Each year, soon-to-be graduating medical students count down to the third Friday in March, also known as Match Day, when they find out where they will continue their medical training.
Vidya Viswanathan, a fourth-year medical student at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania and founder of Doctors Who Create, shares her thoughts as she prepares for the next step in her career.
Almost exactly a year ago, there was a blizzard in the forecast and I had to go to work.
The junior medical students had the day off, since the snow was predicted to be intense. This told me that I had taken another step up in the medical hierarchy. But I also felt a tug of annoyance — I had to go in on a snow day!
When I entered the hospital, its usual noise was muffled. I visited the room of my patient: a toddler who had been on my floor for weeks after leaving the intensive care unit. Every day I saw him, he barely left his bed, where he glumly played with a few toy cars. He rarely smiled.
When I rounded that day, I mentioned the snow to his mother. Her eyes widened in surprise. She didn’t know it was snowing because she hadn’t left the hospital in days, and the blinds remained closed.
This is the reality of being hospitalized. Hours blend into days and sometimes months, making the outside world less important.
I walked over to the blinds and opened them, letting in light and the perfect image of snow coating the roof of the neighboring building, with snowflakes continuing to fall softly. Then I heard a sound I had never heard from my patient, over the many days I saw him in the hospital.
He was laughing. He began to clap as he laughed, and repeatedly kissed his mother’s face, refusing to let her go.
Read the rest of Vidya’s blog post on Philly.com and keep an eye out for more stories from PSOM students Ivy Maina and Mallika Marar in the Philadelphia Inquirer this week. You can join the Match Day excitement by following #PSOMMatch.