Thursday, April 26, 2007

30 posts in 30 days, day 23: plan b

The worst thing about getting the match results yesterday--well, one of the worst things--was that I was overnight call last night. So Joe and I won't even get to see each other until this evening. There was a quick text-page and phone exchange of information at around 12:20pm, after which we both had to get back to our respective patients (mine on the table, his at the clinic), and another 10 minute phone call touching base right before he headed home in the evening. After work, Joe went out for a beer with his oculoplastics mentor, who in all my dealings with him has been a really great guy (if a bit of a workaholic, not that those things are mutually exclusive) and who was also really surprised about how the match played out. However, he made an important point that of the 60+ applications the New York program got this year, they only interviewed 10 residents, the best of the best. And of those 10 candidates, five of them, like Joe, didn't end up matching this year either. I suppose when you have a dozen spots and more than 60 candidates, you're looking at 50-something people who don't match at all. And so it goes.

At this point, after all the stress and anticipation and whatnot, I think Joe just needs to take a break from thinking about this altogether and chill out for a few days. After all, nothing immediate is changing. Our plans for next year are still the same, me finishing my last year of residency, he precepting and doing a variety of attending-y things at several hospitals around the city. It's going to be a good year for both of us. The thing that we eventually have to figure out, however, is our Plan B for the year after that.

Honestly, we never really got around to thinking about a Plan B.

What I am almost certain will end up happening is that Joe is going to reapply. He wants to do a fellowship for certain, and the ophthalmology fellowship that he wants to pursue is oculoplastics. So there's that. The thing with these plastics fellowships, though, is that they are two years long, and each program takes a fellow only every other year. There are programs (the ones that we applied to this time) that take applications for the even-numbered years (in this case, to start July 2008), and there are the other half of the programs, roughly the same number, that take applications for the odd-numbered years. If we reapplied next year, we'd be reapplying for a totally different pool of programs in totally different places. And as usual, they are all pretty far-flung, which means more traveling, more weeks away from home and time away from Cal, more call schedule shuffling for me, more expenses, less vacation time. But you do what you have to do, right? I mean, if he still wants to go through with it all. Just the thought of running that race again is exhausting, especially when it is toward an uncertain end.

The second thing to think about now is this. Even if he matches with the next round of applications, that will be to start fellowship July 2009. Which means I'll have an extra year to kill before we relocate. (If we match for July 2009, there is no question about the relocation issue, as New York is an even-year program.) So what to do with that extra year? Get a job? Apply for a one-year fellowship myself? Stay in New York? Move elsewhere, with the possibility of moving again in a year? Joe's mentor has offered to try and hook Joe up with some big names in oculoplastics for a year of study, but we almost certainly will not be able to spend a year in London or Vancouver. Last I checked my handy dandy map, those places aren't even in America. Maybe if Joe were single, or if we didn't have Cal or Cooper, or if we were these crazy free-spirited nomadic-type people. But I can't even imagine what would be entailed in just picking up and spending a year abroad like that, especially in terms of negotiating the mountain of paperwork that would be involved in being able to practice medicine outside of the United States. That's just too overwhelming to even contemplate for just a one year stint.

So one way to look at things is that the future is more unsettled than ever. Another way to look at things is that we have a wide open field with unlimited possibilities. The world is our oyster! Though if I actually said those exact words unironically, my head might crack open and rainbows and singing butterflies would come shooting out.

Currently eating: Organic Oreos from Whole Foods. My sister told me about them and I was like, jigga-what? Organic Oreos? Go back to your yurt in Berkeley, you hippie! But then I tried them and they were actually better tasting than regular Oreos. The cookie part is crunchier and the cream filling is more flavorful. But don't worry, I'm sure they're still plenty unhealthy for you.