Paradox

When I was in medical school and considering my specialty, someone said to me: “You can train anyone to be a good obgyn.  What you can’t do is train someone to be a caring, kind, and compassionate human being.  People will see that about you and above all, that will stand out.”

Last week I had coffee with one of my current preceptors.  This man interviewed me when I applied to residency.  When I was accepted into this program, he told me that I was his favourite applicant that he’s ever interviewed.  He said I had a passion for life and a light about me that made him know instantly that I would make a great obgyn.  At our little coffee date last week he said to me: “Aggie, I have noticed that you are not the same person today that you were when I interviewed you.  I am so disheartened to see that our program has stripped away the best parts of you in an attempt to make you a good surgeon.  I don’t know why we do this to our residents.”  He continued, “I just wanted to tell you to not let residency win.  This is finite and when it is over, I hope that you will go back to being that person I remember from your interview.”

Both of these people, people I’ve respected and considered mentors, have spoken such true  yet conflicting statements.  In training to become the type of physician I want to be, I have lost the aspects of myself that would make me the kind, caring, and compassionate physician I imagined becoming.  Within this paradox lies my problem.  Can I ever come back from this?  Do I turn around now and work on nurturing myself back into the person I used to be, or do I risk continuing down this path I’m on and perhaps never recovering what I’ve lost?

Is there a right answer?

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Clarity

After the confusion that came from the somewhat cryptic gift from an ex- friend, there is now clarity. 

I spent a few days thinking about how I wanted to react to the receipt of this gift. I agreed with the comments that many of you left: it was not enough of a gesture to warrant any response. However, after going back and forth on how I wanted to respond, and evaluating how I felt about the situation, I decided to send a simple “thank-you” email.  My decision to do this was primarily based on my feeling and desire to be compassionate, if nothing else. And, when I said a simple thank-you, I am not exaggerating: 

Thank-you for the recent stridebox you sent. I hope you are doing well. 

I figured this response was simple enough to let her know that I received the gift and that I was “open” to whatever attempt she was making at reconnecting with me. 

By sending this thank-you, I feel like I was still leaving things in her hands. I was also sure that I wasn’t holding out hope that things would go in a certain direction. I really wasn’t sure what to expect after sending the message.  That was two days ago. 

Today I received yet another email from the company’s customer service department.  They explained that there was some kind of “migration error” and that my address was accidentally printed on a label during their monthly subscription process. They apologized for any confusion or inconvenience that their mistake may have caused. 

So, it turns out that Kay didn’t send me that gift… 

Initially I was angry at the company for realizing this error a few days after I inquired about it and thy causally replied that it was send at a gift.  But then I began wondering why they would have “investigated” the situation further… It made little sense. But I guess if Kay was just as confused about my thanking her for something she never sent, she likely also contacted them to sort out the situation. And, instead of contacting me herself to say she didn’t send it, she relied on the company to do it for her. 

I guess I could be mad at the company for their mistake… I could be angryat myself for being the one to break the silence after so long. However, I’m taking this as an opportunity to claim clarity over the situation. I no longer have the question or uncertainty over what this might have meant. Furthermore, I have also likely received some reinfocent over where she stands in relation to our old friendship: she has no interest in having any contact with me, even if it is something as simple as clarifying some kind of small mix-up. 

This is definitely another level of closure that I needed, despite the passage of time. 

(Although I will say that the universe has a twisted and delusional sense of humour…)

What’s The Reason?

Last night I watched the movie “Sisters” with my husband. It’s not often that we get a chance to watch an adult movie together and we were both in the mood for some mindless comedy. I am also a huge fan of both Tina Fey and Amy Poehler. I enjoyed the movie enough, yet something about the last scene of the movie struck a sensitive chord with me.

This scene, which extended into the rolling credits, sees both women dancing with each other, obviously havin a good time just goofing off and enjoying the best parts of their friendship with each other. Watching this reminded me of the chapters in each of their books where they talk about the development, importance, and significance of their friendship with each other. I was reminded that I don’t have this kind of friendship or relationship with another woman. It makes me sad to realize that. 

This realization was significant for me at this moment. Over the past few days I have been having more dreams and pervasive thoughts about my old friend Kay, whom I’ve mentioned a few times here on this blog. While she is often on my mind more than I would like to admit, I don’t know why dreams of her and I becoming friends again seem to come back in waves and bounds and overwhelm me, with little explanation. Sine the middle of last week, I have probably dreamt about her 3 times and then spent the proceeding days fixated on why they are plaguing me, or what those dreams mean.

This week, however, has been different from the previous times I’ve thought about her. This time I have an overwhelming feeling that I should be acting on my thoughts: reaching out to her and somehow telling her how she’s been on my mind. I almost feel like there is some kind of “force” that is telling me that she needs to hear from me. 

But why?

When I am sad about how our friendship failed, I try to find solace in pictures, quotes, and memes that circulate through social media: Those ones that encourage us to let go of the people in our lives who hurt us, or to recognize when people are causing distress in our life and decide to remove them (as I try to understand why she ended the friendship), or just simply accepting that the sun sets on some relationships even when we don’t always know why.  So, I don’t understand why, after so long, I still feel compelled to reach out. What good will it do?

Besides likely lead to more rejection, what could possibly come from this? What do I think is going to happen?  It’s not like anything will ever be close to what it was before – it’s not like I will ever have the valuable closeness and sister-like relationship that I saw in its purest form at the end of the movie last night….

However, I can’t stop thinking about the one time, far back at the beginning of our mentoring relationship, when I took a step out of my comfort zone and sent her a letter of kindness and support. I feared, for weeks, that I had steeps over a boundary; yet it turned out that my letter was the exact offer of kindness and compassion that she needed in her moment of struggle.  It was that letter that really paved the way for what Our friendship did become. Are these dreams and thoughts just some calling that she needs this kind of compassion now?

I don’t know.  It’s doesn’t make sense to me. And mostly, I am just confused about what I am thinking about and why I feel so compelled to reach out to someone who hurt me so much an showed such little compassion to me in my time of need.