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Lives of Doctor Wives: Remembering Match Day

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Remembering Match Day

I found the piece that I wrote about our match day experience. Man, even though it's been two years [and we really ended up lucking out], it's still so raw.

Match Day was a strange day for me. For 3 + years the anticipation of this day has built up. D-day-- destiny day. It’s supposed to be the day where you finally begin to see all the hard work pay off. When you open that envelope, it’s like magic is supposed to pour out and envelop you, taking you to that “place” you’ve been dreaming of. I imagined that moment over and over in my head-- the outpour of relief and happiness upon reading the words stating that we would be going home. Matching would signify that we had made it through medical school and we were getting ready to take that next step. For me, in my mind, that next step meant going back home to California. While our time in Saint Louis had been pleasant, the prospect of going home for residency was what kept me sane. We had to go home. All this time I had been telling myself that I just had to get through these four years and then I could go back home.

I should have known that going home wasn’t really even a possibility. After all, E wanted to an Orthopod. Despite his doing everything “right” (honoring most of his classes, lots of research, lots of pubs, high board scores, extracurriculars, and being AOA), everything seemed to be going wrong. It was one blow after another. Wasted away rotations. Rejections. When all was said and done we had three chances to go home and ten chances to not. I tried to be grateful that he had as many interviews as he did and focus on the importance of just matching. I tried to keep my secret wishes to myself, knowing that once you say them out loud they instantly become selfish desires, unworthy of being fulfilled. After all, I was truly grateful.

The weeks [and days] leading up to Black Monday were stressful, anxious times. When we saw “Congratulations, you have matched” across the screen, I couldn’t help but want to cry. Everyone was excited. My mother in law was beside herself. He did it. E had matched into orthopaedics. You would think that with so much excitement on Black Monday that Match Day would have been greeted with the same enthusiasm, but Match Day was a strange day. The energy and anticipation in the room was suffocating. Waiting and waiting for his name to be called. I couldn’t breath. I couldn’t think. I was just there. When they finally called his name, everything seemed to stand still. He let me open the envelope. I was so nervous. Inside that envelope was a piece of paper with words on it that would change our lives forever. My heart sank as I read the words. The words telling me that I would not be going home. I got through the four years and I would not be going home. I stepped outside to make the calls. I didn’t cry. I’m sure I was numb. Our family and friends were still excited for us. That meant a lot.

A couple of weeks have passed since Match Day and now there is excitement and eagerness to start the next step. While we will not be going home, E will get to train at a great program and he will be an Orthopod. Although, I can still clearly see myself at that table reading those words, feeling my heart sink, we are finally beginning to see all the hard work pay off.


Blogger Married to a med student - Marissa Nicole said...

Your comment about "home" is exactly what I am going through now - and I know DH will be thrilled on that monday to know he matched (God willing)... but for me I will still be in knots until Thursday... I am just hoping that I can keep it all together so that my husband can enjoy the match day - even if that envelope holds something other than where I want to go... I'm trying to be realistic but I cannot help my hopes....

April 2, 2009 at 2:17 PM  
Blogger Tasha said...

How hard it is to live your life in limbo--not having much of a choice for at least 7 years. We're still a few years away from match, but I'm worried because my husband doesn't have good grades. I just can't think about that yet...it's hard knowing he isn't an awesome candidate.

April 2, 2009 at 4:14 PM  
Blogger Amanda said...

I've written a very similar post on my first blog. I was so crushed when we found out my hubby matched at the program the farthest (and a state away) from our families. Then, when we started looking at houses and getting to know our new city, and I realized how lucky we were. It was a wonderful four years, and I discovered how independent and strong I can be in life! And, after it was done, we were able to come back home (or closer to home, at least). Though Match Day was a very emotional day for me, I wouldn't change the results for the world.

April 2, 2009 at 4:29 PM  
Blogger Melisa said...

I remember being so disappointed with not matching. But as time passed, I knew that I just didn't see the Lord's grand plan at first. I love that He knows me better than I know myself. Things have happened exactly as they are supposed to.

April 3, 2009 at 12:18 AM  
Blogger botanybabe said...

I was thrilled when I knew he had matched. Very proud. Crushed when the letter was opened. I cried. I was about the only one there that did. Not ashamed though, all in all, everyone we talked to was mostly "shocked" /"disappointed". and EVERYONE ended up disliking the process of the "public" reveal. oh and we are going back home for the most part :) but to a more expensive, traffic ridden, place.

April 3, 2009 at 9:46 AM  
Blogger botanybabe said...

oh and yes....i completely agree with melissa. i don't think anyone can be happy in that moment...well unless you match to that ideal place you have in your head. but most don't and then it is shock. but most everyone in the end is happy. and you hardly ever hear someone say...i regret doing my residency there.

April 3, 2009 at 9:49 AM  
Blogger Bea said...

Thanks for sharing your story. I also had a somewhat similar experience, although we were "home" (where our families live) for medical school and we wanted to get away. Philly is about 3 hours away, so at least we weren't in the same town, but it just wasn't on our radar screen.

But I can relate to the "shocked" and "numb" feelings. My heart sank when he told me the results on match day. But everything has worked out better than I could ever imagine. I hope the months ahead will reveal the same for you. As trite as it sounds, everything happens for a reason! I am sure that reason will manifest itself soon.

April 3, 2009 at 9:50 AM  
Blogger Bea said...

Yeah, I'm a total idiot. I somehow missed the part where you said that you lucked out and this is 2 years after your match :)

So yeah, please disregard that part of my comment! Obviously you know now why you matched where you did!

April 3, 2009 at 9:52 AM  

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