"Oh, the shapes and colors-"
"You'll Never Amount to Anything."
This was the same chairman who, during my internship, after listening to me explain the molecular mechanism of hyperkalemic periodic paralysis, asked me in front of a roomful of pediatric interns and residency applicants to draw a diagram of the mechanism on the board. After a split-second silence, I said, "Sure" and walked up to the board and drew it. Then I left that program and started my anesthesia career.
But that's when learning became grueling.
During my first year in anesthesia residency I took an early leave-of-absence to help my husband and children move to the Boston area, and the day I returned, with my "skill set" still nonexistent (how I hate that phrase), or embryonic at best after only two weeks on the job, the attending physician I was working with sniped at me all day with insults before finally saying, "Maybe you shouldn't be doing anesthesia." When I looked at him in disbelief that a teacher could be so un-helpful to a trainee, not to mention in pain at being disparaged all day, he just emphasized, "Yeah. Maybe you shouldn't."
His labeling of me haunted me in various ways throughout my training, and despite some genuine teachers, like my residency program director, who were willing to judge me for the good progress I made and the expertise I attained by the time our training ended, there were still those who didn't have the capacity to look past that prejudicial incident and my early struggles during that challenging first year. Thankfully they weren't able to discourage me from taking good care of my patients - from the Peruvian child at Children's who put his arms around my waist and thanked me the day after I had to intubate him awake with a fiberoptic device, to the elderly Korean gentleman who spoke no English but conveyed his thanks with a squeeze of my hand. It was in these unseen, uncredited moments that I felt I was truly a physician my program could be proud of.
To the teachers who actually TAUGHT, I send out a heartfelt thank you, for bringing me to this successful place: