Friday, April 09, 2010

i'm not sure what the point of this entry was, except to remind you that we were almost on a reality show once

So one of my partners at work is one of the examiners for the ABA Oral Board exam, and for many years now, he has been giving mock orals to the younger doctors in the practice as preparation for the real thing. This year I'm taking the exam, so he's been very nicely availing me of his time so I can splutter through my various stem questions and clinical scenarios, and revealing to him all sorts of embarrassing deficiencies in my clinical knowledge base, like the fact that I can't remember Thing One about neurosurgical anesthesia, and that I get the effects of acetylcholinesterase inhibitors and anticholinergics all jumbled up every single time.

(Please note, it's mainly the words that get me confused. If I think of the actual drugs and classify them as "green sticker medicine" or "red stripey sticker medicine" I am fine.)

(Apologies to all, the above was some fairly esoteric anesthesia quote-unquote humor. As you were.)

Today I went over to his house after work for another mock oral boards session, and if there's one thing I learned from this--aside from the fact that when it comes to the Boards, pregnancy is a FATAL DISEASE--it's that grown-up people live in nice houses. Man, compared to his house, our house (granted, a rental, so we haven't made much of an effort to decorate) looks like two med school dorms collided with a secondhand toy store. I know we're young and we have little kids and we're going to be moving at some point in the near future anyway and blah blah blah, pick your excuse. But at some point, I feel like we're going to have to start living like grown-ups. When that point will be, I'm not sure. We had our chance when we were being considered for "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy," but I don't even think that show exists anymore, so I guess we're just doomed.

So! The Orals Boards. A week and a half from now. It will be good to have them behind me. Passing them would be nice too, because, you know, board certification and whatnot. Which reminds me--oh shit, I have nothing to wear to this exam. Everyone says "business attire" but seriously, everything even vaguely appropriate is at least seven (optimistic fudging of numbers) to twelve (I interviewed for med school in 1998 and have not bought a suit since) years out of date and also somewhere irretrievable, probably stuffed in a box labeled MISC TOILETRIES. I guess I could get some new clothes, but I am loathe to spend the money, especially considering that I may well never wear a suit again. What do I look like, Hillary Clinton?


  1. Love the anesthesia humor!

  2. Clothes suggestions - borrow from a friend, try your local Goodwill or is there one of those donation shops in the hospital? The name of them escapes me but often there are recent castoffs from wealthy women, some of which might be appropriate.

    There are places that rent or lend interview clothes to those who are just getting back into the workforce, although there really aren't enough of these kind of services. (They're great places to think of when you're donating nice things you don't want anymore.)

    Consignment shops can have good bargains and since clothes are changing seasons in the retail shops you might be able to get a deep discount on last season's choices.

    I once got a dark green suit for 29.99 at a discount mall, wore it in two films, one tv show and to the interview for the job I currently have.

    It would be hilarious if a bunch of you were the same size and going for your boards at the same time, split the cost and all wore the same outfit. Nobody bats an eye if men wear the same basic uniform but women are supposed to all look different...

  3. Anonymous10:08 PM

    Michelle, I am on vacation so forgive me for procrastinating and taking on a short makeover project instead of studying for boards like a good 3rd year resident should, BUT what do you think about this outfit, each item can be worn separately:
    grey jacket, can be worn with jeans for a night out (hahaha)

    PLUS a nice shell, can also be worn with jeans and it's sleeveless for those hot ATL summers

    PLUS a light-colored skirt that can be worn year-round and is light colored and will look nice on your petite frame (as opposed to black which can sometimes make shorter ppl look stumpy)

    PLUS a light-colored flat or (heels if you wear them) to elongate the body, again can be worn with anything but scrubs and sweatpants.

    You'd be dropping a couple hundred (much less if you go do some outlet shopping) but these pieces should hold up for years...

    (in an alternate universe I'd be working retail at nordstrom's or ann taylor hahaha OR a food critic OR...sigh...need to study)

  4. Living like grown-ups is overrated. If you have nice furniture, then you have to get upset when your dog pees on the couch, or your kid spills something. So not worth the aggravation.

  5. Anonymous11:56 AM

    walk into a banana republic/anna taylor, go to the sale section and i am willing to bet my life you will find a bussiness-y dress to buy and a cardigan or a jacket (sometimes they pair jackets w/ the dresses). these things can be worn for essentially ever and can serve as business chic or even dress up for work parties and other things grown ups do.

    1 stop solves all and it promises to be reasonably priced

  6. pregnancy IS a fatal disease and fetuses are parasites. that is why i love pulling them out of women. it's like popping the biggest zit ever (seriously, when the chin finally pops through the introitus, i feel a little "pop"!). love, post-call and delirious ob resident.

  7. OH_EM_RES5:07 PM

    "So one of my partners at work is one of the examiners for the ABA Oral Board exam, and for many years now, he has been giving mock orals to the younger doctors in the practice as preparation for the real thing"

    Does the ABA really permit that? Our "governing body" as it were, specifically forbids it and as a result one of our residency higher-ups is forbidden from helping when we do our mock boards. If that quick is specific to our specialty and/or doesn't exist in other specialties, I'll be seriously cranky. LOL.

    I'd second the suggestion of consignment shops. I just dropped off a few several-hundred dollar suits that I wore for residency interviews because they don't fit. One still had the tags on. Particularly if you find one that caters to higher end stuff, you could find some really nice things that are only last season and probably still have the tags on (that logic is beyond me, but I'm not rich, so... LOL). A quick google search popped lots of them. For example:

    Good luck!

  8. OH_EM_RES5:07 PM

    Quirk even. Bad typing, sorry.

  9. Anonymous11:19 PM

    I've got an "oral" joke...

    As a radiology resident, whenever someone requests a CT of the abdomen/pelvis, I always ask "have you given the patient oral?" (As in oral contrast). I once had a confused and flustered resident reply, "excuse me?" and I repeated myself, "Have you given the patient ORAL?" We did eventually figure out what we were each referring to...

    Sometimes in medicine we take for granted what we say...

  10. OH_EM_RES: I think the ABA actually encourages them to give practice oral exams. We had at least two opportunities per year to do "practice oral" exams during residency, and those faculty among us who were actual oral board examiners (past and present) were always offering their time and poker-faced intimidation services. In fact, I think the ABA distributes practice oral board questions (not for distribution) to examiners specifically for this purpose.

    As someone who gets flustered easily in public-speaking settings, I cannot tell you how much taking a practice oral exam helps, so I am glad that the ABA has taken the stance of "let's all help everyone do well" as opposed to being jerkwads about it. Hardly anyone has experience these days taking oral exams, so I'm sure we could use all the practice we can get before the real thing.

  11. OH_EM_RES12:05 PM

    Wow, that must be nice. Most programs in our field do mock orals, and almost everyone eventually pays to do a professional prep course as well. That said, as far as I'm aware, the actual examiners have to stay away from the prep stuff.
    How interesting!

  12. Anonymous2:02 PM

    All you really need is a dark pair of trousers and a nice blazer. If not a blazer, an expensive looking button down sweater.

  13. Molly2:43 PM

    I agree with an above commenter. Please do not go to a consignment/used clothing store. Invest in some nice clothes that you could where as separates. A blazer always looks good with jeans and suit pants you could where to work. Also, go someplace nice that will give you good customer service and you won't have to worry about tailoring/smell/dry cleaning, etc. Time is money, and sanity. Get something nice, enjoy, and don't feel guilty, and you will look good and have it for years. Go to the theory section of Nordstroms/Neiman's/Bloomingdales.

  14. Molly2:44 PM

    Notice I just spelled "wear" wrong..... twice..... What happens when there is not enough time.

  15. Anonymous3:55 PM

    I took the board exam to get into Radiology Schools in Florida, but I didn't pass. I took the exam 15 times before I final passed.

    Now I'm officially a doctor!!