Monday, March 30, 2009

My first and best choice

On the flight to Baltimore, the guy next to me asked why I was going to Baltimore. I said, "I'm interviewing for a residency spot I'm never going to take. I'm going to New York for my residency. You couldn't pay me enough to work in a notoriously tough program while living in a war zone. Unless you're from there, of course...in which case, uh...I'm sure it's great."

He wasn't from there. (Nice that I wouldn't have to snack on my own foot so early in the day.) But, he did ask the obvious question, "So...why are you interviewing there?"

"Well, the chief of anesthesiology at my school was kind enough to write me a letter of recommendation, and he's from this program in Baltimore."

"So, you're going to make him happy?"

"I'm going to keep him on my side. He's well connected in anesthesiology, and I may need him to make a phone call for me to a chairperson in New York City when it comes time for me to rank programs."

And then, it came time for me to rank programs.
And I sort of loved the program in Baltimore.

The residents were normal. And happy. None of them had been shot. I met one resident who had spent a year at a phenomenal program in New York before she relocated to Baltimore for her husband's job. She said that while she loved New York and was happy there, she was even happier in Baltimore. The program was less grueling. The anesthesiologists got along better with the surgeons. The attending physicians were more supportive of the residents. The surgical cases were incredible.

I flew from Baltimore to New York the next day and interviewed at the program that resident had spoken of. It was a great program. My favorite in the city. But, on my flight home, as I thought about both of these training programs, I just had this feeling about Baltimore--this feeling like maybe I belonged there.

And that is the story of how I chose Charm City over The Big Apple.

The past week has been spent completing paperwork for my Maryland credentials and license (you can adopt a kid, start your own business, and buy a farm with less documentation) and trying to find an apartment in a neighborhood where they don't routinely shoot crime scenes for The Wire.

I'm still occasionally making that excited squealing like a girl noise, but I'm working on keeping most of that on the inside (where it can't rupture the eardrums of innocent bystanders).

9 comments:

citizen of the world said...

I'm a big believer in follwoign your gut, and it sounds like you did. Hope the residency is perfect for you.

.j.william. said...

"The surgical cases were incredible.

is that doctor codespeak for "it's a war zone"?

Shan said...

Totally Oasome! Oh dear, I'm singing that song in my head again. I've got to get used to hearing the word Baltimore without always popping out the front door and singing good morning to it with hands outstretched.

I also realized, through the help of your blog, that the bakery Charm City Cakes is not in NYC. I always thought that was the most creative name. Turns out it's probably across the street from the Charm City Cookie Company or something. Oh well, it's still cool.

☆Susan☆ said...

It's ok to squeal like a girl, you *are* a girl.

MmeBenaut said...

I confess that I don't know anything about Baltimore apart from the fact that I've heard the name and read it in novels, I'm sure.
I really hope that once life settles down for you and you have found a beautiful apartment - one where you are both cosy and safe - and you're into your working routine (don't want to rush you or anything) you might post a few photos of the city through your eyes so that I can enjoy it with you.
Sometimes visiting a city and living & working in it can be very different - as I found with Paris, France. You are close enough to NYC to continue to enjoy visiting it without suffering the enormous expense and trivial nuisances that big cities have - just think of the horror trip to and from the airport for example. So, little one, I think you absolutely made the right choice. I'm cheering for you on the inside while enjoying the image of your continued squealing which is an essential ingredient in the fantastic new life you have carved out for yourself. Well done Doctor T. xxx

Vic said...

Congrats, Doctor T! You've found something you're really in love with and you're following it. That's the best decision anyone can ever make.

xx Vic

Eric said...

It sounds like a great program, congratulations!

Maria said...

You know it is a crapshoot. Ask the hospital human resource people to help you. Ask around. Check the bulletin boards in the staff lounge when you visit the hospital again.

Neighborhoods vary there. You will find great little pockets in bad areas and crummy little pockets in good areas.

I made sure to only sign a 4 month lease and I was really glad I did. The apartment was okay, but after talking to the staff once I was there, I found a better place within those 4 months.

deboo said...

The nice thing about blogging is that even if you move, your blog may just stay the same. It's one address book I won't have to update... right?

How fabulous to hear that your journey is continuing forward!