Today was my graduation day at CPE. I AM FINISHED. My first unit of CPE is now OVER. Woohoo!

I began today like most days – hanging out in the PICU. I wanted to say goodbye to the few patients who seemed to live in the PICu with me. Most were alone as their parents were at work and I did what I usually do – I chatted with them, made some faces, and then said a short prayer. My goodbyes with some of the staff occurred during the week so this was just a few hours for patients. The sun was shinning bright, the medical rounds were already over, and there was a calmness through the whole place that gave me permission to walk around (and jokingly absolve a nurse by telling him to say half-a-dozen Hail Marys). But one thing I wanted to do was say goodbye to that child I met last Thursday.

I looked up her charts and saw that she was going to be discharged this morning. I entered her room and saw her mom and a friend talking to the little baby. The last time I saw the little one, she was waiting to be extubated. Today, she was resting comfortably. She was breathing easily, grabbing at hands like babies will do, and a pink blanket held her tight. She looked like every baby should. I chatted with the mom and she was less nervous than last week. She couldn’t wait to go home. She said thanks again for my being there on Thursday and for all I did for them. The visit was short but sweet and, with that, I found it to be a fitting ending to my first unit of CPE.

With that done, all the summer interns gathered in the chapel for our graduation ceremony. The staff of the department and the residents came to support us. We said words, we sung songs, we received our certificates, and then we finished with hugs and goodbyes. The certificates looked grand (except for the minor typo where they said we had completed Unit II rather than Unit I) and we then went, with our supervisor, out to lunch. It was bittersweet. We chatted and had a good time but I don’t think it has really sunk in that I won’t have to get up tomorrow and go to the hospital; that I won’t see my new friends tomorrow either. We really were a good and joyous group. I’m really gonna miss seeing some of them as often as I have. I’m gonna miss going onto the floors, writing verbatims, and all that. I’m honestly thinking I might do another unit of CPE before I graduate. I never would believe that before I started but I guess that’s how it works. I found out I’m actually good at this. Who would have thought.