Friday, March 21, 2008

Hysterical Blindness

Visibly shaking, the envelope in hand, he tried to muster up something to say as he fumbled with the tape sealing his future. Some snarky comment arose, followed by the crowd’s mixed laughter and sighs, all of which he didn’t appreciate as he finally opened the envelope without mutilation and removed the contents.

Folded lengthwise in two places making three equal compartments, the paper was ironically non-distinct. He trembled, struggling to remain calm, but realizing the sudden finality and enormity of what he was holding.

Seconds ticked by as he stared at the bolded writing, unreadable in his current state. He vaguely recalled a condition in which people lose their vision when confronted with a stressful event. He read the first part.

“Anesthesiology” was written on the middle portion of the paper. The line directly underneath slowly came into focus. He wondered why the seemingly mundane and simple task he had witnessed the year before was proving to be so arduous.

Finally, after what seemed to him to be an eternity, where the crowd, he felt, grew concerned, whispering and murmuring about the delay, his cognitive abilities returned enough to comprehend.

“It’s a good day.” he finally managed to say. More grains of sand fell as a wave of absolute relief and gratitude overcame him, bringing water to his eyes. He held them back.

“I’m going into Anesthesiology at my first choice…Major Academic Center of Excellence!” Applause resounded in the auditorium which was rendered indistinct by his euphoria.

Refolding the paper and stuffing it awkwardly back into the envelope he proceeded with the ceremonial ritual. His hands still shook, but this time from pure and unmitigated joy.


Yes, that’s right. I matched into my first choice. Once I returned to my seat and watched others of my class go through the traumatic opening of our letters in front of hundreds of people I had to reread my letter, just to make sure. I’ve never been so nervous and I didn’t understand why.

And while we rejoiced I was saddened to learn of those who didn’t match even after scrambling. One of my good friends was amongst these unfortunates and I couldn’t express my sorrow fully enough.

We matched at 85% overall. We were told that the US average was around 73%. When the NRMP comes out with the data I will delineate a little further with our results and the numbers going into each specialty – but it was very Medicine, OB/GYN, and Gen Surg heavy. We only had 3 enter Anesthesia, though I know that another two matched at preliminaries and will have to try and match to a PGY-2 anesthesia position next year.


tracy said...

Yay, Dr. God! Congratulations, i am so very happy for you! And i loved your description of the moment...i could almost feel your emotions...thank you, thank you! Again, many, many, got par-tay!!
You survived, nay thrived the Ides of Match! tracy

Liana said...

WTF? So you guys are forced to find out your match results in front of a crowded auditorium??? That seems cruel and unusual. In Canada, we log into a website to find out our match results.

We also have an organized second round that sounds quite different from your scramble.

The Lone Coyote said...

Congrats!! I am so happy you got your 1st choice. I am also SO glad my school did not make us open the envelopes one-by-one at a mike. I have heard that some schools do that. They had an "optional" mike that people could use after the communal opening. No one elected to do it.

If the national match rate is 73%, I guess my school did quite well. We had only a few scramblers. And all of them successfully scrambled, allowing the school to say "100% were matched on match day." Crazy how the statistics work. I am so sorry to hear about your friend and the others who did not match in your class.

Stethoschope said...

Congratulations MSG! or MG now, is it?

Well done, we were all crossing our fingers for 'ya!

Old MD Girl said...


I also find the idea of opening my letter in front of a crowded auditorium really f***ed up. What if you got something you were unhappy about. I'd be afraid of bursting into tears in front of everyone.

Anonymous said...

What about WMSE???

MSG said...

Our school's been opening letters in front of everyone for a while now. We have a jar that we place $ into as we stick tacks to our cities we're heading and the last person called gets everything in there. It's quite interesting to watch, but being in the event is a whole different game. It's also sad at times because you know where people had their hearts set and you learn with them that they have to wait some more.

As far as WMSE? He got a preliminary position and did not match into Anesthesia. In fact of the 5 I know of for sure who wanted to be anesthesiologists only 3 of us matched into it.

And it's still MSG - I've got till the end of May before I can officially be called "Doctor"...still thinking about my name change for this blog - MedGod sounds weird.

all but 1 said...

Congratulations! Med school Match seems to be run very differently than vet school Match.

Anonymous said...

Did those other two from your school that matched anesthesiology match where they wanted? Where they prestegious spots? Congrats on your match at your #1!!!

MSG said...

Yeah they matched where they wanted. Nice programs...very well known as well.

ladyk73 said...

So what part of the country are you moving? Obviously you don't want to name it, but the southeast, northwest, midwestern?

Is your wife happy about the move?

ladyk73 said...

oh oh oh....when you become an intern, you can call yourself:

Medical Stationed Gopher

Liz said...

Congrats!! i can't believe you had to read your result in front of everyone. that is so upsetting.

You can call yourself MDGod??