Thursday, June 23, 2005

Three Down...

I am only 16 hours from completing my third year of medical school. That means just one more year to go, or 332 days until the official graduation day, or 372 days until I begin my residency training.
Has the last year gone quite fast for you, too?
It hit me this afternoon while riding the elevtaor at the Barnes & Noble on the Plaza, heading up to the Starbucks Cafe where I sometimes go to study when I am going out of my skin in my own house. Actually, I haven't been there for over a year, since I had my last afternoon of studying for Step One of the boards on June 14 of last year. Riding the escalator, I kept thinking, "Has it been a year since I last took this ride?" It seems like it might have been just last week or maybe last month, but to think that it has been an entire year, and that I have just one more year left to go, feels a bit strange.
This time last summer, there were so mant things I was dreading about my upcoming semesters. I was dreading finding out of I passed or failed Step One. I was dreading the idea of spending the night in the hospital on call. I was dreading the eight weeks of my surgery rotation. I had so much trepidation mixed with so much anticipation. Having come through this year, a part of me looks back and thinks, "Who was that person?"
All of the things I feared or worried about now look like the molehill rather than the mountain I saw at first. It seems that what I feel most of all is a sense of being able to trust myself.
For a long time, whenever I was nervous about a new situation, I would remind myself that I figured out how to master the subway system in Paris, and it would help calm me down. That is how I am starting to feel about the last 12 months.
It is my latest Parisian Metro.
So, which route am I going to take?
I have looked at the map for a long time now, and I have had a chance to ride on each of the lines trying to find the one that suits me best. Certain of them I expected to love, but turned out to find the ride a bit bumpy. With others I expected an unpleasant ride and ended up having a smooth trip. Each of them eventually brought me to a point that I thought I could be happy staying at for my life.
Now, though, finally, I think I might be able to say which direction I'm going to head.
It is kind of a surprise to me, as it wasn't a direction I ever expected to choose to head, but in my gut I have a feeling it is the right way.
Want to hear?
This really is a big deal to be making this type of "announcement," having danced aorund the issue for so long and having actually gotten a bit comfortable with the words, "I don't know what I'm going to do."
So, I better just say it.
I am going to pursue a combined residency in the areas of internal medicine and pediatrics, aka, med-peds.
One of the beauties of this choice is that it still allows me not to choose just one area, but instead I get to have two.
The reason this choice surprises me is that at the beginning of this year, I had no desire to become neither an internist nor a pediatrician.
And here it looks like they are just what I am going to be.
I am going to get to treat adults and kids, but not deliver babies. I will be able to spend all of my time working as a hospitalist or I will be able to have the traditional doctor's office. I can stay general, or I can do a fellowship after residency. In short, I am setting myself up here to have a lot more options.
Do I still have an affinity for women's health? Yes, absolutely. The thought of becoming an ob-gyn still lingers in my mind, and I will add the disclaimer that it may still happen.
I feel pretty confident in med-peds, though. I have been saying, "I am going to do med-peds" in my mind now for several weeks, and something about it just feels right. Today one of my classmates said, "I think you just have to kind of try something on and see if it fits and feels comfortable," and I feel like that is what I have been doing here lately.
So, there it is, in public, on the record. Like the first time wearing a new dress out, thinking it looks and feels good, but still feeling nervous about putting it on display.