Friday, February 17, 2012


Today Curtis took his third board exam, the one that has been looming on the horizon for months, and eating up much of his free time for weeks. This unwanted mistress set up camp during his longest work streak yet--33 days--and thankfully will be leaving now that the streak is over.

As we lay in bed last night comparing this exam to the two prior tests we couldn't help but measure how far we've come. The first exam, taken the summer of 2008, had arguably the most at stake and the most study time invested. We spent the night before in a Red Roof Inn in Toledo, tossing and turning in the overheated, humid room, counting the hours until the inevitable flood of relief that would come post test. In hindsight, the $30 it would have cost for a nicer motel room would have been worth it, but at the time that was a week's worth of groceries, a month of internet, a full tank of gas.

The second board exam came a year later, and while the first had left Curtis with five weeks of uninterrupted study time, this one only came with two. Curtis carried a similar schedule with both: 7am-10pm with breaks to run, eat and sleep. Being on summer break for both I often fled the vicinity, going on four and five day trips to various corners of the state where I would visit friends from college, venturing with my sisters to New York City, and sometimes just down the street to visit my teaching buddy and her lounge chairs in the sun. Thankfully this test was local with a little less at stake, and he got to sleep in our bed the night before.

This third test has perhaps the least at stake, which is good since the conditions leading up to it have been far from ideal. There isn't the pressure of a good score to ensure choices in choosing a specialty. There isn't the concern that a bad score might keep you from the residency of your choice. Certainly a bad score would require a repeated residency year, but when the stakes are pass/fail, the pressure of one more point isn't quite as poignant.

I wish that this week found us with more free time to celebrate rather the pressures of a new rotation for Curtis and packed nights of conferences for me. I feel like the milestones don't come as often now that we have "real jobs", and the hurdles we do prepare for an conquer should come with the appropriate fanfare. Alas, life doesn't always work that way. This weekend I will be content to have Curtis only working one overnight shift, with people and projects to fill the time that he is away from home. When he is off, however, I have nothing scheduled, content to let just about anything wait while we catch up on all that has been missed.

That, perhaps, will be fanfare enough.

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