Becoming Number 75: A President’s Story
Written, Narrated in the First Person by Dr. Mohit Bhandari
Just over 128 weeks ago, I received a call from Dr. Peter MacDonald, COA Past President. A call steeped in decades of COA tradition. A call from the Chair of the Nominating Committee to share news of my nomination as 2nd President Elect of the Canadian Orthopaedic Association. In his words, “Mo, this is a big decision. Please discuss this with your family and let me know…”
“I accept!” I interrupted him from finishing.
“What? Are you sure you don’t need time to discuss with your wife?”
“No, it’s all good. Sonia will be delighted.”
“Okay, please keep this confidential until we announce this at the Victoria Meeting.”
“Got it. And thank you Peter”.
Immediately, I texted Sonia, my partner of 22 years.
“I just received a huge honour of being nominated as President Elect of the COA.”
Even after 22 years, I really never know what’s coming after the three-dot text bubble.
“Well, you didn’t just say yes, did you? It’s a big decision involving both me and Kaya.” She texted back.
“Wow. Sonia. Of course not. Do you think I’d just say YES without discussing this with you first?”
I Was Ready
In preparation for the eventual Transfer of Office ceremony at the 2020 Virtual Annual Meeting, I began mapping out priorities for my June 2020 -June 2021 presidential tenure. The process of planning my inauguration presentation slide deck and message began in March 2019 as a series of scribbled notes a lot of reading, and reflection. It was going to be a unique tenure. I would be inaugurated on the East Coast in Halifax, Nova Scotia and transfer office to Dr. Kishore Mulpuri on the West Coast in Vancouver, BC in June 2021. A Canada-wide tour meeting our members, with face to face connecting on a personal level, seemed ideally suited to this special circumstance. Rumour had it that we were going to find a large tour bus (affectionately referred to as the ‘party bus’) to visit surgeons across the country. Who was spreading this rumour? I was!
During a work trip to India in December 2019, I had a grey Nehru-style suit tailored for the June inauguration. I remember worrying a lot about the fit of the pants. (side note: fast forward to June 2020, pants were the least important article of clothing. I hadn’t worn pants for the preceding three months).
Things were coming together. Slides were progressing for the inauguration, my suit was ready in waiting, and cities for my meet-ups were in the works.