I am lying on the couch in a familiarly empty apartment, watching a familiarly slow connection (2.6 KB/second downloading Firefox) because there is nothing but AOL dial-up and someone random's unsecured and decidedly flaky wireless network to count on here. I am considering the possibility of calling a local cable provider company and requesting one month's worth of cable internet access. The apartment has cable, it appears; all I would need (in theory) would be a cable modem and a provider to turn on cable internet to the place. Since I am only here for a month, cannot access the mailbox, and must not make alterations to my apartment, it seems to be the only possible way of getting any sort of decent connection here.
I want a decent connection.
Where have I been, O Best Beloved? I have been busy.
Staff sat down with me on Thursday morning, in response to a tentative "Can I ask a few questions?" Twenty minutes later, he got up, apologizing that he hadn't had more time to teach me. It was a moment of sheer pleasure in learning from a teacher who loves to teach. I have missed that so very much.
Thursday afternoon I started the drive to my first interview site; I found the hotel and checked in; they gave me a gift basket of goodies - candy, apple juice, bottled water, notepads, a spiffy little alarm-clock/flashlight - and I settled in, hooked up to the hotel's wireless network, downloaded the World of Warcraft patch.
We went to dinner at a cute little Mexican place. I was well-matched with my hostess; she was a tiny woman who had been to France and shared many of my fluttery nervous mannerisms. She brought another resident and that resident's Argentinian husband. We drank a beer each, told travel stories, and lingered over dinner for three hours. We had a lovely time.
It was when I finally got back to the hotel at 10:30 PM that I realized what one thing I had forgotten back at home.
You know, O Best Beloved, the outfit I was to wear to interview in on Friday? It was hanging on my closet door, two and a half hours' drive away. Fortunately, I had my work pants - a pair of grey and a pair of black, casual slacks - and a blouse, just needed a jacket. We went to Wal-Mart, found a grey jacket that didn't make me look like someone's grandmother, and came back to the hotel all ready to sleep.
The interview itself went well. I was shown around the hospital about three times in aggregate, as people kept giving me tours to fill in time. Two interviews of three administrative ones were quite laid back - one with Dr. F, who is a colleague of mine from the IAFP and someone I've spent some time with in French Lick - the other with the director, who was very excited that I had something I was passionate about and involved with, in organized medicine. The third felt like a psychoanalysis session. "Describe the exemplary family physician." "What is your greatest weakness." "Tell me about a situation that challenged you. What did you do?" "So how does a book-reading young woman who needs someone to help push her into doing things and learns by watching first fit into our residency program?" You know. I kept waiting for the inkblots to come out.
Lunch was good, and I made a Manchester Connection with the noon conference speaker; we talked about my January plans for Nicaragua.
We finished the day with a trip to a chocolate shop and a wonderful piece of raspberry cheesecake. I learned a lot about a program I hadn't researched much. I learned more about interviewing; I have questions to ask tomorrow when I spend Election Day interviewing here in this town an hour and a quarter away from my Angel. I have things to say.
But I am afraid of deciding where to go.
The weekend was spent at alythe and beowulfalive's Hallowe'en party (pictures available from indurate, here. I'm the one in the red and silver skirt in several pictures. Such as this one, where I am the girl on the left. But you should look at all of the pictures, because indurate is an excellent photographer.
Spent today in clinic; the residents are promising me that I will get to do colposcopies soon, rather than just watching.
We saw a girl, eighteen, with her very first Pap smear abnormal. Colposcopy showed vessels simmering outward from the transition zone; streaks of mosaic flesh under acetic acid arching like horns from the slashed-line opening of her cervix; betadine leaving a pale golden shadow against dark brown. Her Pap said low-grade. Staff was shaking her head before we even biopsied. High-grade, most likely; not cancer yet but certainly troublesome in a girl so young.
Biopsies hurt. Better than dying of cervical cancer, I suppose.
We left the room before I allowed myself to exclaim. "Wow!" There was subdued laughter. We all felt that way; there is a shame to being excited over another human's misfortune but when the opportunity to link learning to experience comes there is nothing you can do but be excited.
It is lonely here. I will interview tomorrow and then I will tell you about it, because my mind is beginning to ripple and twist and do I want to move? I am not certain. I do not know. There is something about this center, this hospital, that calls to me; there is a siren-song back home in Fort Wayne as well. I will learn wherever I go. I will make enough money to live on wherever I go.
Where do I go?