For 2018

"Life is lived forward, but understood backward. It is not until we are down the road and we stand on the mountain looking back through the valley that we can appreciate the terrain God has allowed us to scale.” Jill Savage

Thursday, January 29, 2009

The road to doctor 'hood' . . .

Gee, this has taken me a long time to think about and write. I've been thinking back in time all week. My son just got word he passed his last set of boards and we are all thrilled.

He has finally finished his journey (well sort of - he'll always have to keep abreast of new things and keep his certifications up).

Today, this Blog is for my son - he has finally finished his 'official schooling and tests' - except for updating and learning the new information that comes out.

He's 33 1/2. He started preschool at 3 - Montessori (where all he did was go to the bathroom and play with the water - it used to make me so frustrated - now I laugh - the most expensive water play in history - guess he needed it). He's been in school for 30 years. I remember the day my husband and I put him on the school bus for the first time. Taking pictures and all. We cried.

I'm wondering how he exactly got to this place here. Seems amazing to me. My son, a doctor. (Must get his brains from mom - teehee). Did he have to have us as parents, be born when he was born (he was a 10 month baby), go to the schools he went too, live where we did - I mean did all the conditions have to be the way they were for him to go on this path - or would God have just made it all come out okay? I believe the latter to be true).

He and his wife live in a very small house that they rent. They have just started filling it with 'real' furniture and new things. His bedroom set from the time he was a little boy - I guess it was 30 years old too - has finally been retired. His single bed and mattress, desk, and shelves that served him so well all through high school and college and even medical school - are now gone. If my son ever reads this - remember what we did with your furniture? Where you and dad put it? That was quite a memory too (Lol).

He's now has three titles. He's a doctor with a great heart who really cares and wants to make his patients well. Who has really given up a lot of his own life to get where he is today. Most of his friends graduated ten years ago and have homes, kids, and financial security already.

And this is true as well, we as a family gave up and sacrificed a lot for him - not only financially, but emotionally and physically (we moved him about a million times - teehee). He's moved out of town, he works horrendous hours, and gets very little time off - so we have literally given him up - or so it feels at times for me - his mother - for the good of others. I feel too at times I gave up the opportunity to have a really close friendship (?) with him too. I mean we love each other, but well, he's kind of busy . . . and in his spare time - he spends it with his wife - as well it should be.

I worry if his wife might feel this too eventually, but she's a doctor herself so I'm sure it helps. He's just a specialist in a very specialized field. He has to work in a large hospital and he gets the extreme cases. And yes, starting now, they will be making money. He'll have to pay all his loans off first - which will take some time. Then probably around the age of 40+ the money he makes will be his, except what the government takes (Lol).

He's gone to 4 years of college, four years of medical school, three years residency, three more years of residency/fellowship, and one year of a sub-fellowship - something like that anyway. He's taken and passed his boards in both specialities. This last set of boards cost a couple of thousand dollars to take. He had to fly to a certain city to take them. I mean it was hard work.

My son was a late bloomer (which is why I don't worry too much about my grandson right now - as he is a late bloomer as well.) In second grade he couldn't spell worth a darn - neither can my grandson. I remember my son's teacher calling us in being so upset. In fifth grade I found out he was in the lowest reading group - totally by accident (what kind of mother was I?) We had him tested and he blew everyone out of the water and skipped so many reading levels - I think he missed some learning that way - but what did I know . . . he uses the computer . . . spell check - so it's a moot point now anyway.

When he first started high school he wanted to be a skateboarder. I got a job as a teacher's assistant at his high school (I'm sure he loved that) and I had my eye on him (and my daughter). By the time he graduated he was the top student in physics and in all advanced classes. He made the decision to become a doctor in high school - he went to college with that goal in mind. He's worked long and hard to be where he is today. (And yes, I am tooting his horn).

During college he worked at a hospital as an orderly every summer. When he finished college , with honors, he took the a review course to help him study for the MCAT. The day of his test - for some reason he was late and almost missed getting in. Whew close one. There are two parts and you have to score in a certain range before any medical school will even interview you. Then you have to send your application and an essay into the medical schools and hope they interview you and accept you.

Before he went to his medical school interview - we all ate a Chinese Restaurant and the food was rancid tasting - we thought we were all poisoned after dinner and wondered if we'd die it was so bad - we had to leave him off at a hotel and prayed he woke in the morning . When the administrators, who were interviewing him, took him to lunch at the school's cafeteria he dropped his tray - he said, "I hope this doesn't affect me getting into medical school." (It might have helped him be remembered). He got in.

When we took him to medical school and dropped him off in his first apartment there - we went in the apartment and took a look. Next we went to dinner - our legs had been completely bitten up - the apartment was TOTALLY flee infested. He wanted to just come home, but he didn't. We had to leave him there! He lived on Ramon Noodles for the next few years -10 cents a meal.

This was the beginning of no end of him getting very little sleep. It was hours upon hours of classes and study. He 'respectfully' worked on a cadaver. Learned anatomy, and all the Latin terms for everything. He learned the value of a good up of coffee. He learned hard work.

When you take your final test in medical school - they fingerprint you to make sure that it's you whose taking the test and you can only bring in 1 Kleenex - nothing else.

Okay after going for fours years you end up going into a bid war of sorts. At the end there is a 'bidding day'. You put down what speciality you want and where you want to do it at. I believe you list 4 choices. Of course the better you did in school and on your writing essays to the hospital you wanted as first choice, the better chance you are of getting it.

He was blessed, he got his first choice. I forgot about all the essays he had to write about himself and why he wanted to become a doctor in the first place. I used to brainstorm with him. My daughter would help him edit. Those were fun times.

Well, he moved away - out of state - to probably ( maybe not - a mother can hope can't she ?) never return. The first week all the new interns had kind of a camp together (?) - they had to spend a lot of time together - learning each other and how to trust one another - they even did trust exercises. He made many new friends. Worked about 100 hours a week. And yes, there are limits of how many hours an intern can work. With that many hours and his low pay he probably was making about 50 cents an hour!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

He met his wife there - a year younger than himself and one year behind him in residency. They married a couple of years ago and I really believe they have chosen well and have chosen to be happy. I think they have chosen not to have children either :((

After the first residency he wanted a fellowship/residency and he wanted to stay at the hospital he was already at - and again he was blessed. His last sub fellowship - well he wanted to do it at a well named school, not for the prestige mind you - but if you go to a well known hospital for training - that's where all the hard cases go and you get great experience. He wanted the experience - he wanted the best training possible so he could save lives. It was a matter of going somewhere that did five cases a day verses maybe a case or two a week. He had hands on training. When he finished his originally hospital wanted him back and there he is today. (So far - I'm sure he has dreams to practice out west).

My son climbed one of the tallest mountains in the United States last summer. When he finished his sub-specialty he had a month off before he had to start working as an full fledged attending. He had always wanted to mountain climb and finally did it. He prepared physically the whole year before. When he sets his mind to something - he does it. Has more discipline than I do.

So today it's for my son, it's for me to remember the road, it's for you to know how hard your doctor worked to get where he is. And to remember they are only human. . .

And the truth is - my son doesn't know everything. Sometimes we'll call him and he'll say he doesn't know and tells us to call our doctor (hard to diagnosis over the phone - lol). God has made the human body so wonderfully complicated - a real oxymoron. Things can go wrong us that we've never ever heard of or so rare only a few cases are out there. Science intermingling with real life. Is there a real Dr. House out there?

I know of someone whose daughter is sick like that. They need a Dr. House and a lot of prayers. I hope they receive both soon.

Excuse me for bragging today. I don't do that too much. I just felt like I went through this with him and I wanted to remember and to give kudos to my son today. He is finished. . . for today anyway . . . and it feels good.

One long journey complete and I'm sure there are more to follow. Love you.

"Mom" Chatty
PS And son, if you ever read this - do you remember the home run ball? Another learning experience for sure. (Lol).


^..^ Corgi Dog Mama ^..^ said...

I read this with a mother's heart and cried. What a loving tribute to your son...but really to your entire family, for you all to some extent took this journey with him. You're right, you all had to sacrifice something. What a journey... with hills and valleys that patients don't realize that their doctor has made before they meet him in the office. It takes a village, a family, for one person's success.

Chatty Crone said...

You are so wonderful to leave this comment. Thank you. I feel in just a little way we did sacrifice some things. I knew you;d understand. We had some good times a long the way, but it was grueling as well. Thanks again.

JeanMac said...

Congratulations to your son and to you, too. lots of worrying and supporting - all the best.

Icewind said...

It's ironic the paths less traveled do come with a destination or waypoint between new directions.

Congrats and thanks.

Ice (Friday night)