Sunday, June 24, 2007

New and Improved

As seen on TV! Okay, maybe not...

So last night, the chairman of my new department had all the interns and their families over for a "Welcome to Residency" gathering. It was nice. It was really, really nice. I think I met everyone (there are 13 of us in my class, which, for those of you outside the business, is huge. My last residency, my class was four, and if I'd matched at the psych program I'd ranked in Chicago, my class would've been three), at least briefly. And while I can tell that there are personalities to whom I will gravitate more strongly than others, I have to say, I was really pleased with the group of people I met last night. I was relatively comfortable with almost everyone I spent time talking to, and very comfortable with a few.

Now, we've been emailing as a group for a couple months now. I've talked to a couple of my classmates on the phone, I met one for lunch, I interviewed with one, I've emailed off the list with several. So, we've interacted a little. And you get a sense of people in that setting. You get a feel for who are going to be the more outgoing folks in the group, who are going to be the worriers, the organizers, and maybe even who's going to be a little harder to pull into the group. And it was encouraging, believe me. But it's a whole different thing to see us interact in person. And it was nice to meet everyone's significant others (one of the residents I used to work with used to call them "other significants". I always liked that). I was very impressed with everyone's spouses (or effective spouses) and kids and friends and whomever. It was a good time. I think we're going to be a good bunch. Which, I thought before, but, hey.

Our program director and program coordinator also came, and mixed, and chatted, and hung out. It was nice to have them there in that more casual setting. It's nice to feel that they were genuinely interested in who we were as people, in meeting the people that mattered to us, in addition to who we were as residents, how much work we can handle, what we do at the hospital.

Because here's the bottom line: I left my apartment yesterday terrified. And then I got stuck in traffic (I know! Traffic! In NC, on a Saturday!), which meant I had an extra half hour or so to stew. And if I were...more avoidant? Less stubborn? Something. If I were closer to that, I would've turned around, I would've taken any of several opportunities I had to run, and I probably wouldn't go tonight either (tonight there's a residents-only function, us, our families, and the upperclassmen, no faculty), and I'd stay safe in the formality of all of our orientation activities this week. And it did cross my mind once or twice yesterday while I was sitting on 40 knitting my sock ('cause I sure wasn't driving!!). But, that would've accomplished nothing. It would've done nothing to correct the badness that's happened. It wouldn't have worked to address the post-traumatic whatever that's been worked over by two years of anticipatory anxiety about getting back into medicine. It would in fact probably compound the issue. The only way to conquer it is to jump back in, build a new frame of reference, make new positive associations. Just, keep going, figure it out again, the best way you can.

I keep telling myself this, and yet, there's another little voice in the back of my head saying, well, right, but when was the last time you managed to have a functional relationship? Hmm?

Residencies and men are totally different. Who let these voices in here, anyway?

I also thought it was sort of fitting, when I got there, this song was playing:

Maybe you're just jaded from some nobody's unforgotten words
And maybe you're just faded, a little grey from every time that you've been hurt
So you're looking for you skin, that you never did fit in
You can't hide when you're turned inside out

Which, I also recognize it was good that I had the Miranda Lambert CD in. A slightly different choice of mix CDs for the drive and the soundtrack could just have easily been let's get drunk and forget what we did....

6 comments:

Geertje said...

i'm impressed with you honesty & courage. go girl!!

Barb said...

Did you ever read the book, "The Moviegoer" by Walker Percy? He has an interesting concept--it's that a person can live a "repetition," which is an experience that is essentially the same (meeting fellow residents) but differs in one substantial way (new town, new facility) and by reliving or repeating the experience with this difference, we can amend the earlier experience. I think a lot about this as I work through all of my life mistakes...

Barb

Valerie said...

I am sure that it was just a moment brought on by all that has recently happened and your anxiety about this gathering. You are a good doctor, you will be a wonderful psychiatrist. You are warm wonderful friendly person who knows that she can stand her own ground. It is really tough when you move to another place and nothing is familiar. You will be okay. You have come this far and you are really too close to give up now...I am rooting for you.

Sarah said...

I'm sure there are many people who would say "Psychiatrist - analyze thyself," but I don't think that's really a good road to be going down right now. I vote for the drinking.
Also, a guy I briefly dated works in Chapel Hill right now....

Sarah said...

Also, go read my blog.

Sarah said...

You did see the post about you, right?