a thousand days

I have heard it said that for emergency medicine residents, graduate medical training is roughly one thousand days.

Over the next one thousand days, I will work 80-100 hours per week, care for approximately 10,000 patients, and will hopefully transform from a nervous, brand-spanking-new medical school graduate into a confident, board-certified emergency medicine physician.

Nervous. That’s under-selling it a bit. I am terrified. I have no idea what I’m doing.

I’ve been called doctor a few times now, mostly by proud family members declaring my new credentials to strangers in elevators and such, but it doesn’t sound right.

Who, me?

And that’s kind of what it boils down to: this degree, while hard-earned, does nothing to change who I am. Not in any of the ways that really matter.

I’m the same goofy 30-something who loves her family, dogs, travel, true crime shows, and all things chocolate. I’m still trying to figure out how the heck to strike a balance between all the things I’m supposed to do every day. I’m a woman struggling to find hope and truth, limping along with a bruised faith in search of a meaningful relationship with a loving God. I’m still learning. Just like everyone else.

A thousand days.

There will be tears. There will be laughter. There will be encounters so absurd that people won’t believe me when I tell them what I’ve seen. There will be losses. There will be saves. There will be moments of fear and of courage, of frailty and of strength.  There will be loneliness and camaraderie.  There will be mind-numbing amounts of paperwork and indescribably poignant glimpses into the mysteries of the human experience.

Ten thousand patients.

How will I help them? How will they help me? How many will I remember? How on earth can I diagnose and treat them successfully when I feel like I can’t remember a tenth of what I’ve learned? How can I possibly be kind and loving toward them all?


God, help me to take it one day at a time. Help me to see each person as you see them, and to show them love, kindness, and compassion. Help me learn. Help me to work hard. Help me make wise decisions. Help me persevere.