In my previous post, I mentioned my dad’s hours were usually 3pm till midnight or later. There was one day, however, when he had morning hours. That was on Mondays. He would go to Einstein Medical School to teach medical residents in the allergy clinic. He was an adjunct professor for 30+ years and then in 2005 became appointed as an assistant professor.
This is significant for three reasons. One, my father was avid about educating others. I believe his passion for teaching science is at the root of my own love of teaching science. Two, Sunday evenings after our family ate dinner and watched Lois and Clark together, when we went to bed, my dad would say, “See you Tuesday!” That was because all other mornings my dad would wake up with me and my brother and and see us to the bus. But on Monday morning, he would go early to teach at Einstein and prior to teaching at Einstein he would go to early morning prayers at synagogue.
The third reason this is significant is because when I got my first dietitian job in 2011, I soon realized that I was going to be working at the very same outpatient clinic that my father had taught at for 30+ years. I hadn’t realized it right away, because my job was at Jacobi Medical Center, but then my mother told me that my dad was teaching the Einstein medical residents during their rotations at Jacobi Medical Center! I had always been grateful to the senior dietitian who allowed me to volunteer, which allowed me to be in the right place at the right time when this job opened up! When I realized I was working in the same group of clinics where my dad had been teaching, I figured my dad must have been pulling some strings up in heaven.
After I started the job, I met a few doctors who remembered my father, were quite fond of him, and I relished hearing them tell me about my dad. One of them (my father had actually been an attending when he was a resident and later they both went on to teach residents) would continue to talk about my father when he saw me now and again—and every time he mentioned what a great educator/person my father was. I left those conversations beaming: it really brought memories of my father back to life.
I always felt that being a health clinician was following in my father’s footsteps: Having down-to-earth, meaningful sessions with my patients, charting on patients (even if I did it digitally rather than on paper), and even staying late some days (for me late was 5:30 pm, not 2 am!). Doing this at the same institution at which my father had attended medical school and gone on to volunteer for 30+ years, made my connection to my father all the more vivid. Sure, I was located in a different, newly built building, but those physical characteristics didn’t diminish the spiritual significance! I loved walking around the campus during my lunch break, knowing that I was literally walking in my father’s footsteps!