Sunday, July 24, 2016

Residency Graduation

Three months have passed since there's been any activity here, but that certainly isn't an indication of a lack of life happenings.  June marked the completion of five years of orthopaedic residency - a huge milestone and certainly the most challenging five years of my education and training.  

Graduation festivities were spread across two weeks, immediately following my return from a board review course in Denver.  The first week included a chief weekend (whitewater rafting, ropes courses, a Charlotte Knights baseball game, and dinner), a chief dinner at 5Church with our visiting professor, resident research day where I presented my research on femur fractures in patients with spinal cord injury, our orthopaedic department graduation gathering at Belle Acres, and the chief roast.

The chief roast is my favorite event of the year!  Following a casual afternoon and evening poolside and an Italian dinner, all of the residents and many faculty gathered for the roast.  The juniors presented their video first - utilizing a presidential election theme to poke fun at the four chiefs.  Next, the chiefs presented our video roasting the 20 more junior residents.  It's an hour of impressive cinematography that has us all rolling laughing.

These three guys have been classmates, training partners, but most importantly great friends over the past 5 years.  It's so hard to believe that it was our turn for a graduation portrait.

In five years, I developed a wonderful circle of friends.  We come from a variety of backgrounds, but our common bond is swimming, biking, and running.  We've bonded over weekly 4+ hour bike rides, an annual Christmas run and cookie exchange, early morning long runs, and shared tears at the finish lines of Ironman Chattanooga and Louisville.  For one final celebration, we traded in spandex for nicer clothes and a "going away" dinner at Nan and Byron's.  I'll miss them all so much!

Dad and Mom arrived in Charlotte the following weekend for a few final days in the Queen City.  In between packing, we celebrated my graduation at Kindred - a long awaited dinner in Davidson.  The summer evening was surprisingly cool and we dined al fresco, starting our meal with their famous milk bread with housemade butter (fabulous!) and appetizers of fried oysters and pickles.

The next plates from the tapas-style menu were a baby vegetable salad (delicate, unique, and flavorful) and squid lettuce wraps.

The final courses were a butternut squash soup and spring pea pasta tossed with sweet corn (my favorite dish of the night!).

Last, but certainly not least, was dessert.  I've heard nothing but rave reviews of Kindred's "birthday cake and ice cream" and had long ago set my sights on this sweet treat.  It was everything I had hoped for and more!

There's nothing easy about the career path I chose in life, and I couldn't have done it without all of the  support, encouragement, and love from my parents.  There's nothing fun about moving homes/cities, and these two are smiling despite helping me with summertime move number six since I left for college thirteen years ago.

Other highlights from my final weekend in Charlotte (also Father's Day) included a bike ride with Dad along the Booty Loop, breakfast at Luna's Living Kitchen, wandering through Atherton Market, caramel lattes at Not Just Coffee, a walk through Dilworth, and lunch from Pure Pizza.

In between the delicious eats, there was a ton of manual labor, packing dozens of boxes, endless trips up and down two flights of stairs with heavy loads, and a disaster of a moving experience complete with pathetic movers showing up hours late in Charlotte and no-show movers in Atlanta.

My final night in Charlotte was spent celebrating one last time with this crew.  We met for drinks at Bentley's before walking down the road to the Westin for the hospital graduation dinner and ceremony.  Five years, endless learning, good days, really tough days, exhaustion, accomplishment, excitement, and finally, one last walk across the stage to mark the end of residency and life in Charlotte.

Now I'm Atlanta bound for fellowship!

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