Match Day was by far one of the most bizarre days of my life thus far. A day filled with many, many emotions. I could hardly sleep the night before. I was too excited (plus Levi was HUNGRY after all that traveling). Joe slept like a log per his usual. But then of course in the morning I couldn't get myself moving and out the door on time. (Sorry Joe.)
We did however make it in time for the breakfast and opening remarks. However we could hardly make it across the room to get the breakfast because...THE BABY! Everyone wanted to see the baby. It's was as if they had never seen a baby before. In their defense med students don't get out much. Their world is a pretty small bubble. We did eventually eat. And fed the baby.
The class president ended his speech with the Hunger Games' infamous line. "May the odds ever be in your favor." And then we all started the slow (and eerily) somber "march" across the school to the ballroom where THE ENVELOPES would be handed out. It felt like we were marching to our death.
And then began the longest half hour. Time draaaaaged. And the room was a buzz with nervous energy. Mine included. 150 students plus their families waited. Everyone chatted and snapped pictures. I did too. All around the room there were computer screens counting down the minutes until 11am. With fives minutes to go the envelopes were handed out. A little less talking. (If nervous energy could be contained and used we could have powered the entire school.) But still many pictures snapped.
Joe may or may not have tried to read his match location through the sealed envelope. It wasn't possible. And then just like that we were 10 seconds away and everyone was counting down. Because Joe was holding a very sleepy Levi, I was holding the envelope. And when it was time I slowly and carefully opened the envelope with Joe watching on. [Side note: I am not sure why I opened it so carefully. The crowd was cheering and I was still opening the envelope!]
Finally reading the words that Joe matched to Texas brought immediate tears to my eyes and rendered me absolutely speechless. (For the first time in my life!) In that moment I was immensely proud of my husband. Prouder than I have ever been. His dream was coming true. His hard work had paid off. It felt too good to be true. And he still didn't know! I'm not sure what he was thinking watching me cry. And I am shocked he didn't rip the letter out of my hand. Instead he allowed me to process the information and hand him the letter once I was ready. I had no words. He had to read it for himself. He was happy!
I am not sure why I was so shocked to read TEXAS on that paper. But I was. I mean I had a strong feeling that is what I was going to read. So much so that I had packed a "Don't Mess with Texas" romper for Levi. And yet...seeing it written definitively in ink was SHOCKING. To know without a doubt where we are moving.
And then the fun began. Announcing our match to anyone and everyone that would listen. All of Joe's classmates reactions were the same. "Oooh! Texaaaaas???" As if we had just told them we were moving to the moon. No one knew if this was a good match or not because Joe had such a straight face and I was in shock! We were quick to explain that this was very good. Joe LOVES the residency program and is thrilled to train there. Not yo mention...no winter! No snow and cold. Beaches and sunshine! Um...yes please.
During this entire process there was a camera man roaming around the rooming filming the chaos. My parents, Joe's parents and my sister (along with her family) were watching the live stream. And because of this live stream our families learned of our impending cross-country move as Joe placed his pin on the map on TEXAS. They watched in shock! Admittedly this wasn't how I planned to tell them. But in the end it might have been for the best. They had time to process this news on their own...because (for obvious reasons) not everyone thinks this move is great.
The rest of the afternoon was spent eating cake and drinking champagne. There was a fancy shmancy lunch in which Joe was inducted into the Gold Humanism Honor Society. Levi slept through it all. I took pictures. And was even MORE proud of my husband as the I learned he was voted into this society by his classmates because he is "a physician they would bring their family to for medical care". That speaks volumes.
And then it was done. And we were exhausted. So we took a nap. And dreamed of sunshine and beaches. And the emergency department. The places we will spend the next three years.
Naively four years ago I thought the biggest hurdle to becoming a doctor was getting into medical school. Ha! How wrong I was. There isn't just one hurdle. And getting into medical school does not guarantee one becomes a physician (as evidenced by the classmates that didn't make it to Match Day - either because they dropped out or didn't match). First there is two years of grueling class work. Then rotations. And boards exams...not once but twice! More Rotations. Rotations. And then audition rotations! Last but not least there is applying and interviewing for residency. Each and every step presents its own unique challenge. But eventually it happens. Each step is complete. Each hurdle crossed. Sometimes flying high above it and other times just barely...limping by. And for us Match Day was the light at the end of that long dark tunnel. It was the moment we knew each hurdle had passed. We had made it! In 74 days my husband will be an emergency medicine physician. An intern. And that is why we have declared Match Day THE BEST DAY OF MEDICAL SCHOOL. I'm so glad I didn't miss it.