How to Thrive On a Rotation You Don’t Like

rotation you don't like

It is Friday afternoon at 4 pm. I’m headed to see a consult while simultaneously attempting to shove a granola bar in my mouth and respond to several pages. My intern is somewhere frantically discharging people and post-oping the day’s OR cases. My medical student lists along several feet behind me, dragging his feet and clearly hating life. The consult turns out to be operative, so I call my staff, book the OR, activate the emergency surgery pathway, consent the patient, talk to the family and write the note in rapid succession while my medical student hovers beside me. As I hit “sign” on my note, I hear the sharp intake of breath that heralds the coming question.
“Do you need me for anything else?”
“Well, we are taking this patient to the operating room. It should be a relatively quick, but interesting case. Would you like to join us?”
“I see. Well, you don’t have to. You can go.”
“Ok. Sounds good. Oh, and I was wondering, is it ok if I take this weekend off? My friend from college is getting married tomorrow and his bachelor party is tonight, so…”
“We usually have you guys round at least one day each weekend.”
“Oh, ok. It’s just that he’s, you know, my best friend, and I’m the best man, and I kinda have to stay out with him, so…”
“Fine. Have fun,” I respond, in a flat tone and turn back to my computer.

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Love and Happiness… And Medicine? Our Experience in the Couples Match

couples match

We were in the same class in medical school. It was your typical story. Boy meets girl, girl doesn’t like boy’s buzz cut, they waste a year, eventually end up as anatomy TAs working on the same dissection together, and fall in love. Standard. I knew that I was going to be a surgeon, he was thinking about ER. We moved in together. We talked about getting married. Then he went out for third year rotations and I started the Anatomy Fellowship at our school. He did Surgery mid-way through the year. To my concern, though not to my surprise, he loved it. He loved it the way I loved it. We talked seriously about what this would mean for us, both for our relationship and for our careers. We had always assumed that when the Match rolled around that we would participate in the Couples Match. Couples matching into Surgery seemed like a long shot, but we both knew we couldn’t be satisfied in another field, that we were surgeons at heart. So we decided we had to try.

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Life as a Re-Applicant

Just over a year ago, I stood, heart racing and hands trembling, in front of my mailbox.  Any other Thursday I would have nonchalantly checked my mail as I came home from work, but today was an entirely different story.
A friend had texted me earlier in the day to let me know that decision letters had been delivered by our state school.  I had only been offered two interviews, and the letter which innocently lay in my mailbox represented my highest hope for attending medical school that year.  I paced for a full two minutes in front of my mailbox before I built up the courage to open it.  I probably would have paced longer, but someone came down my hallway, and I felt a bit foolish dancing around in front of the mailboxes.
Four attempts at inserting my key in the lock later, I was holding a too-thin, white, letter-sized envelope in my severely shaking hands.  Suddenly, I desperately needed to know the contents of that letter, and I ripped open the envelope with fervor akin to a starving man diving into a steak dinner.  I never made it past the first line.  The phrase

We regret to inform you…

jumped out of the page.
Panic gripped me, and it seemed that I could barely breathe, but no tears clouded my vision as I stared mindlessly at those dream-shattering words.  I stumbled down the hall to my apartment, where I collapsed in my desk chair.
In an attempt to think of something, anything, else, I opened the browser on my laptop and checked my e-mail.  I immediately noticed that I had received an e-mail from the one other school I had interviewed at, my last chance for the year.  I quickly opened the e-mail, only to discover that I had been waitlisted.
Utterly shocked, I crossed the room and lay down on my bed with one thought on my mind.  What in the world am I going to do now?

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