Boat school is over! Today was graduation with a certificate attesting that I earned 66 CME credits. Yay! This is something that I didn’t care about at all until very recently, when I learned that CME is how you keep your state license. Prior to that, I thought it was something I would only have to worry about when I became board-certified. BTW, that will be in about a hundred billion years.
Tomorrow, I am going to the hospital to attend morning education lectures and to talk/interview with the program director for the SD residency. It’s more for information so that I can make a more informed choice when applying for GME-2. Also, Bethesda will definitely undergo some big changes with the BRAC and combining of the hospitals. Although people say it will be the biggest and greatest, I definitely have some doubts as to how high a priority a little ol’ 2012 ENT chiefie will be in the grand scheme of things. And although I’m used to being somewhat low on the totem pole (HELLO internship year!), I think it would stink to have procedure numbers affected while bigger battles are being fought.
Sitting in my BOQ room, I realize that if I lived here for an extended period, I could comment extensively on weddings. Right behind the BOQ (ambience!) there’s actually a beautiful water view and a lot of couples take advantage of it. Even on Wednesdays! The topic I have the strongest feelings about is the toast. Unfortunately the AC outside my window kicks in when I’m most interested in eavesdropping on whatever train wreck is being broadcast through the microphone. Tonight’s winner was definitely the uncle toasting his “favorite niece.” His theatrical vocal inflection begged for laughter at certain lines. Unfortunately, no one did. And this was a crowd that laughed uproariously at other toasts. I guess a fourth-hand recounting of the engagement story didn’t tickle anyone’s funny bone.
What am I doing in my BOQ room? Typing (← that’s about as funny as the uncle). After going out the past few weeks with visitors and hanging out with friends, this is the weekend that I am all alone! Which is totally manageable, but no cool Saturday night things popped up so I decided to organize my things. *Yawn* The main motivation for this is to make 110 pounds of essential things somehow magically consolidate into 50 pounds, give or take. But I can’t help the fact that I’m taking tons of uniforms with accompanying shoes. And important! documents! that could not simply be packed for the identity thieves to steal. Plus, I do have some normal people clothes, make-up, shoes, and other things that turn into lead once I zipper the bag shut.
I am in a state of disgusting over-packedness because I am soon headed to the Western Pacific to meet up with the ship I will be a GMO (general medical officer). There I will take all my mad inpatient skills of pain control, crazy potent antibiotics, fever work-ups, and the occasional surgery and toss them overboard in favor of a potpourri of outpatient clinic visits with lots of ortho and GYN complaints. Nice. I’ve definitely changed the focus of my nightly reading and it’ll be a challenge but I’m really excited.
After about 2 months afloat, I’ll be in Japan. I can’t wait. It is something so totally new that I want to preserve the feeling of complete and total disorientation. Hopefully, I’ll adapt and make a life of my own among the newness. At the same time, I definitely want to avoid glamorizing, idealizing, or exoticizing the unfamiliar. I want to minimize the observation by the artist Vik Muniz, “So much of what we see is based on what we already know.” I want to remove the distorting lens and filters of my previous experience. Which is completely and totally impossible. Oh, the tension! It warms my religion major’s soul. A little liberal arts trained thinking during my most operational experience yet? Sweet!