PGY-1 · residency

Code-switching

A large proportion of the patient population here is rural. Like, travels 2.5 hours to see a doctor rural. So underserved, but in a very different way from the inner city urban ghetto I’m used to.

And these rural folk, as you might imagine, have incredible, indecipherable accents. The funny thing is, I find myself, when I’m with them, falling into their pattern of speech. Drawwwwn out vowels, droppin’ letters… it’s unconscious and, when I notice it, totally weird. I don’t talk like that, I never have, except apparently sometimes I do? I’ve caught myself doing it with my extended family, too, adopting syntax patterns that don’t exist outside India, a place I’ve never lived and haven’t even visited in years.

There’s been a lot of this code-switching going on recently, both literally and metaphorically. I’m trying to start thinking of myself as a doctor, which is a pretty terrifying idea, when it comes down to it. Went to introduce myself to a patient today and stumbled over my own name. And then I come home and take off the long white coat, and I’m myself again, curled up in an armchair reading a mystery novel. That mental code-switch is going to be key this year. 

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