On March 20th surrounded by some of the people I love the most, I opened my Match envelop and was thrilled to find that I had matched at my top choice in Little Rock, Arkansas. The weeks that followed went by fast and furious as I prepared for my upcoming move. To say I was a little nervous about the big change would probably be a bit of an understatement. I had spent my entire life living in Missouri and never being more than a hour away from my family. Everything was about to change in my life all at once. I was leaving behind my family, friends, everything I knew, and starting a brand new exciting career with a lot more responsibilities.
So 6 weeks ago on a Friday morning, I started my journey towards Little Rock with my 2 sets of parents and on Saturday morning the 5 of us spent a very hot, sweaty hour carrying in all of my worldly possessions(I later found that I had managed to leave all of my skillets at my old place and that we had brought down and carried in an entire box of trash). The afternoon was spent putting together my bed/chairs and getting things unpacked. On Saturday night, my mom and Jim took me to dinner and we ended the night with some wine and crown royal in my new home. I don't think it really sank in that I was truly about to start over until they left that night and I was sipping wine alone in my new apartment.
I spent my very last day before starting Residency doing what any fun, exciting 25 year old would do: laying on the couch binge watching movies.
The next 2 weeks were both wonderful and awful all at the same time. You know how orientation is just mind-numbing, well imagine doing basically the same orientation everyday for a week followed by computer training on 3 different systems. Dull just doesn't seem to begin to explain those days. My only saving grace was spending it with the other 9 Emergency Medicine interns and our ongoing group text. My intern class is made up of a group of funny, laid back, and unique people who are going to make this next 3 years so much easier and a ton of fun.
I spent those evenings going to some of the local bars and restaurants, hiking, and meeting new people. And while I had only been here 2 weeks when orientation had ended, I already knew that I was going to have some incredible friends here and I had made the right choice.
As the attending I worked with that day so called it D day(which he followed up with: it doesn't really get better until D day+50). July 1st is the day where all across the country, interns in every specialty are starting their new careers and will for the first time introduce themselves to patients as Dr. I was lucky enough to be schedule in the Emergency Department for my first month and so on July 1st I put on my black scrubs and dove in. I was definitely a bit nervous and to say that I was awkward seems pretty accurate. Most new situations and meeting new people makes me awkward. My first patient was one of the most complicated patients I have seen so far. Walking in blind, I started my training with a patient who would need a great deal of care and eventually ICU. I was pushed to make my own decisions and for that I am very grateful. I suppose you could call it a sink or swim kind of environment with a lot of back up and help anytime you have a question. I couldn't think of a better type of learning for me. I think that first day I only saw 5 patients in the 10 hours I was there. But I survived and managed not to kill anyone.
The rest of the month has been a whirlwind. I see a lot more patients every shift now and I have gotten use to 10 hour shifts being more like 11-12 hour shifts. When I started this month, I didn't dare peak my head into a room of a new patient who obviously was very sick and now I am more brave. I'm a little better with ultrasound, though I still have a long way to go. I've done a couple of procedures, but still have a ton to try. But everyday, I make progress. I learn more and more. All of the attendings are helpful, but challenge me to look it up, make a decision, give it a go. The upper year residents have been a true blessing. Even though they are extremely busy all the time and I ask them questions continuously, they never seem to mind.
Sometimes as cheesy as it sounds, I think the stars align and the universe places you exactly where you are meant to be. I absolutely love it here and I am certain that not only will I get incredible training over the next 3 years, but I will also have the opportunity to help make changes to the system and better the healthcare here. With great new friends, an incredible start to my training, and a wonderful new apartment, I feel happier and more alive than I have felt in a very long time. I'm finally where I want to be and I have a feeling it will only get better from here.