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Appreciation Dilemma

Since I found out I will be moving, I have been spending a lot of time thinking about what to give to K to show her my appreciation for everything she has done for me (personally and professionally).  I have told her many times how instrumental she has been in many aspects of my life, namely how my career choice has evolved.  And while I have tried to impress upon her how much of a role she has played in some of my “personal” development, I just don’t think there is ever a way to express that.

One idea that I had pop into my mind was to put together a “journal” of sorts for her to read.  I have a collection of shadowing reflections (from old school assignments) that illustrate some of the things I’ve learned from her career wise, as well as a collection of letters and emails I’ve written to her (some that have been sent and some that I never sent), as well as some excerpts from my blogging.  Without looking to closely at all of these things, I know that there is a huge “transformation” in how I wrote about and viewed my relationship with her since I started medical school until now.  On the surface, she went from being my obstetrician, to being my mentor, to being my friend.  However, there is so much baggage “background” with all of that transformation that you can really appreciate more when you read my journalling.  For this reason, I thought that sharing some of my “internal dialogue” with her would prove to be interesting and rewarding for her.

However, given my track record of not thinking these things through well enough, and also not giving enough consideration to how other people might view things, maybe this isn’t such a good idea.  I talked it over briefly with a friend (the only person I know in real life who reads my blog) last night and she had some cautious words for me.  So today, I am not feeling so great about this idea… However, I am also post-call, lacking sleep, grumpy, and generally insecure about myself (like I am on all my post-call days)… so nothing seems like a good idea right now.

I really, REALLY want her to know how important she’s been in my life.  One thing my friend mentioned, however, is that sometimes the things that make friendships meaningful are all those things that go unsaid.  I think a part of me believes that, truly.  There was something I read recently, though, that talked about how people become close friends, and it is all about “personal disclosure:” The more about your personal self/struggles that you disclose with someone, the more you become close friends.  That being said, I know that I have disclosed much, much more to K than she ever has to me. So, is disclosing more the right answer here?

If I don’t do this, then is there something else that I can do that falls beyond the category of a traditional thank-you/going away gifts?  I don’t just want to give her something cheesy, or useless, or that will ultimately collect dust.

I would venture to say that K has been THE MOST influential “force” in my life in the past few years.  If you’ve been following my blog for a long time, you probably understand the many reasons why.  I suspect that she has no idea how deeply she has changed me, but the real question is, does she really need to know?

5 thoughts on “Appreciation Dilemma

  1. So you’ve told her often how important she’s been professionally and personally, right? Can you distill your thoughts into three ways you’re a better physician and person because of her? We have to give ourselves permission to cherish others who’ve had an influence even when the benefits we derived are greater than what we think they received. Give her the gift of affirmation. Let her know that her professional care, her example as a physician, and her friendship have shaped you, changed you, and helped you grow. Who doesn’t want to know that they mattered to others?
    You can do this!

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    1. Thanks! I was planning on writing a “summary entry” at the beginning of the journal to really explain how she’s made a difference, to act as a preface to everything else. I just always doubt that I have the best intentions when Id o these sorts of things.

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  2. I think when someone makes that much of a difference, then yes, they need to know.

    I like Kelly Grace’s idea. Maybe put it into a journal and have that be the first entry?

    It is wonderful that you are remembering her role in this and want to do something.

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  3. Probably your friend was counseling you on not crossing the line to the point of gushing. K is your superior & friend & even if she find you to be one of the special ones, you have to not cross the line to be too emotional. I would guess. Whatever you give or say, it needs to not make her feel weird. Some of that is professional standards, some of that is her personally.

    I don’t know the answer, but I think that is the line your friend would suggest you not cross.

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