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Is Fear Making You Cling to What No Longer Serves You?
Every year, for the past five years, I have opened my annual letter from the American Board of Obstetricians & Gynecologists, reminding me that it’s time to re-certify. In order to keep my board certification active, I have to pony up a boatload of money, read a hundred journal articles, and take an all-day, open-book exam that proves I’m up-to-date on all the important research of the year.
Whenever this letter arrives, I invariably flash back to that fateful day in Dallas in 2001 when I, along with hundreds of other OB/GYNs from all over the country, submitted to being verbally grilled by grizzled senior physicians trying to make us all feel like idiots.
In order to qualify for this exam, I had to record all of the details from every patient I saw in the hospital the prior year—every delivery, every surgery, every hospital admission—along with the hundreds of patients I had seen in the office. During the oral exam, my examiners—there were three of them—could call upon me to spout off memorized blah blah about how you stage ovarian cancer or the mechanism of action of methotrexate or the chemical structure of any drug I had prescribed or the branches of any artery in the body. Half of the questions they would ask would pertain to the hundreds-of-pages document I had compiled about all of my patients. The other half could be made up nonsense about anything my examiners felt like asking me.
While staving off waves of nausea, I answered my questions. When the exam was completed, I promptly ran to the bathroom and vomited. When my husband asked me how I did, I burst into tears and told him I failed and would soon be applying for a job at Ann Taylor, a threat I had been making while I studied for my exam. He handed me a gift-wrapped box. It was a dress from Ann Taylor, with an application on top of it.
I cried some more.
It was the single most stressful event of my entire life, more so than losing my father, more so than giving birth by C-section, more so than getting divorced, more so than losing my dog. When the letter arrived announcing that I had actually passed my oral board, I puked again.
A Big Decision
But this year, when the letter arrived yesterday, I opened it, examined it, and realized I don’t want to keep my OB/GYN board certification anymore.
Just writing that makes my hands shake. The Gremlins in my head are going ballistic. But my Inner Pilot Light is speaking up this year. Here’s how the conversation is going.