I am not short. In truth, I am a few inches above the average Filipino male height, which is 5′ 4″ (according to a 2003 study). But here in the US, I am under the average American male height of 5′ 9.5″.
When I lived in states and cities where the population’s ethnicity was more diverse (with many Asians), I don’t feel short at all. However, when we moved to the Midwest, and now live in an environment of mostly Caucasians, I feel I’m vertically challenged.
I have colleagues, medical residents, and students who are several inches above 6 feet, which is sort of intimidating. Our patients are also quite big, and many of them are as wide as they are long.
This month in particular, I have been straining my neck looking up while I’m doing my hospital rounds. It’s not that I’m afraid that the sky will fall, but rounding with me this month is a burly 6-foot-10 medical resident doing his Pulmonary teaching rotation. When I asked him what sports he like, he said that aside from basketball, he is skilled with judo and kickboxing too.
I believe I need to pass this young man from this rotation with me, not because I’m afraid for my life and limb if I fail him (that may be true too), but because he is remarkably intelligent and very teachable also.
It is quite challenging to have an impact on the young minds of my medical residents and students and have them look up to me while they are “looking down” on me. But I know I can hold my own, without resorting to elevator shoes.