Bad Goodbyes

Today was the last day of my genmed run in hospital so I was trying to be extra nice to my stressed out registrar who has been amazing the whole time. I had this whole speech planned out in my head to thank her for all she’s done and how helpful she’s been, etc. But when the time came for me to leave and say goodbye, the words just fell out of my head. Eugh.

Our team had just finished rounding on the wards and my registrar had just finished talking to our consultant on the phone. I waited patiently. I had to go off to a lecture and then I was done for the day. So now was as good a time as ever to thank my registrar and say goodbye. My house officer was also there waiting for the registrar. He knew I was leaving and encouraged me to talk to her now. (He was new so I didn’t have much to say to him other than thanks for being helpful this week. Not particularly hard). Anyway, she hung up on our consultant and I tapped her on the shoulder. “Hey, I’ve got to go to lecture now and then I’ll probably leave”. She took a second to understand the implication of what I said and replied with a smile and “Oh” We then proceeded to have this awkward exchange of “Thanks so much for everything” and “Oh you’re welcome I hope you had fun”. And I was just gearing up to say everything else I have bullet-pointed in my mind, but was sadly interrupted by her phone ringing. We had to make it short because obviously whoever was calling was more important than my clumsy attempt at saying bye. My house officer noticed I was struggling and also noticed the phone complication so jumped in with “She’s trying to say her final goodbyes”. To which my registrar responded “No no we’ll see each other around don’t worry” I can’t really say if she was serious or not because though it’s true that I’ll probably see her somewhere in passing around the many wards, we probably won’t interact at all beyond a smile or wave and we definitely won’t discuss patients or general life. This made me sad. Which ofcourse made more words fall out of my head completely. But it ended with a full hug and thanks from both of us (not a very long one because the damn phone was still ringing). We broke apart, she answered her phone and I walked away. That was the end of the interaction.

Thinking about it now, I really wish I had been able to give her my thank you speech because I always feel like I never say enough to the people I am grateful to. But I stink at it. I’m no good with goodbyes. I hate them and I can never walk away from someone feeling like that there was proper closure. I envy people that can express themselves so easily with words and can tell people exactly how they’re feeling. No matter how much I plan things in my head, they never come out sounding how I wanted them to. Sighh. I hope that from the hug, she knew how grateful I am that she was my registrar, how helpful she’s been, how she didn’t make me feel stupid about not knowing things, how much she taught me in the short few weeks, and how much I value that.
Yeah I really should have just said all these things. Gah.

Why are goodbyes so hard?! Does anyone else have this problem? Maybe I’m just bad at them. Note to self: Keep everyone in my life. Do not create situations for awkward goodbyes. Or if such a situation should arise, write out cue cards. >__>

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