Sunday, July 29, 2012

Dr. Joint

One of the rough things about leaving my first residency was that I felt that I was letting people down. Namely, I was letting down the attendings who had written me letters and supported me to get into that program.

There was one attending named Dr. Joint who was a rheumatologist that I had rotated with during medical school. After a month working together, I told him that I was really interested in doing my medicine residency there and I begged him to write me a letter.

Dr. Joint didn't love me, but he appeared to like me well enough. He gave me honors in the rotation and wrote some nice stuff about me. He also probably wrote me a letter to help me get into the medicine residency.

I felt like when I decided to leave, I was really letting Dr. Joint down. I felt awful about it. I saw him around the hospital a few times and I basically ran and hid so I didn't have to face him.

Then one day I ran into him while I was walking to the hospital and I couldn't avoid him. He started walking next to me and asked me how I was doing.

"I'm okay..." I said.

"How is intern year?" he asked. "It's almost over, right?"

"It was... pretty busy," I replied.

"Worse than you expected?"

"No, not really."

He laughed. "So are you here for the whole three years?"

I was shocked. After all my obsessing about how I let him down, he didn't even know whether or not I was a medicine resident. It just goes to show that nobody cares about what you're doing as much as you think they do.

Anyway, I told Dr. Joint I was only there for the year and he asked me if I had switched over. (So maybe he did know?) I told him that I was doing rehab the next year and his response was: "I know, medicine's pretty intense, isn't it? I don't like it either, that's why I did rheumatology. Rehab is nice and laid back."

Then he started talking about how much rehab relates to rheumatology, etc. I think of everyone in the entire hospital that I told about my decision, he was the most positive about it. I guess as a rheumatologist, he was used to being given crap about his specialty being too boring and too easy.


  1. Such a great post, Fizzy.

    And the moral of the story is.... don't let imagined loyalties keep you from doing what's best for you (or your fam). This goes for basically any decision. Of course you will end up making someone mad completely inadvertently by doing something else where it didn't even occur to you that might happen, but that is just how the world works.

  2. Wow. If not for the fact that we live on opposite ends of the world, I would think we know the same rheumatologist. I have a professor who is just as awesome. He is part of the reason I'm interested in rheumatology.

  3. Agree with your main conclusion. Disagree with Dr. Rheum, tho' -- I work in inpatient Rehab and it's anything but laid back. Too many of my patients are really sick...too sick to be in Rehab, but they're stuck in a revolving-door medical system where there's no good place for them.

    1. I still thought inpt rehab was way more laid back than inpatient medicine, if only because most admissions happened during waking hours.

  4. All my rheum attendings and fellows were super nice people. Are they so, because they do not take night call and work waking hours only? I wonder.