This Page

has moved to a new address:


Sorry for the inconvenience…

Redirection provided by Blogger to WordPress Migration Service
Lives of Doctor Wives: August 2013

Saturday, August 31, 2013

So, I love going overboard for Christmas... I love having tons of stuff under the tree... I love the feeling of looking into my kids thrilled and overwhelmed eyes... I love watching them stare with AWE at it all... I love the over-indulgence....
The problem is... I think I'm the ONLY one in the family that cares. My kids never play with half (or more) of what they get. I really need to do WAY less.

Tell me its the right move and why....please????

(Abridged to remove identifying information)

When we get to a certain place in our medical life, options open up. This is neither fully good nor fully bad, it's just fact. For most of us there will eventually be a day when not buying a new toy at every Target visit becomes a choice, not a necessity. And after many years of being The No Mom, it can be intoxicating to be The Yes Mom. The discipline to say 'no' when it's the right thing to say is a priceless gift to our children, as much as it may pain us to reel ourselves in when we're out of control.

Put yourself in your child's shoes, if you need motivation.

Think about how you feel when you open that set of ugly dishtowels from your great-aunt, or the bedazzled sweatshirt 2 sizes too big from Grandma, or the asparagus steaming pot from your MIL who always forgets that you don't like asparagus. Even "useful" things like lotion in a scent you don't like from the neighbor, or a mug that's the wrong size from a girlfriend, are not really gifts if you didn't want them and won't use them. You feel twice as disappointed by the thoughtless gift that's just a placeholder than you would have if there had been no gift at all, but just a sincere card written with affection. You feel burdened by now having to keep track of the stupid things, or return them, or clean them up, or find a place to put them, or haul them to a donation center, or regift them. You feel invisible to the giver, like they're just going through the motions because of obligation instead of REALLY looking at YOU, at the you of you, at the things you really want and would really love. Bad gifts are worse than no gifts.

And if over half of what you're giving your kids is going unused, those are bad gifts, even if they were pleasurable to buy, even if they seemed like fun at the store. You're burdening the kids with all of it for the pleasure you get from anticipating what they'll look like for an hour on December 25th.

You are a smart, creative person. Use your creativity differently--instead of having to dream up more things to buy just to create The Big Reveal, try thinking of the 2 or 4 or 6 items that will get the same dazzled, amazed response--not because it's SO MUCH, but because it's JUST RIGHT. The Just Right thing blesses the giver, because of the pleasure of giving it, and also blesses the receiver, because it's about them, and not about you. Which, really, is the entire point.

Cristin has marched alongside her academic attending husband for 18 years, through medical school, eight years of residency + fellowship #1 + fellowship #2, four moves, four kids, and a crazy lot of laughs. You can submit questions confidentially to dearcristin@outlook.com.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Perspective from one year out:

Perspective from one year out:

Thinking back to residency a few of the things that seem to be universally dreamed about for the ‘it gets better’ phase is money, schedule, and stress. I certainly dreamed about the day when I no longer had to worry over paying the bills, more time together as a family, and being rid of the stress that comes with residency. Dreams of that final job, where DrH would be happy, content, respected, and well paid for working the ideal schedule for our family. Looking back, I realize now how little we knew navigating that murky water of starting the first job, what life would be like after training was complete, and how brutally similar that final job can be to residency. Life does get better after residency…in some ways.

Money and paying the bills every month is probably one of the biggest stressors in a resident’s family’s life. This is likely especially true of those families with only the resident income. We were a two-income family for 99.9% of residency, as I stayed in my job until a month before DrH finished residency. Even with two incomes and $100k+ joint income we still had hard months. We were working on paying off his student loans and providing for our son who was born during residency. Money after residency is definitely good. Thus far, at one year out, we have chosen to keep our large expenses very similar to what they were during residency. We have bought items for our home that have made life nicer but have not bought new cars or a new house, yet. We save heavily for retirement, our son’s education, pay heavily on student debt, and give ourselves a very generous monthly allowance for buying whatever suits our fancy at the time. We pay people to mow and weed treat our lawn. Our son is in a private, well regarded preschool just for the socialization. We have season passes to three theme parks, two out of state, and the local aquarium. We do almost monthly date nights, complete with a couples massage at our favorite spa and a fancy dinner, which the bill, many times, will run in excess of my monthly payment on my Mercedes.

Saying that the money is perfect would be an overstatement. DrH was 31 years old when he started working in his first job. He is young compared to many. We worry about the future and we worry about making a normal retirement age goal. The income level is almost necessary to catch up on just saving for the future. We feel incredibly behind already. However, we do not worry about how we are going to pay our electricity bill or buy groceries anymore. The money post residency is probably one of the biggest things that really does get better.

Not all things are as fun as the money post residency. DrH is an IM hospitalist so his schedule, admittedly, is better than many. He works an average of 16 days per month and most of his stints are in 6-9 day blocks. He is now facing working up to 4 nights per month. This is a recent change as the nocturnist in his group had a car accident that has put her out of working. It is not a welcome change, as he hates night shifts but we roll with it, as it is what it is, and there is nothing that we can really do about it except adjust. His schedule is only published some times a couple of weeks before the next month starts. It fuels the feeling that we are living month to month, just like in residency, moving from one rotation to another.

Working post residency can be frustratingly similar to in residency. Even though he does not have a residency program director he now has a medical director and assistant medical director. Time off, for my husband, has become his most valuable commodity post residency. One of the major perks of working as a hospitalist is longer stints of time off. This time off feels necessary, due to the long hours of working, simply to recover and to have some amount of family time. Calling in sick as a hospitalist places a burden immediately upon the others in your group who are off that day to come in and cover for you. It is not a job where your patients can be canceled for the day because you are unable to work. Post residency, in a position like this, there are still people who will call in sick. DrH has had to go in on his week off to cover for others. He is compensated financially for these days but the time off is lost. Weeks off have recently become a source of stress due to how frequently he had been contacted regarding work. He struggles to disconnect from work during his time off due to this possibility. This is an area that has been hard to adjust to and something that even a year out is an area of continued struggle. His time off is his time…unless something happens to prevent someone else from coming into work.

There are other stresses after residency as well. Residency had plenty of stresses associated with it. He was expected to complete a long list of procedures, attend journal club, do some minimal research, prep for and exceed expectations on in-service exams, read for a prepare for all of his rotations, know everything about his patients and his intern’s patients, maintain a consistent clinic schedule, teach interns, and endure morning report and M&M, to name a few. This list of demands on any medical resident is never ending. There is always more that each resident can do, even if not specifically required. Demands and stressors like this do not really cease post residency, however, they just take new forms. As a practicing attending he is now expected to bill as “effectively” as possible for each and every patient. This is a practice that is measured and reviewed monthly, pointing out to each physician publicly the amount they lost the group due to how they wrote their note. There is also a new and very real stress of practicing on your own medical license and malpractice insurance. The burden of practicing good medicine all while trying to not piss your patients off is a very thin line to walk sometimes. The reality of patient satisfaction surveys and threatened legal action bring a new level of stress to a new physician. Even though it may have been said in the heat of the moment, legal action has been threatened over something as stupid as him removing unnecessary narcotics from a patient’s med list, even though it was for valid reasons. When you stand in a room and have a patient or patient’s family say “if you do X, we are going to sue you” it jars the core of confidence which that physician practices. It is an unnerving statement and it has a profound impact, yet it is very much the society we now live in and the entitled attitude that the vast majority of patients have. This makes the REAL practice of medicine very different than the expectation that was there before medical school or even while in residency.

Just know that going from residency or fellowship to that grown up doctor job is in many ways great. It will offer more flexibility financially and allow your family room to breathe and ability to do things that you have been sacrificing during all of this training. In other ways, it can be worse. It can be painfully stressful, the schedule is almost neveras good as it sounds like it will be when you sign that contract, and the first job, statistically, will likely not be the last job, and that’s okay. Some things may be better and some may be worse. Nothing about finishing residency means that life will be easy from here out. Life is hard sometimes and it is up to you what you do with those lemons when they are handed to you.


Labels: , ,

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Tasty Tuesdays: On the Go Meals

Let's talk about on-the-go meals. Not just meals that are easy to make, but ones that are super-fast AND portable. There was a conversation in the LDW group recently about breakfast ideas for the DrHs. If your family is anything like mine, they like to grab the first thing they see in the fridge and run out the door.  Here are a few more ideas for grab-and-go meals:  http://helping-the-medicine-go-down.blogspot.com/2013/08/on-go-meals.html

Labels: ,

Monday, August 26, 2013

Med School Madness

 The Q and A. Part 2.
A long time ago, in what feels like a galaxy far away, before yet another move and other things on the way, I wrote a little blog post about the lives of several Student Dr. Wives.  It was great fun to ask the LDW girls a few questions and more fun still to read their well thought out responses.  If you are interested in reading that post, you can find it here (http://doctorwives.blogspot.com/2013/06/med-school-madness-theq-and-part-1.html).  That was part one; today I am finishing up that conversation.  In the first post, we talked about some of the shared realities of medical school and what it’s like to be the partner of those who attend medical schools all over the US.  We talked about adjusting to MS, finances, study time and such.  Today, I’d like to finish by posting about some of the emotional matters of being the partner of a medical student.  Again, I’d like to thank Jessie, Tabatha, Jennifer, Rachel, Amanda, Mia and Margaret whose answers made these posts much better than anything I could have done on my own.  I wish you could read all their responses. These ladies are far more gifted as story tellers and writers than I can ever be.  They should tell their own stories and I hope they can guest post  but until that time comes, thank you ladies for allowing me to share your answers.  Thank you!

Now then, let’s get started.

First question, I can’t be the only worrier.  What worries you now about your Student Dr?

Jessie- Getting through Step 1 and away rotations. His first rotation, starting July 1, will take him about 90 minutes away for three months. It’s going to be tough.

Tabatha- My hubby has already begun to worry about the dreaded "L" word. Lawsuit. He does not handle rejection or failure well. I worry about how he is already concerned about this in ways he shouldn't be (stressed out, losing sleep, etc)

Margaret- I’m definitely concerned about how residency will impact our fledgling marriage. Quality time is important to both of us and I think it will be hard to start our marriage in a new city at the same time DrH starts residency. I think we will both learn a lot about flexibility and generosity in these first few years!

Rachel- Time management and the hectic scheduling of fourth year. I feel like there's so many things he will be juggling at once, away rotations during applying for residency, traveling again for step 2, traveling for interviews. He is not a person who "stops" when there's something else he can do. He just keeps going and going until there is nothing left on his to-do list. That has worked thus far and got him a long ways during the lecture years, but now he is going to have to learn how to sleep when things are left undone until tomorrow.

As you look back, is there one thing you wish you had done differently? AND/OR what are some things you got right?

Tabatha- I know a lot of couples have kids before or during medical school but I am so glad we decided to wait to have kids. I feel like it took a huge stress off us. It was a hard decision to make (we both REALLY want kids) but I'm glad we decided to wait to start a family.

Margaret- Being flexible and making the most of the time we did have together, even when our schedules conflicted and limited that time.

Amanda- I have become a much more flexible person and learned a lot about myself.  I also made some of the best friends of my life with the Spouses Organization.  

Jessie- I am SO glad I went to law school. It is definitely possible to go back to school after kids are grown, but it seems like a much harder road than getting all the education you want and getting some experience under your belt before starting a family. I only wish both of us could have gone straight through; a year off between college and law school for me and three years off for my husband before medical school have delayed the possibility of starting a family.

Rachel- I wish we would have moved into a smaller place after we got married. I also think the sooner you can look at the true picture of finances in the many years to come, the better. I think waiting to start a family (was the right decision), even though that wasn't our original plan. It is a highly personal decision but going into a surgical specialty after medical school, we have eight years at a minimum until DrH will be out of training

As you look forward, what are some of your goals personally and as a couple who belong to the medical community?

Tabatha-My goals personally are to find a job that will allow me to be home more. As a couple we hope to just keep up what we're doing and make it through this crazy journey. Eventually, (after residency) we hope to end up back in Oregon where hubby can practice for a few years and then return to his school as faculty.

Margaret-We are hoping to start our family soon, so we will be striving to nurture our young marriage and cultivate a strong, loving home environment for our children while juggling the stresses of medical training.  As a couple, we feel very strongly that it is important to develop relationships within our community and to support doctors and medical couples who are younger in their training.  We hope to be a light to our community just as others have been lights to us.

Amanda-Our goals are to get a residency in our home state, with the full knowledge that we may end up a million miles away.  We’d like to have kids, a house and may be more cats. The future is exciting!

Rachel- To stay involved and be humble and stay anonymous. We want to give to the causes we choose and make an impact through volunteering, and then go on our merry way and enjoy the little time we have with our family together.
Jessie-I’d like for us to be more than just a doctor and his wife. That is, I don’t want my husband defined only by his job title, and I certainly don’t want to be defined as only an extension of him and his job title. That’ll be tough in our society, which is dragging its knuckles on the path to gender equality, and particularly in my religious community, where I am often asked first what my husband does, rather than what I do. If, at some point, I am a stay-at-home mom, I intend to wear that badge with honor, and I hope to contribute even the tiniest bit to an increase in society’s respect for the work mothers do. I can’t contribute that way if I allow myself to be defined as a “doctor’s wife.” I guess, essentially, I want both of us to preserve and proclaim our individual identities rather than being content to nestle into the boxes people will no doubt try to shove us into.   
Secondly, I hope we can hang onto our material perspective. I grew up in extreme poverty (extreme for the United States, that is), and my husband comes from simple means as well. I hear a lot of my colleagues and a lot of doctors’ families lament how little money they make and how hard it is to stretch their six-figure incomes (talking about after residency, clearly), and I fear falling into the same jaded mindset. No idea how we’ll instill the right perspective in offspring who, when asked, will have to answer that their parents are a doctor and a lawyer. Any advice there would be greatly appreciated.
Lastly, since our purpose at LDW is to support the medical spouse, I asked the girls share about a person who has encouraged them through the medical journey aside from their spouse. 

The unanimous response was that other medical wives get it.  They make a huge difference.  All those who answered stated that another MS girl has been just what the doctor ordered.  GO US! Jessie did bring up her puppy.  For her, her pup was a gift during the lonely times and Rachel had this to say:
“I have met many other significant others and spouses of medical students, but it wasn't until I found the right one who became a great friend almost instantly as soon as we started hanging out, that I found someone that could travel the road through medical training with me. Having someone to talk to who understand without judgment is HUGE. No one else will outside of this, nor should we expect them to. As we will never understand truly what someone else's spouse goes through in their field. It's great to have someone to call on those long days DrH is in surgery or on call, who is newly married with the time constraints our spouses have, who can share their insight on setting up housing for away rotations or finding the best deals for flights for interviews. If you meet someone who can truly go through this experience with you, it will be hard not to come out on the other side friends for life.”

Thank you all for reading and checking out our blog. I learned a ton from doing this post.  I was reminded how import support is during the medical school years and how fast the time truly goes by.  This journey is temporary, it’s best to remember whatever trouble you see today will soon pass away.  If you don’t have a medical friend yet, hang in there and come visit our FB group, many of us are getting the encouragement and the advice we need in there.  Until next time!

Labels: , , , , , ,

Monday, August 19, 2013

A New Beginning

Howdy! Since this is my first post as a pre-med contributor for LDW, I wanted to take a few moments to introduce myself. 

My name is Natalie and I am the wife of an aspiring med-student. We willl call him B. We celebrated our 8th wedding anniversary in July and reside in the lovely state of Texas...hence the occasional use of the word y'all. B is a non-traditional student with a previous career as a police officer. This summer has entailed MCAT preparations/testing and the arduous application process. Whew! We are exhausted. I know you can relate. I am thrilled to be contributing to LDW and am so excited to have found a community in which to share this experience. I cannot wait to get to know you!

"We are applying to medical school!" About 16 months ago I found myself excitedly sharing this monumental news with family, friends, and anyone with ears, honestly. I still find myself making that statement and recently asked my hubby if it bothered him that I used the word 'WE?' After all, I was not the one who took 37 hours of science classes over the last year to fulfill the prerequisites. I will not be the one spending countless hours studying. But still...WE. Right? He assured me that WE is definitely appropriate because he couldn't do it without me. First of all, swoon! Secondly, I know in my heart that statement is true. I hope you know that too. We will walk with our men throughout this entire process. B needs my support and I am happy to give it. The path to becoming a physician is long and difficult, and we are learning as we go. I decided that it would be appropriate to dedicate this first post to sharing just a few lessons I have learned along this journey so far.

Be flexible.
I think we probably all go into this with an idea of how we would like this experience to unfold. It would be foolish not to spend a considerable amount of time thinking about which schools to apply to, where you would like to live, what type of medical school experience your spouse would like to have, etc. But (you knew there was a but, right?) let's face it...the statistics on aamc.org show that on a national level only 43% of all med-school applicants actually matriculate. That is a little daunting if you ask me. This is where flexibility comes in. Personally, we would love to stay in Texas (hooray for in-state tuition) and we would love to be as close as possible to family. However, I am learning that any preconceived notion of control I thought we might have over this process has already been thrown out the window. We are applying to a large selection of schools in order to give us the best chance possible. It would honestly be a blessing to get in anywhere. And I am really making the effort to perceive the unknown as exhilarating rather than terrifying. I have had so much fun fantasizing about where we could be living in the next year. Maybe I will be city girl who learns to take public transportation, a novel idea for a small town Texas girl! New experiences, scenery, and restaurants...sounds fun! Bring it on.

Don't lose your identity.
From here on out, our fellas will forever be known as the med-student, resident, doctor, etc. This is not just a career choice, it is an identity. I witnessed this phenomenon firsthand in B's previous career. Whether he was on-duty or off-duty, he was always a cop. And from here on out we will be known as doctor wives. Please do not think I am being negative here. That absolutely rocks! But I have already realized that chasing a dream this big can be so consuming that it has the potential to swallow you whole if you let it. And I imagine (and I'm sure those of you who have been there would agree) that it only gets more consuming the farther into it you go. Resident's hours...enough said. Yes, everything I am doing right now is to further B's dream of becoming a doctor. It's now my dream too. But, I do feel it's important to find myself in this process as well. You see, before we made this big decision my life had gotten a little stale without me even realizing it. This is the most excited I have been in a long time because I plan to use this experience to try to reinvent myself as well. I have put some real thought into rediscovering the things that bring me joy and pursuing them. I have started a blog revolving solely around the idea of happiness. I am sure I will end up writing about this journey some, but more than anything it has just been about what makes me ridiculously happy. I am starting a creative writing class at the local community college next week. I also look forward to living in a larger market and having the opportunity to take some interior design classes when B starts med-school. So, whatever your passions may be, pursue them. You will be better for it and so will your spouse. 

Let go of anxiety.
I know, I know...easier said than done, right? I just heard you audibly sigh through the screen. Honestly, this has been the toughest thing for me thus far and I do not expect to master it any time soon. But, I am proud to say that I am making a valiant effort. My ah-ha moment about anxiety came earlier this summer. I found myself constantly saying the following things: "If we can just get through this semester..." or "After the MCAT, we will feel better..." or "Once the applications have been submitted we won't be so stressed..." You know just as well as I do that this process requires a lot of waiting. As soon as you get one thing done, another one is looming. I guess what I realized is that there will always be something to worry about. Once B has been accepted we will have to prepare for a move, then the stresses of med-school, step tests, residency, fellowship...the list goes on and on. And if I continue to be anxious about every little step, I could very well find myself being a stressed out mess for the next decade. Literally. That is no way to live. So, I am trying to find ways to let go of anxiety and I encourage you to do the same. Some things that work for me: prayer, writing, talking it out with B, exercise, getting lost in something creative, really loud rock music, and on occasion, red wine. You know...a girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do.

I realize that everyone's journey is different and I still have a lot to learn. This website is successful because it is a great place to share experiences and learn from one another. So, if you are so inclined to help out a new gal such as myself, please feel free to share your wisdom. I am all ears! 

you can also find me at thehappyredhead.com



Sunday, August 18, 2013

Show-Off Sundays! August 2013

It's that time again!  Show-Off Sundays!  Link up your favorite blog posts, Etsy shop items, etc.  This is your chance to SHOW OFF!  No more than five links per person, please.  We can't wait to see what you have been working on!

Friday, August 16, 2013

My husband is a med school applicant. In fact, he's been a med school applicant twice.

written by: anonymous

My husband is a med school applicant. In fact, he's been a med school applicant twice.

Yup, that's right. This is the second go 'round for him. In fewer than 12 months, we're on application cycle number two. Dos. Twice as money schools this time. Twice as much money (at least--fingers crossed for many interviews). Twice has much time waiting for this whole doctor train to finally depart from the station.

I know it's typical of wives to brag about their husbands, but mine really is top notch (I'm sure yours is, too). He went to a public-Ivy for undergrad. He decided to be a doctor after studying business, and then banged out his pre-reqs in one year--with a 4.0. He teaches, tutors, volunteers, works, and studies like crazy. He got a 94% percentile MCAT score...They guy really is not dumb.

But neither is anyone else applying to med school. (Well, I have my suspicions, but really, the application process is so tedious and complex that I really think someone has to be at least of average intelligence to even figure out AMCAS.)

About this time last year, my husband had just taken the MCAT. FYI, it's already early July right now. The score wasn't returned until August, there were some straggling letter writers, and a few nervous personal statement revisions, and his fifteen applications were finally submitted in early September. We thought we were sitting pretty.

Well, we were. Kind of.

Secondaries came in from both coasts and the Midwest. In an effort to save some money, he concentrated on the secondary applications for schools in our current state. All three schools offered him an interview. Of those, two offered wait list spots.

We're still waiting.

There is an extremely small chance he will get phone call inviting him to fill a spot on the first day of class. My guess is that we saved between $500 - $1500.00 not filling out every single secondary that came through the door (I say up to $1500 to budget in for potential interviews requiring flights and hotels). Any guesses on how much the second cycle has already cost?

$1,500. (So far.)
Life is funny like that.
 After doing some soul searching and self flagellation, we learned a few things:
1. Future Doc is a competitive applicant. He was lucky enough to have an internal med resident friend review his CV with two admissions counselors at a top public university who said he is a great applicant. This friend is a straight shooter, so we're trusting what she tells us. This is the most important thing, because it's kept him (us, really) confident. You have to be confident.

2. Applying in early September is way too late. I can't tell you how many conversations we've had that start out with, "If we knew then what we know now...". The truth is that we had no clue early September was so late in the game. People take the MCAT in August! Sure, we would have preferred he was ready to go Day One, but between his classes and jobs, there was no way to effectively study for the MCAT. His score was worth the July test date. But early September was way too late. Why? Because there a bunch of people exactly like my husband ready to go at 9:00 AM as soon as admission open. Because there a bunch of people way smarter than we were, or who had better intel than we did, just ready to get those applications verified and sent out to schools. Apply early.

3. Saving money on application fees is not a smart move. At all. Really. Like, don't do it. I would rather be writing this post from the Middle of Nowhere Med School than writing this one. It sucks seeing your mate unhappy and self-conscious. It sucks pushing your plans back another year because you were trying to be financially responsible. It sucks spending that same money (and then some) on the same process while you replay your mistakes in your head over and over again. Did I mention this process kind of sucks? As much as I wanted to deny this fact, the $3,000 - $5,000 you may spend on applications fees are worth a year. Until there is a shiny, happy acceptance letter in your hot little hand, don't stop applying. Start curbing application fees when there's a guarantee he's going somewhere. If he'd prefer MD, there's not reason to spend $500 on a flight and hotel to that DO interview. But until he gets what he wants, just keep churning those puppies out. Apply broadly, and fill out secondaries. All of them.

4. Staying positive is the most important. We already know he's a strong applicant. We already know he knows how to interview. We know he's put the hay in the barn and the rest is awaiting this crap-shoot process to work itself out. Until that happens, though, we're staying as positive as possible. Yes, we have to wait a year, but it's one more year we have together before life gets really nuts. Yes, this process is expensive, but we're both working this year (which hasn't happened in years!) and we'll be able to pay for it, pay down some debt, and maybe even put money into savings. Since he applied all over the place this year, we're thisclose to the possibility of living in a new state and starting all over again. That's pretty exciting stuff, and we're pretty lucky to have the chance to bounce around a bit (remind me of this when we're moving for his fellowship).

So, that's it, four things we've learned so far. It's expensive, it's hard, it's time consuming and nerve wracking. But, we've been here before and lived through it, and this time we're a little smarter (and more desperate, maybe?), and will figure out how to make it work. And with that, on to editing another secondary...

Labels: , ,

Monday, August 12, 2013

Survivor Perspectives Q & A Continued...

Hello Ladies! I cannot believe it is August and my turn for Survivor Perspective! I will be answering the last of the questions asked in June.

How do you handle the relationships with people in your program if you stay and your husband becomes their "boss"?
This is one many of us who love where we trained and want to stay face! My relationships with the spouses of residents, nurses, etc... who are now underneath my husband's umbrella has not changed so much. I am still very close to certain people and not as close to others. This situation is not unusual in Academic Medicine-it is the natural cycle of events.  I have always been very careful   with whom I share, vent and discuss anything work-related. That bubble was in place before he was an Attending and is still in place now.  I think if you handle yourself the same as before, then people around you follow suit.

When nearing the end of training and talk of a fellowship arises, how should I approach Dr. H with concerns?
Be honest with your significant other. Find out the root of discussion.  In many specialities, a fellowship is just sort of a given, people assume you are going to do one. If that was not clear for you, or if your husband has not shared an interest in that prior, then ask what is the driving force in this desire for more training. Things change. The job market changes. Specialities evolve and the health care profession is in constant flux. Sometimes the need for a fellowship is truly that-a NEED. Holding that additional training in some specialities is a large difference in income or a job at all.

Find out the details-do your homework! Is this a one year or a three year commitment? Do we move? When do we apply? I think the biggest advice on this topic is to just listen and be open to information.
 Don't be afraid to express your concerns, but don't rule out his desire for this either. This is a decision to made together.

We have the Job and the House and the new schedule, what now??
I really love this question because it is one that I discuss with other wives a lot. During training, we get into a pattern of checking things off or living for the next part to finish. Intern year, we survived!! Now we have In-- Training exams, Now --Chief Year, Now --Boards, Now --Fellowship, etc.... So what do you do when you are finally done? You have nothing else to wait for, or to check off your list. It definitely feels a bit incomplete.
 Life does change in many ways, but it also stays the same. He is still a busy doctor. His schedule is better, but he still works a lot. You have more family time (or time to start one if you have not yet), but how do we all fit together? I think the first few post training years are all about finding your New Normal. The best part about that is YOU get to decide for yourselves what that is going to look like.  For the first time in many years, you and your spouse are in charge. ENJOY IT!!

During Medical School and our Residency, I handled the finances. Now that we are close to finishing, Dr. H has expressed an interest in taking that over. I am not sure I want him to. Do they have time to handle that in practice?
Over our 13+ years of marriage, we have handled the financial responsibilities all different ways. I found during the tougher years, that I handled most of the financial decisions simply because he was unavailable for immediate consultation. Whoever was the one in charge at the time, always carried that stress. We have found it best to share this responsibility equally. One person does not do all of it. My Dr. H has plenty of time to complete his tasks on his to do list. Sometimes, I do need to help him out if he is have a crazy week/month, etc... But for the most part, we handle it together.  Allow him to come back into the financial picture of your marriage, you can figure it out together. It will be a lot more fun too since you are close to getting a good paycheck!

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Residency Roundup: Smiling:)

HAHA!  I love the last square.... its perfect:)

What funny things give you a smile?...even on the hardest day?  

Here are a few of mine
  • My kids doing silly things! This week while my 3 year old son was caressing my arm, he looked up at me with his sparkling, beautiful eyes and lovingly told me "mom, I like your puffy arm"
  • "The Mindy Project"- I heart this show.  I survived PGY2 all because of the many tears of laughter from this show.
  • Anything Jimmy Fallon does!
  • and Jonny Carson You Tube clips such as... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ubIrmXUsreE

When I adjust my attitude and focus on all the good around, life in the crazy PGY years seems better!  

I also want to share my favorite inspirational quotes, that gives me a pinch of reality and the encouragement to carry on.  

"Anyone who imagines that bliss is normal is going to waste a lot of time running around shouting that he's been robbed.  The fast is that most putts don't drop, most beef is tough, most children grow up to just be people, most successful marriages require a high degree of mutual toleration, most jobs are more often dull than otherwise.  Life is like and old time rail journey...delays...sidetracks, smoke, dust, cinders and jolts, interspersed only occasionally by beautiful vistas and thrilling burst of speed.  The trick is to thank the Lord for letting you have the ride."  -Gordon B. Hinckley

Have a great week!