Transitioning After Medical School
“At the time I picked my specialty I was really disenchanted with medicine.”
So by the time I picked up my specialty I was disenchanted with medicine, and I was in love with the baby girl. I was torn every day that I left her to go deal with that shit. I hated leaving her, missing these precious moments of her life. So I ended up applying for radiology for the wrong reasons, because it was a good life style. So I picked that even though I’ve always wanted to do OBGYN. When I was pregnant with Gloria my obstetrician in Jersey asked what I wanted to practice and I said I want to do what you’re doing, but I also want to do abortions because I am pro-choice. And she just told me this, “if you are fine with the fact that someone else will raise your child more than you, do OB. If you are not okay with that at all do not do OB. And that hit me, because of her response made me change my specialty. Bob on the other hand was a weird med student that always wanted to specialize in whatever he was doing. He kept switching back and forth and I was like shit or get off the pot dude, don’t be so wishy washy.
He ended up looking into radiology and he really liked it, so we were applying together doing couples match, which is a hard thing to do when you’re matching for residency. Not many people get in the same city or state even. Nothing was matching up so we decided to switch to scramble- and Bob got an interview for Metro Health Hospital in Cleveland. He got an interview because he had a stronger GPA than me because first semester I had gotten all c’s. So before he went for the interview he asked if I could come along and they agreed to interview me too. They interviewed us separately and we both said the same thing. They asked us both the same questions and one was “if we could take just one of you who should we take?” and we both said take the other person. So they ended up giving both of us a spot. So that was 4th year med school. Then we had internships after that and that was here, in Des Moines. I got to tailor my schedule a great deal, and they gave me a lot of leeway.
One of the doctors that took my under his wing was Dr. Reemer. He was an OBGYN here and he did 2nd trimester abortions. He was one out of two people in the state that did that, but he’s retired now. When I first talked to him, he was scrubbing in for his C-section and I introduced myself and asked him if he would teach me how to do abortions. At first he said no, but then he said he would give me exposure but he wouldn’t teach me, but from there I just wormed my way in. I ended up doing a few on my own he trusted me so much. And to be honest, that was really super gratifying work. When people are against abortion, I understand that it is a hard thing, but they can only speak for themselves, that can’t speak for
anybody else. A person has no right to take that away from any other woman because we are not in the same shoes. I truly felt like I was really helping women. I spent every free Saturday I wasn’t on service with him, in his clinic doing abortions. Every time I was on another service, and had an afternoon of downtime I would also help do OBGYN and OB. Right before we were going to move to Cleveland, like in June or may of 2000, I was in surgery with him and he said to some scrub nurse, “can you believe that these hands are going to be wasted on a radiologist.” I was offended, I was just thinking these hands won’t be wasted, but right before I left for Cleveland he told me if I do OB there, I can come back here and he would turn his practice over to me. And I was so honored, but I stuck with radiology.
“Time is your most important resource, how do you want to spend it?”
Radiology was miserable. I was miserable leaving my daughter at day care at 7 in the morning and getting her at 6 o’clock at night. I tried to transfer into OBGYN but it wasn’t any better, it was actually a worse lifestyle. All I wanted to do was stay at home and finger paint with Gloria, and just be with her. Then I interviewed with different family practice positions, and had considered coming back here and splitting up our family. Gloria would come back with me and I would finish family practice here and be under Dr. Remmer’s wing. But when it came down to it, I couldn’t take her away from her dad. Come to find out, the program here eventually closed a year later. Then I decided to just quit radiology, because I had been turned down for one family practice position- but then I got two other positions. Since I hadn’t made up my mind I decided to take 5 months off, so I went through July of 2001. I wanted to paint my house, and I wanted to do all these things with Gloria. I also wanted home cooked meals, sew a costume for her Halloween, I wanted to do all this shit- and I did. And then September 11th happened, and I started rethinking everything. I was thinking that time is my most important resource, how do I want to spend it? And then I decided, I wasn’t going to go back, I’m going to be a stay at home mom, and I want another child. It was crazy how hard it was to juggle a career and being a mother. My husband supported me and my dad didn’t speak to me for 2 and a half months and my mother was really disappointed in me for leaving medicine. I just felt like I had to do what was best for me and my family, so I did.