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Lives of Doctor Wives: November 2009

Monday, November 30, 2009

Poll

There is a new poll up. It allows you to pick multiple answers.

Any comments on last week's poll? I am a little surprised to see so many of us are on the East Coast. I'm an East Coast transplant and I sometimes forget how densely populated the east is. haha!

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Monday, November 23, 2009

Poll

New poll is up. Any comments on last week's poll?

I need to change my vote as I just got my shot on Friday. LOL!

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Saturday, November 21, 2009

Survivor Saturdays: Secrets of a Clean Freak

I was cleaning my house in preparation for a visit from my in-laws. It was no small task with M gone on another trip. After I put the finishing touches on our bedroom, I texted M with "room clean! show ur folks our closet and u will sleep there." I chuckled, and thought... what better topic to tackle for Survivor Saturdays, then surviving a daily task... housecleaning! Cleaning always took last priority when M was in residency. By the time I worked, picked up the kids, changed and fed them, paid the bills, did a load of laundry, and answered all my messages... I just didn't have much energy left. I am a clean freak, but I know when to let go.

My world changed when I hosted a cleaning party (I kid you not!) where a representative demonstrated cleaning supplies and techniques and gave advice on cleaning quickly. The tips were based on a book called Speed Cleaning. This company no longer does parties, but their website is still up and I order stuff from there all the time: The Clean Team. Take some time to click "All Products" and start going down the list. You'll love some of this stuff.

I also discovered a few tricks of my own that many of my friends have adopted and enjoyed. Here are my secrets to cleaning house quickly, and to my satisfaction...

General tips:
The first thing you need to do is get yourself a caddy. There are all kinds of cleaning caddies, but you can even use a tool caddy. Put everything you need to clean in the caddy, and move it from room to room with you. Clean each room completely rather than spending time running back and forth to sweep, then clean, then dust... get the picture? This saves valuable time. The caddy should have handy extras like a razor blade, paper towels, rags, garbage bag, etc. Also bring a laundry basket or box with you so you can collect things that don't belong there. Also, if you can, keep cleaning supplies under every bathroom sink. That makes for a quick and easy cleaning right when you see something, and it makes your caddy a lot lighter. Now, on to the dirty details.

Bathrooms:
The trick is to never let it get dirty. That cleaning company used to sell a product that made a silicone protective coating on the shower. Soap scum didn't form and everything beaded up and ran off. The product was discontinued due to HAZMAT laws, but I found that if I cleaned my shower walls and glass completely (magic erasers are great for that) and then used Rain-ex (the car glass stuff) all over, it does the same thing. The trick is to put two coats on the first time, and then clean and repeat every 2-3 months. In between, use a squeegy after showering. If your hubby isn't willing to participate, make him shower first, so you can shower and then squeegy down. Also try it on the mirrors, but know that some mirrors end up looking streaky. Don't know why. If you follow these simple tricks, all you have to do weekly is wipe down the sinks & toilets, and keep the floors clean.

Kitchen:
Get an herb chopper that has a straight blade (looks like a half-moon). Before you wipe down the counters, run the straight blade over the counters to remove any dried food debris. After you clean the counters, protect them with a product like Gel-Gloss or Rock Doctor's Granite Polish, depending on the surface. Clean and polish your dining table, and cover it with a tablecloth. If the doorbell rings, remove it and reveal a beautifully clean top. The rest of the time, the cloth can collect all the crumbs it needs to.

Living Room:
Designate a nearby small drawer, cabinet, or trunk to scoop and hide clutter when unexpected company comes. I actually installed a closed cubby between studs to hide stuff in. Prefab stud cubbies are expensive, but a small trunk in a corner works fine.

Bedrooms:
I let my boys designate one drawer for a junk drawer. When it won't shut, they have to sort through it. The rest of the time, I don't care what they do to clean their rooms. My husband is a bit harder. I surrendered our closet floor to him. He can drop anything and everything in there, as long as it isn't in our main bedroom where people can see. If I'm decluttering our room, I often scoop up his stuff and throw it in the closet. If he misses it, he looks for it there.

Carpets, Rugs, and Other Stainables:
I use this incredible product called Pet Oops that has enzymes you have to "wake up" by mixing it with warm water. This stuff eats up any bodily fluid... baby poop, blood, vomit, food, dog urine, etc. It literally disappears right in front of you. The key is NOT to use cleaning products before treatment because the chemicals kill those hungry little boogers and then they don't do their job. We used a whole bottle on a bed mattress once when our middle got a stomach virus. Amazing stuff.

Kids:
Don't make the mistake I made. Be firm and consistent in assigning chores to your kids. If you don't, the bad habits will escalate until the housework is overwhelming. M and I disagreed on how stern we should be with assigning chores... mainly because he knew HE would have to do some, too. After several years of getting nowhere, I decided to pick my battles. I could kick myself. Now here I am, with teenagers who have bad habits that are difficult to break. My husband realizes the price we're paying, but that's water under the bridge. If your spouse is not reinforcing your children picking up before moving on, taking dishes to the table, putting clothes in a hamper, and whatever daily chores you assign... fight that battle like nobody's business. You don't want to be where I am... trust me.

So now you know some of my cleaning secrets. I hope it saves you some time and makes cleaning a little more manageable.

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Friday, November 20, 2009

Decisions!

Seven more months left in the fellowship and it looks like my husband and I have narrowed the job choice down to two places. Frankly, I'm kind of nervous for the upcoming decision. A part of me is so excited to finally have a hand in the decision of where we are going to be, but the other side of me wants no part in this. Can you tell I have commitment issues? :)
One of our final choices is the place where I grew up. The program is pretty decent and most of my friends and family are there. I feel very comfortable there and love the idea of having people around to watch my girls when I need them. The other place is a better program, and would be better for my husband's career. I visited this place over the weekend and I have to say I liked it.
What would (did) you do in this situation? Would you choose the job with nearby family and a decent program? Or the nice, mysterious place with the better program? Both jobs will pay about the same.

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Thursday, November 19, 2009

Relocating for residency

Us families of MSIV's will soon be in the situation of relocating for residencies with MATCH days quickly approaching after the new year. For all of you who have passed this stage in your medical journey I'd love to hear some advice regarding the process- from deciding to buy a home, getting a realtor, choosing a housing budget, when to move, how to move, etc. What you did that helped, or what you wish you would have done differently. Also for those of you who did buy homes going into residency, what lender would you recommend? There are a lot of sites out there that offer physician home loans deals- but most are online and not bank oriented. Any and all advice/comments would be greatly appreciated. Thanks, Kim

Monday, November 16, 2009

Poll

The new poll is up, a little late as I spent the morning fighting a parking ticket. :o)

Any comments on last week's poll? I picked that I do my own, but I really look forward to the day I can afford to have someone who knows what they are doing work on them.

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Monday, November 9, 2009

Soccer, sunglasses and why we do what we do

I have a great story to share that hopefully will give you a small "oh THAT's why we're enduring all this" kind of boost.

My 8 year old son plays on a club soccer team - well, it's sort of "club." I don't think it's officially "club" until he is 10 and has to try out for a team. Right now, it's called "academy." In any case, it's super competitive and pretty tough. The boys on his team and the teams they play are top-notch.

So he had a game on Sunday afternoon, and they played a really good team. (They still, ahem, WON!) There was one player on the opposing team that stood out among all the players on both teams. He was tall and blonde, and man! he was FAST! His footwork and instincts were pretty incredible. It was hard to miss him, especially because he was sporting a super-cool pair of sunglasses. My fellow soccer moms and I joked that we should get sunglasses for all of our boys just so they look more fierce out there on the soccer field.

About halfway through the game, my husband (a pediatric ophthalmologist) realized that he knew this kid. (Just so we don't anger Mr. HIPAA, we'll call the kid "Alex.") Michael had operated on Alex when he was five years old and had retinoblastoma, a rare kind of cancerous tumor in young children which almost always results in enucleation, or removal of the eye. Michael sees about one case per year, so those little guys and gals are pretty special to him.

I realized then that Alex was wearing sunglasses not to be cool and intimidating (though he was)but because that is the cardinal rule when you only have one functioning eye. If something happened to his good eye, like getting an elbow thrown during a soccer game, he wouldn't be able to see at all - so he has to wear glasses to protect his remaining eyesight.

Michael went over to the enemy territory the opposing team's side and found Alex's mom and talked to her, and later she came over to our side to meet me and our kids. I told her how nice it was to meet her (and it truly was - what a courageous woman!) and how amazingly her son played soccer. She remarked how he doesn't let anything stop him - and how my husband was so patient and encouraging to her during those scary weeks when Alex was five years old.

There have been many moments in our marriage when I have been extraordinarily proud of my husband, and this ranked right up there with the best of them. Yes, I get annoyed when his phone rings in the middle of the night or when he has to go into the hospital during dinnertime or he has to work late to counsel his patients' parents. But I often forget that on the other end of that phone line is a scared mom who loves her child just as fiercely and protectively as I love my own. And there is often a child who is hurt and scared and can't see - or, like in Alex's case - has a disease that could kill him or rob him of his eyesight unless my husband steps in to help him.

I'm thankful for the chance to meet that once-terrified mom whose son is now kicking some serious grass on the soccer field.

Poll

The new poll is now up.

Lots of votes last week! Any comments? I selected other. We had our first between undergrad and med school, so we started med school with a 6 month old. And we had 2 more before he finished med school. LOL!

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Saturday, November 7, 2009

Survivor Saturdays: In Search of Support

One of the great things about this website is that we all share something in common. It isn't that we're married to doctors, but that we all know what each other are going through. Sometimes, I feel like I've survived a war zone, and meeting someone else who understands my pain and sacrifice is somehow comforting. This is a wonderful resource, but sometimes it isn't enough. So where can we turn for support when we really need a break from screaming kids, or a chance to have a good cry when nobody is around? Your family is a great resource, if you're lucky enough to still live near them. Sometimes, even that isn't enough, though.

Church families are a great place to look for support and encouragement. Many churches also form small groups, where handfuls of people live life together. Small groups are an incredible gift, if you are careful in selecting one where all of you have something in common. I'm in a small group right now, and I couldn't live without them. My group is made up of seven couples, all who have teenage children. After our group formed, two of the couples unexpectedly had babies. We have "lived life" together, counseling each other when marriage was in crisis, delivering meals when work became too demanding, babysitting when flu hit, and even running to each others' rescue at 3am. I have even allowed others in my group to talk to my son about poor choices, knowing that their wisdom would be better received than mine.

I only wish I had looked to small groups when M was going through residency. I thought I didn't have the time. I was so busy treading water that I didn't want to give up a precious hour to sit through a bible study. I didn't know small groups aren't always bible studies. The one I'm in now isn't. In fact, the group used to include the pastor - he explained that small groups are about building relationships. That's what we do. We share struggles with others who understand, and allow them to help find answers. Sometimes the answers involve an attitude adjustment, and sometimes the answers come in the form of an offer to babysit. Church family can reach beyond the abilities of your immediate family in ways you cannot know until you reach out.

Don't overlook this valuable resource for support. Ask around to see if your church has a small group you can join. If you're not active in a church right now, shop around for one. Small groups don't have to be initiated by the church, either. You can approach a few people who enjoy each others' company and propose you all start a group. Selecting people from your church will give you a better chance of getting good advice, rather than stoking your negative feelings.

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Thursday, November 5, 2009

Follow Up to "Hours" Post...

So I thought I would follow up with what happened yesterday. Yesterday, my husband got an upset call from his Program Director because he had gone over his hours on his timesheet.

My husband was really upset because he really didn't work >80 hours and thought there must be mistake. I encouraged him to go in and talk to his Director, so he did over lunch.

As it turns out, the secretaries were calculating it wrong!! They had summed all his hours over last month and divided by four to get a weekly hour amount. Obviously, there are more than 4 weeks, or 28 days in October!!

His Program Director apologized and my husband thought he sincerely felt badly about getting upset. The Director did remind him to let his attending know IF he was getting close on hours.

We had a discussion last night about the responses to my previous post. I guess every program handles the 80-Hour-Rule differently and it SOOO depends on the speciality. After his meeting yesterday, my husband did get the impression the program wants to honestly keep the residents at under 80 (rather than "fibbing" on your timecard, although I think everyone does this at some point during a long week).

Thank you so much for your comments yesterday. I was really inspired with the strength and patience you show with the crazy schedules our husbands have!!!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Positive Posts!

I would just like to remind everyone that the mission of this blog is to provide....A haven for medical spouses to find encouragement, information, and support!

It is so wonderful that we have so many wonderful women here from so many different backgrounds that can share a common thread.....a medical marriage (or relationship)!!! But sometimes our differences can be a thorn in another's side and while it is great to voice your opinion.....please remember.....this is a place to bring people together through support and encouragement, not tear them down, accuse people of wrong doing, or point out flaws or weaknesses. If you like something you hear -GREAT, if not, leave it at the door, (so to speak), don't let it weigh you down or change how you think and don't push it back at someone else because you don't like what they posted about.

Please keep the tone of your posts and comments positive and uplifting.....I'm not saying you can't share real, hard, true facts, but please remember this is a difficult time for all of us, no one needs more stress placed on their shoulders!! I love you all and I don't want to have to start comment moderation, so please, keep it positive!!! :)

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Hours

My anesthesia intern husband just texted me that he got a call from the program director because he accidentally went over his 80 hours last week. He usually tries very hard to monitor his hours because his program can get in trouble if residents are working more than allowed.

This got me thinking... if your husband or significant other is an intern:

What are his current hours?

If he HAS gone over 80 hours what did he do about it? (It's happened to my husband a couple of times and he just "fibbed" on his timecard)

How are you adjusting to the schedule?

As an anesthesia intern, my husband has to do three months in Medicine rotations. After this month he will be finished with those three month requirements, which means his schedule was very front-loaded with the harder months and from now on we should be on a much easier schedule.

How does he (and you) like the program so far in terms of the people and support they are given?

I can't wait to hear your thoughts :)

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Monday, November 2, 2009

Poll

There is a new poll up. Happy voting! (oh yeah, and election day is tomorrow too!).

What did you choose for the last poll? I picked 4th of July. I love how laid back it is. I love outdoors and grills and fireworks. Ahhhh summer...

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