the glorious o’s

1 Oct

For three of the 48 weeks of core clerkships, each Penn med student gets to play the part of a tourist on three surgical specialties: ophthalmology; orthopedics; otolaryngology.  Most affectionately, “the o’s.”  Each specialty is one week with a test on Friday; each is pass/fail; each is focused on learning without any responsibility.  They are a very, very welcome vacation of sorts, and I am grateful.

Last week was ophthalmology.  Lecture or clinic would start anywhere between 7am and 8:30am and end at 4:30pm at the latest.  John reminded me that this was still the length of a normal workday…but a normal workday involves accountability.  My only job was to learn exactly as much or as little as I wanted.  So, it was entirely okay when, one afternoon last week, I ran an errand during lunch and was late getting back for an afternoon procedure.  Rather than interrupt, the nurse guided me to an unused patient room with a bed, instructed me to put my feet up, and closed the door.  I took a very pleasant hour -long nap in the middle of the afternoon.

Driving home while it’s still daylight is surprisingly liberating.


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