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.

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. 

*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.


Wednesday, July 13, 2011


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!


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.)


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...