Sunday, November 25, 2012

The Darkness Before the Dawn

At the end of college you're broke.  At the end of medical school you're in debt up to your eyeballs.  At the end of residency ... well ... you are worse than all that.  

Plus you face finding a job, a new home, a move and 4-6 weeks of credentialing and licensure.  This all means that your debts have come due and no sign of a pay check for up to two months.  The phone is ringing off the hook with everyone you ever borrowed money from in the last 14 years on the other end.  
The kids are using moving boxes as trash cans, laundry hampers, shelves, and toys because you can't afford any of those things until that first paycheck comes.  I cannot tell you how hard this phase is.  OMGosh, there is not a word to describe it. It was horrible though.  Finally, after long last, when I thought I couldn't go on-  Here comes the sun!!!!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

One day left of residency

I can't believe it's almost over.  One more day of residency and he's a real, board certified, bonafide anesthesiologist.  Tomorrow is the end of an era.  I feel like I should have some sort of degree or something for enduring this time of famine.  We are staring our debt straight in the eye.  We are broke as dirt and closing on a large beautiful home.  My life is a contradiction right now.
The contracts are signed, tests are passed, paperwork complete.  Just waiting now for our new life to start.

Friday, July 20, 2012

The Doctor Tax

Greetings All!  I know I haven’t posted in a while, but I am back in the fold now and ready to blog.  My post today is about the “doctor tax”—a social/societal premium placed on goods and services when people find out your husband is a physician. 

Let me preface this, and if you’ve ever read anything I’ve written before, you know this – in the real world, I NEVER, EVER volunteer the fact that my husband is a physician.  Okay, I told my gynecologist, but I figured that’d keep them on their toes. 

There have been instances when I am utilizing someone in the service industry, and they ask me about my husband.  Sometimes my husband is with me when this happens.  They ask about what I do, but I never get into the whole “I have a law degree but am working a menial office job” routine. 

This has arisen a few times and I will list the interactions when my husband’s profession comes up.

1)       Hair Salon --  who am I kidding, I don’t go to a salon.  I go to Great Clips, and when I told the lady I was moving, after just having moved, she asked if my husband was a doctor.  What??  How could you jump to that conclusion based on simply having to move?
2)      Movers – they were nice and all, and things got packed and delivered perfectly, but did they really need to know what my husband’s profession is?  The credit card payment already cleared, people.

I firmly believe in tipping based on the quality of service received.  In certain situations, like at a restaurant, many states pay the serves less than minimum wage.  I have never tipped below 20% in that case, even for the worst service (except once when the waitress was racist, she got 0%).  Just because my husband is a doctor doesn’t mean that I need to be tipping 25% or more every time.

In the instance of a hair salon, I tip on service and good personality.  My hairdresser doesn’t have to be my best friend.  In fact, I salon-hop a lot because I’ve had to move so much.  But being polite goes a long way, as does making me look better than what I did when I came in.  I am NOT going to tip you more because you prodded me and found out my husband is a doctor.  You might think I have a ton of money, but that would make you an idiot.  You need to realize that your salon charges $30 or less for a haircut if I am so rich wouldn’t I go to the many other places that charge upwards of $65+? 

As for the movers.  I tip $20 per person, if they go fast and don’t break things.  I tip the driver $40 total because they usually help with loading/unloading at both points of the move.  Just because my husband is a doctor doesn’t mean you are going to get hundreds of dollars in tips or a fixed percentage of the 4-figure move.  

Just another rant of a poor resident’s wife.  We aren’t even half way close to six-figures and we have six-figure debt, so I just *hate* when people expect more from me than they do others J

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Doctors' Wives Must Reads

Hippocrates' Handmaidens: Women Married to Physicians
Atul Gwande: Better, Complications and Checklist
Prescription for the Doctor's Wife

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

My Deepest Condolences

I had this idea in my mind of leaving for our adventure of medical school and residency. I imagined we were sailing off on a ship heading to the horizon to seek our fortune.  I thought there would be time after, once we return, for the kids to get to know their grandparents.  There will be time after when the children will grow close with all their little cousins.  When all this training non-sense is complete, then we will have that special time with family that will be the kids' memories of family into adulthood.

My mom called me yesterday.  She had that deep empty sound in her voice; I asked her if she was okay.  No she wasn't okay.  She had just left Molly's funeral.  Molly is Colleen's mother who passed away this last Friday.

We've had to face mortality with Chad's father's cancer during these residency years.  Fortunately, for now, it's in remission, but it reminds me of how short and precious this life is.  That there is not always tomorrow, and I shouldn't wish today away.

Colleen, I am so sorry for the loss of your sweet Mama. 

Thursday, April 19, 2012

My Terrible, Horrible, No-Good, Very Bad Day...

Have you ever played the game Rummikub and gotten to the end and you KNEW you could win, but it was going to take some major movin' around and you weren't sure if you were going to be able to get all your pieces connected to a set and accounted for?

That is kind of a weird analogy, but that is how I feel sometimes when Ben is gone and I have to do things where I can't take my 3 kids with me. 

I just found out he can't come to my only sister Megan's wedding next month in Tulsa, OK (We live in Fort Worth, TX.) because he has to work.  Being the maid of honor, I have to figure out what to do with my three kids all day and most of the night on Saturday...*sigh* 

All MY family will be at the wedding.  My mom is in hospice care now after 8 years of struggling with breast cancer, so if she just makes it to the wedding even for the ceremony, I'll be ecstatic. Obviously she can't keep up with my kids and my dad is her primary caretaker, so...that rules him out.  Ben's mom has MS and has just moved HER elderly father in with her to take care of.  Ben's sister has 4 kids of her own who are all involved in every sport there is, so their Saturdays are always crazy.  The rest of Ben's family lives out of the area.  I think I can leave my 6 month old with Ben's mom (in NORTH Tulsa), but not my two rowdy boys, so I have to ask a friend from the church I grew up in that I haven't seen in quite some time (in SOUTH Tulsa abt 35 min away from Ben's mom) to take them for the day, and then Ben's sister can get them for the night until I can get back to pick them up.  I wish I could hire a babysitter, but our 18 month savings that we stocked up on is starting to run low, so we have had to tighten our belts a bit to make sure we make it until he starts moonlighting in the Fall, and I can't afford a babysitter for three kids all day long.

Plus, lately when we have been coming to Tulsa to visit our families (my mom), we have had an issue with where to stay.  We have had to separate because it is too hard to keep the boys quiet, so they won't wake up my mom.  She is now sleeping in snatches when she can at any time of the day because she isn't able to sleep laying down comfortably anymore.  She sleeps in a recliner in the living room, propped up by several pillows, leaning forward on more pillows on the hospital rolling cart that my dad serves her her food on.  :(  Ben typically goes to his sister's house with the boys, and Ally and I stay in the guest bedroom and visit my mom at her house.  With Ben not coming, I have to find a place where we can all stay together.  We could ALL stay at his sister's, but like I said, she has 4 kids of her own.  If we stay there, there will be 7 kids ages 9-6 mos, running around. (Well, scooting, in Ally's case.)  CRA-ZY.

I'm so tired of all the finagling I have to do to make this work, and on another note, I know you all  understand where I am coming from when I say that I'm going to be royally pissed off if Obamacare jacks with the life plan we have struggled and sacrified for for our entire marriage and things don't pan out.  Especially if it means we end up nearly half a million dollars in debt, after 10 years of working hard with not much to show for it, and no reasonably quick way to pay it all off.  I'll be danged if that happens.  I'll be like Alexander from the children's book who had the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day and "think I'll move to Australia."

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

In Honor of the Supreme Court Hearing...

Let me get this straight . . . We're going to be "gifted" with a health care plan that we are forced to purchase and fined if we don't. Which purportedly covers at least ten million more people, without adding a single new doctor, but provides for 16,000 new IRS agents, written by a committee whose chairman says he doesn't understand it, passed by a Congress that didn't read it, but exempted themselves from it, and signed by a President who smokes, with funding administered by a treasury chief who didn't pay his taxes, for which we'll be taxed for four years before any benefits take effect, by a government which has already bankrupted Social Security and Medicare, all to be overseen by a surgeon general who is obese, and financed by a country that's broke!!!!! What the hell could possibly go wrong?' - Donald Trump

Wednesday, March 7, 2012


Below is an article about a North Carolina mother who was billed for an alternate lunch after a health representative at the school deemed her child's sack lunch from home lacking in nutrition.  And just read what she sent, and what the alternative was!!  A friend of mine posted this on her facebook page and I read it and grew immediately irate for this mother.  Then I saw that another local friend of mine commented that this had happened to her here in Fort Worth, too.   What...?

I felt this was applicable to our blog as childhood obesity is a growing problem in our country, and being in the business of health care, we all know that adult obesity is also a problem, which of course leads to many implications on our health care system.  However, is this government involvement taking it too far? Have any of you had any experience with this?  Thoughts?

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Hello friends,
It's been a while since I posted.  I see we have so many new followers, so I will reintroduce myself.  My name is Colleen, my DrH, Ben, is an intern in Emergency Medicine at the local county hospital.  I am a 32-year-old SAHM of 2 boys, ages 4.5 and 3, and we also added a baby girl to our family in October.  We got pregnant (purposefully) and had our oldest, the first month of the first year of med school (which we completed here in Fort Worth, and didn't have to move for residency), so we have done the young family thing the entire med school/residency journey. 

For the last 3 years of residency, I also ran a Texas licensed in-home preschool.  However, we closed it in May when Ben started bringing in a salary, having saved up enough money from my income and student loans to live for 18 months at the same standard of living until Ben could start moonlighting in October/November 2012.  For a little extra money, I do still keep one child.  He is kinda part of our family now; I have had him for 3 years, and he and my oldest are only months apart in age.  To close my self-summary, we now have less than 2.5 years until we are done.  No fellowships or additional specialties.  Just Emergency Medicine.  :)

As I have been following everyone else's posts, I have to say that while we certainly have our challenging moments, ER is a cake walk compared to what a lot of you have been going through.  This is part of the reason I haven't posted for a bit.  I feel bad posting my trials, when for the most part, I feel pretty blessed and am no more stressed than any other stay-at-home mom with a working husband (although sometimes my working husband does have crazy hours and works a little more than most).

This week (and for many weeks now), Ben is studying for his first benchmark of the Emergency Medicine Board Exam.  He takes it tomorrow.  From what I understand, other specialties take this exam at the beginning of their intern year, but since ER residents can moonlight (and we have planned on Ben doing so), they take this exam later in the first year.  This exam is looked upon as a way to gauge that the resident has a minimum level of understanding of Emergency Medicine - enough that his Academic Advisor would recommend him to be eligible to moonlight.  (Sidenote:  That is another bonus to ER:  By the time we are done with residency, we can have a nice chunk paid toward student loans AND our schedule easily allows him to moonlight a few extra shifts a month.  For the 31 days of March, for example, Ben only works 20 10-hour or less shifts, and 2 12-hour shifts, leaving him 9 days off.  There are 9 weekend days in the month of March, so this month he essentially gets the same amount of  time off as any other Mon-Fri job.)

My point is that he is home a lot more than many other resident husbands.  And it drives me crazy.  Is that horrible?

The boys and I have a daily and a weekly routine going on that we kinda live by.  Now I must confess that I can be a little obsessive-compulsive about routines.  They give structure to a day that could very easily all mush together into a point where I become a bon-bon eating, soap watching, lazy bum.  I don't want to become that person.  And it's a slippery slope, people.  Especially with a still fairly young infant.  I'm tired.  A lot.

But I have never been one to sit around and be lazy; I just get this guilt complex and all the things I need to be doing loom over my mind in threatening thought-bubbles until I can't take the pressure any more.  I have to get up and be productive.

So while I am buzzing around the house washing dishes, folding laundry, mopping floors, feeding babies, hosting preschool playgroup, refereeing screaming 4-year-old arguments, giving potty assistance, trying to work out, teaching one son to read and the other to learn his letters and sounds, or whatever else I find to keep busy, it royally annoys me to watch Ben sit on the couch FOR HOURS playing a rated M War game that is both mesmerizing and highly inappropriate for the impressionable youngsters running around.  Not to mention that it is 50 decibels too loud and so my whole normally peaceful house feels like a war zone.  And I can't take it.  I hate it.  Especially because if any of those above-mentioned activites interrupt or infringe upon Ben's inherent right to enjoy his game, he gets irritated.  With Me.  Whaaaa...?

Of course, I have suggested that we move his system into his office, out of the main area of the house - the room you have to walk through to get to the kitchen or the dining room or to go in the backyard.  His response?  "Well, I want to be with you guys..."  Uhhhhhh....anyone else see the faulty logic in that statement?  I could walk in front of him in nothing but red stiletttos when he is playing XBox 360 and I doubt I would get his attention.  Apparently, our definition of quality time is starkly different.  In mine, a grunt in my general direction when I ask what he would prefer for dinner, does not suffice.

His love for playing this game for hours and watching TV at deafening levels in the living room to take breaks from studying or decompress after work has created friction with me for more than just the obvious reasons.  In spite of his claim that he wants to "be with us," his attitude about coming home has turned into what seems like a feeling of entitlement on his part.  As in, "Ben the Provider is home (insert chest-beating here).  All my minions must now make themselves quiet or scarce, and do my bidding as I holler at you from my chair to bring me something beckon you."  (We actually just had to have it out about him turning off the TV and eating dinner at the table with us.  That bad habit has stopped, thankfully.)  This X Box example is just the biggest example of an attitude that SOMETIMES, yet MORE AND MORE FREQUENTLY rears its ugly head.  (It should be noted that Dr. Ben isn't ALWAYS like this.  Most of the time he is very enjoyable and does spend time with all of us.)

We have long since agreed that when he is out of residency and working, he will have a man-cave, preferably a basement, where he can sleep when he has worked nights and play his games and decompress or whatever he needs to do, without infriging on the peace and quiet of the rest of the house. So here's the point of my rant:

1)  Has anyone else noticed your husband's personality changing as he gets closer and closer to completing residency? As if your desires or daily needs are not as significant as his?  As if when he gets home, all activites are subject to his desires and he should not have to be inconvenienced in any way?

2)  Is this something Dr. Wives just have to learn to deal with and combat?  If so, does anyone have any tricks?

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Chick Flicks for Call Nights

PBS series Downton Abbey
A walk to remember
While you were Sleeping
Return to Me
Never Been Kissed
Ever After
Wedding Planner
Just Like Heaven
Leap Year
Letters to Juliet
Julie and Julia, Killers
Couples Retreat
You Again
The Help
Midnight in Paris
Crazy Stupid Love
BBC made a newer version of Emma (I think in 2009)
Sweet Home Alabama
The Blind Side
The Wedding Date
She's Out of My League
Princess Bride
Love Actually
The Devil Wears Prada
Shakespeare in Love
The Big Year
13 going on 30
Pride and prejudice A&E version
High School Musicals
Bring it On
Life is Beautiful
Moulin Rouge
Romeo and Juliet
Sleepless in Seattle
Mona Lisa Smile
Fools Rush in
Can't Hardly Wait
Blue Crush
An Education
Angus, Thongs and Perfect Snogging
The really old version of Yours, Mine and Ours
Just Go with it
That Thing You Do
Waiting for Forever
Benny and June
Mama Mia

Please add any more you can think of in the comments!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Excerpt from novel Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand 1957

“I quit when medicine was placed under State control some years ago,” said Dr. Hendricks. “Do you know what it takes to perform a brain operation? Do you know the kind of skill it demands, and the years of passionate, merciless, excruciating devotion that go to acquire that skill? That was what I could not place at the disposal of men whose sole qualification to rule me was their capacity to spout the fraudulent generalities that got them elected to the privilege of enforcing their wishes at the point of a gun. I would not let them dictate the purpose for which my years of study had been spent, or the conditions of my work, or my choice of patients, or the amount of my reward. I observed that in all the discussions that preceded the enslavement of medicine, men discussed everything—except the desires of the doctors. Men considered only the ‘welfare’ of the patients, with no thought for those who were to provide it. That a doctor should have any right, desire or choice in the matter, was regarded as irrelevant selfishness; his is not to choose, they said, but ‘to serve.’ That a man’s willing to work under compulsion is too dangerous a brute to entrust with a job in the stockyards—never occurred to those who proposed to help the sick by making life impossible for the healthy. I have often wondered at the smugness at which people assert their right to enslave me, to control my work, to force my will, to violate my conscience, to stifle my mind—yet what is it they expect to depend on, when they lie on an operating table under my hands? Their moral code has taught them to believe that it is safe to rely on the virtue of their victims. Well, that is the virtue I have withdrawn. Let them discover the kind of doctors that their system will now produce. Let them discover, in the operating rooms and hospital wards, that it is not safe to place their lives in the hands of a man they have throttled. It is not safe, if he is the sort of man who resents it—and still less safe, if he is the sort who doesn’t.”

Thursday, February 2, 2012

8 months

And I will no longer technically be a resident's wife. But is being a fellows wife any different? I'm guessing not, so I'll consider myself a resident's wife for another YEAR and 8 months. Right now we are on an away rotation with DrH. It's interesting how little I realize I need when I'm away from all of my belongings. I took all the kids out of school and we are trying to do all their work from our little apartment here. They are beginning to bounce off the walls. Arrgggg!!!!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Lives of Dr Wives' Book List

and recommended authors

Beat those call night blues with favorite books hand picked by doctor wives:

Book List
Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand
These is my words
Sarah's quilt
The Star Garden
Rapunzel's Revenge by Hale
Calamity Jack by Hale
The Princess Academy
Ender's Game
The Maze Runner (trilogy)
The Giver, Gathering Blue, and The Messenger
Books of Bayern series (Goose Girl, Enna Burning, River Secrets, and Forest Born)
Guernsey Literary Society
The Help
Sarah's Key by Tatiana de Rosnay
Bossypants by Tina Fey
The Forgotten Garden
Discovery of Witches
Pillars of the Earth
Last Lecture
The Girls from Ames
Potato Peel Pie Society
Phillippa Gregory
Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare
Blind Your Ponies by Stanley West Gordon
A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness
The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde,
In the Garden of Beasts
Devil in the White City by Erik Larson
Red Princess Series by Lisa See
River of times series by Lisa Bergren
Divergent by Veronica Roth
Pathfinder by Orson Scott card
Water for Elephants
The Girl with the Dragon Tatoo
The Girl who Played with Fire
The Girl who kicked the Hornets Nest
Attachments by Rainbow Rowell
Stephanie Plum Series by Janet Evanovich
My Sister's Keeper
Confessions of a Shopaholic
Eat Pray Love
Bridgett Jones Diary

Author List
Anne Perry
Emily Griffin
Jane green and Jennifer Werner
Nicholas sparks
Shannon Hale
Sharon Shinn
Dresden Files
Marr and Armstrong
Melissa Marr
Jim Butcher
Sharon Shinn
Kelley Armstrong
Karen White
Malcome Gladwell