Works and Days

Providence Brain and Spine Institute: Carly Goldblatt, Winter Shadow 2016

When I met Dr. Tracy Sax, it had been 3 years since I had given up my dream of becoming a doctor. I had taken an introductory Biology course and felt that I was not capable of doing the work it would take to achieve that goal. I expected this Winter Shadow to give me certainty that I was not interested in work as a clinician, particularly as an MD. As happens often in life, I got the exact opposite.

The dream was reawakened in a Pete's Coffee shop in North Portland. I sat down with Tracy Sax to do some introductions and preliminary instruction before the Shadow began. Her enthusiasm for what she did stood out to me in a way I don't see often. At first it scared me because I worried that my first bad experience with Biology leaving me with no passion for the field said something about me as a student. I thought if I couldn't make it through that there was no way I'd make it through medical school. But she was so encouraging, without even knowing me she encouraged me to go into medicine. Her enthusiasm was infectious.

We dealt with some really emotionally taxing material and I was proud of the way I handled that. I sat in on a session during which we preliminarily diagnosed a young man with ALS. I have felt confident in my potential as a clinical psychologist and this demonstrated that in this field, doctors get an opportunity to run tests and diagnose patients but also help them cope with these diagnoses, if only for a little while. Tracy handled the conversation in a personal and professional way. I learned that neurology is a field that could allow for a combination of my interests and skills in psychology.

Working with Tracy Sax at the Providence Brain and Spine Institute exceeded my expectations. She is a natural teacher and a truly incredible doctor. I don't know if I will make it through medical school, but because of this shadow--after three years of wishing I’d had what it took--I'm inspired to try. My plans for next year have shifted and I am now applying for clinical and scribe positions in addition to research positions. I hope to apply for a post-baccalaureate program to prepare me for medical school. One day, hopefully I will be a neurologist with all the skill and care of Dr. Tracy Sax.

Tags: winter shadow, winter externship, medicine, diagnosis, health, health care, neurology, psychology