Ever have just one of those days? Well I’ve had just one of those weeks. I learned a lot during my pediatrics rotation, but man did I work my butt off this last week.
Last night, after my 17-hour shift I came home and went to sleep on my hardwood floor. Several hours later I woke up to go to the hospital for my final exam and sign out. I got ready, walked the dogs, and then left my apartment to drive to the hospital. After walking for over a mile, I realized that the worst possible situation was upon me: my car had been towed. I was soooo tired the night before, that I parked in a spot in which my car needed to be moved 20 minutes prior to the current time.
I was so screwed.
It was now rapidly approaching exam time. I knew that if I tried to subway, I’d likely not make it in time. My car was towed. So I decided to walk and try and catch a cab. Several gypsy cabs pulled over, as my hand flagged them down in the cold air. “Where are you going?” they asked. “To the hospital,” I replied. The drove away. I had cabs REFUSE TO DRIVE ME SEVERAL MILES TO THE HOSPITAL!!! I even flashed my white coat and stethoscope, trying to impress them with a sense of urgency. But I failed.
Finally, after walking for nearly two more miles, a gypsy cab pulled over and agreed to take me to the hospital. “You look upset…what’s the matter?” the taxi driver asked me.
It was at this point that my week of stress, morning of hell, and dread of my upcoming exam (for which I had not the time to study) all came down on my like an emotional pile of bricks.
I started crying. I tried to hold back the tears, but I simply couldn’t. I had reached my maximum capacity. Lack of sleep, lack of food, lack of everything drove me to weeping.
And then I had the coolest 20 minutes in the world. The cabbie literally provided me with free of charge psychotherapy. He told me to take a deep breath in, relax, and tell him all about my troubles. So I did. I let it all hang out. And he listened, and he listened.
New York City may suck for many reasons. But having a random stranger from Bangladesh listen to my personal woes and console me with his words is something truly special and wonderful about New York. And even though the city is full of anger, hate, and frustration, there are those moments where it shines. Where the city/world suddenly seems so small. And for a moment, you connect with a stranger, and everything seems okay again.
I made it to my exam with several minutes to spare. I gave the taxi driver a huge tip. And I finished my exam in record time.
Miraculously, I found out an hour later that I did very well on the exam. And I received an “A” as my final grade for pediatrics. Some things do work out.
After a ride to the impound lot from a wonderful friend in pediatrics, standing in line for over an hour listening to someone cussing out the person behind the bullet-proof glass, and giving $200+ to the city of New York, I had my little Honda Del Sol returned to me. Dirty, and with grease pen scribbled all over the window. But I had it back.
I’m now home. Starving. Tired. But surprisingly, mostly unscathed. Life does go on.
And I’m supposed to drive down to Baltimore in several hours. We’ll see if that actually happens. But at least I have my dogs to lick me. And the business card of my new favorite NYC taxi driver.