So that’s that, the end of residency. There’s no one word that can describe the last three years. Residency had been challenging, no doubt, with a steep learning curve, long work hours, and long board exams to study for. Throw two kids in the mix, balancing work and family life has made the experience a little more interesting.
However, there was no time that I felt unsupported. I am thankful for my attendings and colleagues who have welcomed me to this residency program, believed in my potential, and guided me to reach my goals. Not only do they have super smart brains to pick, but also lots of collective years of experience and wisdom to guide us in our career as family physicians.
I am thankful to have co-residents who have made all those night floats and 24 hour calls as smooth as anyone can hope for, and even a pleasant experience. We step up to cover each other when we get sick or have family matters to attend to. My co-residents have been our friends, and the first people we call whenever we want to hang out, have dinner or get-togethers, have kids play dates, or a work-out partner. We include each other in our weddings, baby showers, and other important life events. I will truly miss the individuals I have grown a relationship with during the last three years.
My family has been my core support, and a big reason why I am here today in Macon, as a family physician. Living five minutes from my parents have been amazing. Prior to residency, I had lived away from home for 12 years, my educational journey taking me from St. Louis for undergrad, to Athens (Georgia) for post-bacc and research, and St. Maarten, Miami, New York, Gainesville (Florida), and the United Kingdom for medical school. Now, with my parents just down the street, my daughters can grow up having a relationship with their grandparents. Irene’s parents are not too far either, in Valdosta, just 2 hours from here. And Irene’s sister, with her two kids, are just an hour north in Atlanta. My dad, as a physician, has also been a part of Irene’s and my growth in medicine. My mom provides us with childrearing tips and of course, fresh vegetables from her garden. And then of course my wife Irene has been the best partner in crime I can ever have, and has made this journey even more meaningful.
And not to forget, there are my patients, who had been the brick and mortar in my training to become a family physician. I have patients who I have delivered, advised on important health decisions, and given comfort at the end of life. I have given good news, and I have given bad news. I have grown a lot, not only in my medical knowledge or clinical skills, but in my ability to treat the whole person and not just the disease.
Lots of things have happened in the last three years. When we first started off intern year, Irene and I were new parents, and Lyra was just 2 months old. We rented an apartment in North Macon. I had just graduated from medical school at AUC. I was 195 lbs and had a head with a decent amount of hair. Today, Irene and I are now parents of two daughters – Lyra is now 3 years old and running all over the place, and ordering us to do things; and Aria is 9 months old and growing teeth and will eat anything if you are not paying attention. I’ve lost about 20 lbs and part of that is from my balding hair. I passed USMLE step 3 on the first try. I got my Georgia license, my DEA, and got to moonlight during residency. I passed my ABFM family medicine board exam prior to finishing residency and graduated on time with my fellow residents. I can’t ask for more during these three years.
What’s the next chapter in the Gung-Ho story? Irene and I will be starting our own private outpatient family practice in Macon. My dad will be retiring from outpatient pediatrics and we will be taking over his practice and changing it to family medicine. We are grateful to him for this. We will see both kids and adults. I’m looking forward to working with Irene and starting this venture together. More to come!
Graduation photos courtesy of Navicent Health.