I'm Every Woman
I admit that when I walked into the call room to begin my first call night here, I was a bit intimidated. Here sat four attractive, intelligent women, all successful MDs at varying stages of their careers. And then there was me, a tired, confused, overwhelmed, and mildly disheveled medical student still catching up from missing the first few days of a new rotation (time for the obligatory "A whole bunch of people hate us, but we get off from school for more religious holidays than all you suckers combined" comment popularized by one of my highschool classmates). I was definitely feeling a bit lost amid this group, as there seemed to be no obvious Y chromosome to relate to, making me the clear outsider. Would they reject me? Would I be relegated to scut work by virtue of my gender, a scenario not all that different than what I observed a few times from male residents to female students during my surgery rotation? Would any of these women go out with me?
Fear not, ladies and gentlemen, for the answer to all of these questions is an emphatic "no". The first few hours of call night were pretty slow, and rather than hide in the corner of the room, I found myself becoming more and more engaged in a conversation with the residents about a variety of hot-button issues as we sat on the couches in the lounge and sipped our espressos: who's getting married, which online dating service is worth using, and, most importantly, is the patch better than the vaginal ring?
Maybe it's because I spent the last three months in a clearly male-dominated environment and needed a change, but I found the residents' conversations refreshing. Before I knew it, I was totally getting into this conversation. Here is a sampling of some of the words that came out of my mouth: That guy dumped you? He's a fool! She slept with both of them? Dirty ho! That's the best excuse he could come up with? Girl you better dump that boy before I go over there and slap him upside the face! Let's watch Access Hollywood. Isn't Noah Wylie just so dreamy? Why aren't there any doctors like him around here? Don't mess with that nurse, she's on her period! What's the next book for Oprah's book club?
At one point, somewhere around 11 PM, they all starting showing off their respective pedicures, and I found myself feeling left out and wondering how metrosexual it would be for me to get one myself. Then they all started braiding each other's hair. I shit you not. Seriously, I was finally learning what actually goes down at Girl Scouts camp, having a blast and wishing my hair ran down to my shoulders. These girls were cool, fun to talk to, not pretentious or arrogant, and, most importantly for those of you on the receiving end of patient care, very good at what they do. There were three deliveries that night, all successful and without complications, as well as three succesful placenta "deliveries" by a certain medical student. (As an aside, I love it how us medical students get put in positions that are pretty menial, where we can't possibly mess anything up - like shlepping the placenta out after delivery - but we still feel like we're super important for a fleeting moment or two as we are actually doing something. Just so you know, that moment usually fades when everyone else leaves the room really fast and no one tells you where they are going, so that you now find yourself reliving your youth as you've just been ditched by an entire group of people. Not that that has ever happened to me before or anything.) In all, it was a great night. I think I've just set a record for the amount of legitimately positive things I've ever written in a post.
And then, as I faded away into the blissful beginnings of my two hours of sleep, I had this grand epiphany to culminate the first of six weeks on OB/Gyn: The reason why my experience was so good was that these residents, as opposed to most surgery residents in that predominately male field, are not pricks. And the reason why they are not pricks is because...well...they don't have any. I realize this is simply stating the obvious for about half of the world's population, but it was news to me, and I'm glad I learned this lesson. Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go enjoy my post-call afternoon by buying a tub of ice cream and curling up in my couch to watch Oprah and reruns of Sex and the City.