Tuesday, October 19, 2010

And the Winner Is...

New Jersey!

I got my first choice. I think my blood pressure probably increased 20 points today. It was really stressful. Here's pretty much how it went:
9 am: The match closed. I checked my confirmation email for the 15th time to make sure I put in the right spots. Then I attempted to pay attention to a lecture on endocarditis.
10-12: I sat in OTM for two hours and checked my phone when the professors weren't looking. My partner and I contemplated the likelihood of getting murdered if we prank called people in the class pretending to be the person who tells you that you didn't match.
12: The administration ran the match results. Then they told everyone that they'd be making the calls around 12:15.
12:15-1 pm: Stared at my phone and willed it not to ring. Also I took a depression test the mental health department was offering. No depression, but I scored really high on the Generalized Anxiety Disorder section. The score sheet told me I needed to be evaluated by a professional. So I worried about that for a while, then I stared at my phone for a while.
1-2: Made up answers on a quiz and stared at my phone again.
2-4: Watched people get the phone calls telling them they went unmatched. There were 20 people that didn't get a spot! Had a minor heart attack over that fact and then checked my phone again. Still no calls.
4:30 Realized that I hadn't gotten a call, which meant that I'd gotten a top 3 spot. Then started watching my computer screen for the placement email, which would be out by 5.
5: Still no email.
5:30: Still no email. But I think I pressed refresh about 500 times in the last 30 minutes. Gave up and went to get something to eat.
5:45: Got the email while I was waiting for my food. New Jersey!

Whew. Now that I'm done stressing about where I'm going to be living next year, I can start stressing about finding an apartment without actually having time to visit.

So I'm moving to New Jersey, which I know practically nothing about, except there are gardens and a show called Jersey Shore that I've never seen. But maybe I'll get to treat one of the cast members for an STD when I'm on an Infectious Disease rotation. The hospital that will be training me has one of the largest infectious disease departments in the country, which guarantees that I'll get an opportunity to see some weird stuff. Plus, they have an ID fellowship, so I can start kissing up now.

Time to study, not that I can actually concentration, but I have a test "Girl Parts" as my professor calls them on Friday and I know nothing other than some random facts about placenta.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Placenta Lisa

Here's what my Pathology Notes have to say about Placenta:

1. Leonardo da Vinci made a detailed drawing of the placenta, but for some reason this picture didn't catch on as well as the Mona Lisa or The Last Supper (Go figure).

2. Top Five Reasons to Bury Your Placenta-
          1. So dogs won't eat it and make the mother sick
          2. So dogs won't eat it and make the child a criminal
          3. So the mother won't get pregnant right away
          4. So the mother will get pregnant right away
          5. So it won't end up near a body of water, otherwise the kid might drown.

3. Placenta is Latin for "flat cake." (Great, yet another food medicine is ruined for me. Not that I know what flat cake is.)

4. There are references for articles in some Mommy magazine about eating your placenta and all sorts of recipes for placenta pizza.

After that there's some actual medicine, but that part is boring.

Hope you didn't just eat.

Friday, October 15, 2010

A Match Made In Heaven...

Or possibly hell.

Medical school works like this: the first two years you sit in a classroom and cram every piece of medical knowledge you'll never possibly remember into your brain and pray it sticks. Then you take the Test-that-must-not-be-named and pray you pass. And then you stick around town for two more years and hang out in different parts of the hospital and learn the actual medicine from real doctors who ask you random questions about biochemistry and then point and laugh when you can't remember all the steps of the Krebs cycle. And then you pray they give you a diploma and you get to pretend to be a real doctor.

This isn't quite how it works at my school because the town where my school is located is so small it doesn't even have a Target. However, it does somehow manage to have about 200 hundred churches. And a man in a motorized wheelchair that drives down the middle of the street clutching his beer in one hand and a cigarette in the other. And a movie theater that only takes cash. And about 15 thousand blinking stop lights. It's too small to be a country, but too big to be an insane asylum. That's my favorite Civil War quote (yes, I have a favorite Civil War quote, I am such a nerd). Some congressman said that about South Carolina when it seceded from the Union and it totally applies to this town. This place kind of reminds me of Stars Hollow from Gilmore Girls, except there's more rednecks and less Kirk, which makes it infinitely less charming.

Anyway, because my town is small, the hospital is small, and cannot support 300+ medical students at a time. So hospitals all over the country have agreements with our school to take us for the last two years and teach us some medicine.

Thank goodness, because I will do just about anything to get out of this place. Suffice it to say that getting out of here means not having to deal with surprise dress codes, and not having to see the majority of the people in my class every day, and not having to stop at 15 stop lights in the mile from my house to the school.
Man, I just read that over again, and I sound like Scrooge and the Grinch all rolled into one, but I think that's mostly because I left school last night at 1 am and returned at 6 am this morning, which means that I never actually saw the sun yesterday. And then I checked my inbox to find an email from the Dean that encouraged me to enjoy the nice day outside and to remember it when I'm stuck in the hospital on night call and will never see the sun again. Way to rub salt in my wounds.

Somehow this post started out about the match and mutated into 10 Things I Hate About You, not unlike cancer cells. This post is metastasizing.

The Match is officially on Monday. I get to pick 6 places that I'm interested in them and I rank them 1 to 6 (imagine that). We can write a letter to our number one choice telling them how awesome we are and how much they should want to choose us. The medical term for this is Kissing Ass. The hospitals have the ability to choose up to half of their spots before the match based on these letters. If you're chosen based on your letter, you're taken out of the match. The match is then calculated by some fancy computer program that randomly assigns everybody else to the highest rankings it can.

I think the hospitals have already made their choices based on the letters, which means that I could already be placed and I don't even know. The suspense is killing me. I think this process is giving me even more gray hair than medical school in general is doing.

Here's the kicker of all this. I'm either going to get my first choice or I'm going to go unmatched. Which would be very very bad. Because then the only options would be Arizona (where I will melt like the Wicked Witch of the West) or a little town in the boot-heel of Missouri that is rumored to still have white-only restaurants. I cannot spend the next two years in a town that is responsible for Missouri beings a Slave State (Jeeze, another Civil War reference. Sorry, I need to put my major to use somehow). I need a Target. Or at the very least a speed limit above 30 mph.

Suffice it to say that this process cannot end soon enough and I really need to get my first choice. The odds are fairly good that I'll get it, but I've learned that there are no guarantees in medicine education. At least at this school. And there's no crying in baseball, but there is crying in medical school. Especially if I'm unmatched.

At least I'll know by Tuesday, whatever happens. I promise to tell you where I'm going. If I'm still alive on Tuesday.

I forgot to mention the craziest part about all of this! After the match, there's a trading season where students can switch spots with someone. And people will pay to get the spot the want. Like $7,000 kind of paying. If I didn't get my top spot and someone wanted my spot, I would totally switch for that kind of money. I could use all that extra cash to pay for the Tests-that-must-not-be-named because they are expensive. I am paying good money to be tortured. Lovely.

You know, the "Mad" in Diary of a Mad Med Student originally meant angry, but I'm pretty sure it's more of the Alice in Wonderland's Mad Hatter version of the word now.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

You know you're in med school when...

You can study a pictorial guide to STDs and eat dinner at the same time.
And not even feel queasy.