“Relieve The Flutter In His Tummy And Make Yourself A Heap Of Money” $500 (or more appropriately, here may you be reminded of this small house-worth of debt with accruing interest to the tune of congratulations!)
Five years ago, while in a medical school (osteopathic vs naturopathic) application funk, a dear friend operated on my behalf. With or without setting off buzzers, she dove in, retrieved the Doctor card and strung it up on a ribbon to match any good candy striper. She then looped this around my bedroom doorknob, which wasn’t hard to locate at the time as it was in her home. As I read the direction on the card, “Remove Butterflies In Stomach” I now wonder if she was attempting to remove that feeling of dis-ease from my belly or if she was providing me with motivation toward the future. Knowing LM, it was probably a little of both.
These past seven years, the decision to return to school for medicine—to matriculate into a post-bacc premed program at the age of 33 (knowing I would be graduating medical school at the age of 40) and the subsequent work it took for my brain to comply (to jostle it out of poet mode and back into a time when I loved calculus/physics—ok I never really returned to this) was more challenging than I can relay. Along this ride, I had family, several professors, and friends (poetic and not) who reminded me of my grit in times when I began to doubt that I would make it. And here, I continue to address those butterflies, because anxiety is a pervasive issue. It finds me. I have made friends with it—patiently, politically, interpersonally speaking.
Though my plan for my future practice is still evolving, these seven years have taught me to be more like an investigative reporter and consider the source, dismiss those who were never with me. Because I am here, still. Still, I remain closer to becoming the second Dr. Moni (pronounced “money”) and this makes me, my friends, my family so, so very happy.
Cue poem from The Cardiologist’s Daughter that you will hopefully find inspiring.
When I Approach my Advisor for Advice on How to Move Forward With Greater Ease After a Bumpy Start of Going Premed in my Thirties, He Performs a Well-Rehearsed Soliloquy
Every year there are those who fall.
He draws me a curve:
adrenaline on the x, performance on the y.
A straight line to the top where some--
he references me—go over.
I imagine the remains,
the class of forty trimmed,
extra length in the row below
the Periodic Table, the ease with which
legs stretch in the presence of space.
He has never performed surgery,
never cleaved anything but a hypothetical
student from the breast of Postbacc
status, never attended
himself but he is an expert
of probability. Vex one student
and observe wilt under scrutiny.
Take three quizzes and don’t call me.
I would bottle it if I could—he speaks
of success, those shy of adrenaline
junkies--I would be rich.
I think of my father with only three
dollars upon immigrating. Practicing in his native
country, the requirement of redoing his residency,
the subsequent years of specializing, cardiology.
My father thinks of me, my advisor thinks.
First published in Toasted Cheese Literary Journal. Subsequently republished in The Cardiologist’s Daughter by Two Sylvias Press.
Natasha Kochicheril Moni is a writer and a licensed naturopath in WA State. Enjoying this blog? Feel free to put a little coffee in Natasha's cup, right here.