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Life Long Reads

An End and A Beginning

One week ago, I walked away from my last ever ED shift, and with it, my time as a Pediatrics resident. From here onward, I’m exclusively a Neurology resident: No more well child checks, runny noses, or asthma exacerbations. It went by so quickly—in large part, I imagine, due to the work hours, but also due to the past three months essentially being lost to COVID-19.

I love my fellow Pediatrics residents. Certainly, going through this training process forges some kind of bond of shared understanding, but even before that I genuinely thought my class was full of fantastic people; there was no one I didn’t like. I tried to hang out with them at every opportunity and still it wasn’t enough.

I…learned a lot in two years of training. Quantitatively, enough to be eligible to take the Pediatrics boards at the end of my residency; I can give good advice to parents on a number of frequently asked questions. More subjectively, some things that terrified me actually became fun as my proficiency grew.


Also last week I had my final Pediatrics clinic with Dr. George Madany. I was paired with Dr. Madany at the beginning of intern year and have had clinic with him nearly every week since (COVID-19 closures excepted). He is an absolutely incredible pediatrician, capable of addressing the humanistic aspects of medicine in addition to his ability to accurately identify childhood rashes. Oh, and he speaks four languages (English, Spanish, Arabic, and French).

I feel so fortunate to have had Dr. Madany as a mentor. He was happy to share his wealth of knowledge and experience not only about pediatrics, but medicine and life in general. I looked forward to working with and learning from him on my clinic days, and especially valued the times we were able to to sit and talk in the office after the last patient had left. When someone like that tells you that you’ve come a long way in two years, the validation has a magnitude that chips a little bit more off the imposter syndrome.

As a child, I would always wave goodbye until the last possible second, craning my neck to catch one more glimpse of the departing car. I love retrospectives, and I have a plethora of thoughts on my life decisions to date I’m happy to share with a…variable degree of provocation, depending on the interlocutor. I don’t like leaving good people behind; especially now, as an adult, when I know that I will never interact with them in the same capacity again. Which, perhaps, makes Dr. Madany’s final piece of advice to me all the more poignant:

“Never look back.”

Closing the clinic door on my way out, I struggled to keep myself from turning my head.

Dr. Castello and Dr. Madany in clinic.
Drs. Michael A. Castello and George H. Madany. Thank you for two wonderful years. COVID-19 note: Masks are now worn by all doctors, staff, patients, and parents in clinic, with brief exceptions such as eating or the physical exam. Even outside of clinic, all of us should be wearing a mask at all times.