Divorce on Tuesday. Court-ordered parenting class (with Tyler, my brand new ex-husband, mind you) on Wednesday. Clinical licensing exam on Friday. Most stressful week of my life. Ever.
Okay, we talked about it.
Just kidding, I'm totally not done. We've talked about the divorce, and we've talked about the parenting class (although truly, it sucks exponentially more when you have to sit right next to the guy you just divorced the day before). But I was so stressed out about this licensing exam that I didn't even want to write about it here because I didn't want to have to explain it if I failed.
So, I don't know if I've ever explained how dental board exams work. Prepare yourself for something incredibly boring... or just skip this paragraph. There are national boards-- we take part 1 of those after second year, and part 2 of those towards the end of fourth year (which takes two days). I've passed all of those. Then I had to take the regional licensing exam, the Northeast Regional Board (NERB), which has five parts-- the root canal and crown/bridge sections (passed), the diagnostic skills exam (passed, I'm 99% sure), and the patient-based restorative and periodontal sections, which happened last Friday. The two most stressful parts. And thank-you-lord-I-passed. With, ahem, not to brag, but 100%, bitches.
It was a total and complete shitshow and by far the most stressful day of the week. Or of my life. Whichever was longer (it was a toss-up). There's just all this paperwork and rules and specifications, and they bring in these outside board examiners, and you have to send your patients down the hall to a different clinic to have your work graded so that it's all anonymous. My scaling and root planing patient went well, and so did my anterior filling patient, and then it came time for the posterior filling. They said my patient's cavity was too small and denied it. This is when the shit hit the fan for me.
My patient was all "oh it's totally fine because I didn't really want to get this done and blah blah and yesterday took awhile and blah" and I was all GET OUT!!! The clock is running and I need to find a backup patient!! GET OUT!! I practically shoved her out the door and ran across the hall, all crazy-like, to try to find a backup. Found one and retook her x-rays-- twice, because she moved... filled out all her paperwork... ignored all her complaining about having to sit for the exam. Dragged her back across the hall and sent her to the exam station to have her cavity approved. By this time, I was an hour behind schedule. I got her numb, got the rubber dam on, and she reached up and ripped it off. Three times. Finally I told my assistant to hold her hands down and forced the dam on and prepped the cavity in, no joke, ten minutes flat. Pushed her out of the room to the exam station. When she came back, I put the filling in and carved it and pulled the dam out and checked her bite in probably about eight minutes. Pushed her out to the exam station. She came back. PASSED. Somehow, with 100%.
I've got to say, getting through all of these tests makes me feel really good about myself. Not just because they are critical to actually practicing the career for which I've been training for so long, but because it reminds me that even though my personal life is kind of crazy, I am holding it together professionally. I mean really... let's recap. We got engaged in 2006, married in 2007, I got pregnant in 2008, had Caroline in 2009, separated in 2010, and got divorced in 2011. We went through the entire life cycle of a marriage all during the time I was in dental school. Nice to meet you, my name is Julia von Trainwreck. But hey! I can drill the heck out of some teeth, that's for damn sure.
Anyway, I'm glad that week is over. I went home on Friday, popped an Excedrin, poured a glass of wine, grabbed a trashy gossip mag, lit some candles, and sank into a hot bubble bath up to my chin. It's my go-to relaxation routine. (Although admittedly slightly less so when you look up and there's a cartoon frog face staring at you from the end of your safety faucet cover and, for some unknown reason, a can of green Play Doh sitting on the side of your tub.)
So, I got through the most stressful week of my life, and it all went as well as I could have hoped. And I'm proud of myself for that!