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Well,  I did match.

I’m going to be an obstetrician/gynecologist (hopefully, 5 years from now!).

And it looks like we’re going to be staying put here in Regina.  It wasn’t exactly our top choice but it isn’t a bad thing.  It took me a few days to come to terms with the disappointment of not moving, but it’s growing on me.  The program is excellent, the people I’ll be working with are lovely, we don’t have to deal with the stress of a move, I can plant my garden on time and still have tomatoes this year, we don’t have to leave our favourite sushi restaurant (I know, you’re thinking: “In Regina?” but yes, best sushi I’ve ever eaten – and that includes the year I lived in Vancouver- is from Hanabi’s on Broad Street).

On and on, the little bonuses add up. I’m really looking forward to this next chapter in our lives starting.  It’s going to be exciting and scary and awful and wonderful.

oh, and the best part? I have no more excuses to not join the pile of bones derby club now.

{this moment} – A Friday ritual. A single photo – no words – capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

hippopotamus cat

I am a decisive planner.  There’s no such thing as just a “plan b” around here.  Everywhere in my life, I make lists “a” through “q”. I figure out what I need to make things happen. And then I do it. Full steam a head. Go go go. Planning keeps the anxiety to a minimum.  Can’t be anxious if you have prepared for all eventualities.

Plans are easy.

Plans, you coordinate, you prepare and then you wait for the universe to decide what the outcome is going to be. Again, planning keeps the anxiety to a minimum. Can’t be anxious about plans if the outcome is beyond your control. Prepare and deal. Plan doesn’t work out?  That’s okay, we have backup plans. Plans, I am okay with.

But making plans is not making decisions.

When I actually have to make decisions, I am riddled with paralyzing fear.  You see, the outcome is now in my control.  MINE.  I am responsible. No matter what, (the planning, the lists, the cost-benefit analysis) I am convinced that I will make the wrong decision.  I will regret this decision.  It WILL be wrong. I have also realized over time, that this is especially true if the decision requires compromise.  Which piece do I compromise on?  If I need qualities a, b & c and a decision only provides a, b & d or a, c & e, which one do I choose?  More to the point, WHY do I have to choose? Why can’t there just be an option a, b & c like I need?

This has huge repercussions in my life. I have had panic attacks in the middle of grocery stores over buying toothpaste.  Seriously.  What do I need?  Sensitive? Whitening? Breath freshening? Colgate? Crest? What if the flavour is gross?  What if it’s grainy and disgusting? What if it ruins all the enamel on my teeth and I have to get all my teeth pulled out in a massively painful full-mouth root canal festival?

I know. I know. It’s just toothpaste. The illogic of this situation is not lost on me-  I’m not going to die. It’s 6$. If it’s that horrible, why don’t I just throw it away and buy a new one?

Because being the daughter/grand-daughter/great-grand-daughter of war and depression survivors, you don’t throw away a perfectly good 6 dollar tube of toothpaste because it “isn’t what you like”.  You don’t waste. You suffer.  You regret buying that stupid toothpaste for the next 8 months of your life, every single time you brush your teeth. You eat everything on your plate, even if you don’t like it, because if you don’t… it’s wasteful.

There is no sin greater than waste.

And yes, I know that this is illogical too and that guilt is a wasted emotion and blah blah blah, but it doesn’t help.  When it comes to decisions, I am a hopeless mess.

A girlfriend once said I’m like this because it’s a Sagittarius trait-  the feeling that there’s “always a better party somewhere else”.   That sums it up perfectly… except backwards.  I don’t think that there’s a better party somewhere else, I’m afraid that “I’ve picked the worst party and now I’m stuck with it, because I picked it and it’s my fault and well, now, I just have to live with it.”

Anyways.

Why all this rambling?  CaRMS is particularly awful for someone like me. I sort of have to pick where/what I will be doing for the next 5 years.  I put in a rank order list- a list of the schools/programs/cities that I would be willing to move to.

For me, the “what” (the program) is easy.  I want to be an obstetrician/gynecologist.  Easy. done. If someone told me that I had to move to St. John’s for the next 5 years to do Ob/Gyn, I’d be happy as a clam.  Same for Hamilton. Or Ottawa. Or Edmonton.  Or stay here in Regina. Or any of the 14 English speaking programs in Canada.  They are all excellent programs.  They are all a little the same and a little bit different from each other. Ultimately they are all graduating (a very important point- we all have to pass our Royal College exams at the end of the 5 years to be able to practice) excellent and competent physicians.

Deciding on the “where” is the hardest.  Because all the programs are so very similar but a little bit different, it is so very hard to figure out where I would “best fit”.  Everyone keeps saying “follow your heart” or “trust your gut”. Those are not helpful statements. I don’t know what I am going to need in 2 years time!  I don’t know what my life is going to look like in 3.5 years!  I couldn’t even imagine that this was going to be my life (ie. medicine) 5 years ago. 5 years ago, I was an unemployed highschool teacher who didn’t like particularly enjoy graduate school, and was drifting aimlessly and unhappily through life.  Now, I’m a 31 year old, 2 months away from being a Dr.  Everyday, I get to do what makes me happy every day- helping people, listening to people, educating, providing support, performing surgery, making life-changing decisions! Who saw that coming?! Not me!

Needless to say, even after deciding which school goes 1, then 2, then 3 etc… (which honestly came down to Mike submitting something 2 minutes before CaRMS closed while I hyperventilated and sobbed uncontrollably), I still have to partially hand over the power of this decision-making to a super computer in Ottawa that puts my rank-order-list against the lists that the schools made of us when we interviewed.  Somehow through moonbeams and fairy dust they match us up and at 11am on Tuesday I’ll get a email that tells me what/where I’m going.

And that’s not even entertaining the notion that I might not match (which is a thing too awful to even contemplate here without spiralling into a vortex of panic and hair-eating).

Since I submitted my list 2 weeks ago, there’s been a lot of crying and panicking about wrong decisions.  Everyday, I’m getting closer to acceptance, since there’s nothing more I can do about it but wait.

I’ve been coping by baking a lot.  Mostly, I bake it, then I don’t want to eat it.  Mike’s been taking it to work almost daily.  His colleagues seem to be enjoying my panic, at least.

One recipe was good enough to stay home.  These I actually enjoyed-

chocolate-y goodness

yumma

Gluten Free CaRMS bars (a variation of the hippie homemade granola bars my mum used to make)

3 c. GF Only Oats (I use 1 c. whole oats & 2 c quick oats)

1 c. puffed millet

1/2 c. flax

1 c. sunflower seeds

1 c. chocolate chips

1 c. dried fruit (I used cranberries)

1/2 c. chopped nuts (I used hazelnuts)

1 can low-fat sweetened condensed milk + 1 tbsp vanilla extract (you could use maple extract instead)

Mix well.  Pat down well onto a parchment paper covered cookie sheet.  Bake for 20-25 minutes @350, until golden brown

Use pizza cutter to cut into squares when still warm.  I drizzled some melted dark chocolate that I had left over from dipping apricots a couple of weeks ago.

They won’t help you feel better about any sort of decision making, but they taste really good.

Perks

There are perks to this whole CaRMS chaos.  People feel sorry for you.  People try to inspire you and show you that they support you and they love you.

People make you quilts.

In Halifax, my sweet girlfriend Erin and her momma made me a beautiful quilt with lovely earthy colours.

CaRMS-y quilt

So pretty

The best part of this quilt?  My friend Erin is a midwife and she gets obstetrical nerdery.  SERIOUSLY.

penis?

Can you read that?

That says penis. and fetus.

Station

and station

and there’s embolism and forceps and syphilis and penicillin and so many more.

I have a quilt that has syphilis on it…Secret syphilis…which of course is the very *worst* kind.

It is the GREATEST QUILT EVER.

and it’s cat approved.

no syphilis here. only cats.

I am currently in the middle of a 3 week whirlwind tour of 10 Canadian cities, interviewing for residency positions. This painful and nerve-wracking (not to mention crazy expensive) process is glamourously called the Canadian Residency Matching Service (CaRMS) “tour”.  Myself, along with ALL of the other medical students in the country who are graduating this year, having applied in November for our prospective residency programs, are now criss-crossing the country for a series of interviews, meet n’ greets, and socials, all in hopes of securing a spot in our desired schools/disciplines’ residency programs for the next 2-5 years. As per the name of the ‘tour’ this process is supposed to be a “match” ie. students have some input into their preferred schools/programs by submitting a rank-listing, while schools do the same (ie. if they interview 60 students for 5 spots, they rank everyone 1-60 on how awesome they thought you were). Frankly, it’s all really moonbeams and fairy dust and I don’t really understand how this whole mess works other than I submit a list of programs that I’d be willing to move to/participate in and some magical computer in Ottawa spits out a name on March 6th and then I go wherever it tells me to in June.

For my tour, I’ve applied only to Obstetrics and Gynecology programs. I applied to 13 programs, got 10 interviews and turned down 2 of them (one because of bad timing- overlap with another interview, and one because they got back to me really late in the game and I’d already spent too much money on plane tickets and good riddance). As of today, I’ve participated in 3 interviews: Halifax, London, and Hamilton. They’ve all been pretty good and I think that I’ve shown myself off pretty well, considering my socially awkward tendencies and the strangeness of the CaRMS beast in and of itself.  I have an interview tomorrow in Ottawa, followed next week by interviews in Regina, Saskatoon, Edmonton and Vancouver. Really, all programs in Canada are excellent. They’re all a bit different and a whole lot the same. Ultimately, I would be happy to match to any program that I’m interviewing.

So, anyhoot, what’s a knitter to do when faced with 3 of the most stressful weeks of her burgeoning medical career?

Knit of course.

10 days before CaRMS tour started, in the middle of my General Surgery rotation (read: up at 5 for 6am rounds, home by 7pm each night, call 1 in 3), in my infinite wisdom, I felt the best way to show myself off to these interviewers was by presenting myself in a handknit vest. Nothing says amazing like answering “what do you do in your spare time?” with pointing at one’s chest and proudly pronouncing “this!”.

So I went to the library at took out a neat book called Craft Activism and bookmarked Kirsten Kapur‘s Craftitude Vest

and then it begins

where all my best knitting happens it seems- on call.

One of the great things about a short deadline is there is no room for dilly dallying.  Project monogamy is a must.

all vesting all the time

I knit doggedly

doggedly?

doggedly?

i sit on your sweater

perhaps cat-edly is more appropriate

After blocking everything out front and back, I realized that I had marfed up the very last cable at the top of the front.  This realization was of course on Friday night around 23hoo…. and my flight for halifax was leaving at 5am on Monday morning.

STUPID STUPID STUPID

I am the stupid cable that shows where Kirsti obviously fell asleep and kept knitting

So after wailing, crying and pleading with myself that it was “fine” and “no one would notice the difference”, I went to bed.  Actually, it’s more like Mike put me to bed because I was pretty much hysterical.   I couldn’t seem to explain to him that with my life spiralling out of control, I *NEEDED* this sweater to work.  If I couldn’t control the sweater and complete it in time, then I would surely fail at CaRMS, fail out of medical school and end up living in a cardboard box. Nothing like extremes when dealing with botched knitting at midnight.  Saturday, I woke up took a deep breath and ripped it back.

Oh G-d. Oh G-d. Oh G-d.

insert hyperventilation here

And everything was okay, really.  I managed to re-knit everything by Saturday night and sort of steam block it out.  I stitched together the seams and picked up the arms and neck and had it all soaking in a tub by Sunday afternoon.  I dried it out in front of the heater over night and it went into my bag in the am.  And it fit! and it looked sharp! and I. MADE. IT. WITH. MY. HANDS.

dear internet- this is my belly

nothing says professional like handknit vest when EVERYONE else is wearing a suit

Cable fixed

I may not look like everyone else, but I'm happy and comfy and DAMN proud of myself. (note- I am NOT wearing a t-shirt and jeans with this vest to my actual interviews- that would be super unprofessional).

Documented over on Ravelry.

I have to say, one great thing about such a cramped deadline is that there was no room to languish.  If this project had been done under ‘normal’ circumstances, I’m pretty sure it would have sat in a cupboard for months (or years) until I “had the time” to sort it out.  Not to mention how long I would have procrastinated sewing it up and finishing it.  I’m actually happy that I had to “deal with it now” because I did deal with it and now I have an awesome, unique vest!

Here’s to hoping it’s just one of the kooky thing that makes folks remember me and think that I’m awesomesauce, so that when March 6th rolls around I’m not planning moving to the 8th choice on my list!

{this moment} – A Friday ritual. A single photo – no words – capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

navy is hard to see at night

{this moment} – A Friday ritual. A single photo – no words – capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

col