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Lives of Doctor Wives: Married to a Hoya MS2

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Married to a Hoya MS2

My name is Shannon and my husband is MS2 at Georgetown. We met while undergrads at Boston College, and got married last July between MS1&2. This has been a rough year and I cannot wait for it to be over!
I really enjoy reading all of the posts, especially those that describe what lies ahead.
Some of my questions:
-With Step One coming up in June, I think this is the final stretch for this year - - any suggestions on how to be the supportive and calm wife for Boards? They are making me nervous!
-My husband has wanted to do orthopedic surgery since undergrad, so his score has to be really great. Eeek. Any wives of surgery/ortho residents with any advice on Board scores, matching and realities of residency please share!
-Babies...how in the world do you make it work financially and emotionally while in MS or during early residency years? We both would love children but the reality of 1 income, loan payments and MS responsibilities make it seem unattainable.

Great to meet you all and thank you for starting this!



Blogger Married to a med student - Marissa Nicole said...

Hey! My husband thought ortho too - but has since changed to Neurosurgery. (So we were in the same boat with being nervous about needing a high score). We have loved third year so far - especially since surgery was 10 weeks - it was so exciting to watch DH come home and his eyes would light up as he talked about watching surgery that day! Just be engouraging, make sure he stays diciplined but also schedule in time for rest and relaxation - if it is scheduled it will motivate him to stay focused and then he won't feel guilty relaxing when the time comes. If you need to send him to the library on weekends (to prevent distractions) and I also suggest going on weekends/nights to Border/Barnes and Noble - it allows you to spend time together while he studies. Personally I just like to be near my DH even if it is silence. And remember Board scores are important but they aren't EVERYTHING - you still need to be well rounded candidate. And also schedule a nice date or get together for a date shortly after the test! (Also prayer really helps - we prayed that he would do his best and also asked friends and family to pray as well - we also prayed that we would be able to handle whatever happened) If your DH is meant to be an orthopedic surgeon it will happen - be confident in that because I have learned more than anything in this journey that God truly has a plan greater than we could ever imagine!

March 19, 2009 at 3:02 PM  
Blogger Melisa said...

Shannon, you are talking to the worrying expert. :o) I think it is important to be able to talk about your feelings and fears, but really tone it down when you are talking to hubs. Don't want to transfer your fears to him! Find a close friend you can vent those feelings to. At least that is my opinion. They have enough stress without us dumping ours on them too. I'm not saying hide your feelings or don't tell him if you are scared. I just mean don't keep bringing up your fears and keep them kind of mellow. Again, just my opinion. Might not work for everyone. But I also worry more than most women and it would probably overwhelm Brad if he knew every time I freaked out. :o)

The best way to keep calm is to keep busy. Find a good friend and go to the movies or something so hubs can study a little extra. Get good books or fun hobbies to keep yourself occupied while he is absorbed in books.

Avi is the only one in ortho, and they met during his residency. But she might still have some ideas!

Scores and grades are very important, but making good connections is huge too. Having attendings willing to go to bat for you can be very helpful when scores and grades aren't stellar. Rotations are the time to make an impression and convince them they want him there. Probably the most important though, is what Marissa already said. Trust in God's plan. Things may not work out like you planned them, but in the end, it could be better for you.

Our first was 6 months when we started MS. Our second was in the middle of 2nd and our third was middle of 4th yr. I stayed home with the kids, and obviously he wasn't working since he was in school. We used Medicaid for health care. By the time we are done paying taxes, I'm sure we'll have paid it back and then some. We lived pretty frugally. We didn't go on huge vacations, or live in a huge place. We still tried to live our lives, but we tried to be reasonable. Thankfully, loans can be deferred for 3 years after graduation. Hopefully after that he'll be able to do a little moonlighting for the next 2 yrs until he is done with residency and actually has a reasonable income. I have a huge beef with residents' incomes, but that is a different story.

Emotionally handling kids is another thing entirely. It can be quite overwhelming to feel like you are doing it without enough help. Some ladies have said it was nice having kids because it kept them busy while hubs was constantly gone. For me personally, I wouldn't change a thing. I'm glad we didn't wait. Has is been tough, oh yeah, but kids are worth it. We are all different though so don't take my word for it.

By the way, I'm a little opinionated. Sorry for the novel. :o)

March 19, 2009 at 4:51 PM  
Blogger Bea said...

Hi Shannon! I'm a pro-worrier just like Melisa :)

I completely agree with Melisa's advice regarding test scores. If you're worried about his scores, I'd tell someone other than him. For him, I'd be a good listener, keep busy so he doesn't feel guilty about studying, and ask him how he'd like you to support him. I was just floored at my husband's response to how I could support him-- it wasn't what I thought at all. I'm so glad I asked.

As for babies, I'm pregnant with our first and this is our first year of residency. I work because finances are too tight for me not to work. Even though I work we still are on a crazy tight budget for the baby. I've scoured the internet for resources on how to have kids when you don't have a lot of money, and I can just say it seems possible. Craigslist, hand-me-downs, and living simply are the way to go. Now, as for your husband spending time with the baby... well that I can't help with :)

Anyway, welcome and I look forward to getting to know you.

March 19, 2009 at 6:01 PM  
Blogger Trisha said...

Hey Shannon!

Kyle and I started med school with a baby and had twin during his third year. Good times. :)

I stayed at home the whole time... so that tells you that our loan debt is um, substantial. It was worth if for us though and we have no regrets.

Like Melisa, we used Medicaid for the kids' insurance, we lived in a small house and tried to not spend a lot of money.

It's funny now that we are in residency, we are more aware of how we spend our money... there aren't those loans to fall back on like in school. We could have been so much smarter with our choices. You live and you learn, I guess.

My advice to you would be to not wait until the 'perfect time' to have kids... cause that just ain't gonna happen! :) When the time is right for you guys, things will work out.

Do what you need to do to get by. For me, it was giving up on fixing 'fancier' meals and just sticking to the basics... which turned out to be cheaper and more appreciated by my kids. Buying generic brands whenever possible (including diapers). Giving up cable. Not coloring my hair. Cutting way back on eating out. You get the idea... just look at all areas of your life and see where you can eliminate or scale back. I still have some work to do. :)

About the board scores and matching... my husband is a first year surgery resident. He didn't have the highest scores or wasn't at the top of his class but he worked hard on his rotations, never conplained and made friends. And like Melisa said, connections are huge.

I hope I didn't ramble too much!

March 19, 2009 at 11:16 PM  
Blogger MW said...

I can't help you with the kids thing, but I was in your spot a year ago with the boards stuff and ortho ambitions.
Everyone is different, but R studies best outside the house. He and a few of his friends took over one of the classrooms. Seriously, they snuck in a fridge and coffee maker and pretty much lived there for the full month before the boards.
I think boards is the first time in a medical marriage when your patience is really important. He'll be a full-time study machine, so things he might typically do (the dishes, taking out the trash, whatever) might fall through the cracks. I think it's just important for you to be willing to pick up the slack and just be supportive and positive.
Also, just follow his lead. While R is very focused (which paid off!), if it were me, I'd want to give myself a break some time. You know his study style, so go in with a positive attitude and be flexible!
Also - R did about 10 points higher than his average practice score, so just keep practicing.
Also, we had a trip to Florida planned for immediately after, which was a great way to celebrate after.

March 21, 2009 at 10:26 PM  
Blogger jrobo215 said...

Hi Shannon!

I am new to this board so I was just reading everyones intros when I came across yours. My husband is a first year orthopedic surgery resident. It has been a stressful road to get here but I do have some advice.

While I agree that board scores are important, they are no where near as important as spending a lot of time in the hospitals that have ortho residencies. My husband spent 2 years showing up to ortho conferences and clinics that the hospital of his choice had. He also spent as much time as he could there doing his rotations. He got to know all of the ortho people really well by doing this. He even moved to another state for a month so he could do a rotation at another hospital that he was interested in. He ended up getting an interview at both hospitals and they were both very impressed with his determination and his work ethic.

He got the residency and is very happy (although extremely tired, stressed and overworked :-)) I thought that once he got into a program things would slow down, but I must admit...they have gotten worse. It is a tough residency, but if it is what your husband wants, he should go for it. My feeling on it was, "Well we've come this far....we may as well go all the way!"

Good luck and let me know if you have any questions.


April 20, 2009 at 5:16 PM  

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