Thursday, December 21, 2006

Smell my finger.

Today Jagdish and I manually disimpacted Reflux.

Let that soak in for a moment. My older brother, a bona fide MD, and myself, 6 mo. away from my own degree, synergized our medical know-how to de-constipate my dog, in a dignified manner culminating in my inserting my pinky finger into my poor 7 lb. dog's anus.

Despite Reflux's blindness, deafness, senile dementia, and general ancient broke down-edness, that guy sure had a lot of fight in him. He fought so much that we had to recruit my mom to hold his thorax still, while Jagdish held his legs so I could lift up his tail for the impending activity in and around his ass. Of course, while my mom held him, he took a humongous anger-fueled piss that unfortunately dripped down her shirt sleeve and all the way down her waist. Actually, everyone needed a shower afterwards, because the minute I lifted up his tail to figure out exactly what was going on down there, Reflux emitted a barrage of defensive farts, extremely wet and stinky. After the pre-emptive strike, Jagdish and I, anticipating some explosive fecal matter headed our way, decided to move the operation out of the laundry room and into the garage.

What prompted me to practice medical maneuvers on my own dog? Well, to be frank, according to my mom, he hadn't taken a dump in 3 days, and I walked him myself 3 or 4 times today, and he would assume the hunchback pre-poopy posture and stand there and just strain and strain and strain until his poor little tail and hind legs were all trembly with effort, and nothing would come out. I, unable to keep my mouth shut, pointed out that he was "probably impacted with loads of dry hard stool in his rectal vault." My mom took this as me volunteering to manually disimpact said stool, a task which I unsuccessfully tried to pawn off on Jagdish, saying he was the only one with a medical degree to actually back the performance of such a procedure. In the end, it was a group effort. And now, Reflux is mad at all of us.

17 down, 1 to go!

Ya'll, I am SO happy to be almost done with interviews! As much as I constantly bitch about it, it's actually been really, really fun. I got to travel all over the country (to California no less than 4 times, which was, ok, a little pricey and exhausting) and see my friends, and meet all of my cool future colleagues. They were mostly cool. I'll be honest, there were some duds too. Anyway, my next one in Philly's not until the 2nd week of January so hopefully I'll be recharged by then. It's kind of a shame that UCSF was my 17th interview because I actually was really excited about it, but by the time I got to it, it was my 3rd interview in 4 days and I had no questions left. I couldn't even fake interest at that point. I always call the tour of the hospital "sorority rush" time, because you just put on a big smile, zone out, and keep nodding your head. Like really, do you think I care what the wards look like and how big the ORs are? It's not going to change my decision about whether I want to be at a program or not. It kills me when people ask about parking and shit like that. Really? I agree that shit is important but is knowing the parking situation going to change where you plan on ranking this program?

Also, and this kills me everytime I think about it, the software that the National Resident Match Program uses to match medical students to residency programs is the EXACT SAME software used by my undergrad institution to match sorority rushees into houses! In my mind, that is extremely dumb. This is my doggone career! I would hope there would be a somewhat more sophisticated system set up for this process, but no. It is very much like rushing a sorority again. My specialty in particular, because it is so female-dominated, has felt like rush many times. I've sat through several interviews where I feel I've been given "hard pref," which is what we call a portion of pref night (the night before bid day, where girls are actually given acceptance by one house -- where they "matched," per se) when one sister takes a rushee aside and tells her how great she is and how perfect she is for the house and how bad the house wants her and basically makes her feel very loved and welcome in the house while aggressively recruiting her to the house.

The problem is that this process, much like sorority rush, is just as dirty and deceiving. Many houses make girls feel like they are a top recruit because they love being listed high on bid lists, which the girls make of their top choices. It assures that the house will have its choice of which girls it wants and honestly, makes the house feel special and popular. In my head, residency programs are the same way. I can't trust any of them. I've already been told by one program that I'm at the "top of their rank list!" but I've heard many horror stories about med students falling for that and getting very hurt in the end when they match at another program, so I don't believe a word of it. Argh. Is all of life like sorority rush? It's exhausting. I've survived 21 flights, 4 manicures, 13 pairs of panty hose, and 3 pairs of pointy-toed stilettos in the last 6 weeks. My cheeks hurt from smiling so much, goldarn it!

Also, why do people even bother discussing how to wash pantyhose? I can't wear those darn things more than once -- MAYBE twice, if they're the super fancy DKNY microfibers that cost EIGHTEEN DOLLARS a pair -- without getting a run and having to throw them away. Women who garner efficient use out of their panty hose -- I salute you. It is a challenge.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

My dad's birthday!

Today is Papa Peg's 54th birthday! I rang this morning and wished him a happy birthday, and he said the same thing he says every year: "I hate my birthday. It means I'm one year closer to my death." Awesome! Where's the Hallmark card with THAT sentiment? (I understand though; I tend to get really moody and depressed around my birthday too because it reminds me of the AGING, and then my mom reminds me of the SINGLENESS and how my EGGS are LOSING VIABILITY AS WE SPEAK. Birthdays are festive in the Peg household.)

I'm interviewing at Iowa today and DQ picked me up from the airport and took me to lunch, which was just lovely, and now we're trying to study at Panera, with marginal success. I decided to take this opportunity to reflect on a few things. (We've kicked around the idea of blowing off this whole "study" thing and going out to the country so he can teach me how to drive a stick [insert dirty joke here] but I think DQ prefers driving his car in one piece rather than 8 so I'll stick to being chauffered around.)

1. Have ya'll seen this CNN article? Apparently 2 large-scale prospective studies in Uganda and Kenya were terminated prematurely because of the overwhelming finding that circumcising adult men cut in half their risk of HIV transmission through heterosexual intercourse. An important finding, I agree. I am concerned about its validity in America too, though, where the overwhelming majority of men are circumcised. It's not a free ticket to have unprotected sex, and practicing safe sex is the greatest safety measure against transmission.

2. I've been spending A LOT of time at airport bars lately. (This is sad. I know.) This morning at the O'Hare Bar & Grill as I worked my way through 2 Bloody Marys I saw two women get EXTREMELY shitfaced. Like, I've been drunk on an airplane many a time, but I've never tried to make out with a bar stool or been in danger of vomiting before the plane even got of the ground. As airport security escorted them out of the bar, the bartender said, "And that's why you have to be 21 to drink." To which I responded, "And even that's not old enough sometimes." And that got me thinking: we put legal age minimums on everything: Driving - 16, Voting/Serving/Smoking - 18, Drinking - 21, and Renting a Car (this one became painfully important to me this year) - 25. None of the real things in life have any sort of age limit. I really think dating should have an age limit (How's THAT for me turning into my mom?). And some people shouldn't be allowed into the dating pool at all. There is no age limit on how old you have to be to break someone's heart, or emotionally scar them for the rest of their life. In an unrelated thought, sex should also have an age limit. That is all.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

TCL called today wanting to go out for cocktails tonight but I begged off, saying I had to study for Boards and pack for tomorrow, when I'm leaving AGAIN for more effing interviews. And it's true, I wasn't just trying to blow him off, so I told him I'd call him when I got back on Tuesday night. Just now I got a text from him, "Can't wait til Tuesday!" Aw. TCL is sweet. Why can't I like the nice guys? Why must I only be interested in the assholes?
Last week I told TCL I'd call him whenever I was back in town and while I know this relationship isn't going anywhere I effin' HATE when people don't call me after they've said they will, so I gave him a call tonight. He was out having drinks with a friend so we'll talk tomorrow. The problem is, I like TCL and would like to keep him on board as a friend but there's really no graceful way to say that and mean it.

On the other hand, in a fit of boredom while studying today, I took the initiative to browse through my dating website and contacted 2 potential future life partners! Unfortch, I have the cheapo free subscription to my dating website, so I actually can't do anything beyond forward my profile to someone. And if they also have only the cheapo free subscription, all they can do is respond with yay or nay. I got a yay (yay!) from one of them and was also notified that he added me to his "favorites" collection (I am so special!), but now we can't contact each other unless one of signs up for the "Deluxe" membership. I did some investigating to determine how much this "Deluxe" business costs and it's apparently $29 for 3 months, which is $29 more than I would like to spend on this whole business. Call me old-fashioned, but I do believe that the male should be the one with the "Deluxe" subscription so he can contact me. Also, I'm cheap.

If I wait long enough, do you think he'll spring for the Deluxe package and contact me? Should I be pro-active and invest some dough in my quest for my life partner? What's most likely to happen is option 3: enough times goes by without either of us purchasing the Deluxe membership and we both lose interest and stop caring. I'll keep you all posted on Impasse 2006.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

I'm going on 16 interviews for residency, which is a shitload for ob/gyn, a specialty of average competitiveness. My overzealousness in scheduling interviews is mostly (well, entirely) due to the fact that I have no effing clue what I want beyond a really strong university program in a fun city, and I have the time and energy so I decided to just go check 'em all out. There were many, many programs to go check out. For many medical students, residency is the time when they want to bring it back home; they've been away from home for undergrad, med school, and often longer, and where you do residency sometimes dictates where you end up for your career; particularly if you plan to stay academic, as I do.

My problem is different and somewhat dumber. I'm from rural southern Illinois by Kentucky which is a lovely place if I was 44 and married with 4 kids. Which I will be one day, hopefully, but that day is not today and probably not anytime in the next 6 years. Consequently, I do not have a burning desire to go home. On the other hand, the program in St. Louis is really strong and I really don't have a problem being 1 hour away from my parents (which, I'll admit, is a nice change from being 6 hours away).

Um, anyway, I don't know what I want and that's why I've interviewed everywhere. 14 down, 4 to go. So I've been gone a lot lately. Shanmugam astutely observed that lately I'm either MIA for days on end or passed out on the couch in my sweatpants with the TV blaring for 3 days straight. I got in yesterday evening, donned said sweatpants, assumed my position on the couch and was passed out when he came home from the library later that night. This morning he came from home class and was surprised, nay, STUNNED, to discover me in my dressy pants, recently showered, and merely sitting, rather than face down under a comforter drooling on the sofa cushions, on the couch. "Looks like someone's actually planning to leave the apartment today!!" This is true. I have to study for Step 2. Shanmugam and I are now in the student lounge studying. Well, he's studying, and I've been wasting time on the Internet for the last 90 minutes. All part of the creative process, friends.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Live from Raleigh-Durham

Hello Internet!! Thank ya'll so much for your concern about my love life! It's not easy being a wanton sex goddess. Hee, just kidding Mama Peg!! (Actually, people ask me sometimes if my parents read my blog, and the truth is I sent them the URL several months ago and I honestly don't think they ever checked it out. Ouch, parents. That hurt. Mostly because it carries the implication that my life is so ho-hum to EVEN MY PARENTS that they don't feel the need to check out my diary to make sure I don't believe in casual sex and hallucinogens.)

TCL and I went out for a late night dinner date last Wednesday night to La Scarole, a pretty well-established and very good Italian restaurant in River East. TCL is frickin' hilarious and let me pick out the wine so I was having a very nice time. Afterwards we split a pot of hot chocolate at Tempo, my favorite 24 hour diner, and I ended up staying out until 2 am, WAY later than I intended. I'm sort of weird with people when I first meet them. Yes. I am one of those "NO TOUCHIE" people; like for godssake let's wait 5 minutes before making full body contact shall we? I'm just not a quick hugger, and TCL is a quick hugger, and a quick kisser, and the end result was I attempted to duck and weave, and TCL got a mouthful of my hair at the end of the night.

Ya'll, this is sad, but although TCL is great and fun and seems to be into me, I just can't reciprocate. I don't know why. He is funny and successful and clearly a great guy but I'm just not feelin' it. There are no butterflies. I need butterflies! Is that so much to ask? Is that a dumb reason to stop seeing someone? I feel as though the longer this goes on with me always knowing in the back of my mind that I'm just not that interested, the more disastrous it'll be. A quick clean break is best, I think.

I also just interviewed at a school in North Carolina, which is a very good program but where I haven't been since I looked at colleges as a high school senior. We will call this program, "I can't believe I almost came here for college." On the plus side, the Raleigh-Durham airport has a cyber cafe that serves beer! (Guess where I've been for the last 4 hours.)

I really adored the program in New Haven, much more than I thought I would, and the Have actually isn't that bad. And now it's time for you all to hear the saddest love story in the history of the world:

Several months ago everyone who participated in my research program went to this big conference they had for us, and I met a med student from New Haven. We immediately hit it off and have since kept in touch regularly by phone. Cute Guy I Got Busted With in the Hotel Parking Lot (CGIGBWHPL, or CG for short. Long story.) is applying for a ridiculously competitive specialty and is committed to staying at his program for residency and was very excited that I was interviewing there despite the fact that he was off interviewing in Boston this weekend. Although I adored his school's program, I need to be able to separate the fact that he's there from everything else. The program is outstanding but I'm scared of being mediocre at such a strong program. I am EXTREMELY scared to leave the Midwest and my family. Northwestern has been my home since I left my parents' house. And I'm scared that if I match there, CG and I will get involved and I'm unsure if I want to deal with the drama and uncertainty of a new relationship during my intern year. CG definitely gives me the butterflies, and before I met him I was 99% sure I would go to St. Louis for residency, though New Haven is clearly the better program.

Well, I'm getting ahead of myself. I have a few more interviews, one is the program in Iowa I love, and a program in Atlanta I'm super excited about, another outstanding program in Philadelphia and of course, the pie in the sky in San Francisco. I will keep you all posted!!

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Square Peg Gives Career Counseling

I also just helped Shanmugam update his CV today because he's meeting with some attending tomorrow to discuss his research project for the summer. It took all the powers of persuasion I possess to convince him that "Northwestern University College-wide Halo Champion 2004-2006" was not, in fact, an "Honor" he should list on his resume. [Although, he is doing radiology and they probably really respect that kind of stuff.]

Round 2

TCL and I are having our second date tomorrow night, at a great tapas restaurant in Chicago, Cafe Babareeba. (Nice choice, TCL! I've definitely been on a date to ESPNZone before, so pretty much anything in comparison will make you look like a rock star.) We'll see how this goes. I know I have a list of things in my head that are non-negotiable (read: I am a huge fucking snob about) but I'm trying to keep an open mind, just like Jagdish says.

Speaking of Jagdish, he is still truckin' along in Roanoke, VA. For his residency program they're required to do a year of internal medicine before starting training and I know he's miserable, but at least he has a sense of humor about it. He just called me from the VA where he's stuck dictating a bunch of discharge summaries, because the hospital has been sending him nasty little pages informing him that his hospital privileges will be suspended unless he gets his paperwork caught up. Heh. He has 22 more to go. Also, apparently he's supposed to be signing the medical student's notes, and he hasn't even read any of them, which I find hilarious, considering I spent most of M3 year bitching about how I had the suspicion that no one read my notes. And now I know it's true. And he has to go back over a shitload of charts and cosign the med students' notes. Education!

In other love news, the Drama Queen was visiting some friends of his in Chicago so he and I caught up on Sunday night for cocktails at the W. (I love living half a block away from the coolest bar in Chicago. Unfortunately it's made me incredibly lazy.) And...the DQ totally stunned me by saying he was sorry about everything between us in the past and that he was now ready for a serious committed relationship. And I totally surprised myself (and him too I think) by telling him that there had been a window of opportunity, but that window had been closed for a while now. Go me! I mean, uh, I'm sure it was terribly sad and whatnot for him but I am proud of myself. It's not easy to give up on people you care about even when you know it's for the best.
I have 2 more interviews under my belt! As ya'll probably know the Midwest is a huge effing mess right now, what with "winter" and whatnot. On Thursday I flew to Baltimore for an interview I had there on Friday. I LOVED their program. Unfortch, I did not love Baltimore. No. Baltimore is a big sack of ass. I'm sorry. But you and I both know it's true. I flew in a night early because a friend of mine was interviewing there as well and we went out on the town the night before our interviews. And...I was not impressed. I'm not even that swanky and I felt TOTALLY overdressed for where we were, which was supposedly the "happenin'" part of Baltimore. I'm a TA for an M1 small group and one of my M1s who went to undergrad there was telling me that her car got broken into 3 times during her senior year. "And that's not bad! It usually happens once or twice." Hmm. Well I would like for it to not happen at all, given how the whole anxiety associated with the driving, and the parking and all the whatnot associated with automobiles already gives me IBS.

On Friday after my interview we had to board a plane for LA for an interview we had there the very next day. Ok, American Airlines? Runs a scam. We were both starving on the plane so we sprung for the $4 "Snack Box." I was not impressed with my Snack Box. It was sort of funny though because we were being total assholes about the Snack Boxes and actually took pictures of each other proudly stroking our Snack Boxes, and a flight attendant walked by and told us we should send the photos in to the airlines and they'd probably make us part of a national campaign for Snack Boxes.

In addition to being a huge a-hole, I'm also mentally challenged. Evidently the Snack Box had a panel which enabled one to flip open the top and eat directly out of the Snack Box, but I totally missed this and ended up ripping off one of the sides and dumping out all the contents of my Snack Box onto my tray in a big unceremonious heap. As Rachel said, "You're such a lady, Square." Then she traded me her Goldfish crackers for my beef jerky so I was all loaded up on carbs and had no protein. Snack Box!

Anyway, I also adored the program in LA, but I just can't see myself living there. I've even tried saying it a few times and it just doesn't roll of my tongue naturally. "I'm moving to LA." "I live in LA." It makes me feel dirty. And everything's THE SCENE. We had reservations at the W on Saturday night and driving down the scene there was a line outside of every doggone club, which is total bullshit. Or maybe I've just been in the midwest too long.

Next up on the national tour: Gorgeous New Haven, CT! Their program is outstanding but the thought of living in the Have makes me throw up in my mouth a little.