Wednesday was a bittersweet day for me.
I’ve previously mentioned Danny Custer, whose last day operating at Baylor Scott & White was Wednesday of this week. Danny had a remarkable career as a pediatric surgeon. He was also our clerkship director when I was a medical student, and proved to be a huge influence on me. Even though I had no intention of becoming a surgeon when I started medical school, between he and Sam Snyder (and some really spectacular residents, including the husband of a college roommate) I was a “clerkship convert” to this crazy life. Anyone who has been in my OR when I’m directing how long I want suture to be cut has heard the words “bunny ears” more than once. I inherited that phrase from Danny. Danny was amazing with families, adored the children, taught with the patience of a saint, and made every day of “work” an incredible amount of fun. His passion for his calling was contagious and I always, always mention him as part of my own story in medicine and in surgery.
Wednesday morning I got a text from one of my former student mentees who is now a resident at Texas A&M/ Scott & White. Kyle went to Temple knowing that Danny was one of my mentors, and I appreciate that he texted me the first day he operated with Danny as an intern. Wednesday’s text was to let me know that it was Danny’s last day and that he would be operating with him for his last case.
My first reflection was one of gratitude that I have mentees out there who stay in touch. Those moments are why those of us who teach pour our hearts and souls into what we do.
My second reflection was also one of gratitude that Kyle was operating with Danny on Danny’s last day as a surgeon. There was something incredibly special in knowing that someone I have influenced for good was helping to close out the career of someone who had such a positive influence on me.
Bittersweet. And an absolutely perfect circle.