A Whole New World

It’s been a big change for me (Olivia) stepping onto the floors of the hospital, rather than sitting at my desk studying all day! I’ve finished almost 3 weeks so far (out of 10) for my Internal Medicine clerkship and I’ve been LOVING it so far. The days are long, there’s a lot of standing and walking, and we have to work 6/7 days a week – but I’ve been learning a ton, and getting to work with real patients is both rewarding and heartbreaking at times.

Two weeks into my rotation, a patient who I had been following since his admission passed away unexpectedly. I was pretty devastated, especially since he had been “my” patient. He came into the ER on his own two feet for something that should have been self limited, easy to fix, possibly go home the next day – and eight days later, catastrophic things had happened, and he deteriorated quickly.

As a brand new third year medical student seeing real patients for the very first time, he made my transition to the clinical world much easier. One of my biggest fears was bothering patients early in the morning to examine them and ask how they were doing before morning rounds. Despite having to wake him up, he was always pleasant and cheerful. He graciously let me ask him the same questions that my resident and attending already had, repeating his story once again for me – slowly – so that I could write it all down. Instead of being uncooperative or grumpy, he let me listen to his heart and lungs, and push on his belly each day even though he was in a lot of pain. 

He was one of those patients that understood that I was still learning, and needed all the practice I could get to be a good doctor someday. I didn’t get to thank him enough and tell him how appreciative I was, since he ended up in the ICU and was unconscious until he passed away.

My time in the hospital has really opened my eyes to the brokenness of this world – be it physical ailments, sad social situations, broken homes, etc. and sometimes it can be overwhelming even approach the physical ailments when so many other factors are contributing. But I fully intend and will strive to love and care for people like Jesus did, despite all of our own sin and mess. I hope to give my best each day, and to help my patients to the best of my ability – even if that only means all I’m qualified to do is tell my resident that they need something, or to tell them the plan for the day so they don’t get anxious about what’s happening to them – or just spend extra time with them learning about their lives and what’s bothering them.

It’s going to be a crazy year in the clinical world, with rewarding experiences, sad experiences, frustrating ones too, but I am excited for what’s to come (:

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It was a huge blessing for me (Kyle) to find a job in Syracuse and support Olivia as she continues medical school. EY is an awesome company with top-notch experiences and a really engaging culture, so it seemed like the perfect situation to get to join the firm. One of the benefits of consulting is that you get to work with a bunch of different clients doing a broad range of assignments. For someone like me who is still discovering their passions and interests, this is a great opportunity to try out some new things. I am very appreciative of my time at JPMorgan, but it’s cool to take on a whole different type of experience so early in my career.

One new challenge for us is that this job will occasionally require some travel. We knew this going in, and honestly it was something that we were willing to accept, but it’s definitely been made things a little different for us. For the past couple weeks (and likely until early August) I have been flying down to South Florida on Sundays and not coming back until Thursday nights. I’ve never really traveled for work, so everything about this job is brand new to me. As someone who frequently complains about cold weather, I can see why you wouldn’t think this sounds so bad. I will admit that there are worse places to be assigned, and it is somewhat amazing how many more palm trees there are there compared to Syracuse (about 1 million vs. zero). Still, it’s not ideal to be gone for 75% of the week while Olivia is busy at home.

I do like the work that I am doing, even if the hours may be long. Getting to work with a new team and partner with the client has been a great experience, and I’m glad that I ended up at EY. I feel like I have a chance to make a positive impact here, as well as an opportunity to grow and develop my professional abilities. In the future, I hope to travel less and go places that are closer, but sometimes it’s out of my hands. If anything, this new chapter has just forced us to be more intentional in our communication and helps us value our weekends and time together. It would be easy and almost understandable to complain about being apart so much and traveling a couple thousand miles each week, but Olivia is great at helping me see the bigger picture.

At Missio (our church) we have been going through the book of Exodus, a chapter of history that highlights a gracious God and an unappreciative people. Even after asking for deliverance, and then miraculously being freed from Egyptian captivity, the Israelites continued to grumble and complain about the next day’s “problems” and wish they were back in Egypt. It’s easy to see minor road bumps and to forget about how God has so lovingly provided for us. So even though we’re experiencing a new situation in being apart, we have no way to respond other than complete joy and gratitude.