Match Day! March 17!

This Friday is Match Day.

Match Day is always the third Friday of March, and it pairs soon-to-be medical school graduates with hospitals for their residency.   These medical students have been interviewed and vetted.  They fill out their top preferences, and so do the hospitals.  Then it all gets sent to a centralized matching service.

The results are this Friday.

After graduation in May, they then pack up their things and move to the teaching hospital that they have been matched with.  The old residents, those who are moving onto fellowships or into private practices, leave at the end of June, and the brand spanking new residents start on July 1st.

It’s an inside joke that the beginning of July is a bad time to get sick.  Now you know why.

Wendy entered the hospital at the end of June of 2007.  By the time we got a handle on who did what, and some familiar faces, they all changed on July 1st.

As a parent, I have a different idea of Match Day and new residency now.  At first I hated the July 1st day, because everything would change, and change is hard.  Now, I go in and talk to the new residents on their first day, to tell them what it’s like to be the parent of a chronically ill kid, to tell them what it’s like to basically be a professional hospital parent.

The truth is, parents know a lot, but we still manage to be scared and feel helpless when our kids are sick and in pain.  We can’t help it, that is the way we are wired.

Another truth is, a lot of new residents don’t have kids yet. They’re in their late 20s, they’re just starting to settle down with a life partner. They haven’t had kids, and even if they do, they might not have sick kids.  Yes, they are super-smart, in fact they are used to being the smartest person in the room, but they might not know how to talk to kids, how to talk to parents, to understand what life in a hospital bed is like, what a hospital room feels like. They don’t know to rely on a parent’s hunch that something isn’t right. They don’t know how to go from technical speech to parent speech, and then to kid speech.

They don’t know these things Yet. But they will.

We are a part of their learning process. We give them space to ask questions.  One of the medical students asked the question, “What if I don’t know the answer?”  Imagine, if every doctor asked that question and was given a safe space to talk through it.

I saw a quote today that said, “Making Mistakes is Better than Faking Perfection.”

Do you know doctors whom you wish had been given permission on their first day of residency to ask that question?

I do.

March 17th is known as St. Patrick’s Day.  Here in Boston it’s also known as Evacuation Day, the day that British Troops Abandoned Boston during the Revolutionary War.

But this year, It’s also Match Day.  I wish those new soon-to-be residents the best of luck, the Luck of the Irish.

I’ll see them at the end of June, to tell them my story.

Related:

Last year’s blog post:  What If I Don’t Know the Answer? (6/20/16)

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Happy World Kidney Day From Frank

Happy World Kidney Day from Frank!

Who is Frank, you may ask?

Frank is the name Wendy has given to her Kidney.

I don’t know why.  She’s always known that her kidney came from a boy, she’s often called it her “boy kidney”.  But for some reason, this year (after having the kidney for eight years), she decided to name it.

Frank.  (He’s pictured above in his stuffed animal plush form.)

Wendy will be celebrating World Kidney Day this year by living her normal, average day.  She’ll have school, come home, probably walk to the library, set the table, have dinner, and maybe go to the gym.  I remember when she was so super sick and hoping that someday we would have a normal life.  Well, here it is.

Some would argue that it’s not really normal.

In the past week, Wendy has had four appointments at the hospital.  Two were with doctors, one with her endocrine nurse, and one kidney ultrasound.  She handled them all like a pro, like someone who has been doing this for many, many years.  Because, she has.  In fact, both doctors commented on the fact that it has almost been TEN YEARS since Wendy originally got sick with e-coli.  They just couldn’t believe it.  A decade of Wendy.

This weekend she will be swimming in her swim meet championships.  Next weekend she will be running a 4.4 mile run for her diabetes camp.  In between she will play indoor soccer.  She’s raising money to go to the World Transplant Games in Spain in June.  This kid just keeps moving and we do all that we can to support her, along with her doctors and our family and friends.

Sometimes I feel like the luckiest person in the world.  March 9th is one of those days thanks to Wendy’s donor and all the people who love and support her, and us, by extension.

Happy World Kidney Day!  From Frank!  From Wendy!  And from the rest of us!

PS:  March 9th is a GREAT DAY to sign up to be an organ donor if you haven’t already.  Go to Donate Life America and register today!