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The End has come

AFTER THE so-called "fake" graduation last April 25, all things seemed different. Our sprints to the Lab Info and ER were spirited and light-hearted. We didn't mind that our patient census for the day was filled to the brim. When difficult cases were referred to us, we didn't panic that we had to endorse them during the morning rounds. Instead we said, "Bring it on!" At the Triage we were passive and resigned—and gone were the times when we'd argue with patients who demanded ER admission, patients who could be better managed at the OPD. In our minds was the slow ticking of the countdown timer to May 1, the End of Internship and of Med School.

And that day has come. Praise be to God.

I manned the Orthopedic Ward (Ward 8) as the intern-on-duty. Had a few hours of uninterrupted rest, if that's what you're asking, but the heat was terrible, the humidity even worse. I woke up with sweat all over me. My 24-hour shift was uneventful, which is what I wanted it to be.

Rich was assisting at the OR; Casti was at the ER. The make-shift Ortho call room was quiet. So early that morning I opened my Bible to a favorite verse: Lamentations 3. Penned by the prophet Jeremiah, perhaps the most depressed of them all, it is a deeply personal account of someone who felt that the Lord has left him, only to discover that God is good,indeed, and has been with him all along.

I am the man who has seen affliction
by the rod of the Lord’s wrath.
He has driven me away and made me walk
in darkness rather than light;
indeed, he has turned his hand against me
again and again, all day long.

He has made my skin and my flesh grow old
and has broken my bones.
He has besieged me and surrounded me
with bitterness and hardship.
He has made me dwell in darkness
like those long dead.

He has walled me in so I cannot escape;
he has weighed me down with chains.
Even when I call out or cry for help,
he shuts out my prayer.
He has barred my way with blocks of stone;
he has made my paths crooked.

Like a bear lying in wait,
like a lion in hiding,
he dragged me from the path and mangled me
and left me without help.
He drew his bow
and made me the target for his arrows.

He pierced my heart
with arrows from his quiver.
I became the laughingstock of all my people;
they mock me in song all day long.
He has filled me with bitter herbs
and given me gall to drink.

He has broken my teeth with gravel;
he has trampled me in the dust.
I have been deprived of peace;
I have forgotten what prosperity is.
So I say, “My splendor is gone
and all that I had hoped from the Lord.”

I remember my affliction and my wandering,
the bitterness and the gall.
I well remember them,
and my soul is downcast within me.
Yet this I call to mind
and therefore I have hope:

Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed,
for his compassions never fail.
They are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion;
therefore I will wait for him.”

You are my portion, O Lord. And thank You for sustaining me these past five years.

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