Snippets From Interview #2

Second installment of the Snippets Series! This time from the home town of none other than the King of Rock and Roll.

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Surgeon: Why is it so God damn hard to travel with a suit
I have nothing else

Wife of a Surgeon: Did you ask an attendant if she could hang it for you?

S: Too late

*

S: Um checked in
It’s a room
Better than pirate shack, worse than Rio Nido Lodge

WS: it’s 56 bucks

S: It looks like it

*

Over Video Chat

S: I’m gonna feel weird walking to the hospital through downtown with a bag and a suit on.

WS: What? Why?

S: This place is kinda questionable.

WS: Wait, are you scared?

S: No. You just have to be here to see it. It’s like, one side of the street you think “oh, okay, this is a nice place to live,” and then you turn your head and it’s like the worse part of the city. But it’s the same street.

W: Well, walk on the good side.

*

S: I don’t want to go to this
I just wanna go home

WS: Awwww 😦

*

S: We were supposed to depart @ 555
Now we are delayed further
With no answer as to when we are boarding

WS: Maaaaan
I was so happy you were coming back at a decent hour
darn these people

S: All this shit for a program I don’t even want to go to
At least I liked Chicago

*

In the car after picking Surgeon up from the airport

S: Here, I brought you something

Memphis Pig

Snippets From Interview #1

Snippets: I’ve always loved the word. And this is the perfect way to use it! A series, perhaps, of glimpses into the world of fellowship interviews. A bank of little memories, a  light shower of thoughts, and some laughter, too.

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Surgeon: Man the airport is crowded today

Wife of a Surgeon: It’s Friday

S: Still doesn’t make it any less painful

*

S: Delayed.

2 hours later

So won’t be in Chicago until 9 likely
Hotel around 10 maybe
And this is how I get to spend my first day off since getting back
I’m so tired

WS: 😦

*

S: Btw your bday gifts came in yesterday

*

S: Ok I’m checked in
No late check out
I just ordered a pizza
Gonna walk over and get it

WS: No late check out??
Whyyy?

S: Because my life needs to be as difficult as possible

*

S: The downtown area is nice
I wish I had a day to walk around
There are all these sculptures in the park
*sends pic*

WS: The Bean!!!
Go see your reflection in it
It’s really fun

S: Oh… I didn’t do that
Just kept walking

*

S: Also my pizza is 24 dollars
It better be f**king awesome

WS: Hahaha!

*

WS: How goes it?

6 hours later

WS: Done?

1 hour later

S: Yeah… On the train back to ohare

*

S: Note to self
McDonald’s fries kind of suck
Also their bbq sauce is water
This is the first time in well over a decade since I bought something from them
I think I’m set for the next decade or two

WS: I don’t remember the last time I ate there

S: I should have just bought chocolate.

*

S: I think this airport has cockroaches

*

Thus ends interview number one.

Number two? In two days.

The Interviews

Surgeon is about start PGY5. On top of being chief and the surgery scheduler (I am sure there is an official title for this, but so far, I’ve not caught on), he is now interviewing for fellowships.

Let me tell you something about these interviews: THEY ARE SO EXPENSIVE.

Numbers wise, an applicant to a Critical Care Surgery Program is expected to apply to at least 15 programs. This makes logical sense as most programs only have at most five openings. Some only add one a year. Surgeon applied to 20. Of these 20 programs, he has been offered interviews to 10 so far (if I am counting right).

This sounds good, right? The more interviews, the higher the chance of being accepted! Just go and interview and cross your fingers!

Oh gawd, if only it were that simple.

To schedule and prepare for one interview, it takes me about three hours total (if I don’t count the days in between of coordinating times and prices with Surgeon), and $500 on average.

Let’s take the interview he’s at today.

He got the interview two weeks ago. They offered him three dates and today seemed to be the best one for him. He signed up, they confirmed and I started searching every possible sale at every possible airline at every possible time. See, it’s not only a matter of finding a ticket at the best price… it’s also about making sure Surgeon has TIME to slip out of the hospital early enough to catch the flight. For him, a Friday afternoon may consist of an emergency case that he cannot slip out of. Technically, this too makes logical sense: would you rather make sure a patient doesn’t bleed out after a car accident or make the flight to your interview?  But it makes the entire preparation process a tangled web of what-if’s.

Adding to the struggle, hotels, I’m coming to learn, are straight-up money gobblers for situations like interviews. People who actually NEED shelter for a night and a place to keep their things for the day are where hotels make their profit. The hotel Surgeon stayed at last night, for instance, had no complimentary WiFi, no late check-outs, and cost us $198. Trust me, I looked around for cheaper options, but they would’ve required a rented car (another 95 bucks on top of the 100 bucks I’d be paying for the room).

Perhaps I am a little too conservative about money, but 500 bucks for 10 or more interviews… well, do the math!

But to top all of it off, it just kills me that the program Surgeon is in does not count interview days as work days. This means all interview and interview traveling days will be on his four days off during the month. This past week, Surgeon worked non-stop for two days straight (he left home at 5 AM on Wednesday and didn’t get home till 7 PM on Thursday) just to compromise  with having both Friday and Saturday off to accommodate his interview. And yes, he does have work tomorrow, regardless of the fact that he lands home late tonight. For the hospital, he has been “off” for two days after all.

This is how it’s going to be all summer long. Surgeon is going to be so exhausted and I fear for him. Being over-worked only makes YOUR surgeon worse…any healthcare system will admit this, but there are so very few changes being made to address the issue, especially in Surgeon’s generation of healthcare professionals.

It also means I won’t be seeing much of my husband. But thank god we are at this stage today and not twenty years ago. Texting, video chats, and other instant communication platforms have made this lifestyle a little easier to bear. For that, I am eternally grateful.