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Mar 18, 2009

A Perfect Match

I wrote this for Topic Day: the Match over at Mothers in Medicine and thought I'd share it here too. Go check out the website - it's authored by 18 different female physicians and it has been a source of great inspiration and comfort to me since its inception last year.

I have been through this before. My husband graduated from medical school four years ago and, like everyone else, went through the match. It was one of the most terrifying and disturbing times of our lives. All the waiting for interviews and agonizing over rank lists; it was too much for me. Finally, Match Day showed up and we went to the ceremony. At his school, everyone got their envelopes with their information in it as they walked in the door. Then, exactly at noon, everyone ripped the envelopes open and exploded into some expansive emotion. Some cheered and ran around the room. Some burst into tears. Some tried to act calm but were clearly not.

It was one of the most intense experiences I have ever observed.

As we left, I clearly remember saying, “Thank God we’ll never have to do that again.” Ah, the irony.

My husband matched and we moved for his new job. I started medical school. Life hummed along nicely. Then he decided he wasn’t sure of the career he’d matched into, and needed some time to think about it. That was two years ago. And a wedding, a house, several dogs and cats, and a baby ago. We thought things were so complicated four years ago, what with the thinking and the ranking! Now, he’s moving into a different specialty and going through the match again. This time, he’s not in a class, so there is no fancy ceremony. Just an email around 1pm Thursday.

He has good options, was well received everywhere, and I think we will be happy wherever we end up. But that’s just it. Where will we end up? Will we stay here, where we have a house and friends and a babysitter and in-state tuition? Will we move closer to my family, where our son will grow up with his cousin and enjoy his extended family? Will we move to the great North, where we know almost no one, have no friends, but have a promising career path? And the worst of it, as you all are well aware, is that we don’t get to decide. Granted, the list that my husband submitted is of places that we would be able to live. But we don’t get to pick.

When, in all of this, do we actually grow up? Sometimes I feel very grown up. I am a mother, a wife, a homeowner, a very responsible person overall. But then, I’m also still a student, still have to request permission to use the restroom, still terrified of getting a real job. And, of course, still being told where to move and when to be there. Someday, maybe, we’ll get to decide our own fate and choose our own futures.

Of course, we still have my match to live through in a few years. And the match for fellowships, if we decide to do them. Maybe by the time I’m 40 I’ll be able to pick the city I live in. Until then, we’ll be sitting in front of the computer, chewing off our nails and clicking ‘refresh’ around 1pm Thursday

4 Readers rock!:

XE said...

I'll be thinking of you guys tomorrow!! Best of luck :)

Alykat said...

Ahhhh! I am stressing on your behalf! I know (and I know you know) that things will be fine no matter where you end up. But the waiting must be killing you! At least it will be over soon...

Katherine said...

I found your post on MIM and decided to leave a comment here. I'm a "fourth" year medical student going through the match tomorrow. (I say "fourth" because I finished a several months ago, off track after taking maternity leave.)

Thanks for the post. I feel the exact same way. I'm confused about how being so accomplished in outsiders eyes (mom, MD, etc), all it takes is a senior resident or attending to make me feel like a little kid who has just been grounded.

Katie said...

Hope everything worked out well today! I can't wait to hear the news. :)