Terminated. That word doesn’t settle well with me. Why did the lady in the Graduate Medical Education Office tell me I was terminated and needed to turn in my badge and pager? I thought it’s just a one-year leave of absence. The department chair and residency director gave me permission. In fact, I approached them nearly a year earlier to ask about the possibility of taking a year off.

It’s always been our dream to travel around the world, I said. And this is the perfect opportunity since it’ll be a nice break in my pathology residency training and Giovanni will be finished with his PhD. Walking through the halls of Stanford hospital, I feel like I’m letting myself down. Should I really be taking this year off? I remember I’ll have no health insurance starting tomorrow. But then I look at myself in scrubs running from one side of the hospital to the other and smile. I cannot contain the excitement. Today is my last day and tomorrow will begin this new chapter of being unemployed and traveling.

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