Teacher’s Pride

Paul Thisayakorn, MD
Paul Thisayakorn, MD

This post is about teacher’s pride. I got a special treat yesterday. Dr. Paul Thisayakorn sent me an email message asking me for feedback on a trainee poster presentation he’ll be making at this year’s annual Academy of Psychosomatic Medicine (APM) meeting. It’s a case report on secondary delusional parasitosis. The abstract can be viewed on Poster Papers: APM 2013 Annual Meeting. Scroll down to number 58 in Section D: Neuropsychiatry or see the picture below:

Dr. Paul Thisayakorn and Dr. James Amos APM 2013 Annual Meeting Poster

I’ve been going to APM meetings since I first became a member in 2001. I’ve missed only a couple of them. Unfortunately, this will be one of those. I’ve never given a presentation at any meeting. The poster presentation part of the annual meeting is always very special. It’s such a huge event with long highways of posters and crowds of trainees and their beaming mentors.

How could I miss it? The reason is so prosaic as to be almost not worth mentioning, but the cost of going to CME meetings is becoming burdensome. It’s getting so I have to decide what I really have to spend money on per year in order to continue working.  It’s ironic because I wrote a letter on Paul’s behalf to support his receiving a trainee’s stipend to cover part of the travel cost of attending the meeting–otherwise even he might not have been able to go.

As any teacher can tell you, foregoing an important milestone event in a trainee’s career can be painful.

But I will have Paul’s memento, the image of the poster itself, which of course I can’t show you because ironically, it doesn’t belong to me. It belongs to APM for now and anyway, I want you to go to Arizona so that I can vicariously partake in the joy of your journey.

But you would never know even a particle of the joy I feel, just knowing that I played a very small part in the growth of the career of a talented, dedicated doctor–who just became a father for the first time.

Can you feel this?

And now I finally see my name on a presentation to be shared with other APM attendees, something I’ve never had before. Paul gave me this gift and I have no way to repay him.

This is what lifelong learning is all about. Our little poster is like one butterfly, but with all the other butterflies, row on row of them, filling the hall, catalyzing new ideas–a hurricane blows.

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