Tuesday, March 25, 2014

72 Hours Post Match Day

Welp... It's over.

Huntington, WV and Marshall University Orthopedics here we come!!

I have felt so many emotions over the last few days. I remember walking into The Match Ceremony in Toledo, Ohio thinking that very few people have moments in their lives like this one. I mean really.? A few posts ago I mentioned his interview offer list. I think the final count was 20 hospitals. Notice below that Marshall was his last on the interview trail and also notice I didn't know what city it was in. Opps. Interviews aside, the ranking process itself was intense. His draft order was completely flipped flopped after I and everyone around me declared January as my own personal Panic Attack Month. To put it another way, I used so much of the Bath and Body Works "Stress Relief" lotion after Christmas break, the students started to comment I smelled like men's deodorant. Hum.. No joke unfortunately. In retrospect, I don't think there is a manual on how to handle being "Married to Medicine". I really did like Philli but the high cost of living scared the bejezzis out of me. As I started to realize that the next 5 years for us would likely be where our first and maybe second child would be born, I wanted a place that would work comfortably. Philli (to me) would not have been the easiest option. The medical community group I belong to on facebook was amazing for being up front, honest, and forthcoming with family budgets. His first rank was done toward the end of the interview trail, right before his Marshal interview. Before my Philadelphia melt down, I really had pushed him toward the "prestigious" school route... ivy league... top-20-ortho-hospital-in-the-nation type places. Those schools to me say "successful" aka "I am one of the smartest people in America". He went to those interviews though at Virginia Commonwealth University and UPenn feeling unsure of the cultural academic attitudes, overwhelmed by the abundance of research projects,  disappointed by the hours spent in the OR (relatively speaking to the community programs), yet highly impressed by the facilities. I kept telling him that 5 years is 5 years. Not forever. Ultimately after he heard my major concerns of cost of living and wanting the option to stay home with kids his rank list completely flipped from "big name" to close-to-home community programs at the top with less to no research requirements and significantly more hours spent in the OR from day 1. Probably the hardest thing about the rank process is really knowing what you want out of life NOW. He said that if we end up at home-home that a community program would be best to see a a variety of cases but poor in the fact that the specialize complex cases would be limited. Going to a "big name" would help get fellowships and provide connections to start in a city. To be very honest, I don't think my mindset was quite right to make that decision during the month of February 2014. His placement now will hopefully still allow him to go back to Columbus, Ohio if we choose to later. He asked me if I saw myself retiring there and I couldn't answer him. I typically am an amazing planner and need to know every detail wasn't working for that question. I can see the 2 of us together, old, with grandchildren, a 2 story living room with a huge Christmas tree; but for the life of me, I have no idea where that setting's address is. I guess that's a good thing? ...but I digress...

All and all his 4th choice is where we ended up. Not terrible. A top 5 ortho match from what I hear is fantastic. We did have our hearts set on Mount Carmel in Columbus, Ohio though. I could have kept my amazing job (with higher than average salary for a teacher), he would have been able to moonlight, and again, we would be in Columbus. The program director even sent him a thank you for interviewing. He also rotated there. We ranked them 1st. Mount Carmel only takes 2 interns per year. Who knows? We might have been their number 3?  Oh well. It has been difficult saying goodbye to everyone at work. Facebook gave it away to ease the blow.

It was absolutely devastating not to open the letter to find his 1st choice.

Here is my play by play (very candid) Match Day experience:

10am: Putting the finishing touches on hair and makeup. I skipped breakfast I was so nervous. I didn't sleep but only 5 hours per night and consumed less than an adequate amount of calories due to nerves the week prior. My weight the day before match day read 116lbs... aka down 8-9 lbs in 3 months. I was dieting for the wedding, doing crossfit 2x a week, and eating paleo for the most part. The Match anxiety definitely helped.

11am: The school had set up a very nice appetizer station while we mingled with his friends.

11:40am: 3 people came to say wonderful things about the class' match outcomes

12pm: We opened letters!

12:01pm: Speechless. Heart sunk. No tears.

12:03pm: Speechless. No tears. He and I stared at each other with blank faces. One of this extremely unsensored and spontanious friend's asked "How do you feel about his match?" All I could say was "I don't know."

12:10pm: Speechless. Still staring at each other. Still not crying. I know he is disappointed. We both know I have to quite my amazing job. He knows I am devastated. No words needed but "Do you want to go?". I said "yes". I was really doing my best to not lose it in front of his friend's parents and fiances.

12:15pm: long silent walk to the car

12:16pm: lots of tears during the car ride home.  I remember bargaining "what if we ranked it differently"... "I'm sorry I freaked about about cost of living." ..."You have to spend 3 months in K-Tuck for peds your third year. What about me with kids?" etc...

12:35pm: He reminds me of all the good things we talked about when deciding to rank Marshall 4th after I said my share. I'm feeling more positive and forgetting about my job.

I know all of this because the video cam I used to record the ceremony was mistakenly not turned off an put in my giant hand bag...

Around 3pm: I finally am excited about the move to Huntington. I finally text my Dad.

7pm: We made reservations earlier in the week to have a very very nice dinner in Toledo. At this point I'm feeling very proud to be at a table with the fiance's or spouses of 3 other soon-to-be surgeons. None of his friends go their first choices. They ranged from 3rd to 8th on their rank lists. One friend will be going to Houston, TX for ortho (8th pick), another to Grand Rapids, MI for plastics (5th I think), and the last for general surgery at Riverside Hospital (3rd) in Cbus. All of his friend's opened their letters and basically had the same reaction except for one. Another one of the fiance's has the exact same situation as I do with quitting a great job to start over. It was good to hear everyone being positive at dinner.

9pm+ : drinks and mingling with the rest of the Toledo MS4's who just opened letters


72 Hours Post Match: After setting into the information, researching, and being in contact with a few people down there, it actually does seem like a good fit. The 2 other interns also are getting married this summer around the exact same time as we are! Crazy. I really hope who ever they are, that we become friends! (How silly does that sound!) We received his start date from the program as June 18th. Medical School graduation is May 30th. My job ends June 5th (teacher work day). Our wedding is June 7th which means we can now take a bitty honeymoon!! Finding housing and a new job for myself is now my top priority though. Praying the stars align and it all works out! I am applying to 2 jobs tomorrow.

"Positive things don't happen to negative people."

Being "Married to Medicine" does not come with a manual. The fiance actually said he would put my reaction up against the other significant others in our group. I got over the news relatively quickly.

Excited to see what the future holds! NO MORE LONG DISTANCE RELATIONSHIP!!!


  1. Congratulations on surviving match day and the end of long distance relationships! The only thing I know about Marshall is that it was a great movie. It is probably requisite watching for any resident:-)

  2. Your story is so much like mine! My fiance just matched in Ortho at Northwestern (where he did med school, so at least we don't have to move), but I was also super nervous to open the letter on Match Day.

    Feel free to check out my blog thesurgeonsspouse.com