A few summers ago, I gave birth to a slippery, ornery baby and then immediately moved that baby and four-ish boxes of thrift store dinnerware to Hershey, Pennsylvania so my husband could start medical school.
For the most part it is fine. I could tell you a bunch of stories about suppers going cold or putting babies to bed by myself, but most of us have similar married-with-kids battle scars and I don’t want to be boring. And really, navigating marriage and motherhood while one person is in medical school isn’t that bad. It’s like anything else: suffer, adapt, overcome, wine.
Today Austin has his first residency interview. Tomorrow he’ll have another, and for the next few weeks and months we will drive up and down the East Coast and put on our best faces so that we might be THE CHOSEN ONES. This is a step I should be excited about, but instead I feel uneasy and generally despondent at the end of what will most likely be the easiest and fondest step of the becoming a doctor experience.
To avoid the confusion exchanged at every single extended family gathering since 2009, I have provided this timeline for your convenience.
11 Easy Steps To Becoming El Doctoro
Step #1—> Attend undergrad and spend six years realizing you don’t want to do graphic design. ✓
Step #2—> Take MCAT ✓
Step #3—> Apply To Med School and have nervous diarrhea for six months waiting for interviews and acceptance letters ✓
Step #4—> Start med school, spend first year frantically studying and making flashcards ✓
Step #5—> Spend another year with flashcards, develop ulcers ✓
Step #6—> Begin third year of med school and spend a year coming home late. To keep things interesting, have another baby ✓
Step #7—> Finally make it to the last year of med school when it is acceptable to mill around while applying to residencies. Spend life savings on applications, testing, and interview wardrobe ✓
Step #8—> Graduate, move, spend one year working whenever eyelids are open
Step #9—> Four Years of Radiology residency
Step #10—> One year fellowship in Interventional Radiology
Step #11—> Turn 40 and get first paycheck big enough to starting paying $300,000+ loans
This March, Austin will participate in what’s called “match day,” a ludicrous ceremony where nervous med students sit in a dimly lit room together and simultaneously open letters dictating their future while local news hovers and spouses sob happy and/or sad tears.
Then he will graduate and begin the six year journey to becoming an interventional radiologist, which is just a fancy way of saying he’ll be studying for a very long time.
We may move, we may not. It is all up to interviews, test scores, and a magical computer that says this person goes here and that person goes there and it doesn’t matter what the wife wants. No matter what, we’ve made a wonderful life here and it’s always hard to let go.
I will be sure to keep you abreast of our next move. In the meantime, I’ll be instagramming charmingly filtered photographs of Baltimore to convince myself I wouldn’t be murdered there and writing multiple essays on the art of moving forward. Let us not forget the wise words of my friend Mary who said, “Home is where the heart is, but dear god don’t let us end up in Jersey.”