On a reprieve

This past weekend, we spent a few days in NH with my family. My father has been renovating the childhood home, my brother and mother flew in from Virginia and Florida respectively, and my sister and brother-in-law drove from NYC. We took a rental car for the six hour journey.

Initially, we had planned on returning to some clinical rotations the Monday following the two weeks of Prologue and this family weekend. We dreaded the idea, but knew that our schedules would breathe a bit easier when baby arrives. We even considered skipping out on the family weekend: twelve hours of driving for about 24hrs of family time is a tough equation.

As last week came to a close, we decided to switch things around and allow ourselves the next six weeks for Step 2CK studying. Much of this time will be spent decompressing after a long and arduous end to third year. At least, for me.

The weekend with family recharged my batteries. Eating mom’s cooking and hanging out with my siblings allowed me to relax and unwind after the long previous weeks. We arrived late Friday, surprising my parents because we had told them we were going to stay in PA for the weekend. The joy on their faces was well worth the drive. We left on Tuesday morning after visiting the town cemetery and picking a spot for the family grave. Then, we drove to the beach and enjoyed some delicious sun.

On Wednesday, we said goodbye to our roommate as he left for the West Coast and his girlfriend. He had just sat for Step 2 and deserves the 10 days of vacation, some of which would be spent in Hawaii. I’ve been looking forward to time with just Mackenzi and baby, and it has lived up to expectations.

On Thursday, we lazily prepared for a Step 2 practice exam the following morning. Not quite full-length, but still a test of endurance at 200 questions and 6 hours. We hadn’t studied much over the previous three or four weeks, so this would serve as a good barometer for our baseline abilities and provide clarity on problem areas to focus upon in the coming grind.

That night, as a light break, we headed up to a dinner at one of my internal medicine preceptor’s home. He invited myself and a few other students for a cooked meal and fun conversation to celebrate the end of third year. Mackenzi and I enjoyed ourselves, dressing up like normal humans and chatting over appetizers.

On Friday, we sat for the practice exam. It took a lot out of us, but we had expected as much. We need to prepare as much for the length of the exam as for the content of the exam. We’ll build up in both over the coming three weeks.

Afterwards, we headed home for a nap and a day of relaxation. A couple’s massage in Bethlehem followed by a dinner at a local Irish pub and restaurant. We sat outside in the warm summer evening, people watching and eating all of the food in our post-massage glow.

On Saturday, a doggy friend, Nala, came over and met Honey. Her humans are heading out of town for a month and wanted us to care for Nala, a lovely older pug. We had watched her a few months back, but now we have Honey and were a bit nervous about Honey’s ability to cohabitate with other canines.

Honey has an irresistible curiosity and other dogs haven’t tolerated her incessant sniffs. After an initial adjustment period of manic energy, they both relaxed into something resembling equilibrium a few hours later. Nala will be our house guest starting on Monday.

Then I headed over to Easton for an interview. Mackenzi’s PT hosts a podcast and wanted to sit down with me. I enjoyed the conversation and look forward to interviewing him for mine. I had banked up over the winter and early spring a number of interviews for On Death, and now I am running low on the buffer. Time to replenish the stores and plan more lovely discussions with interesting humans.

The past few weeks have been incredibly draining. Now, with some time to recuperate and rejuvenate, I can even feel gratitude for the marathon. I think that this time of hardship has made me more aware of my limits. Important skills going forward into the world of fatherhood, with a squalling baby and residency interviews to balance.

For now, however, I have a Sunday morning of writing to wrap up, an afternoon of studying, and a Costco trip to enjoy.

Long Form Sundays

On Death Podcast

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