No melancholy here. I've been mentally preparing for this day for quite some time. It was amazing to me how many people stopped by to shake my hand and thank me for our time together. Some surprised me. One of my techs wouldn't let go of my hand until he told me that I've been an inspiration to him and he wants to be like me. Seriously? I had to think really hard about our interactions and honestly I can't come up with anything specific (or even general) that would make him so passionate. Regardless, I was honored by the sentiment.
I did get to tell a great story on my last day. I have been teaching residents now for 6 years. It takes 5 years to become a radiologist after medical school. One year is internship and the other 4 are with me. I take extreme pride that in my 6 years, we've had a 100% pass rate on the oral boards. I had a part in that.
Anyway, E was a brand new 1st year resident in my second year on the job. I was still new at the teaching thing and thought humiliation was a viable teaching tool. E was taking a case in front of a large group of doctors and he was butchering it. It was obvious he didn't know normal anatomy. I interjected and forced him to stop taking the case. Instead, I just pointed to stuff and had him name the parts. I got in a lot of trouble for my actions from the command, but to his credit, E came up to me afterwards and told me that I was the first attending radiologist to actually give a damn in case conference.
Fast forward to last month. E is now a graduated radiologist. He was lucky enough to stay on at our hospital as another attending doctor. He is no longer my student - he is now my colleague. He and I are sitting in a cardiology conference, and his pager goes off. He looks over at me and asks, "Can you get this for me?"
He told me later that when he thought about what he asked, he got a little queasy. Seriously, I would NEVER have considered asking one of my attendings to respond to one of my pages. Even now! We both had a good laugh about it. He even admitted that he lost a little sleep over it and even went home and talked it over with his wife, trying to decide the appropriate action. Should be apologize? Maybe I didn't notice.
In the end, it was a great 6 years. Every student should have the opportunity to give something back. I've paid my dues many times over. Now it's time to move on.