Today was my last day of fellowship. I'm pagerless for the first time in 8 years.
This has been a long, long journey. I'm not sure I've ever told the "how I knew I wanted to be a doctor" story. Unlike some of my friends, it wasn't something I ever thought about doing. I didn't know any doctors. No one's dad or mom was in medicine. It wasn't something people did where I grew up. I'll save that story for another day.
Today wasn't a bad day. Busy, but not terrible. I turned in trusty pager 3446, thankful to never hear the screech of that thing again. I updated my sign-out, the list of patients we are actively following, for the next fellow coming on. I took a few last phone calls, talked to some residents about the plans for their patients.
Soon it was 5p. I unceremoniously got up, put my white coat on, grabbed my purse, and left. I saw another of the fellows, and said I'd see her tomorrow for the "We're Unemployed!" Party I'm hosting.
I walked out of the VA. It won't be the last time. I have a few more days of liver biopsies to do. But, it was my last day leaving as a fellow. I felt like there should've been music, fireworks, something. Instead, I just felt a great sense of accomplishment and freedom. True, those feelings were mixed with the nausea of wondering how I'm going to fool people into believing I know what I'm talking about.
Every one's journey to being a doctor is different. Mine was pretty straight forward. College for 4 years, then med school for 4 years. Residency was 3 years, plus an extra year for the Chief Resident year. Now, 2 years of fellowship have ended. That's 10 solid years of medical training. Ten freaking years. On the one hand it's a ton of time. On the other hand, there are a whole host of diseases I've never seen. Heck, there are a ton that I've barely read about, let alone seen with my own eyes. So, although I'm as prepared as I'll ever be, there's always that feeling of wanting to train just a little bit longer.
Eventually, we need to step out of the nest and see if we can fly. Let's hope the next years are as great an experience as the last 14.