Motherhood and Trauma on Surgery

When I was on my surgery rotation, there was one day that was particularly rough. It was a Saturday and I was on call by myself, without any classmates. I saw more gruesome and horrifying things in that one day than I could ever imagine. It was a day that permanently broke something inside of me. There is no going back after a day like that. One of my attending surgeons even came up to me later to say how well I handled those situations (totally a lie, but pretty awesome coming from a surgeon ­čśé). This is why all doctors are wounded healers. 

After being awake for 30+ hours on that call day, I went home hoping to crash in my comfortable bed and try my hardest to forget everything I’d seen and done. As soon as I stepped in the door of home, I hear, “Mommy?” Coming from my daughter’s room. I was spent. I had nothing left to give mentally, emotionally,… just nothing. I felt sub-human. Still in my scrubs, shoes discarded at the door, I walk into my daughter’s room to her smiling face, chanting “Mommy!” While jumping in her crib. My sunshine, happy to see me. 

A year and a half later and I’m finally sharing a piece I wrote that day. Writing it helped me deal with some of the residual effects that I still feel. 

Med Student Mom

Matched!

The first time I ever went to a Match Day, I thought it was a special kind of wonderful. A huge room absolutely packed with family and friends, medical students jumping for joy with their envelopes telling them where they were going for their training… it was so much fun.

And it wasn’t even MY DAY. It was just so fun seeing everyone else so happy.

And yet, I was unbelievably sad. Three failed applications to medical school and I had just about given up. I’m sure any sane person would have.

But, I am stubborn, and I am just different. I remember telling David once that I didn’t know if I would ever truly be happy, working as a scientist but regretting never going to medical school. I’m pretty sure even he, my biggest supporter, thought I had lost my damn mind when I said that. Maybe I was just being dramatic, but at the time I was working a job that I absolutely hated, due to circumstances beyond my control. Attending that Match Day filled me with a newfound optimism. I’ve got to try just one more time. Whatever the outcome, then I will be done and I will move on. Just one more time.

Now, almost 5 years later, and my Match Day is this Friday. Today I got this email:

I started a new rotation today, and we were busy seeing patients when I heard a very faint ding! in my pocket. And I just knew, That’s it. That’s gotta be the email. As soon as I had a split second to check, all I saw was, “Congr–“ on the subject line.

And now my Facebook and Instagram feeds are all filled with the same picture from friends in med schools across the country, and I am so happy for everyone. We are almost at the finish line for this leg of the race.

So, so happy. I get a Match Day, I get to have a residency position to start the process of being a pediatrician. I am so overwhelmingly relieved. The constant stress of medical school has all been in the hopes of landing a residency.

First and second year: Make good grades and pass Step 1 so I can land a residency.

Third year: Make good grades and get good letters so I can land a residency

Fourth year, early on: Pass Step 2 and put together a great app so I can land a residency.

Fourth year, after interviewing: Please let me Match into a residency! Did I put programs in the right order to Match? Did I rank enough programs? Will I actually get to be a resident?

It almost makes me wonder if Match Day will be anti-climatic. Thank goodness that’s all over???

All of that aside, I am so relieved. In four days we will have an answer and can start looking for a house. I’m ready. I’m so ready. I’m not ready. But I’m ready. There will always be so much I don’t know, but I am finally almost there. PagingDrAllie, pediatric resident physician.

A dream, ever so close to becoming true.