Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Coasting on Out

Today marked the beginning of a month dubbed "Transition to Residency". We had a relatively useless panel of residents talk about why we should be married ("so your wife can help with the stuff at home that needs to get done"--yes, that one was from a surgeon), then an hour break spent at Starbucks chillin', then an hour long lecture on fever. It was supposed to be "Approach to the Patient With Fever", which implies (to me) that there will be some diagnostic workup & treatment involved. Instead, we had an hour long lecture on "The Myths of Fever" from a disgruntled pedi ER attending bitching about stupid parents ("they actually thought that a fever of 104 was harmful! They'll beg you to treat their child!") and a lot of information about rectal vs oral vs axillary thermometers. Gag me. Tomorrow, more of the same, so I'm taking a book and possibly some Sudoku just in case.

All anyone can talk about is THE MATCH. Those few lucky individuals who had to slave to early match are now the envy of everyone else in the room. We've been informed of the plan for what I've called "Matched or Not Day", which is March 17: those persons who are not matched will receive a page at 10:30 am, while we're all in a mandatory lecture together. People who aren't comfortable with this scenario can ask to be on a "Do Not Page" list, so they'll get a phone call at some point during the morning. My group of friends has made a solemn pact not to page or call ANYONE during these hours. Still, though, the poor bastards who have to scramble the next day will be conspicuously absent from the day's mandatory lectures, and it certainly won't be very confidential.

The dynamic is unusual. Everyone who has yet to match is very tense. There are terse jokes about "the walk of shame" if you were to be paged on "MoND", and much discussion about the intricacies of the rank order list system. ("So, if they're my second choice program, and they rank me, and I don't match at my top choice program, but if this other guy ranks them #1, but the program ranks me above that guy, who gets the spot?"--this was an actual conversation earlier). There are also comparisons to others about who has the right to be more anxious: "you shouldn't be worried, your program called you, but I should be worried." Then the other party tries to justify their anxiety: "Yeah, but I only ranked 3 programs, there's always a chance that I won't match and will have to scramble for a prelim medicine spot and try again next year." Everyone is secretly convinced that everyone else has nothing to worry about (we know our friends and how good they are) but that they, personally, will not match and be laughed at. If I weren't caught up in it, I'd be totally amused.

In a "last hurrah", the gossip swirling this month is a hark back to the first two years of medical school, when the rumor mills churned all the time. "Did you hear about that girl who failed the intubation practical? Yeah, she had the blades upside down and kept insisting she was doing it right! Ha!" "Did you hear about this guy who's telling everyone he matched into xxx at yyy? I hear he didn't actually match yet, he still has to interview for it, but he's telling everyone he matched!"

And last, it's good to see everyone one last time. There are women who've gestated babies and delivered them in the time since I saw them last and I didn't even know they were pregnant! It's also nice to hang out with my friends for this time, since most of them will be moving away soon.

Should be a good month--too bad they're ruining it with lectures.


Allison said...

When is your foreign getaway?

Anonymous said...

Of course we are freaked about the match! Esp if some of us had to 'scramble' for med school (got in off the wait-list). Being nervous is normal, even for the most qualified medical student.