smile from Southern California as they huddled buried in snow. The older generation and the generation in their 50s all looked so cold in more ways than one. Messages of former remembered clinical glories peppered the chat box for all to see. Then finally, the breakout sessions which is the only reason I logged on.
It was so wonderful to see the faces of friends. Smiles of now Pediatric Endocrine Fellowship Directors who stayed and braved those political waters. Smiles of married former residents who had children and found love, as clinicians teaching the next generation of trainees. Smiles of former interns who are now skilled specialist, but I remember having to scold because they wanted to leave their rotation early to attend to their medical appointments. Really they should have been allowed to, but back then we needed them for back up in case of multiple deliveries and we were only chief residents anyway. Smiles of former interns who have gone through so much, their own children’s serious diagnoses and now medical director of clinics and services. Smiles of former medical students now specialist who have lived abroad and practicing a life of service and adventures I can only imagine. Just smiles.
I got to show my tween daughter to some of those friends, and Mr. Plastic Picker begrudgingly said hi to all. I was just good to see everyone’s faces and they looked so beautiful, healthy and good. The three years of residency and my particular class had been a wonderful time. I sometimes forget that as I work through other issues.
Mr. Plastic Picker and I sometimes wonder about the alternate universe if we had stayed. We don’t wonder often, but it does cross my mind occassionally. I think about it more now that our son is in the middle of high school, and we’ll be looking at colleges soon. I honestly don’t think my Southern California raised son would do well in the snowstorms out east now. It’s not easy living in all that snow. Claremont Colleges, USC, USD, Santa Clara, Stanford, Berkeley, UCSD, UC Davis and even University of Washington where it rains – are looking better to his mother. Would he even really want to live through the frigid winters in Ithica or New Hampshire? A younger pediatrician than myself, who I don’t even know, was prattling about how challenging and rewarding being in healthcare at college physician at the University of New Hampshire. It’s interesting watching people from the same training background who I actually don’t know talk, as you see echoes of yourself in them. Establishing legitamacy professionally. Justification for some professional moves. Telling ones story. Perhaps that is what we were all doing yesterday. Telling our friends our stories. Telling the faceless institution our story. But back to our son (as this blog is my story and I just write about whatever I want LOL). He’s within striking distance with his high school grades and performance. He did well on his physics test last night and we all celebrated that. It would be hard to celebrate with him if he is far away, so I’m being selfish in that I would not mind if he stayed closer to his mother.
But he won’t. He has already told me. He and his father, Mr. Plastic Picker, are plotting his academic journey which inclues summer accelerated science classes and writing competitions. Mr. Plastic Picker is living his best life in southern california. I did talk about myself probably too much yesterday. I think I looked really good on camera, as my hair is very full now since switching to HiBar shampoo. But I actually did listen more than I would have usually before becoming Dr. Plastic Picker. It was just really good to see everyone. When one friend asked me how Southern California was professionally. I replied simply to them, “Life is easy. I live near the beach. If it’s 50 degrees I get cold!” But what I wanted to say to the cold white marbeled walls of Mans Greatest Hospital, within the walls that formed me as a pediatrician and within the walls that both my children were born, is that MGH – the Dr. Plastic Picker family did okay. That little boy and little preemie girl did okay. I think it was too cold out there (within your walls) for us after we had kids, but we found our way back to my home near the beach. It was so great to see you though, and it looks like you are doing well.