Tuesday, November 27, 2012

And the nightmares begin...

I had my first residency nightmare last night.  I don't remember all of it but there was an element of not getting ob/gyn interviews, having apply in another specialty I don't want to apply in, and not knowing what specialty I was going to match into come match day.  There were also lots of tears shed in the dream.  What in the world does crying in one's dream mean?!

It doesn't help that today was another interview day for the program I'm spending my year with.  The marching line of black suits, my peers, flowing throughout my daily rituals at work were a constant reminder that I'm not there yet and have so much longer to deal with uncertainty...  After spending his year with some of the top, best, and brightest in ob, I'm going to feel pretty awful if I end up unable to match.  BUT, I have a year plus to go.  I sure as hell better not be having these nightmares straight through until March 2014! 

In other news, I need to learn Spanish.  Or remember the Spanish I used to know plus learn some medical terminology. Something.  It is a huge goal for this year and while I'm nearly halfway through my research year, I haven't even begun.  All the residents here speak Spanish.  I think I can, I think I can, I'm [not so sure] I can...

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

What are you going to do to make sure it doesn't?

Quoting Lori Freedman, in "It could happen here" (The Huffington Post Blog, 11/19/12):

This death sentence for Savita is exactly what the U.S. House of Representatives prescribed in the Orwellian-named Protect Life Act, which it passed in October of last year. Thankfully, it died in the Senate and President Barack Obama had vowed to veto it.
But, suppose a handful of U.S. Senate races and our close presidential election had gone Republican. Savita's tragedy could have foretold many American women's funerals.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Kid, you are very right

Conversation that just happened between one of the attendings I'm working with this year, her 3 year old, and me as we were trying to put away supplies from the papaya workshop she did:

kid: "I want to play with them!"
to kid: "these tools are for doctors"
me: "maybe one day you'll have your own set"
attending: "[physician activist] is going to be a doctor one day soon"
kid: "Why?"
attending: "because she's very smart"
kid: "runs away laughing out loud..."

Yep, sometime I too want to run away laughing when I realize that I'm going to be a doctor.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Maine, Maryland, & Washington

As the executive director of the Gay & Lesbian Medical Association just emailed outToday, GLMA joins with supporters of equality from across the country to celebrate yesterday’s historic election results, which set the stage for a new era in the quest for LGBT equality. On one hand I’m glad that 3 more states passed “marriage equality” yesterday.  Between these 3 states, Minnesota’s voting down on marriage discrimination, Tammy Baldwin’s win, and the re-election of Obama, yesterday was a big victory for queer rights. 

On the other hand, I am beyond angry and hurt.  How is it a victory when we are still letting other people vote on MY RIGHT to get married and have a family?!  How is that not, in it’s very essence, discrimination?  And while these amendments are being billed as “marriage equality”, we are still far from equal, even in states where gay marriage is legal. 
If I am to fall in love with someone overseas and get married in a country where it is legal, I have no rights to get them citizenship or protection in the US.  If I fight in the US military and live in a state where I’m legally married, I still cannot offer military partner benefits to my wife.  Even if I file my taxes as a married couple on the state level, my federal taxes will still be filled as single, creating a huge f*ing mess.   This isn’t even separate but equal… this is straight up inequality!
I think these state measures are a Band-Aid.  They are hiding the real problem and leading the general public to believe that the LGBT community is finally gaining equality.  But we are not!  As long as the public gets to vote on my personal rights, I am very much not equal and I will not be satisfied by placation of a few new state amendments.   I still have no national recognition of my love.  I still don’t have the ability to adopt my (theoretical) children if born to my (theoretical) wife in many states in this country.  Hell, I can still be fired from my job or openly discriminated against for my sexual orientation in some states.

The Supreme Court needs to finally rule on prop 8 (this mess has been going on for 4 years now).  DOMA needs to be overturned.  We need to stop letting the public vote on the rights of minority groups.  We need to expand anti-discrimination policies and regulations.  We need to give queer kids hope for their future… Come on people, we can do so much better.  

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

What a difference 4 years makes

Election night 2008 is a vivid night in my memory.  I arrived back at my house around 6 or 7pm from 2 long days of medical school interviews to find a house full of friends watching the TV and an envelope from a school I had recently interviewed at.  I opened my first acceptance letter surrounded by the love of my community and with the optimism of change in the air.  The night was spent intensely watching returns, having both light hearted & deep conversations, coloring in maps, and day dreaming about what the future would hold.  I went to sleep with the certainty of Obama’s victory and my long awaited admissions ticket to medical school in the fall. 

[However, learning about the prop 8 results when I woke the next morning was heartbreaking and felt like a personal attack.  And now, 4 years later, we’re still trying to untangle the mess it created.  Hopefully, tonight’s vote on marriage have an opposite outcome as prop 8 did.]

4 years later, I am wrapping up medical school.  I would be on the interview trail again right now had I not elected to take this year for research.  I am anxiously awaiting the news tonight will bring in a new city with a new community.  I am uncertain about my future – about what our healthcare system will look like tomorrow and how it will affect my career.  While the economy is likely to continue to improve (assuming we don’t start another war), healthcare, women’s reproductive rights, and queer communities in the United States are resting on a precarious ledge. I pray that I go to bed tonight with the same optimism and certainty that I did 4 years ago.