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Wednesday, March 2nd, 2011
Can we talk about everything that went down last week for a sec?
Divorce on Tuesday. Court-ordered parenting class (with Tyler, my brand new ex-husband, mind you) on Wednesday. Clinical licensing exam on Friday. Most stressful week of my life. Ever.
Okay, we talked about it.
Just kidding, I’m totally not done. We’ve talked about the divorce, and we’ve talked about the parenting class (although truly, it sucks exponentially more when you have to sit right next to the guy you just divorced the day before). But I was so stressed out about this licensing exam that I didn’t even want to write about it here because I didn’t want to have to explain it if I failed.
So, I don’t know if I’ve ever explained how dental board exams work. Prepare yourself for something incredibly boring… or just skip this paragraph. There are national boards– we take part 1 of those after second year, and part 2 of those towards the end of fourth year (which takes two days). I’ve passed all of those. Then I had to take the regional licensing exam, the Northeast Regional Board (NERB), which has five parts– the root canal and crown/bridge sections (passed), the diagnostic skills exam (passed, I’m 99% sure), and the patient-based restorative and periodontal sections, which happened last Friday. The two most stressful parts. And thank-you-lord-I-passed. With, ahem, not to brag, but 100%, bitches.
It was a total and complete shitshow and by far the most stressful day of the week. Or of my life. Whichever was longer (it was a toss-up). There’s just all this paperwork and rules and specifications, and they bring in these outside board examiners, and you have to send your patients down the hall to a different clinic to have your work graded so that it’s all anonymous. My scaling and root planing patient went well, and so did my anterior filling patient, and then it came time for the posterior filling. They said my patient’s cavity was too small and denied it. This is when the shit hit the fan for me.
My patient was all “oh it’s totally fine because I didn’t really want to get this done and blah blah and yesterday took awhile and blah” and I was all GET OUT!!! The clock is running and I need to find a backup patient!! GET OUT!! I practically shoved her out the door and ran across the hall, all crazy-like, to try to find a backup. Found one and retook her x-rays– twice, because she moved… filled out all her paperwork… ignored all her complaining about having to sit for the exam. Dragged her back across the hall and sent her to the exam station to have her cavity approved. By this time, I was an hour behind schedule. I got her numb, got the rubber dam on, and she reached up and ripped it off. Three times. Finally I told my assistant to hold her hands down and forced the dam on and prepped the cavity in, no joke, ten minutes flat. Pushed her out of the room to the exam station. When she came back, I put the filling in and carved it and pulled the dam out and checked her bite in probably about eight minutes. Pushed her out to the exam station. She came back. PASSED. Somehow, with 100%.
I’ve got to say, getting through all of these tests makes me feel really good about myself. Not just because they are critical to actually practicing the career for which I’ve been training for so long, but because it reminds me that even though my personal life is kind of crazy, I am holding it together professionally. I mean really… let’s recap. We got engaged in 2006, married in 2007, I got pregnant in 2008, had Caroline in 2009, separated in 2010, and got divorced in 2011. We went through the entire life cycle of a marriage all during the time I was in dental school. Nice to meet you, my name is Julia von Trainwreck. But hey! I can drill the heck out of some teeth, that’s for damn sure.
Anyway, I’m glad that week is over. I went home on Friday, popped an Excedrin, poured a glass of wine, grabbed a trashy gossip mag, lit some candles, and sank into a hot bubble bath up to my chin. It’s my go-to relaxation routine. (Although admittedly slightly less so when you look up and there’s a cartoon frog face staring at you from the end of your safety faucet cover and, for some unknown reason, a can of green Play Doh sitting on the side of your tub.)
So, I got through the most stressful week of my life, and it all went as well as I could have hoped. And I’m proud of myself for that!
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Saturday, February 5th, 2011
I can’t believe it, but my baby girl is two years old today.
I have her for her birthday weekend, which makes me very happy. I’m having her party here at our place tomorrow (I’ll be sure to post pics!). Unfortunately this weekend is pretty stressful since I have two more days of board exams on Monday and Tuesday and Caroline has been very sick for the past week with hand foot & mouth disease. But my mom has helped me a lot with the party planning so I think it should go pretty well.
Okay. Honestly? I’m in a really weird place these days and would like to post about it but I don’t want to drag down her birthday post… so I’ll just save it for another day.
Here’s the birthday girl from a couple days ago, in my bed with all her stuffed animal friends gathered around her to make her feel better.
I had to miss a lot of school (and boards studying time) staying home because of her illness, but I have to admit that it’s always nice to spend some lazy days at home with my girl.
Happy second birthday, Caroline!!
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Monday, January 31st, 2011
I don’t like to leave depressing/trainwreck posts at the top of my blog, and I have awesome news to share, so I’m posting two days in a row. Hell has officially frozen over. Or it’s about to, with yet another blizzard on the way…
I got a job! Well, a residency position. I originally wanted to apply to residencies in general dentistry so that I could spend a year learning things I hadn’t learned in dental school and building up my speed, as sort of a stepping stone to working as a real live dentist. Plus it’s easier to find a job and you can make more money if you do a residency first. The divorce changed that for me, or so I thought– kind of tough to be on call at a hospital when you are a single mom. So I never applied.
Then, earlier this month, I started thinking about doing the AEGD (Advanced Education in General Dentistry) residency program at my school, because their call schedule is a lot more manageable than smaller programs where there are fewer residents. I wished I had applied, so I asked the director about possibly taking any spots left open after the “match”. He replied that he doubted there would be any spots left, so I should immediately get a match number because the match was closing in three days, and that he could interview me the next day.
Actually, it went something like this:
1:50: I send email whilst sitting in boring class.
1:55: Program director responds.
1:56: I open his email and start reading.
1:57: My phone buzzes with a text from a friend saying “Dr. [program director] is coming to look for you RIGHT NOW! HEADS UP!”
1:58: Classroom door opens and he pokes his head in and asks for me.
It was all very sudden.
Anyway. It worked out. I matched to UConn. I have a job for next year. I’m freaking ecstatic. !!! And pretty flattered, because a lot of people in my class didn’t match to any program and the whole thing was all very last-minute for me… as in, I kind of circumvented the entire application process…
So, I can breathe easy and know that I’ll at least have benefits, a stipend, and a place to work next year. I can support myself and Caroline and we won’t be out on the streets. Which is always a good thing. Now I just need to refocus and find the motivation to get through boards and the next three and a half months until graduation. Easier said than done, these days, because all kinds of things are resurfacing and/or going wrong and/or distracting me from what I am supposed to be doing.
Said the girl who sat on the couch blogging and blasting loud music instead of studying for a board exam which is… um… tomorrow.
But I know I can do it. I know I can. I’ve come this far.
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Monday, December 6th, 2010
So, my short Thanksgiving break was pretty awesome. I got to hang out at home with Caroline and just relax and spend time with her. Our days are hectic, so it was nice to “catch up”. But I don’t think the break was quite long enough, because my brain appears to be totally fried. Luckily, Christmas vacation is just two weeks away…
I keep losing my school ID, which I need to get to my desk and into the labs. I also keep putting things down around the clinic and then realizing they are missing a couple minutes later, and then running all over trying to find them. Basically I am just leaving pieces of myself all over the place and being really scatterbrained. I never used to be like this! I guess I am just a little overwhelmed and need a vacation. But the worst happened yesterday…
I was in the lab working over the weekend because I am pretty much drowning in dentures, which is actually a disgusting mental image and I am truly sorry for inflicting it on you. I had a bunch of projects going on at once, trying to be efficient because I had to pick Caro up from Tyler’s place (an hour away) at 3:45. The last thing I had to do was make a shell for a temporary bridge, around 1:30. I put a sheet of plastic in this plastic-melting machine that gets extremely hot, and went to gather up my stuff to leave while it was heating. I’m sure that any of you stretched-too-thin mothers can guess what happened then. I picked up my stuff and walked out of the lab, completely forgetting that I had turned on that machine.
All was well until about 10pm, when I sat bolt upright on the couch and remembered. That machine gets HOT. It totally would be capable of burning down the building. I frantically texted everyone I knew who might be at school. No one. I called public safety and told a cop there what I had done and asked him to go make sure someone had shut off the machine, because I couldn’t drag my sleeping baby a half hour to school to do it myself. Ohmylord he was so annoyed with me. Understandably. I guess.
I didn’t know the room number to the lab and I am the worst direction-giver ever, so these cops were wandering all over the hospital (which is huge) trying to find the lab. I didn’t know the technical name for the machine. (We just call it a “suck-down machine”, to which the cop said “is this a prank call?”) I didn’t know anything, really, except that I would probably be in a little bit of trouble if I burned down the entire health center. They found it eventually and of course it was already shut off. The cop was going on and on about it so finally I said “look, do you want me to stop in at public safety tomorrow morning to help you fill out this report? Or maybe pick up some kind of scarlet letter to wear on my chest?” and he was all “well you don’t have to be rude” and I was all “well I’m sorry but neither do you sir” and I’m pretty sure public safety is going to key my car tomorrow.
Then of course I was wishing the damn place had burned while I suffered through a terrible morning in clinic, but that’s neither here nor there.
So. Long story short (way too late for that), I could use a week of vacation or two!
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Tuesday, October 26th, 2010
That’s what I am. That’s all I am. The high that I was on from the thrill of changing my life for the better has worn off. Now I’m just being pulled under by the endlessness of the legalities and the stress and the seemingly bottomless anger and bitterness we have towards each other, that seems to be growing every day.
Does divorce always have to be like this? I feel like there must be couples out there who decide to end things and carry it out in a civil manner. Maybe it has to be more of a mutual decision in order for that to happen…
All I know is that I’m completely wiped out. We can’t even hold a semi-normal conversation without our counselor present. It’s like he’s finally realized that it’s truly over and has stopped asking me to reconsider, to give us a chance… and now the gloves are off. And boy, it really sucks when the gloves come off with someone who knows you this well. They know just how to really piss you off and screw you over.
It’s so exhausting to not only deal with the pressures of my final year of school, taking care of my daughter alone, and the financial stress of raising her without an income other than my student loans… but also emotionally to try to find some way of handling the death of this relationship that was supposed to be forever. Most of the time, I try not to stop and think about any of it, because if I do, I start to fall apart… but I can’t do that forever. At some point I am going to have to turn around and face the fact that my life has pretty much exploded in my face. I have my own therapist (separate from our couples counselor) to help me through it, but it’s so hard to make it work with my schedule when I have patients until 5pm and then I have to get to daycare.
On the days I can push it to the side and focus on what matters and the light at the end of the tunnel, I am happy. Other days, like today, I am huddled in the corner of the library with my headphones on, trying not to cry. I don’t know what I’ve done/ Or if I like what I’ve begun/ But something told me to run/ And honey you know me it’s all or none…
So much pressure from all directions, I feel like I am going to crack… why can’t we just both agree that we weren’t right for each other and walk away from this, relatively unscathed? I wonder if it ever works out that way. I kind of doubt that it does. I am starting to think that getting divorced is the only way to truly get to know the person that you married.
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