Saturday, June 19, 2010
Thursday, June 10, 2010
Saturday, June 05, 2010
"Hi! How are you, stranger?"
I turn around to find Hala smiling at me.
"Hey, how are you?"
"Good! Where have you been?"
"Just busy with stuff. Congratulations on the fellowship! I read Dr Andrews' email. You must be so thrilled!"
After many years of single-minded, almost zealous devotion to research in pediatric cardiology, Hala will be going on to a fellowship in Chicago. Her passion for pediatric cardiology is phenomenal. Almost any time you want, Hala is ready to discuss EKGs, talk about congenital heart defects or teach echocardiograms. She was an adult cardiologist before she made a career change and went into pediatrics and for the past three years, at least as long as I have known her, she has invariably been involved in some cardiology project or the other, spending her spare time visiting the major pediatric heart centers around the country.
"Thank God," she says simply.
"Make sure you get a big apartment. I'll be crashing with you whenever I'm in town."
"Any time. You have my number. Hey wait, I have something for you. Don't go away, I'll be right back."
She comes back a few minutes later with a yellow bag.
"Congratulations on your graduation!" she says, handing it to me.
I'm a little embarassed by the gesture, partly because it is unexpected and I don't know what to say but also because I don't have anything to give her.
"I'm so proud of you," she says, reaching over to give me a hug. I hesitate and she starts to laugh.
"I'm old enough to be your mom!" she says, squeezing her arms around me.
"Thanks, Hala," I mumble out.
Time flies by so fast you hardly notice. I graduated from residency last night. There was a convocation ceremony, speeches were made, photographs taken. I wore a brand new suit with a lime green tie that I had been saving for a special occasion. We ate chocolate cake and went up, one by one, to the podium to receive our diplomas. I sat next to Arif and watched Saniya glow with pride when his name was called. Cameras flashed around us all night. I can't believe it's been three years.