Apr 17, 2015

The more things change, the more they stay the same...

So here I am, a full five months after my last blog post.

My moving date to head to Texas is June 19th.  The dreaded boards, moved up for what seems to be the sole purpose of panicking my class, are May 13-14.

I have less than a month to determine whether I learned enough in the last four years to be a board certified pathologist.  I have a month after that to make all my peace with Charleston, do all that stuff I meant to do, and see all those people I've had to put off under the guise of "sorry, I'm studying".

I now have a great deal of real world friends in addition to my fabulous colleagues, so while the colleagues understand "Hey, I'm not going to your Game of Thrones party next weekend because I need to compulsively hit flash cards", the real world friends with jobs and homes and dogs are like "We never SEE you anymore".  And they don't.  And it's sad.

But tests tests tests.  I definitely feel anxious.  I was always on the smarter end of the spectrum where I've been, so while biochem sent me into a self-induced fear spiral and I never quite grasped pharmacology, despite my tooth gnashing and panic, I was in the upper bracket.  My social life was just not really in order.

Now, the situation is set perfectly.  The hospital, upon seeing all the fourth years freak out at the time announcement, pretty much freed us from clinical duties for the duration and sent us to our offices with 10,000 dollars worth of books.  But I'm not the big fish in a little pond anymore.  I'm easily not in the top half of my brilliant colleagues, which is fine, so long as I'm in enough of the top part of the country to pass the exam.

Still, I don't feel the acute panic I have in the past, I think just because I've grown up and I've gotten too tired of always stressing about it, since it rarely helps.

So I have my system, and you know what Vegas says about people with a system.

Every day is a different topic.  I use the new knowledge to make flash cards.  I set alarms for an hour and every hour it goes off, I drop and do 10 push ups, 15 situps and then make a hashmark for both on my calendar.  When I have enough hashmarks and enough flash cards, I can go home.  At home, or at the Barrel, which is even better, I can iPad my way through the flash cards.  Then repeat over and over.

It's dull naturally.  I like the material, but I can't paint a picture of that as being a laugh riot, but it's the whole first year of medical school thing all over again.  Take a big test.  Be afraid because you're going to a new place.  Hope you do well in the new place.  Be prepared to take another big test.

I have my permanent South Carolina license now, so I'm now technically a doctor.  I'm working on my Texas training licence.  More of those infernal steps I told you about.

So then, do my cytopathology fellowship, and then, take another test, apply for a job, and maybe that cycle will finally end, and I can look back at the last 10 years of my life or so and say "Yes, I am now a doctor.  Officially."

Speaking of doctor things, I have to take ACLS now despite managing to never take it at any time in the past.  Having pathologists run codes is a terrible idea, I think anyone can agree on that, so that'll be another 200 dollars and two days, and worst of all, a day of testing the immediate week after the Tampa tests, but what's a girl to do when she needs that J-O-B?

Other things.... I ran the princess marathon, managed to run it the whole way through, and was both really glad that I did, and really glad that I got to go to Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure since I haven't been there in over a decade and everything's all built up and cool.  The princess made me feel like I can accomplish something, so there was that:

You know, even if I wasn't really a princess, but an English school girl, but my point remains valid.

I also managed to squeeze in the Bridge run since I kind of bombed it last year.  My goal was to get a sub hour time, which I missed by 3 minutes, but it still made me feel pretty good about myself, and I didn't throw up.

Committee life has been good also.  We did an extended trip to Key Largo in January, and I got to go scuba diving for the first time in forever.  We've also never been to the keys, so went down to Key West to check out the Hemingway house and all the six toed cats, the conch sandwiches, and 90miles to Cuba, and of course, the sunset.  It was an incredible time, and I got to see a friend from medical school due to the most random of coincidences.  I still miss the connections I had there.

Last month I hit Boston at USCAP and realized the boards were getting to me, because I'd left the boyfriend at home, and it was probably the most depressed I've ever been out of state.  I finally got enough enthusiasm to take a run around the frozen harbor, but it was not a labor of love.  The speakers were great; I made a lot of connections, and I got to crash other programs' parties, but I really just wanted to be home.  I've come to love Charleston so much and it's really sinking in how quickly I'm leaving it.

Lot of paperwork heading for the new place.  We've already been down to pick out our apartment (with the help of my lovely aunt) and it seems like it's going to be a great place to live.  I've already distanced out the Trader Joe's, Whole Foods, and closest Ethiopian restaurant cause I'm 'that guy'.  Then all the paperwork.  Gotta get that ECFMG certificate out again.  Gotta find all those step scores.  Gotta write to the school again and beg for my transcript.  It never ends.

So now it's just study study study drive to Tampa and breathe.  See all my friends, kayak, go out to dinner, go out to parties, and the like, but now, back to the books.  Hopefully by the next time I post, you'll have a "I'M FINALLY A REAL DOCTOR; NO THIS TIME, I ACTUALLY MEAN IT, I'M BOARD CERTIFIED!!!" post. I truly hope, at least.  And we'll see whether a Caribbean MD was really enough for me.