Saturday, May 26, 2007

Dreaded moments

I hate ICU call. I would rather take several nights of any other kind of call than be paged every few minutes to make decisions about patients who are critically ill and who I know virtually nothing about. Luckily, I won't have to do any more ICU calls. Hopefully, forever. I don't think my specialty will have calls comparable to the ones I've been doing this year, so I'm happy to have that in the past.

But will there always be something to dread on the horizon? In school it was usually certain tests and papers. I would procrastinate and eventually pull an all-nighter to finish writing some paper about a topic I wasn't comfortable with. I hated every minute of it--pushing myself to stay awake, trying to make sense of a topic that I didn't find interesting. Luckily those times are past too. But I've just replaced them with new dreads.

Yesterday I finished my third set of board examinations. This one was a doozy. Family members may remember a couple years back when I was extremely apprehensive about step 2 of the boards. That one was going to influence whether I would match to a residency (which one and what kind), and so it was understandably high stakes and very stressful. The one I took yesterday doesn't really matter, as long as I pass. But that fact made it no less dreadful.

As I sat in the waiting room of the testing center, a couple of the others waiting to be admitted were chatting about the tests they had come to take. "I heard the proctor tell someone about a lunch break. Can you believe that? A test so long you have to break for a meal?" I wondered whether I should be silent or tell them that my test was 2 days long, 8 hours each day.

The test itself isn't too hard, but it's non-stop stress because of the time constraints. Most of the questions have several paragraphs of background information painting a clinical scenario. Reading it all, comprehending it, and pulling out the relevant facts is a chore when you've been doing it over and over and over for many hours. You only get a minute and fifteen seconds for each question, so you can't take time to daydream for a minute. You just keep going.

But, luckily for you, this boring post is now nearly over. Please don't dread reading my posts in the future, because I won't make them this whiny every time. The dreaded step 3 test is over, hopefully I passed (and won't have to pony up an extra $600 for a re-take), and all is well at the Meaty Chunks residence.


Tarimisu said...

Best of luck on the exams. Be sure to blog about the results. Glad all is well with the Meaty Chunks family otherwise!

Ree said...

Ugh! Now I remember why I was so glad to just get out with a Bachelors. Hope the most dreadful part is behind you.