Tuesday, December 27, 2011

an intern's december

the guy who was in charge of making December's schedule is kind of a joke.  he had a couple of months to prepare it and guess what?  no schedule until Nov. 30th around 10pm.  yep.  and even though he had plenty of lead time, he *still* managed to screw it up.  big time.  look, i know that the new hour restrictions for interns were confusing and annoying to figure out at first.  but it's DECEMBER and they've got a pretty "easy" way of handling the whole thing.  so, looking at the schedule we immediately noticed 3 things:

1) he scheduled Orthoman to be on call the day of his brother's wedding.  after sending out emails and talking to people for months, he had arranged for his one weekend off to be that weekend.  while we weren't surprised, it was really annoying.  he did, however, schedule the following weekend as his "off" weekend.

2) he had illegally scheduled Orthoman.  so not only was he going to be on call during the weekend he was supposed to be off, but he had done so in a way that legally couldn't happen.

3) he was on call Christmas Eve AND New Year's Eve

when you combined #2 and #3, it meant that there was no way to "fix" the schedule.  it had been bungled up in so many ways that there was no repairing it.  after much discussion and debate, one of the REALLY awesome and nice 2nd years took the pager for Orthoman and covered for him.  and guess what?  they let him KEEP the next weekend off!  he offered to take call, but the guy said that since Orthoman was working both holidays he should enjoy the weekend off.  to say that i felt a profound sense of gratitude wouldn't do my feelings justice.

the wedding weekend was really fun, but stressful because he took a red eye Friday night so he could be there Saturday and we came home Sunday.  it was short and busy, but not awful.  we even managed to get some "hang out time" Sunday night after the girl went to bed.  when he was off the following weekend we did a lot of "family" stuff.  the girl was beside herself - her daddy was there for 2 mornings when she woke up!  at one point on Saturday, he was putting on his shoes to take the dog for a walk and she came up to him, gave him a HUGE hug and kiss and said, "bye daddy.  be a good doctor!  love you!"  all without any prompting.  she's already used to this sort of lifestyle i guess.  when he told her he wasnt going to the hospital, she got so excited that she started jumping up and down.  it was heart warming and heart breaking at the same time.

given our recent struggles, it wasnt the easiest weekend.  he didnt feel like going on a date; he wanted to spend time as a family.  it stung, and i was mad, but we talked through it later and i actually ended up agreeing with a lot of his reasons (you're 7.5 months pregnant - you'll be miserable sitting in a movie seat for 2+ hours, save the money for Christmas next weekend, little girl was glued to his hip and begging to snuggle, etc.).  January has a lot of "free" weekends for him so we're planning on doing a lot of "couple things" next month.

we also had this conversation:

me: so you're on call Xmas Eve.  is it safe for me to assume that you dont have any days off since you didnt get to use any vacation time?

orthoman: sorry, no vacation time at all.  we'll have saturday morning and all of sunday once i get home.  that'll be it.

you'll notice that in this (already really long) post i havent mentioned my feelings about his being on call for both holidays and not getting time off.  well, that's really because i dont have strong feelings about it.  i completely expected he would work in Xmas and New Years - he's a intern AND a surgeon.  December is one of those really busy months for surgeons because people are trying to use up the last of their benefits.  so clinic is ridiculous and the ORs are running full speed.  there's also a lot of drinking, partying and all around stupid behavior occurring so the ERs get really busy.  we talked about this LOOOOOONG ago, before medical school even.  people get sick year round without regards to the day on the calendar.

we're also fairly religious and attend services on most Sundays rather than the High Holy Days.  and, as a history nerd, i also dont feel obligated to celebrate on the 25th because what we're really doing is hijacking the festival of Saturnalia (see HERE).  so, rather than be a slave to the calendar, i've always felt pretty flexible about celebrating with my family at a time that best suits us all.  well, it turns out we got an extended christmas present!  Thursday night, about an hour before he was due to come home, Orthoman found out he had Friday off!  it was a complete surprise to all of us.  he stayed late to finish his dictations and when he came home he surprised me with the big news.  after looking at the schedule, he called someone and found out he had MONDAY off too!  so even though he was working on Xmas Eve, we got 2 WHOLE DAYS with him!

i cant tell you how incredible this weekend has been.  our Xmas was small, but the train set we got our little girl has made her the happiest girl in the world.  we spent all Sunday playing it and most of Monday too.  We stayed up late every night to talk and hang out - just the two of us.  i feel like it's given me "breathing room" in the marriage.  i dont the same sense of urgency or perseverance that i did just a few weeks ago (does that even make sense?). we've been able to relax and calm down.  we've had time to remember that we're not just "partners" or spouses, but friends too.  and yes, there was even some major flirting going on.

any rough moments were quickly smoothed over.  i didnt feel burdened, as if i was carrying the entire load on my shoulders.  and really, what better Christmas gift could i get?


Friday, December 9, 2011

Financial Peace or lack there of

I can pinpoint where it all went awry.  We had meticulously saved all of intern year for our big move across the country.  We lived within our means, out of little envelopes of cash.  We had only student loan debt.  Credit cards were debt free and only used for online purchases and paid right back.

We decided to buy a house at our residency location to build equity and so forth.  We knew we'd be there 4 years.  We paid cash for our down payment and the move.  Our savings was gone, but it didn't matter because we would have 4 calm years in a low cost of living area to rebuild.

This was a great plan until hubby's first day of work.  He instantly learned that his "match" was not a "fit."  He was soon offered a position in another specialty somewhere else.  It was what he wanted to do.  We had no funds left and took a leap of faith and used the credit card to pay for the move.

In our new, high cost of living location did not give us any wiggle room in the budget.  The credit card balance kept getting higher as I had to charge things like groceries in order to have the cash for the minimum payment that had gotten enormous.  This sort of thing cannot not go on forever, but we felt absolutely trapped.

Fortunately, family came to our rescue and partially bailed us out.  What has been very hard is to break the cycle.  Cut our expenses to the point where the cash we pay toward our credit card balance comes from extra money, not grocery or rent money.

The whole thing has made me a very unhappy person over the last few years.  I hate to be so unhappy when I have so many blessings I should be happy about.

As you could tell I'm sure from my last blog entry, something had to give.  Since then we have attained our first financial goal in our "get out of debt" plan.  I feel ecstatic!  I am happy that we have a plan and that it has actually been working too!!!!  We have made leaps and bounds in the last few months to combat our personal debt situation. 

Before, when we were in such great financial shape, we had followed the advise given by Dave Ramsey.  I have compiled all my notes from his advise and will be putting them on my personal blog to share with anyone interested.

We have a goal of being credit card debt free by end April!  Just in time to save for our move for fellowship. 





Wednesday, November 30, 2011

her story

im in unfamiliar territory over here.  the past few months have tested me, my husband and our marriage more than anything we've ever experienced.  there were times that i looked down the path ahead of us, shake my head and then say, "oh, so that's how people get divorced."  there was a subtle build up of anger and frustration that had started to creep up.  the toddler and the pregnancy did not help up either.  both of us were at a loss for how to make things better.  there were issues that needed to be worked through and discussed, but both of you have to be present (and awake) to do that.  it was awful and scary and heartbreaking.  i've been crumbling inside; it's so hard to feel so much pain when you still love someone so madly and passionately.  so when my parents offered to bring me and the bug to Florida with them for my birthday, Orthoman actively encouraged me to go.  even though he couldnt go (freaking intern year) we both knew i really needed the time off.

i spent 10.  10! glorious days in warm, sunny florida.  i saw my bestest that moved matched there and then my family.  incredible doesnt even begin to describe my experience.  and my little bug blossomed under all of the love and attention constantly showered on her.   it was the first real vacation i had taken since my honeymoon.  before that, i had been in middle school.  so basically it had been a really long time.  i felt all of the stress melting away and i started to miss home, which almost surprised me.  i genuinely missed my Orthoman and eagerly anticipated seeing him.  when we talked at night we both sounded so excited to hear from each other.

2 nights before we got home, Orthoman broke down on the phone.  it had been one of the hardest weeks in his life and the fact that i wasnt there for him really hit him.  he needed me and i wasnt there.  he said it made him realize just how much i do for him and how important i am to him.  while i ached because he was hurting, it healed some of what i was struggling with.  i was so ready to go home!  not only that, but he was going to have the entire weekend off when we got back!  2 full days of Orthoman was beyond bliss!!!

so when i got home i was shocked with the cold.  it was cold weather and a surprisingly cold person.  after that initial warm reception at the airport, it became VERY clear VERY quickly that i had misinterpreted the conversation we had the other night.  rather than seeing an appreciative and loving husband, for the first time in our entire relationship he was resentful!  which was terrifying because it's such a departure from his personality.

i was completely paralyzed and stayed silent.  yes, he DID need a vacation too.  i know that, he knows that, and if he could have come then he would have been there too.  but guess what, it's not my fault he cant take time off in this rotation.  i didnt scheme with my parents to exclude him from this trip - they have a timeshare and guess what?  it's the same week EVERY YEAR.  sorry dear, no diabolical plot here.

now dont get me wrong.  there's a line between sharing experiences and throwing something in your face.  i tried so hard and was so mindful of it that i always erred on the side of caution.  but i didnt expect to get cold looks when my daughter walks around with her new, beloved Mickey doll and i tell the story of how she "conned" grampaw into getting it for her.  i learned that as long as we talked about him and only him we would be on safe territory, which was exactly the same place we were when we left.  great.

i didnt expect all of our problems to just disappear because i had gone on vacation.  and obviously they didnt, but i didnt expect this new beast to enter the picture.  since when is my Bubbie resentful?!  when did he become "that guy"?  oh god.  was he starting to turn into that douche-bag surgeon everyone hates?

but that wasnt all that was different. *i* was different this round.

while i was gone i did some serious thinking and took full advantage of the 5 other pairs of hands available to help with my little one.  now, i was ready to step in the ring.  i left home feeling completely drained and empty.  i had no fight left in me and wasnt sure i could make it.  i didnt know what i wanted or if i was up to the challenge.  but now?  now i KNEW that i wanted to make things work.  i KNEW that i could handle whatever was going to come up.  i KNEW that i was strong enough.

and let me tell you - it's been a fight.  i have had to fight and struggle and claw my way back.  but once i made it clear that i wasnt going to let him give up and that i was still "in the game", things have started to change.  and thank god they have!  we were blessed with thanksgiving AND that friday off.  WE have been working our asses off on making things better.  we've made sure to take advantage of every moment we've had together both as a family and as a couple.  even though the money isnt really there, HE said to get a babysitter this week.  suddenly, im not doing all the emotional work for both of us. instead of getting home, playing with the Bug and then going straight to bed, Orthoman stays up later to talk to me.  sometimes it's only 15 minutes, but that's 15 really important minutes!

things arent perfect, but they're so much better than they were.  i have confidence not just in Orthoman, but in ME!  i never imagined it would be this hard when we first started, but i also never imagined i would find it so rewarding too.  our marriage means more to me now because it's not easy anymore.  our first 5 years have been relatively easy and we're definitely not in that honeymoon phase anymore.  but that's okay now.  i cant take our relationship for granted right now because we've put so much into it.  so if you're going through this struggle, know that it can be better.  it can improve.  you do have that fight in you.

after he fell asleep, i kissed my Orthoman goodnight and started to cry.  but unlike the past few months, i wasnt crying because i was unhappy, frustrated or mad.  i cried because i remembered how much i loved him and knew we were going to be okay.  

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

So tired; so over it


Oh so tired.  Everytime I sit down to blog, I am too tired to collect my thoughts and try to rationally organize them into a readable format. 

Part of that is being 8 months pregnant.

The other part is being so tired of residency.
I officially have 10 months left as a resident's wife. 

I love where we live.  I am so glad I've had the opportunity in my life to spend 3 years on the seashore.  My kids have loved every second of it. 

What exhausts my mind is constantly being short on money.  Trying to get blood from turnips.  There is just too much month for the money, each and every month.

I am aching for relief. 

We are anticipating our move at the end of residency with mixed feelings.  

I am trying to figure out how to take -nothing- and move our family of 6 to Washington DC for fellowship. 

My hubby is so excited to be a fellow and thinks -very little- and stresses -none- about how this is going to happen.  Of course he doesn't stress, because he knows that he can go about his business and my stressing will eventually result in my coming up with a solution.  It always does.

We decided at the start of residency that we didn't want to take out any more loans.  We took out lots during medical school.  Our other friends here HAVE taken out loans during residency and they never seem stressed or strapped like I feel.  We ended up so behind at one point that Chad eventually went to his family for a loan.  It got us part way out of the hole, but I'm striving to dig us out the rest of the way in time to save some money for the move. 

I think it has just come down to being over it.  Over residency that is.  Only 10 months premature.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Announcement


Allyson Anne Blake
Born October 11, 2011 at 6:27pm
6 lbs, 12 ozs, 19 inches

We are home and back to our normal routine now, albeit a bit slower than normal. Thankfully, Ben starts a M-F 7-5 rotation this month, so I'll have a bit more help with all three kiddos. :) Hope you are all doing well!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

deep breath

our easy rotations are almost over.  we had 2 months that were essentially hospital-free.  now, orthoman is on a Rehab rotation where he's working 7:30 - 5 everyday.  a few mornings a week he goes in early for lecture, but he'll be home before 5 almost every day.  and of course there are no weekends!  so for the month of september, we're on a schedule that more closely resembles the rest of the world.  weird.  

and in case you're upset that he's had it so "easy", just remember that we're in orthopedics.  so come October 1st, he's gone.  forever.  

okay, maybe not forever, but it'll get insane.  

and because we're both a little crazy, and stupid, we were shocked when we learned that we got pregnant after the miscarriage in early june!  so, im 14 weeks pregnant and due to have a baby the first week that he starts his 4 month Gen. Surgery trauma rotation.  you know, the one with the most awful hours.  the one where he can only take 1 (preschedule) week of vacation THE ENTIRE 4 MONTHS.  on the bright side, at least we'll both be zombies at the same time, albeit in different locations, but now he'll be able to appreciate what i went through with our 1st kid.

so im excited.  and terrified.  but mostly, im trying to not let medicine rule my life.  i feel like it's been permeating everything in my life for the past year and im over it.  we interviewed.  we matched.  we moved.  now it's time to settle in and get on with life already.  orthoman wont be around a lot, but how is that different than the past 2 years?  ive made due then, and ill make due now.  there's almost a sense of relief because residency is NOW.  it's no longer this looming cloud over our heads.  we know where we're living, we know where he's working.  so many questions have been answered!  

fellowship is a whole other beast, but at least we dont have to consider that for a while, right???

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Jealousy is in the eye of the beholder

It's been a full year since being home.  This week while visiting my hometown I had a good friend come over and bring her children to swim.  Back when we left home (after med school) to seek our fortune (residency) this particular friend had it all goin' on.  She had a lavish home, Land Rover, Boat w/ accompanying wave runners etc...  I remember thinking, "Gosh, this is what life is like when your husband isn't in medicine!"  I was happy for her good fortune with slight pangs of envy. 

The kids played as I gave her an update on our life status and told her about our plans for then next few years for residency and fellowship.  I shared my frustration of having been married for 11 years and always qualifying for government assistance.  And about how tight money always is.

While visiting I found out that she and her husbands' house flipping business had flopped.  She had to sell everything they had - cars, boats and house and she is leaving her 4 kids with hubby at night to wait tables (this is after she quit her night job at Sonic).  They are now living in someone else's foreclosing house until the bank takes it over.  I was devastated for her! 

She looked and me and said, "Stacie, I am so jealous of you."  ME?  of all people to be jealous of?  Me?  Did you not hear about how in debt we are and broke we've been over that last 11 years?  How could that be possible?  I finally asked, "Why on Earth would you be jealous of us?"

"Because you have a plan."  She said.

Oh.  Interesting.  hmmm





Monday, August 8, 2011

audience participation - MYTHS

okay girlies, i think it's time to have some fun here. after reading Mrs. F's latest post, i started to think about the Doctor's Wife Myths. so here's how this is going to work. i'm going to start by putting down a few of my favorite myths. then, you're going to jump in and continue the list in the comments sections. it seems like there are just a few, but then, once you start thinking about it, there are actually a LOT of them. so here we go!

  1. all Dr. Wives are blonde, skinny as hell, tanned, and constantly "going to lunch" or "the club"
  2. we're all about the benjamins
  3. we wear tennis uniforms all the time
  4. we have 1 or 2 gratuitous kids for the sake of having someone to spend money on, but neither the Dr. or the Dr. Wife really care about their kids
  5. our houses are all GINORMOUS (even the psychiatrists, pediatricians, and residents)
  6. we're either the practice wife or the trophy wife
  7. we have no limit and no balance on our credit cards
  8. there's a housekeeper/maid and nanny to take care of everything messy in my life
  9. the hardest decision we have to make is what cocktail to order next
  10. we're all lushes and have prozac/valium problems
  11. we married for the money
  12. our DrH is sleeping with the hot nurse but we dont care (because of the money)
  13. over the top vacations, massages, mani/pedis, country clubs, unlimited clothing budgets, and cute pool boys come standard.
alright ladies... take it from here!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Hiding Your Spouse's Profession

I need advice!  I have been interviewing for jobs because I moved to a new city.  Naturally, one of the questions that comes up from interviewers/recruiters is "What brings you to this city?"  I say "My husband got a job here."  Most people are satisfied with that question.  I'd say like 60% will stop there.  The other 40% are unable to resist and are *dying* to know what he does.  I made the mistake of telling one recruiter at an employment agency that he is a resident.  The woman just rolled her eyes at me.  I can't imagine, ever rolling my eyes at someone's response to a question that I asked them.

I got smart right away and stopped indulging these people's curiosity.  I say little pansy lines like "oh even I don't know what he does!" and employers respond well to that.  I don't want to lie, but I don't want to give them yet another reason to judge me.  You might think I'm paranoid, but I really have had people ask me what my husband does [even though I never ask others that question, ever], then roll their eyes at me, or say generally hurtful things they otherwise wouldn't say if my husband was basically any other profession.

What should I do?  How should I respond to these prospective employers?

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Can you ever go home again?

We just participated in our first "real job" contact.  The OBGYN who delivered our 9 year old, Cougar, found out about Chad's fellowship match and has passed his name on to the children's hospital in our hometown.  We found out they talked about Chad in a hospital board meeting!!!!  Whooo Hoooo!!!

What's so crazy is that we don't know anything.  We don't know what amount pediatric anesthesiologist make to know if any offer is good or not.  No one really touches on that taboo income subject.

It's still over two years away, but they seemed to think this was the perfect time to start talking.  I guess our short-term fate is set at this point: we know when he'll be done with residency, we know what fellowship he's doing and when he'll get done, so there's really nothing but time to wait on now.

How would you feel about returning to your hometown when all is said and done?

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Update: not JUST strep

In case you were wondering, it wasn't an allergic reaction to Zithromax.  They ALSO both have Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease.  They both responded to the antibiotics: their throats got better and Sam was a million times better this morning after his shot. 

HF&M Disease is a virus so as I am sure you know, there isn't anything we can do for it really except wait it out. The steroid cream Dr C prescribed isn't working on it, and now Sam has the rash, too.  So for that, we wait and do Motrin.  *Sigh*  At least the fevers, sore throats, vomiting, and diarrhea are gone.  All we are left with is nasty looking sore hands, feet and mouths.  Which I should have known...didn't I describe the symptoms exactly?  Good thing I am not the doctor.  Wish Ben had been home to diagnose them when the rashes really hit fully.  When he saw it, it wasn't as bad and it was mostly on Jack's hands, but today when he came home to sleep and took a look, he confirmed.  And DUH to me, I took them to church last Sunday and they were sanitizing hands because HF&M had been going around.  Monday night is when symptoms started.  This is what their hands and mouths look like almost exactly.  Their feet aren't as bad as these pictures.

http://www.primehealthchannel.com/hand-foot-and-mouth-disease-pictures-symptoms-causes-and-treatment.html

Anyway, I did find a way to get out myself and get the prescription and Motrin I needed.  We had a long night last night, but they were almost completely back to their normal selves this morning, terrorizing each other and running around the house fighting "bad guys."  I think we are through the worst.  I managed alright.  :)

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The not-so-fun days

On Monday, we realized that our 3.5-year-old had strep.  He wasn't too bad, but he was mildly complaining of a sore throat and had a fever, and when Ben looked, sure enough.  Beginnings of Strep.  Ben can write scripts now, but he JUST started in the ER, and we really like our family doctor who is right around the corner, so at Ben's suggestion, I took Jack in to see Dr. C. 
fever.  check.
sore throat.  check.
no runny nose or coughing.  check.
red, swollen puss-filled throat.  check.
Yup.  strep throat.

He gave us a script for Zithromax and we were out the door in a total of 30 minutes.  (told you I love this dr ofc.)  One dose that night, another the next day, and Jack was already back to his normal crazy self.  Since Ben had the day off and we had heard about this awesome lake/water park, we foolishly took off for the day.  (Note:  I said foolishly...)  He was fine.  We had sooo much fun.  We stayed through naptime.  The boys fell asleep in the car on the way home.  GREAT family day.

Until they both woke up and were HOLY terrors the rest of the afternoon.  Seriously.  Like spawn of Satan bad.  We didn't know what was going on.  There were a lot of punishments doled out and Jackson was sent to bed early.  And then Jackson WOULD NOT go to sleep or stay in his bed, just whining about this and that and making excuses, which he does frequently.  At midnight, Ben pulled him in our bed so at least we all might get some sleep, and I went to sleep on the couch downstairs.  (Dad, Mom, Mom's pregnant belly, Mom's body pillow and squirmy Jackson do NOT work in our antique full size bed.) 
At 4am, Ben came downstairs with Jackson.  He said, "We are horrible parents!  He has been complaining that his hands are hurting and I blew him off and told him to go to sleep.  He has puss-filled blisters all over his hands."  And he did.  On his hands.  On his feet.  On his face around his mouth.  (Okay, now we aren't total idiots.  He didn't have these blisters when he went to bed, but during the night, in the dark, they developed.)  So allergic reaction ot the Zithromax?  Looks that way.

Day 3:  Today (Wed) I woke up, ready to call the doctor to ask if we could switch meds when I noticed Sam was awfully lethargic and whiny himself.  My hyperactive 2-yr-old fell asleep in the living room recliner.  MUST be sick.  When I checked on him, he was burning up.  102 fever. 

So I called the doc, relayed info about Jack, and made an appt for Sam for this afternoon.  Meanwhile, Ben's 2 days off are now over, and back to work he goes from 3pm today till 1am tomorrow, then he'll sleep at the hospital and get up for lecture from 7-11, come home and sleep most of the day tomorrow, study for his Step III which is on Tuesday of next week, and go back to work from 11pm till 9 am Friday, and I'm sure come home and sleep all day Friday, too.  (Silver lining:  then he doesn't have to work - minus that pesky Step III on Tues - for a COMPLETE week, AND starting in August he works 7-5 M-F.  It's ok to be jealous!  lol)  So I'm on my own for now.  Not new.

Fast forward to 30 minutes before our appt and Sam is puking his guts out.  Sam has such a bad vomit reflex, that if ANYTHING could possibly make him throw up, it will.  And he did.  again.  and again. and again.  And then AGAIN when we got to the doctor office.  (It had been a while and I thought he was done.) Now I'm frantically trying to wave down the MIA front desk clerk for a bucket or something, and she quickly buzzed us back and we barely made it to a sink in a room.  So we see Dr C and he switches Jack's meds to Amoxicillin and gives us a cream for his hands and feet, but since Sam is puking, he doesn't want to prescribe oral antibiotics for the Strep, so Sam got to have dual shots in the butt.  Great.  In the car on the way, I swore there were to be no shots today.  This has been a fear for both boys since Sam's 2-year-old check-up last month.  I am now competing for the world's suckiest mom.  (Like my invented word?  Appropriate, no?) 

So Sam was so upset about the shots and straining against the nurses and me holding him down, that when they administered the shots to him, he had diarrhea.  Like when his pants were still pulled down.  All over his clothes, the bed, etc.  Got that cleaned up, and got them both home, still trying to figure out my game plan for picking up Jackson's scripts. 

Facts: 
*The scripts are being faxed over to Wal-mart.
*I was in a hurry to leave the dr ofc and distracted by a very upset Sam.  I didn't think to have them faxed to a drive though pharmacy so I didn't have to get the boys out of the car.
*Sam is still randomly throwing up and having diarrhea and NOT a happy camper.
*Taking him INTO Wal-mart to the pharmacy is not an option. 
*I am by myself.
*Sam only took an hour nap when he fell asleep in the recliner this morning.  He is VERY tired.
*His fever is still hovering around 102 since he threw up the last dose of Tylenol I gave him. 
*We are out of Motrin, so I need to also get some of that.
*Meanwhile, Jackson's blistered hands are so sore that he can't clench his fist.
* I am so emotionally drained that I needed to come home for a minute to regroup.  Plus last time it took Wal-mart 2 hours to fill our prescription.
*Did I mention I am by myself?  Like for the next three days?  And nights?
*This is the point where if you don't have a close relationship with God, you get one.

And that is where I am at.  To be continued...

Monday, July 18, 2011

the "family's doctor"

last night, OrthoMan got a phone call. you know - one of those calls. it was his sibling calling about their latest medical "emergency". well, there goes our night i sighed, and walked away.

we're pretty used to them now. OrthoMan was about 2 weeks into med school when my mom called to ask him his opinion on her latest thyroid test results. after that call, OrthoMan and I literally sat down and discussed how we would handle the inevitable family calls. at that point, he was still convinced he was going to be a small town family doc, so this was a real issue. i mean, this would be his livelihood. but then again, they're family! how can you not help your family?! the other hand, though, there are about 50,000 more negatives. we'd been warned by others not to get into the business of being your "family's doctor". but of course that was completely thrown out the window during 2nd year when Orthoman's dad needed to have emergency triple bypass surgery.

he fielded questions left and right from siblings, friends and relatives. he had his mom request additional copies of his dad's x-rays, EKGs, etc. (although orthoman *NEVER* questioned any of the treatments because his dad was working with a GREAT doctor). he followed everything so that he could synthesize the information and explain it to the rest of the family. he would get calls and emails daily asking him to explain this or give a "what's next" or "what if" scenario.

once we got through that, though, his side of the family started with the phone calls and questions. i've definitely noticed and uptick in the volume ever since he graduated. so what to do? im not supposed to get mad at an in-law for wanting his opinion. but honestly, i dont really like it when the "doctor" comes home instead of my husband. i mean, i love it when one of us is sick or hurt, but other than that, id almost rather it all stay at the hospital. because im not married to DOCTOR Orthoman. im married to orthoman.

is that unfair to say? is that wrong? maybe. but the fact of the matter is that id rather he leave his work at the hospital. it's half jealousy, half annoyance. but, when those calls come in, ive started to learn that i just need to walk away and do something entirely different... because let's face it. whether i like it or not, Orthoman is the family's doctor and that's not going to change.

blerg.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

musings

on this day many, many years ago - back when it was 2009 - OrthoMan opened an email. it was the results of his Step 1 scores taken just a few weeks previously...

our family of 3 was a family of 2.5. there was 1 car, a pregnant wife/chauffeur, {future} Orthoman, and enough stress and anxiety to fill Yankee Stadium.

it was early in the morning when we set out on the 20 minute drive to the testing center. there was 7 weeks of INTENSE preparation leading up to this one test. we didnt really speak because we were both so freaked out. i mean, this one effing test would determine the rest of our lives!!! and as everyone here knows, that's really not an overstatement. i gripped the steering wheel so tightly that my hands hurt when i got home. i was convinced that my lil heart would explode at any minute, which would distract Orthoman while he was taking his test and cause him to fail said test and have his life ruined TWICE in one day. yikes.

i dont remember much about that day because frankly, i went home and slept for most of the day. except for when i went to Coldstone for lunch. and got the love it size. in a waffle cone. with 2 mix-ins.

since we had only 1 car i had to guess when he might be finished. i showed up about an hour earlier than he suggested. then i waited an hour and a half to see him. i had on NPR and pretended to listen to The Splendid Table {great program, btw}. and then i saw him. he walked out with his bf/bff/study buddy/comrade/etc. he nodded in my direction, acknowledging my presence, but didnt move from his spot. he stood there an extra 43 minutes (YES! i counted). i wanted to smack him, but instead i gave him a kiss when he got into the car and gave him a cheesy grin.

but he sat there. that ass just sat there not saying anything. "i didnt fail it, but i didnt do much better than passing."

it almost killed me. i reassured him as best as i could. of course he didnt fail!

but what if he did? what if my husband, whose friends commended him for studying the hardest and longest, actually failed. i wanted to strangle him and scream. i wanted to yell and shout, "how can you do this to us?!?! i've given EVERYTHING to make this work and to support you!" {and those thoughts were in no way fueled by my pregnancy hormones, i swear}.

instead, i said, "do you still want to go to Red Robin and get some dinner?"

a few weeks later i was sitting at my desk at work. my feet were being propped up by a box of office paper and i was on the phone with one of the partners, trying to figure out where the numbers must have been transposed on a statement. it was about 90 billion degrees outside and 4473% humid {once again, i am in no way exaggerating). the conversation was lasting longer than my bladder and i was dying. the last thing on my mind was {future}Orthoman. then i got a text. it said nothing except three numbers. i re-read it 4 or 9 times to make sure i got it right.

2-he kicked-ass

after a month of preparing for the worst and expecting nothing, here it was. he was home free. he had license to become WHATEVER he wanted! we could go into any field we wanted! we managed to break through the glass ceiling.

i just wish he had some idea of what he wanted to go into.

---

i'm an orthowife, and this is my life.

---------------------------------

i cross-posted this over at Med School Tagalongs

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Hello & Emotional Vomit

Hi! My name is Camille and my husband, Adam, is a first year ER resident. We just moved back closer to home (we were 1,300 miles away during medical school) and we have two little boys. During medical school, I had a group of amazing girlfriends who were also married to students and I miss that open camaraderie and support of women in the same season.

Here's what has been on my mind lately:

Ok, so my husband just began residency but when Adam began medical school, I remember having a discussion with my new-found friends, other wives of medical students. We all discussed the negative comments that were made to us when people (often, strangers!) found out that we were married to someone beginning medical school. They went something like this:

Oh, a doctor, eh? You'll never see him!

or

Oh, my sister married a guy and after he went to medical school then he graduated and cheated on her with a nurse and left her!

and the like. (These comments are best said in an old-lady, scratchy voice for the full effect.)

Delightful!

So, we all discussed these comments and were intrigued at peoples' perceptions and ideas of helpfulness towards us.

It was fine.

Now, that I'm beginning a new phase (residency), I'm experiencing a lot of the same conversations that I took a part in, four years ago.

Some are helpful. Like, an older, married doctor who was advising Adam on how to establish appropriate boundaries with employees of the opposite sex at the hospital.

Some only create fear. Like, people telling me that I need to show up (with homemade cookies, of course) at the hospital all the time because, only then, the nurses won't try to jump my husband.

Adam and I have had to sit down and have several discussions about these situations and conversations. I was suddenly plagued with insecurity and fear and a general pit in my stomach. I wanted to push Adam away. I wanted him to know that I am desirable too. I wanted to gain three hundred pounds. I wanted to be a tiny stepford wife. I wanted to have a job with muchos men just to show him how it might feel.

But here's the thing:
I have no reason not to trust Adam.
And honestly, every nurse that I am friends with is a woman of integrity and most of them are married.

Nevertheless, we (both of us) do have to be on guard and establish appropriate boundaries with anyone that could threaten our marriage. Our marriage does have a real enemy (and it ain't a nurse), who wishes to steal, kill & destroy. Therefore, communication is key. Accountability is crucial.

I don't need to know that my husband loves me and is more attracted to me than anyone else in the world, although that is nice. I need to know that he is committed to defending and protecting our marriage and my heart. I need to know that he has a plan in place, boundaries set up, accountability in place. I need to know that the fear of the Lord is in his heart and he is aware of the temptations and pitfalls in the world and workplace.

I want my husband to love his job. I want him to enjoy the people at work. But I want our marriage, and our family, to win.


(I also posted this tonight for my med school wife friends over at this site):

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

The New and Improved Life of the Texas Blakes

All of us PGY1 wives were sad to see our husbands go back to work (well, me less than you all, I think, because mine was driving me crazy), but how are you all handling it a few weeks in?

Dare I report?

Ben has finished his two weeks of training and has started in the ER.  Granted, they are still doing training of sorts, but his schedule this month is WAY cushier than I expected it to be.  Most days he is home by 3:30, except Thursdays when he is home by noon, and he has 3 weekends off for the month of July.  When he starts his "real" ER schedule next week, he only works 4 days a week, ten hours each through the end of July.  Wha...!?

This is not what I expected.  I know that when he does MICU and NICU his schedule will be insane, but so far, in looking at his Fall schedule, it is not too bad.  Okay, and he IS studying for Step III at the end of this month, so when he does get home, he spends several hours in his office, but he always eats dinner with us, plays with the boys some, and is even in the middle of helping me with a HUGE home improvement project.  (We are ripping out the preschool carpet - all carpet downstairs - and staining our concrete.)

We looked at our 18 month budget tonight, and things aren't too shabby at all.  I mean, now that I am not working, we definitely have a stricter budget, but there is still plenty of room for a little fun here and there. 

Right now we are still on food stamps, and I'm not sure how long we will still qualify, so that may put a damper on things.  I can't relate to not being able to buy whatever I want at the store because the government still carries us there and I cook a lot, so we always have plenty.  Plus, we have a substantial food storage for just in cases.

As for me, bitter Colleen has left the building.  I am loving life.  So many things that had gone by the wayside because I was too busy and too stressed to deal while running the preschool have started to work themselves out.  Things I needed to work on with the boys are progressing well.  (Jackson, age 3 years, 10 mos, is FINALLY pooping regularly in the potty and my barely 2 year old, Sam, seeing us make a big deal out of Jackson's progres, has decided he wants to potty train, too.  He has peed on the potty every day at least once of his own accord for the last 8 days.  Dare I hope to have them BOTH out of pull-ups by the time Baby #3 (Ally) gets here!?  Hmmm...maybe we'll get to send more than one kid to college after all!)

I have been able to enjoy such a relaxing day with JUST my boys.  One time, I was in the middle of folding some laundry and Jackson came up to me and asked me to play a game with him, and I dropped what I was doing and played!  Do you know how satisfying that was as a mom!?

I am 25 weeks along now in this pregnancy, and one of the best parts of the day is naptime because if I need to, I can nap, too!!  When I was pregnant with Jackson, I taught third grade.  I got pregnant with Sam in October of the first year I had just started my prechool.  It has been so nice to just be able to relax and take things easy with this pregnancy.  And wow!  When she gets here, I won't have to try to nurse multiple times a day AND keep track of 12 kids at the same time!

So, to sum up, I have been spending my days sleeping, taking the boys on fun outings, playing with them, working on home improvement projects, potty training, and just being domesticated.  I LOVE it!!  And Ben loves it, too, because he comes home to a cheerful wife, happy to see him, and ready to be at his beck and call while he is here.  He gets yummy meals every night, and gets to be the cool guy whose wife sends homemade cookies and cinnamon rolls to work with him regularly.  None of the extra stuff rolls over onto his plate that used to before, such as having to help with bathtime or the bedtime routine.  I take care of it all and it works for both of us.  YAY!

Have any of you PGY1 wives met your husband's co-workers yet?  We have had the opportunity to hang out with our group several times.  Once at a hospital-comped get-to-know-you dinner, and then several members of the group watched a fireworks show together on the 4th.  A few of the guys have families like we do, and those that don't are still really down to earth, good guys.  The whole group really gets along well, always cracking jokes and giving each other a hard time, like high school buddies.  I am glad because Ben was not focused on making friends while in med school, and so didn't really fit in well with any groups there.  I am encouraging him to bond with these guys.  Without me, he has gone to play poker with them and is going with them to a Rangers baseball game (and taking Jackson) this weekend.  I have lots of friends through church, but he needs that outlet, so this has been really good for him.

So that's where we are at right now.  If it gets worse, I am prepared, but right now, all the changes have been for the better for our little family.  I hope you are all faring the same...

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

truth and tears

we deal with so many lies about medicine like, doctor husband = money, doctor husband = sweet schedule, doctor husband = easy life. and after you hear these lies on repeat, you start to wonder what the truth really is. . . what really happens when that MD gets tacked onto your husband's mail. sometimes it's bliss. but most of the time it's chaos.

orthoman has been doing orientation all week. tomorrow is his "day off" before he starts friday. and boy does he start! trauma surgery for the next 4 months. ouch. i feel so conflicted about the whole thing. im glad to get things moving again. im ridiculously excited to get some sort of a paycheck. but then there's the majority of my thoughts. ive been bursting into tears randomly throughout the day. something will remind me that my best friend isnt going to be right next to me anymore. that all this incredible time with him is going to disappear.

but what really kills me inside is that im going to have to deal with the hard stuff by myself again. there's no relief at the end of a hard day with the Bug. the bank account will be just as empty, but he wont be here to help split that worry. and he wont be here every time im reminded of what happened and i break down.

i promised colleen i would tell my truths so that you wouldnt think everything was all rainbows and unicorns everyday. . . one week after we moved into this beautiful house, in an incredible place, with an amazing little girl and so many bright things in front of us. . . i miscarried at 7 weeks. after months of looking forward to a positive test it had come back. i was BEYOND ecstatic. but then i woke up saturday and knew before i got out of bed that something was wrong. having miscarried before i knew that pain. and for the first time ever i looked at my doctor husband and there was NOTHING he could do. this wasnt a cut that needed to be bandaged. he couldnt tell me what to take to feel better. there was no way he could stop it.

and so the truth of being a doctor's wife is that you're at the mercy of "the schedule". sometimes that means he's home in time for a birthday party. sometimes it means that you're all alone in a new city with none of your friends around losing a baby that you already started to love. it means that your husband learned in anatomy class how to distance themselves from death and their OB rotations taught them not to become attached to a pregnancy because hey, like, 1/4 of all pregnancies end in miscarriage so you shouldnt get excited until after the first trimester and even then you should stay cautiously optimistic. but i dont give a flying fuck about that right now. it's after midnight and i cant sleep because YET ANOTHER friend has just announced they're pregnant.

and while it would be so nice to spend our last day together as a family, orthoman decided that Poker Night with his new fellow interns wasnt enough. they're playing golf in the morning and then, oh yeah, did he forget to mention that one of the reps is taking everyone out tomorrow night for a fancy dinner? dammit, i mean it's not like he's disappearing for the next 5 damn years. so i guess you could say that truthfully, im already feeling bitter.

well shit. i guess the truth is just as ugly as the lies.

It's worth it, right?

Yes, Heather, there is a Santa Claus.
I wish it were an easy YES! For SURE!
That is one loaded question. Let me contemplate...

He's doing what makes him happy. I suppose he could be doing something that has equal pay to what he's making now with no chance of financial reward later.

Unfortunately for myself and all those around me, I have moved into a bitter stage, is there a bitter stage or am I just bitter? Either way, I was really very excited to have an income his internship year. That money in Oklahoma made me feel filthy rich. I was so happy. We put $4000 freaking dollars into savings that year! Since moving to a high cost of living area and anticipating an EVEN HIGHER cost of living move in the close future, income has become an area of deep contention for me. I throw my fist in air and yell, "How can people live on this?!" every two weeks.

Is it worth it right now? No.
The mountain of debt over our heads. The destroyed credit (with our amount of debt we can't even qualify for a gas card!) Having to turn to our parents at 33 for help when we can't make it work. (I never thought I'd be in that place.) Relying on WIC to get by... still. Feeling totally unaccomplished at my 10 year class reunion. Being helpless to make ends meet. Trying to make mommy's "Totally Free Summer!" sound like fun. Putting water in the shampoo. Watching the government take over health care and threaten all we have been sacrificing for all this time. Worrying that my son or daughter won't make the ------ team in high school because we couldn't afford to get them in --------- classes at a young enough age. Or that they'll never learn to play the -------- well because they started too late.

Will it be worth it? I don't know.
I'll have to revisit this place once we are done and assess the situation from a new perspective. Sometimes I have a warped perception of what our financial situation really will be. Will I really be able to buy what ever I want at the grocery store? Will we be able to take family trips without blinking an eye? Will I have a home that I love? Will I be able to buy new clothes? Really? new ones? From, like, Dillards? I just can't even comprehend at this time.

So, is it worth it? Gosh, I hope so.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Hello, Ladies!


That's how I feel and it is only Day 1 of DH's PGY-1. Only, minus the Diet Coke because right now we are SCRIMPING until that first holy paycheck.  You know, the first paycheck after four years of watching your liabilities quickly outnumber your assets.  But allow me to introduce myself.  I'm Kate and my husband is going into Radiology.  This is his intern year, and we'll be in Pennsylvania.  Then we're moving to the New England area for the actual Radiology part.  Yes, DH was one of the few poor souls at his school that got matched at different places.  Regardless of our circumstances, we are grateful :)

I will admit, I miss my husband already.  I felt like I was saying goodbye to my child on the first day of school.  And I don't even have kids yet.  I loaded DH's backpack full of nutritious granola bars and a plain turkey sandwich.  I packed the steth and phone charger. I expressed worry that he may not get 30 minutes to eat lunch.  I shudder at the thought of my husband going a whole day in the ER with only a turkey sandwich and granola bar.  I know he'll be back at midnight, but that is another worry.  DH must drive sleepily across town, after fetching his car from a questionable parking garage.    Why do they make them go through this?  Why didn't they tell them if they get food during their two week orientation?  Why doesn't my husband know if he can eat or not during his 12 hour shift?  Why can't he have access to a refrigerator so I can put some cheese + mayo on his turkey sandwich?!

Residency is hard.  I don't care what anyone says.  For years, in medical school, we both lived in loan utopias, DH with his med school loans, and me with my law school loans.  But since DH did not get scholarships, his debt will inevitably take the greater part of a lifetime to repay.  I'm just grateful that mine can be taken care of in a few years.  They don't tell you about that transitional time when your loans run out sometime around graduation in May and you are waiting desperately for that first paycheck, which will likely come at the end of July.

While DH and I will not starve, and are more fortunate than many, the money issues are stressful.  But nothing is more stressful and frustrating than hearing "oh but you're a doctor, you're making a ton of money."  The first idiot to tell us that in Pennsylvania was our landlord.  I wanted to snap back "if we're so rich, why are we living in a crappy town house where our neighbors get Section 8?"   Nobody understands.

Anyways, I have been keeping things here as calm and quiet and organized as possible.  The place is spotless.  I make sure DH does not have to do any chores, except take out the trash.  His clothes are pressed, there are healthy snacks in the fridge, and I have been letting DH watch whatever he wants on TV.  I even told him last night, that if after his first day he decides not to be a doctor, I would love him and support him no matter what.  Our household has been a drama free zone all week, and I'm hoping this pays off.  I hope DH has a decent night in the ER.  I hope we get to have lunch tomorrow before he has to go back.  I hope I can buy a 24 pack of Diet Coke.  I hope.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

My Truth

Well, it hasn't been in Vancouver or Toledo, or anywhere so glamorous :).
I love the concept of the last post because oh yes, we all do tell those lies until we are with those who truly know what it is like. Only then can we safely let our frustrated and exhausted and negativity hang out without fear of misunderstanding or judgement.
Of course, you know the Dr. Benjamin Blake family didn't end up having to move for residency. We have been able to enjoy this time at home in Fort Worth, Texas, instead of worrying about moving to a new place, and that has been a huge blessing, but we are nonetheless gearing up for some major changes around here.
Tomorrow (I'm 20 weeks along now) we find out the sex of baby #3 (Am I going to be redoing a nursery or leaving it boy-style?) and Friday is my last day of teaching in home preschool for...EV...er...(hopefully). All this basically means that we will be rearranging our house. The playroom will be greatly sized down and moved upstairs to the loft, and I get to have a dining room back. Long story short - after Ben goes back to work, the house will be a flurry of ripping out downstairs carpet, getting the concrete stained, painting (You have no idea how dirty your walls get with 3 years of 10 grubby fingers sliding across them daily.), and moving furniture upstairs to down and vice versa. Fun for me, but also a lot of work for me to handle solo. (Well, not the moving furniture part...)
We have two weeks of vacations scheduled starting at 5:30 when I close Friday till the Saturday before the Monday Ben starts back. Ben starts mandatory training for residency on June 20 (which they so considerately JUST told us about a few weeks ago, so we had to reschedule our summer plans and cram them all into 2 weeks...but I am not bitter at all, ha!)
Natalie, I admit, I was a bit jealous of all the hugging and kissing and snuggling you and your bug are getting with Orthoman. What might that be like? Here in Fort Worth, ER-man is full-on driving me crazy! While I am still working these last days of school taking care of other people's kids and my own, I keep hearing, "I am on vacation!" more than I care to. As in, "No I am not going to help you with those dishes, I am on vacation." And "No, I am not going to change our son's diaper, I am on vacation." And, "I am going to watch this age-inappropriate movie in front of all these small children and their parents who are walking through the house to pick them up, because this is my house and I am on vacation." Frankly, he can take hugging and kissing and snuggling and shove it right now, lol, but maybe those are the pregnancy hormones talking. :) Okay, okay, it might be the pregnancy hormones because to be fair, he did get right out and fix the fence that was damaged in a recent near brush with a tornado last week. And I guess he has been getting up with the boys until 8am most weekdays so I can sleep in till I have to be up for preschool, but mostly, he has not been helpign with the day to day stuff liek I thought he would, and I just get so pissed off to see him watching Deadliest Catch or UFC or whatever stupid movie is on at the moment. I fear that we will need to replace the couch for the permanent lump he has made in it these last few months. *Sigh*
That is my truth. Are you sure you are not telling more lies? Sure would make me feel better if you were. ;)

We Matched!

Noon eastern time came and went today, the day of the Pediatric Anesthesia Fellowship Match. By 12:07 pm we were getting pretty anxious. We finally had to call and ask how to access the results.

Chad went bananas when he saw:

"Children's National Medical Center - Washington DC"

This is his dream fellowship. He hasn't even allowed me to speak of DC for fear I would jinx the whole thing.

We're not sure how we got so lucky, but we're just really grateful.

I'm scared too.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

which one is which?

im sure many of you have heard the Sir William Osler quote, "medicine is a jealous mistress; she will be satisfied with nothing less." ive been ruminating on this idea since i first heard it almost 4 years ago. orthoman was in the middle of his first year when i came across it and it's stuck with me ever since. and ive since come to a wall..

is medicine the mistress, or am i?

let's look at the facts, shall we? how much time is he practicing medicine verses spending time with you? i dont know about you, but he spends most of his days (and soon many of his nights) at the hospital only to sneak away for a brief rest and repose at home. what is all of your money tied to? yeah, student debt to pay for the training. do YOU feel guilty sometimes for getting upset with him when there are people who need him too {cause i know i do}? are you the one he eats dinner with most nights, or is he at the hospital?

and, in the spirit of absolutely BRUTAL honesty... do you sometimes feel like he likes medicine more than he likes you? do you feel like you're second string? do you worry that you're replaceable while medicine will always be in his life? these are some of the really deep, dark fears that i have inside. they come from the most insecure place inside me. so, welcome to vulnerable me - the girl that even orthoman has only rarely seen. the girl that i hate to admit even exists.

so in the end, which one sounds more like the wife and who is the mistress? im really starting to wonder...

Friday, June 10, 2011

Waiting part 2

Microvascular match was a no-go, so now we get to wait for the head and neck match July 1st. And I feel a little guilty for saying that I won't cry if he just has to go get a job instead. LOL!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Hurry up and wait

That seems to be the theme in medicine. Hurry up, get in your applications, go to all the interviews and then sit. And wait. And wait.

Brad is applying to both microvascular and head and neck fellowships. So, I guess that means we have 2 chances to get a fellowship. :o)

Friday is the match for microvascular (Portland and Jacksonville). July 1st is the match for head and neck (Iowa City, Cincinnati, Buffalo, Detroit, Wisconsin).

He is also applying outside of the match, so we know that Plan A (see Stacie's post) isn't going to happen. We get to scramble into a spot or take a reserved spot. This whole process just makes me nuts. He got a call today from one of the "outside the match"(see Stacie's plan C) spaces offering him a spot, but he still wants to see what will happen with all of the spots. Oh fine. July 1st isn't that far away. Unless you are waiting for the match. :o)

Match List Due Today

Luckily, I had the intuition to look up the Pediatric Anesthesia Fellowship Match list due date and it's today. Did my Dr. H know this? No.

He would have cruised on by and missed the match!!!!

I can only hope that other brilliant clueless doctors didn't have nosey wives that are too far into their business. Is that just awful that I hope people missed the match list date?! Golly I sound awful. The truth is out and now I can never run for public office. Oh well.

We got the match list in just in the nick of time. It is very short. Now we are crossing our fingers and waiting until June 22nd. Match Day.

Plan A) He matches
Plan B) He scrambles into a spot
Plan C) He gets offered a spot somewhere that's reserved for filling outside of the match

Out of all of these "plans" he should surely get a spot somewhere.

Since his last interview he has gotten VERY attached to his number one. It was much better when we were ambivalent and didn't really care where he matched. Then (in sorority terms) he got a "rush crush" on his last "house."

Now he's all nervous and stressed and getting all down and negative. He won't let me talk about what it would be like to go there or anything. He thinks if I talk about it then it won't happen. I have been essentially been silenced on the subject until June 22nd. Argghhh!

Monday, May 30, 2011

liar liar

i think by now most of us have a pretty large mental folder called: "Lies We Tell". as the wife of an MS, you start adding to that folder and by now mine is pretty large. but this weekend, i caught a glimpse at just how big it can become.

i would ask if you knew what i was talking about, but we all know you do.

this weekend, i jumped into the social scene here in my stereotypical midwest town. saturday i went to a church social for women and since our congregation is made up of maybe 75% medicine-related people (mostly residents, some med students) the wives were almost all residency widows. sunday was church where we (again) met (a few) residents and their spouses/children. and then today was the big day. today, was a memorial day bbq for the ortho residents and their families.

saturday and sunday i spoke with a LOT of people (mostly women). and i kept hearing these lies; these blatant lies.

  • residency isnt nearly as bad as med school (thanks FP's wife whose husband is in an awesome clinic with hours i could only dream of)
  • it's not that bad
  • the hours arent that bad
  • your kids will still get a lot of time with their dad
  • you'll get your husband in the evenings
  • attendings are all really nice. your husband will be treated really well.
  • you're finally making money! it's great to have an income!
  • it's not that bad... really!

anyways...you get the point...

there's a kernel of truth in some of them, but it's just that - a kernel. then the story changed dramatically on monday. i was actually really happy with how much i liked the wives and how well we all got along. everyone was really nice and friendly and welcoming. but after the initial introductions, i noticed that they all showed signs of fatigue. there were those with husbands on call, and therefore absent. some had husbands show up mid-party in scrubs. others were there with husbands they hadnt seen in a few days {weeks really}. some kids clung to dads like glue and others seemed a little uncomfortable with their dads giving them directions.

and you could see how TIRED everyone was. it was a very upbeat and happy party, and yet you still heard the same conversation snippets, "i seriously havent seen him in 3 days, let alone spent any time with him alone," "my family has no clue just how gone he is," "it was just another example of how much im on my own right now," etc., etc., etc. i think they were all honest because they were all in the same trench. there was no point in lying because they were all in the exact same boat.

and so it was MY turn to lie. they all expected and accepted it. i said how happy i was to start residency, how i was so independent and not used to him being around. i blabbed that i was eager to get started so that i could get on a schedule again and how exciting! the whole thing was.

but it was 99% bullshit.

so here's the TRUTH: i LOVE having orthoman home all the time. this past month has been rough at times, but i wouldnt trade it for the world. the bug and i LOVE that he's around for hugs or kisses or playing. i wish we could stay in this bubble forever. our days start with bug climbing into bed with us and an hour of snuggling. our nights end with long talks before we fall asleep. im actually spending time with my husband and im finding all these *new* reasons to love him. im dreading residency and im already a little resentful towards all the residents who will gobble up all of his time. le sigh. right now, im not a med wife. and it's actually really nice.

Friday, May 27, 2011

IARS Conference in Vancouver

This was our first opportunity to go to a conference! The fun part is that all of Chad's expenses are covered. We just had to fly me out. Which wasn't cheap btw.

Chad took a couple days of Vaca in conjunction and we drove up to the Winter Olympic ski village of whistler.

Stanley Park was right by the hotel and quite lovely.

Here's Chad with his big fancy poster. He did awesome in his presentation!


Fondue for two!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Toledo: Day 1

im alive - i swear.

ive made it to toledo (finally).

we get internet set up on Friday.

i am trying to blog at a hotel with crappy internet.

residency starts in 38 days.

im starting to look forward to it.

writing in short sentences gets old.

expect a real post sometime this weekend.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Applying for Fellowships - What I have learned so far

1. Even if Dr. H thinks he knows when to apply for fellowships, he should call programs and ask.
If you think it's time to apply - you're too late already.
Chad applied when his friends began to apply and many of the programs are already full. It's still 1 year and 1/2 away!!!!

2. It's who you know, not what you know. Have no shame in asking for phone calls and letter of recs from people who went to the fellowship you are interested in. The programs we have gotten interviews from either know him personally or one of his recommenders. If not, we haven't heard a word.

3. One interview with flight, rental and hotel is about $500. That's super fun; make it count.

4. Have program director look over CV before sending it out. My hubby's was not properly formatted for what he was applying. We needed to completely reformat and rewrite the whole thing!

5. Once you think everything should have been received, CALL THE PROGRAM AND VERIFY THAT THEY HAVE EVERYTHING!!!!!!! Do this early. When you find out what is missing, get it sent off by fax or mail then- CALL THE PROGRAM AND VERIFY THAT THEY HAVE EVERYTHING!!!!!!!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Waiting Until Monday


Having a Dr. Hubby means we wait until Monday. Last weekend Cougar broke his arm playing with friends. Using a ruler and an ace bandage we splinted it up as Chad ran through his list of "what they would do in the ER" and we did it ourselves. I felt unsettled all weekend, because I am not used to NOT running to the ER because we have a Dr in the house. In the end he got in to an orthopedic on Tuesday and it totally did not matter that we did not go to the ER. They fixed him up in a cast just the same.

Then THIS weekend Brock got sand in his eye at the beach. It swelled up like a mother and he was an unhappy camper. We were at the beach with another Resident DR. and between the two of them they flushed Brock's eye with saline thoroughly. Even with two doctors present I felt REALLY unsettled not taking my baby to the ER. They assured me he'd be fine and his eye looks much better today, but I am still threatening to run him to an optho tomorrow if he's not all better.

I know they went to med school at all, but do you ever feel like you need to run them to a "real dr" just to be sure?

Saturday, April 9, 2011

wonderings

ive been doing a lot of "wondering" lately. it seems like a common activity amongst the "almost resident wives" i know. we're on the cusp of this REALLY HUGE CHANGE, but it's not here yet. so here's a list of just *some* of my wonderings...

I wonder...

- where we're going to live in a couple of months
- if our house is going to sell soon
- where i'll go grocery shopping
- who will be the Bug's favorite playmate
- if there are a lot of other "quilters" and "sewers" that i'll meet
- what the best LQS {local quilt shop} is
- who will be my OrthoMan's closest friends
- if we'll find a good place to take the Bug swimming this summer
- what the weather will actually be like
- if i'll have trouble locating some of my favorite products
- what stores will they not have that ive learned to love
- is this a place with lots of good thrift stores???
- what will be my favorite place to go hang out
- what kind of outdoor activities are available AND fun
- will there be a lot of other med wives for me to lean on and associate with
- how long will it take for me to build a "family" of friends
- if i'll ever actually see my OrthoMan
- what kind of call schedule will "we" be on
- how the stress manifest itself on me and OrthoMan
- how the Bug will react to having OrthoMan gone again
- what will happen to our sex life
- how long it will be before we cave and I get a dog again {soon i hope!}
- if family will want to visit Toledo or if we'll have to go see them
- what the monthly budget will be
- if our neighbors will like us
- if the Bug will like playing the leaves this fall
- if the Bug will ever get tired of watching Cars
- if i can avoid seeing Cars 2 this summer
- if i'll ever capitalize my writing on purpose

what's on your "wondering" list???

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Child Cruelty

What a medical training life does to a child is cruel. Especially when Daddy is off-cycle. Starting new schools every year or two is a brutal process. Chad changes on Oct. 1st instead of July 1st which is a kid's double whammy (new school mid-year).

I have a decision to make that is proving to be near impossible. I've been back and forth everyday (every 5 minutes) for about 3 months. I want to present my paradox and get your feedback.

We moved mid-year during this school year to a new home in the same general area, but different elementary school district. Rather than traumatize my 9 year old and make him change schools mid-year for the 2nd year in a row I have been driving him to his old school everyday about 4 miles away (16 mile total driving per day).

We only have one more school year left after this one here in FL and my daughter starts Kindergarten in the fall.

The skyrocketing gas prices have made it very difficult to buy gas and pay for all the other expenses of living. Putting our two kids in the new neighborhood school next fall would cut down on daily driving tremendously (we could ride our bikes everyday!)

Do I risk pulling my son out of a school he loves to do one year at the neighborhood school, just to move again the next year for one year at a new school again at the fellowship location?

Or do I do what ever it takes - eat beans, rice and ramen-, even if gas is $5-$6 dollars a gallon next year to avoid torturing this poor child with yet another new school?

btw - he can keep all his same after school activities, cubscouts, baseball, piano, only the school would change. The new school is supposed to be just as good academically.
Also, he is very opposed to changing schools.

I am at a point where I cannot make a decision. I know this is something where Chad and I have to make the ultimate choice, but I beg for your feedback, please. Perhaps your experiences could help tip the scales one way or the other.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

*almost* home

we took a brief trip up to our *almost* new home. it was a million emotions all at once. it felt awesome/exciting/terrifying/freaky/strange/weird/crazy/HAPPY...

i cant tell you what a relief it was to go up there and actually SEE where i'll be living. it's no longer this big unknown that i fear. instead, im actually really looking forward to moving!!! in fact, i think i'll be happier there than i was here in STL, which is really saying something because ive lurved living here. i keep telling myself that if i was able to find and make such amazing friends in St Louis, then there's got to be some pretty rocking chicks up in Toledo too.

and the money stuff??? well, it'll resolve itself somehow. right now, i need to kind of take a chill pill and a deep breath. i mean, no matter how much money i do or dont have, i'll still need to be careful about how it's spent. i guess we'll just have to roll the dice and see where it all lands. deep breath people, deep breath.

because we're going to residency one way or another...

Monday, March 28, 2011

Fellowship Bombshell

And I'm not speaking of a hot blond fellowess. No. I mean the fellowship bombshell dropped on me over this weekend.

I guess I knew this could happen. All of Chad's friends are applying to fellowships, so he wasn't going to be the only one who didn't right? I hoped so. Too bad.

Chad has decided to apply for Pediatric Anesthesia Fellowship. We'll see how that goes. If he doesn't find the right place we'll just go to Plan B: get a real job.

Let's say he does match somewhere here are my questions about Plan A:

Where do we get the cash to move with? We are already coming up negative each month, especially with crazy gas prices. We went $200 over on car gas alone over the last two weeks. At least with a real job they cover moving expenses.

Chad is off-cycle, which means he would start Oct.1st with Fellowship instead of July 1. Would YOU move early and start kids in a new school for the one year OR would you move with hubby and start mid-school year, OR would you move with hubby and home school that year?

Monday, March 21, 2011

gross stuff

can i let out a huge groan right now? im trying to put together the application for the Residency Relocation Loan right now and i just want to barf. im about 95% sure we'll need a co-signer to get the loan, but i really dont want to ask. and it's not pride either. it's guilt.

i feel this massive amount of GUILT whenever we need to ask for help because there's only one option: his parents. and i hate that. i hate feeling like i might be burdening them. or making them feel like we're using them. because i dont want them to EVER feel like that. i keep telling myself that everyone is investing in Scotch's future. that there will be a time when we can pay everything back to everyone.

i dont want much. i promise. im not looking for the big "payday" at the end. we matched in Ortho, which means there will be money {serious money} down the road {god willing nothing changes}. but i dont want the big house or the expensive cars. i want to get rid of the MASSIVE private medical school tuition debt. i want to pay off our house and debts. i want to buy my kids shoes without worrying. i want to take my mom out to lunch. is that too much to ask? i hope not.

you're talking to a girl who put herself through college. i came/come from NO MONEY whatsoever. in fact, we struggled pretty heavily all growing up. my parents still struggle. it breaks my heart and i hate watching it. so, money is a hard subject for me. it makes me feel sick and nervous.

and despite all of this, im filling out the paperwork and working up the courage to ask for yet another favor. is this normal? do you all feel like this? we go to a private school and our tuition bill is SKY HIGH. so i dont even understand this "loan utopia" that ive heard about. we live off of less than $1600 a month. im being real people. and reality hurts.

Reflecting on Match Day

All this talk of matching allowed me to reflect on my own match experience, which, I of course, caught on video...

Friday, March 18, 2011

MATCH MADNESS

clever title, huh? sports are an integral part of my life and they'll only become more important as time passes. not only did orthoman match in orthopedics, but this year we'll be going to a stereotypical midwest town!!! that's right folks, we matched to the University of Generic-ness!!! it's a huge sports med program and orthoman even "adopts" a HS sports team each year and is their personal team doctor.

i've got to admit that it's pretty freaky to think of him as being someone's doctor. but freaky in a good way, not "wake up in your mom's body" freaky.

when we got our envelope orthoman handed it to me to open. and i hesitated. my hands were shaking and i paused long enough for him to say "well? open it!" but my hands just didnt work. so the envelope got torn in half {oops!}. and when i saw it said Toledo, it just didnt register in my brain. it definitely took a few minutes for me to understand. maybe that's stupid, but we waited SO LONG to get to this point that when it came, it was overwhelming.

we kissed, we smiled, and we waited for the ceremony to be over. once everyone was "matched" orthoman kind of took off without a word to go talk to his buddies. everyone was celebrating and happy. and i just sat there. i mean, i was happy, but it i was feeling SO MUCH. it didnt help that my 2 best friends {we're a core group of 3} BOTH matched to Mayo. and so i sat there and tears slowly fell.

i felt elated and happy and sad and mournful. because as excited as i am to meet the other "resident wives", i have a HUGE group of "med school wives" here in St Louis - as in there are 16 of us. it's taken me a full day to digest everything. i think i need another week to completely work through it all.

i guess i always assumed that there were only happy feelings on match day, but the reality is that it goes both ways. because starting residency means that we end the schooling chapter of our lives. it's madness! madness i tell you!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Blessed Day!

Today we found out that Ben matched at his #2 pick. This means that instead of packing up to move to Temple, El Paso or Corpus Christi, TX, we get to stay right here in our house in Fort Worth, TX.

We are very excited about this for many reasons.


1. Our family is less than 5 hours away. It would have been farther for us to visit family at any of those other locations. We wanted to be close to family because both of our moms are not in good health, and because I am expecting Baby Blake #3 in October.


2. We would have had to sell our house for much less than what it was worth to be able to sell it quick and buy a new house in a new location.


3. We like it here in Fort Worth. It is very family oriented. We have a strong church family support system here, an established business, and many friends. Plus, we live near Eagle Mountain Lake, and we are planning to buy a boat. The cost of living here is awesome!


4. Ben's main stress-relieving hobby is hunting. Here we are closer to the land where his hunting cabin sits. With the money we saved by NOT moving, he can buy a 4 wheeler to drive around on our land.


5. We never would have been able to get into another house with as much space as ours has for the money we would have had to spend on a new house. Our house is 3,000 sq. feet with 4 bdrms, 2.5 bath, a dining room and a large loft/second living area. It sits in an extra large cul-de-sac lot and backs up to a large field where several hundred yards away sits the playground of the school Jackson will start Kindergarten in. We bought it in 2007 for a base price of $119,000. It was a promotional house. Our builder builds spacious (but NON-CUSTOM) homes. (There is nothing customized about our house. No ceiling fans, no curved entryways, no vaulted ceilings or crown moldings. It is just pure space. Which was fine with us because Ben is quite handy and could add that stuff -and has - as we wanted it.) It WAS worth almost $170,000 before the housing market crashed. Now it is worth about $140-150,000.


When we move Sam into Jackson's room, so they share and each have a twin bed, we will STILL have a nursery, our master bedroom AND a guest room/office. The rooms are very nicely sized.


6. Because we saved so much money to move and now don't have to, we have an abundance of extra spending money to buy fun toys and things we want like a hot tub, a used four wheeler and boat, a new computer, a shed for the backyard, updates on the house, etc. Plus, I don't have to work next year if I don't want to. My days of running a child care facility with 10-12 kids are OVER, unless I want to. If I do, I have made a reputation for myself. I can easily pick up a few kids if need be.


7. At JPS, Ben only has to work 8 hour shifts in the ER, and makes a higher salary than those other places, and gets full insurance for the whole family paid.


To sum up, I am ecstatic. This was the best choice for our family. Other choices may have had more competitive programs, but this is, by far, the best choice for our family.