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Lives of Doctor Wives: June 2013

Friday, June 28, 2013

Dear Cristin 6/28/13


Dear Cristin:  I really love helping out my friends with new babies, people who just moved in or are moving out, etc by bringing them meals.  Do you have any ideas for easy meals that can be altered easily to account for food allergies (gluten, dairy, vegetarian)?  I know I'm putting all your mad skills to the test.  Please help!

What a lovely thing to do for people in transition! I like feeding people too--nothing soothes like the physical and emotional nourishment of a healthy meal prepared with care. This is the kind of small, human gesture on the part of the giver that means the world to an unsettled recipient.

From my own experience as a recipient of other peoples' generosity, I found that pasta and tacos were the most common offerings. Thus, I try to avoid those dishes, so that recipients will have some novelty to enjoy. (Nobody is ever ungrateful for a good lasagna, but six good lasagnas, one after the next--that may be another story.)

I want for a meal I bring to be as much blessing and as little burden as possible; with that goal in mind, I want to create a menu with as much flexibility for the end user as possible. I want for it to be simple to eat a little or a lot, to feed a single person or a house full, to use immediately or to put aside while working through other leftovers. I want for it to go to the recipient in a container that she won't need to wash, keep track of, or return to me.

My own go-to is soup; it is not complicated to make, the ingredients are not onerously expensive, it is easy to freeze if it won't be used immediately and simple to reheat when desired, and most pertinent to your question, it is simple to customize to suit the dietary needs of the recipient. A nice sturdy vegetable and barley soup for a vegetarian or vegan household, a sausage lentil for the soy or chicken allergic, bean & bacon soup for the nursing mother craving salt, beef stew for a dairy avoider--it's an infinitely flexible medium for personalization.

For recipients who don't care for soup (which is SHOCKING to me, but I have been assured that it does happen), I like to bring shredded meat sandwiches and picnic-style sides--Italian beef, or bbq chicken, or sloppy joe, or pork carnitas, whatever suits the tastes of the friends. Again, the goal here is flexibility in serving size and in timing of using the food; these proteins are simple to freeze in a labeled Ziploc bag, as are sandwich rolls, so that they can be used at the recipient's discretion. An undressed chopped salad and fresh fruit are useful anytime, and are so welcome in times of transition.


Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Tasty Tuesdays: Vitamix Recipes

We always see a lot of talk on the LDW group about the Vitamix blender. This month I asked the ladies to share their favorite Vitamix recipes. If you're not in the "it gets better" phase yet, no worries! Several can also be made in any blender, so you can join me in testing these out in whatever blenders you already have. :)  View the recipes here.


Sunday, June 23, 2013

PreMed Perspective: Two years down... How long to go?!

“ I am starting this week actually at Mesa College to get my science classes for the prereqs I didn’t take in undergrad, so I can go to med school.”

“Wow. That is cool. When will you actually start med school?”

“Oh, I figure I will apply in about 2 years, and start in about 3.”

… And there it is. The conversation that bore so much weight on my future… and I had no idea.

That conversation took place while my now husband and I were on our first “date”, which involved walking to the beach with my dog and a trip to the hole-in-the-wall taco shop. I guess he was prepping me for the future of low budget dates. 

I thought he was a nice guy, but honestly, he might have well said, “I am going to be dead broke for the foreseeable future, I am going to have to move an undetermined amount of times and cities, I have zero stability, I am years from being in my career and therefore have no intention of anything serious."

I was almost 28, when you are definitely dating to find Mr. Right, so our conversation was not exactly full of things that make you think "This guy is totally ready to settle down and be a husband".

But you can't help who you love, and here we are two years later, and right on the schedule he told me about on that first date. Well, with a 300 guest wedding, 2 moves, and the loss of our main source of income (my morning radio show gig) thrown in there, along with some other life events… but on schedule none the less.

Two weeks ago, he did just what he said he would on that first date and applied to 21 medical schools with a solid GPA and a top 2% MCAT score. I am extremely proud.

I am also extremely scared.

I lost my job that had been my career the past nine years the week before those oh-so-cheap med school apps were sent in. I have been on and producing successful radio shows here in San Diego, but the job market in radio is shrinking by the day, leaving me facing a new career of, well, who knows, but it better be good, cause it’s all on me for the next 8+ years.

I will be 30 in a couple months. 3-0. The clock is ticking, and well, that is scary too. I will be having babies and supporting us through med school. Sure… ya… no problem...

We are both San Diego natives. All of our family is here. All those people that could help us out while trying to have kids and work during med school could be a full day of flying away. Our dogs can watch the kids, right?

Finally, blogs like these. My husband has banned me from looking at a lot of wives’ blogs, because frankly, I get panic attacks reading them. A lot of wives can be seriously depressing to read about. Everyone has their own roads and experiences that they go through, and we all need to remember that. What is terrible to one person, is a walk in the park to the other, and vise versa. All of us have our own walks to take a day at a time, and no one can tell you what it is going to be like for YOU. That is NOT what I want to do here.

Yes, I am scared. However, I am also very hopeful. I hope to share some of our joys and struggles along the way… and hopefully not terrify anyone just starting to date some guy who says he wants to go into medicine away… well for that reason anyway...

Secondaries are on the way, we hope. Stay tuned. 

Anna Myatt 


Friday, June 21, 2013

Oh. He’s in medical school? He’s going to be a doctor? GOOD LUCK

Written by: Lauren Brooks 
written for:  a speech for residency graduation to honor the spouses 

When I first got engaged to Chris, I was told by a woman I didn’t know very well, “Oh. He’s in medical school? He’s going to be a doctor? GOOD LUCK.”

I was taken aback by this. What was that supposed to mean?!  I was excited and proud and thought Chris hung the moon. Why would she wish me good luck in such a biting and sarcastic manner?

As time went on I found comments like this one were not all that uncommon.  “Well, get used to being alone!” “Get ready to be a single parent!”  And the flat out, matter of fact, “You’re never going to see him.”

People made being married to a medical student, a resident, a physician sound… awful. That’s when they weren’t making it sound like we would be ROLLING IN ALLTHEMONIES, ALL THE TIME, which we all know now to be quite the embellishment, at least during residency.

When Chris was in medical school, these things were half true. He was gone for away rotations, but when he wasn’t, things were pretty normal. I can say that now because, well, turns out medical school was a breeze compared to residency.  You just don’t know what you don’t know, am I right?

Then residency came and you know? Almost everything everyone ever said turned out to be true in some way. They are gone a lot. They are paged in the middle of night for continuities, get up and leave and you don’t see them until 7pm the next night. They don’t see their kids for days at a time because they leave before the baby wakes up and get home after the baby has gone to bed. They aren’t the best at helping during those middle of the night feedings with a newborn because they’re so sleep deprived that when you ask them to just change the diaper before you get up to nurse the baby, you see them half asleep, walking out the bedroom door even though the baby is in the bassinet next to the bed (true story).  You get used to going to events alone- school events, BBQs, dinner with friends. People stop asking where your spouse is because they already know: they’re working.

I’m willing to bet that each of you 3rd year spouses have similar but different stories of your own.

Being married to a resident is hard work. It can be lonely work. Being married to a resident is not for the faint of heart.

But this isn’t meant to be woe is us kind of speech. This is a “Go us! Go YOU!” kind of thing. Because really? It takes a special kind of person to be married to a resident. You have to be tough as nails and strong and independent and problem solving and flexible and secure in yourself.  You discover strengths you never knew you had, and maybe you develop a few new ones along the way.  You become a pro at handling pretty much everything, and fixing things, and you learn that it’s okay to ask for help from family and friends when you just can’t, because sometimes we just can’t, and that’s okay too.  You make a family out of friends, because Lord knows all our actual families are too far away to step in and help with the daily ins and outs. We are proud of our spouses’ hard work and we stand by our spouses when they’re so beat down and just need a safe place to vent. We are cheerleaders, counselors, back rubbers, personal chefs, a shoulder to lean on… and then fall asleep on. We learn to laugh at this life, because if you don’t then you might cry, and that’s no way to be.  You also learn that it’s okay to cry every now and then because we can’t all be Superwoman or Superman all the time.

I could go on, but I won’t.  Suffice it to say, you are rockstars. And the best part is, all of these strengths you’ve found in yourself? All of these characteristics that can be summed up in one word, which is “resilient”? They all apply to military spouses as well. You are now passing from residency into the hands of the military. I believe that you guys are better prepared for the fundamental job of a military spouse for having been the spouse of a medical resident.

One of my new favorite authors and bloggers, Glennon Doyle Melton, who has NOTHING to do with medicine, has a lot of mantras. One of them is particularly appropriate in the life of a resident’s wife: “We can do hard things.”

We CAN do hard things. Being married to a resident counts as a hard thing. You have done a hard thing in seeing your resident through the past three years of their lives.

And so tonight, I want to say congratulations not just to these residents for completing such a worthy task, but also to the spouses. Congratulations, my friends., and thank you. You have completed a hard thing, and you have done it well.  I am honored to be amongst you guys.

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Monday, June 17, 2013

Survivor Stories Q & A

Hello LDW family. This is my first guest blog post on our site.
I asked people to send me some ideas as to what they would like to know about post training.   I received several, so I will post the others on my next blog.

Here we go...
The first thing we did when we got our first BIG paycheck....
Well,first of all, we have direct deposit so it was not as exciting as getting that first actually CHECK and running to the bank BUT it still was VERY exciting! I actually just stared at the deposit notice from the bank and then took a screenshot for posterity! Dr. H went to his favorite high end clothing store and bought some very nice tailored clothes and shoes. He bought a LOT of shoes. They are on their feet SOOOO much and one of the more seasoned docs said that should be one of his first major purchases.  Then we made our NEW Budget (that sounds sexy doesn't it)!

The biggest change for your relationship...
I think the greatest challenge post training is integration. I became incredibly comfortable with Dr.H being a non factor is daily decisions, plans, etc... It was difficult to allow him back into the routine rather than just continue to just do it all myself. Even small tasks like getting goldfish in a snack cup for our toddler took some time for me. That is how I survived for many years-I had my way of doing things. The kids eventually began asking his help more and that really allowed me to relinquish some control over things and let him help. He desperately wanted to and has enjoyed doing some of the running around and cooking and tutoring!

Buying a house right away? How Big do you go?
We have waited 9 months to purchase our post-training home. Dr. H actually was an attending for a year and a half and then went back for his fellowship for one year.  So it seemed like we waited a very long time! We wanted to pay off debt and really take the time to look at houses. Each time we have moved it has been a hurried experience to find a house and get moved. We did not want that for this home. We have shopped for a home for about 5 months and closed last week on the new house. We did not end up buying quite as expensive of a house as we could "afford". We chose to put more in savings, and investments. Plus, with all the budgetary issues arising in healthcare right now we just wanted to be very comfortable in our financial situation. That being said-it is double the size of our other home-so we are definitely movin' on up!

Post-Training Marriage....
Dr. H and I have been married for 13 years. We married before med school so we have been together through all aspects of his training.  I would say there was definitely an adjustment period since he was actually home often for the first time in a forever! You both have to adjust. He is adjusting to the new stress of a new position. There is a big change from being a fellow to being the Attending-it is a huge leap. Then I had to let him in. Let him into our schedule, into decisions, into our daily lives and let him lead our family more than he has in a long time.  For me it was a WELCOME change, I was ready to have my partner back full time and he was ready to take that on! I know that each marriage is very different and the transition can be very difficult. I have a very close friend who has said that the first 3 months post-training were the hardest of their entire marriage. This particular friend has had a child recover from cancer and they were in the Nashville Flood of 2010 (just for perspective). Be ready for that transition, it is wonderful and fantastic and so exciting, but it is a BIG transition for both of you. I believe accepting that the end of training is not some magical elevator to a world of unicorns and rainbows can definitely help. He still has to work. He still works a lot sometimes. His job is still stressful. Those factors don't change and realizing and accepting that is the first step to a happier time!

Relationships with those friends and family...
I would say this is extremely dependent on the friends and family! Some family members just don't get it. We are done with training, but now we have to financially recover from all the years of sacrifice! Most of our close friends were truly excited for us. All our medical friends understand and are thrilled. Those in our lives who have skewed views of medical families, we just do not include them in anything really going on in our lives.We have had people ask for money- it WILL happen no matter who they are. We have chosen not to go down that road. We closed on our dream home last week but have chosen to keep that info off Facebook and social media. Since finishing, we have both become very guarded with our security and that of our children. Part of that is keep things like moving, or our new neighborhood to a  bare minimum.

Best Advice you have given or been given...
 I really don't have any BEST advice. I do believe you must be honest with each other, thrive not just survive in training, and keep moving forward. Living in a stagnant place is not good for you, your family or your marriage.  Live your life and let Dr.H come along for the ride whenever he can.

I hope this was not too long. Please send me more questions and I will answer them when I am back on in August!
Mellissa Griffin-Henson


Sunday, June 16, 2013

The First Ever Show-Off Sunday!!

Hello, hello!!!  My name is Sarah and I am one of the administrators of the Lives of Doctors' Wives FB group.  I am so excited to introduce to you our newest monthly feature: Show-Off Sundays!!

Since I am a craft blogger (you can spot some of my posts in the link party-----hint: I love S'mores!!), I am always seeing, using, and creating link parties.  I love to be able to visit one of my favorite blogs and see a huge assortment of talent and ideas from all over the web right in front of my eyes.

In the Facebook group we have found that people want to share the product they are selling, the newest masterpiece in their Etsy shop, and every new post on their personal blog.  We actually had to make a "no soliciting" rule in the group because the feed was always filling up with posts and shares and requests to vote on things.  It was wild.

However, the "no soliciting" rule made us bummed out that we couldn't find out about the amazing talents and endeavours of our readers, and so Show-Off Sunday was born!!  From this point forward, every third Sunday in a month will be Show-Off Sunday.  Woohoo!!

Feel free to link up whatever you like that is YOUR OWN intellectual property for Show-Off Sunday.  Link up your favorite blog posts, your website that you think we will all love, a link to a fabulous item in your Etsy shop, etc.  Please do not link up to blogs and shops that are not your own.  We are primarily interested in showcasing the work of our readers and members!

Please do not link up giveaways or other linky parties, as those expire, and please limit your entries to FIVE links.  If you link up more than five entries or violate our very loose guidelines we reserve the right to remove the extra/non-qualifying links.

Now get linking, ladies!  I can't WAIT to see what you all have in store for me!  Better get my "Pin It!" finger ready!!!  ;)


Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Dear Cristin feature

Due to popular demand, and groveling from me, Cristin has agreed to author a new feature on the blog called, Dear Cristin. You may know Cristin from all of the great advice she gives us on the Facebook group!  This is a chance for you to submit anonymous questions and have them answered by Cristin. Wondering what to wear to an interview or dinner? Cristin knows! Wondering how to handle a pesky inlaw? Cristin knows! Wondering how to handle a flirty co-worker? Cristin knows!

Submit your question to doctorswives@gmail.com and hear what advice Cristin has for you! Questions will be accepted any time, but the feature will go live on June 27th.


Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Residency Roundup: Tips for medical wives entering intern year

Happy Graduation and Moving month to all our starting residents!  
I think back 2 years ago to our frenzied month of boxes, paperwork, goodbyes, and then hellos and remember it felt like a bittersweet whirlwind.  During each transition during this long process I have felt awkward, like beginning a new phase with the understanding that I truly knew very little nothing about what was to happen. 

To help each new intern family succeed  this coming year I scoured the internet for some solve-all tips.  I found this awesome article on kevinmd.com written by Elizabeth Breuer, MD "Tips for medical students entering intern year".  http://www.kevinmd.com/blog/2011/06/tips-medical-students-entering-intern-year.html  (click to read full article)

Here are Elizabeth Breuer's nine tips for interns:
1. You might have been a good medical student but you now know essentially nothing.
2. Accept the fact that you will (do) dumb things and you might hear about it.
3. Having a pager sucks.
4. It's ok to be absolutely terrified.
5. If you are completely over your head, ask for help.
6. Things that seem scary will become second nature.
7. It's ok to complain.
8. Step back and realize how totally amazing your job is.
9. Most importantly, work hard, keep your head down, take care of your patients and take responsibility for your actions.

What our husbands and/or partners do is important and a big deal.  But as their support, confidant, teammate, and cheerleader through this journey, we need our own recommendations for success which is why I sorted out our own 'doctors wives' intern tips.  

My nine tips for new intern wives:
1. Remember YOU are the constant.  
2. Learn to be flexible. Ideally, flexible and patient:)
3. Long call days or horrible month rotations will end.  
4. Find or continue ways to keep your sanity.  Hobbies, Family, Friends, Work, etc. 
5. During those really bad days where regret, hurt, and loneliness catch up with you, remember you are not alone! Other wives have survived those feelings.  Breath, you can and will do this.
6. Invent new ways to connect with your Doc.  Meet up at the hospital for a meal or Face-time your goodnight calls. 
7. You and you DrH are accomplishing something amazing.  
8. Document, remember this time of hard work and sacrifice.  
9. Most importantly, remember LOVE.  

Happy Wishes to all our new Doctor's Wives!!


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Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Tasty Tuesdays: Shortcuts in the Kitchen

When life gets busy (as it usually is), who wants to spend all day in the kitchen? To help make things a little easier, we asked the LDW ladies about their favorite culinary shortcuts and got some great tips!  Read more here.


Monday, June 3, 2013

Med School Madness

The Q and A … Part 1

A while back I read a blog post that reminded of me of how uniquely awesome we all are. Specifically, medical school wives. We are all on the same road but we are experiencing it differently. I wanted to write about those experiences so I enlisted the help of several women whose husbands are in medical school or just finished. They are all in different stages so I was really excited to ask them a few questions. I sent out the same questions to all of them and I received wonderful responses. As I got back answers I started to see a theme forming. All of them value a positive and flexible attitude. Professionally, they are a diverse group. This group of girls include a flight attendant, volunteers, nannies, a writer and editor and wives whose work is now at home.

In this post I will concentrate on a few practical realities of medical school wives. I will share their responses on finances and their lifestyle as a medical school family.

The contributors* to these posts are Tabatha and Jennifer whose husbands are now done with MSII and are preparing for STEP 1. Rachel and Amanda whose Student Dr. H completed MSIII.. Lastly, Mia and Margaret are currently celebrating the completion of MSIV, my congratulations to them and their husbands! What an exciting time.

Now, Lets get to their responses!

Q-Has your lifestyle as a medical family changed dramatically since the start of medical school or has it been more of the same?
A- Most of the girls who have been with their spouses since undergrad state that this is 'more of the same'. Those who feel differently are a bit non-traditional.
Amanda-Our lifestyle has definitely changed dramatically! We became a one income household and we moved very far away from home. I had to adjust to some culture shocks and start to accept that studying and catching up on sleep comes before anything else. She adds that most household issues are her responsibility.

Margeret- DrH is MD/PhD and we met during his last year of research, so he started MS4 about five months into our relationship. The med school months were definitely different from the research months, but it was good to get that experience! He also had tougher rotations toward the beginning of MS4, so by the time we hit the last few months, his schedule was pretty cushy and we got a lot of good time together as we prepared for our wedding!

Q- Many things during MS take an adjustment period. What are some things that took you by surprise and gave a moment or two to adjust?
Jennifer- The competitive nature of med school and the hierarchy that exists between the different classes, and even the competitiveness between his classmates.

Tabatha-The biggest aspect of medical school that took me by surprise was the emotional toll it took on my husband. I knew it would be demanding mentally and very time consuming but I was completely unprepared for the emotional breakdowns my husband would have to endure. I felt helpless as I would try to support him without knowing how. You can only tell someone so many times it's all going to be okay before you yourself stop believing it. But eventually it DID get better. In fact, it got better than I would’ve ever imagined!

Rachel-Our first away rotation. It was technically a "rural rotation" his third year for family medicine, but it was a hard two weeks getting used to him being gone. It was a great trial run before what is to come: three months of back-to-back away rotations this summer.

Amanda-The amount of time required to study! I also think the studying and time constraints surprised me because we had both been out of college and in the work force for several years, so we were used to working hard, working double shifts, overtime, and holidays. It was more shocking than my spouse expected to become a professional student again! Never mind studying for Step I and Step II, I don't see him for weeks!

Mia- Tests! I wasn't prepared for the constant testing, studying for tests, “test weeks” and then boards, too.

Margaret-Learning to think of a scheduled shift as more like...guidelines. I got REALLY stressed out once because DrH was more than 90 minutes late coming home from the hospital and totally unreachable by phone/text. I actually drove from his house to the hospital to check for wrecks along the road. Of course, it turned out that he'd just been in a different room from his phone with a patient who was coding. I am a planner, so it took me a while to realize that shift times are not set in stone and to be more flexible with them.

Q-When I speak to pre-med couples, the topic most often discussed is finances. Is this subject a source of stress for your household or has it been surprisingly uneventful?
Jennifer- The financial stress is always a current running underneath everything. I would say our biggest fights are sparked because of stress concerning finances. I know that we'll be able to pay back our loans, but it is hard to think about the amount of debt we are accumulating. She also notes is difficult to continually say 'no' to her kids on things they want but trust this is building good character in them.

Amanda-What a headache! My spouse has his first B.A. in Finance so we went into MS with a beautiful color coded excel spreadsheet...and to make a long story short...we no longer use said spreadsheet at all! The Spouses Organization set me up with a sponsor and she told me "don't worry about the money, the loans cover everything". And she was so right!

Mia- Our savings combined with student loans allowed us to comfortably cover all of the MSIV expenses while allowing me to stay home with our son and travel on interviews with my husband. We were careful with our money and planned for the future, which made finances (nearly) stress-free.
Most of the girls are awesome planners, most mentioned they live 'simply' and enjoy wise shopping and I was surprised at how much some of them enjoy spreadsheets and financial planning. Most also manage their household finances.

Q-Lastly, for those who transitioned from classroom to rotations in MS3, tell us what that is like?

Rachel- Rotations are a thousand times better than classroom! You will go on a new adventure every month. Your spouse will have a personality not laced with anxiety, again!

Amanda-For us the transition to clinic was AMAZING! We are now closer to home and not having the intense study schedule has led to a much happier and pleasant med student . As I sit here writing this evening everything is great.

Mia-My husband was much happier during rotations than he was in the classroom. This reflected in every aspect of life for us. He has always studied at home, so he wasn't around quite as much. But, there was much more quality home time during rotations.

I want to end this by sharing that although some things are very difficult most of the girls in this group expressed a positive view on medical school. I noticed the tone became a bit lighter when rotations in MS3 started. It's fair to point out that those who are done mentioned med school goes by fast and we should enjoy more and worry less but understand that is easier said than done. I want to thank Amanda, Tabatha, Rachel, Jennifer, Mia and Margaret for their contributions.

Don't forget this is the first part of this Q and A and next time on Med School Madness we will touch on friendships, what these girls worry in regards to their husband, a little on time management and goals. I'm excited to post that!

Thanks for reading!! :)


*While all these ladies are real, some of the names are not and they have been changed for privacy issues.

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