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Lives of Doctor Wives: September 2013

Monday, September 30, 2013

Residency Roundup: Interview Prep

Welcome to the Residency Interview Season!! 

 Hopefully, you are successfully juggling the quick responses to offers, the calendar filling up, purchasing travel plans, all while continuing MS4 rotations. 

I've compiled a list on how to prepare for residency interviews. 
DrH should bring this information to each interview!

  • Program background- Basic information on FRIEDA https://freida.ama-assn.org/Freida/user/viewProgramSearch.do.  Go the the programs website for more details, how long the program has been active, number of faculty, current research emphasis. 
  • Bios for the faculty and specifically for whom your DrH will be interviewed by.  My DrH read each bio while flying to the new location.  
  • Bring copies of CV, cover letter, and research.  Many programs didn't want separate copies...but some appreciated them.
  • QUESTIONS!! - There is a bunch of time set aside for questions.  Make your list based on what is most important to you and your family.  I recommend between 4-10 good questions ranked in order of importance.
    • Home or in-house call
    • Clinic hours 
    • Average Cases for the current residents
    • Mentoring program
    • Research requirements
    • Vacation requests
    • Locations- housing, schools, recreational activities
    • HR- Medical, Vision, Dental insurance? Parking? Food?
    • More ideas-  https://www.aamc.org/download/77936/data/residencyquestions.pdf
This is another great list!! 

The AMA page lists possible interview questions.  Such as 'Why did you choose this specialty?" or 'What are your strengths?'  We typed each question with DrH's answer and we rehearsed his response.  Obviously, you cannot predict what question they will use, but this practice will help.  Here are some other possible question your DrH will be asked. http://som.georgetown.edu/docs/2012%20Handout%20Residency%20Mock%20Interviews.pdf

Warm wishes to all MS4 families.
If you have some additional interview prep advice please leave a comment below:) 

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Friday, September 27, 2013

Darlin’ you’ve got to let me know…should I stay or should I go?

My journey of loss and life, from bread winner, to reluctant stay at home mom
by: Sarah Vaca
Anybody that knows me knows that I strive on stress. I am an over achiever to the 10th degree. I was that girl… president of my class in HS, valedictorian, cheerleading captain, and wannabe professional ballerina. In college, I continued to half-heartedly pursue my ballet career, I was sorority recruitment chair, served on student government, volunteered, worked a 20 hours/week, and maintained a superb GPA with 18+ credit hours of science courses, and still found ample time to have fun. I graduated from college and joined the real world, where absolutely none of that mattered. I married my college sweet heart weeks after my graduation, gave up my spot at a prominent PA school and moved to a rural town 3 hours from home for my new groom to start medical school. The “me-centric” life that I knew and loved was over. I waited impatiently to see if I would make it off the waiting list and be granted an out of state spot in the PA class at my husband’s medical school…I wasn’t, at least not then. This new, slow paced life depressed me. My husband was busy studying. Most would not envy such tedious hours spent at the library, but I longed to be learning and I desperately missed the collegiate environment. Few of his classmates were married, but I became friends with the med students and their significant others, but even still, I felt like something in my life was missing. I found a job right away that was far from my dream job at the local 20-bed hospital. I worked as sort of a jack of all trades aid. I drew blood, did typical CNA/secretary work, helped educate new moms, and became very active in a research project. I didn’t love my job, but it was the only thing I had to keep me busy, so I gave it my all. I was quickly handed new responsibilities and went from aiding research to being the primary author. But still, something was missing.
Soon, I found myself staying late to help when new moms came in to deliver. I adored that new life and the opportunity to teach and snuggle a perfect, brand new baby. I loved helping with deliveries and seeing new moms as they met their child for the very first time. Driving home one night, it suddenly dawned on me: I desperately wanted a baby. My husband and I come from large families and both knew we wanted children, but never discussed when. I knew I wanted them sooner than later…after all, I had changed my career path in college from a MD track to a PA track when my mother told me that if my then boyfriend and I were both going to be doctors, I should probably freeze my eggs. I was young and my husband was a medical student. We were buried in student loan debt and were just barely getting by financially as it was. My career was blossoming, and I still had dreams of a graduate education. However, absolutely none of this seemed as important as my need to procreate. I approached my husband with the idea, and though at first he was absolutely shocked, after a week of pondering, he said he thought now was as good of a time as any other. We weren’t going to get less busy, and if we waited for that moment to come, we could wait forever.  It took a short two months for the positive test to come and we were thrilled to announce our pregnancy. Our family was shocked, but thrilled also. I was horribly nauseous and hardly glowing, but I was extraordinarily happy… happier still to find out that we were expecting not one, but two babies. As a twin myself, I was over the moon. At my 16 week appointment, my small town family practice physician was concerned that I was losing, not gaining weight. I was still extraordinarily nauseous. She wanted to do an ultrasound and some blood work. I obliged. I knew immediately something was wrong. To make a very long and very sad story short, one baby was actually a molar pregnancy, an egg that, instead of the normal two sets of chromosomes, has one or three sets and was rapidly dividing in my uterus. The other baby was normal. The molar pregnancy was not compatible with life and was a large danger to the other, normal baby. At 23 weeks, the inevitable happened, and I lost my first baby.
I was unbearably depressed. I still looked pregnant, I still felt pregnant, but I had nothing to show for it. Strangers asked me when I was due and I would burst into tears in a public place. My family and coworkers were supportive and my husband tried to be. He didn’t know what to do with me. I had never been depressed, and he just kept waiting for me to snap out of it. I ended up getting into PA school, something he thought would bring me joy, but it didn’t. My employer was impressed with my research and wanted me to stay, but they really needed someone with a license to carry on the research. They offered to pay my way through an accelerated nursing program and some graduate statistics classes so that I could extend my research. I obliged and started to feel some twinges of happiness. This job had just sort of fallen in my lap and it was turning out to be everything I wanted it to be. I could study, teach, research, write, and serve a clinical role, and best of all, distract myself from what I really wanted…a baby.
We moved to a bigger city, planned for me to start school that January, and I began to expand my research project while my husband continued to study. He commuted back to our medical school town for his second didactic year of medical school.  Suddenly, I started feeling terribly nauseous again. I was terrified that the molar cells that had been eliminated for the last 6 months were back. I had a positive Hcg test, and I prepared myself for another round of methotrexate. In the ultrasound room, I prayed, please, no white snow on that machine. There was no snow, but there was that flashing light...a heartbeat. I was pregnant. I was astounded…terrified…and totally joyful. I called my husband who was in the hospital’s library studying. He came and saw that screen and cried the very first happy tears I ever saw him cry. I was eight weeks pregnant. Our child was to be due just 5 months after I was to start school.
We decided to move in with our in-laws to save money and still allow us both to pursue our educational dreams and afford to start our family. This proved a difficult, but a doable sacrifice to finally hold that baby and have the career I so very much wanted. School started and everyone was shocked to see that I was going to undergo this intense program while 5 months pregnant. I excelled, even when I got placed on bed rest and fellow class mates had to roll me in a wheel chair around my clinical sites. Our son was breach and had a nuchal chord that was preventing him from turning. At 35 weeks, 6 days, I went into labor. My son was born via c-section at exactly 36 weeks and he was absolutely perfect. He was healthy, strong, and instantly had our hearts. We took him home two days later. He came to class with me the next week. He nursed while I studied, and my husband and I frequently read aloud from our text books to put him to sleep. We joked that he would be 10 steps ahead if he ever went to medical school as he had been studying the human body since infancy. Life was beautiful. I graduated on time and returned from work, and although it broke my heart to walk out the door and leave my son behind, I loved the joy on his face each time I returned. Also, working cheered me… the intellectual stimulation, the encouraging feeling of making a difference in someone’s life, and even the mere distraction helped me keep my mood up when I was frustrated with a new phase in my child’s life or missing my husband... I never missed a single developmental milestone and being gone made me cherish each moment I had with my little family.
Match day came and we knew that residency would mean changes. Big changes. We were to be moving to a brand new state 4.5 hours from the nearest family member. I knew that this new stage of life would require me to count on doing all of the child care myself. Because we decided to buy a house, it would also require me to take on the majority of the care of our home. We made our two busy lives work in our medical school town by me working nights and enlisting the help of willing grandparents, aunts, uncles and friends to care for our child while I slept. I frequently went without a full “night’s” sleep and sometimes went without any at all. I knew this situation could not be replicated in our residency town and struggled to find child care and a new job that would work for our new life situation. After a particularly stressful week, my husband suggested that I just stay home. After all, his income would replace mine, and we were doing quite well financially. He said he did not know if he could handle the stress of my job in addition to his. I honestly had never pondered this option, nor considered that my stress brought him stress, but my immediate response was “no.” I’ll be honest, I had absolutely no idea what stay at home moms did. I imagined gossiping with women I didn’t really like and watching daytime TV. The idea sounded horrendously borin. I liked working and I really, really liked the idea of us having two incomes at last! I had this brilliant plan that we would live on the same budget (our house was actually less expensive than our previous rent) and use my income to pay down debt ASAP. I felt confident that I could find some sort of job that would be regular hours and a day care that we could trust before we ever even moved. I didn’t.
The move came and that first month of living in our new home, we were both home. I was so thankful for that time together. There was so much to do, and I was grateful that we could help our son adjust and settle in without either of us having to rush to work. When my husband started his program and spent his first week working exactly 81 hours, I had another rush of relief… how would I do all of this and work full time? However, I continued my job search until one frustrated day, after snapping at my husband for no real reason, he said, “I think you need to stop looking for a job. Do me one favor, just wait until December.” In the moment, this infuriated me. Who was he to tell me what to do with my life? I already left everything I knew to follow him here, if I wanted a job, I would get one. But, sanity hit, and I realized he was right. He was stressed and any stress that I brought to the table pushed us over the edge of what we could handle. In addition, we were trying for another child also, something that wasn’t happening near as easily as we thought it would. When it did happen, this would be a big life stress. Why would I get a job just to hopefully go on maternity leave? Would I even want to work with a brand new baby? Would it be profitable? I wanted to want to stay home… but I couldn’t make myself love the idea and this made feel extraordinarily guilty. I wanted this child so badly; shouldn’t I want to be with him all day, every day?
 I vowed to take his advice. Just stay home. Ha,” just stay home” is a ridiculous phrase. I was so wrong about what stay at home moms do! I work an absurd amount harder now than I ever did in the ICU… and I frequently never sat down, even to pee, for 13 hours straight in my ICU days. Now, I work 24/7 with pretty much no break. I have to do lists that are never done and I have no one to take over as my shift is never over. Just recently, when a nasty GI bug hit me, I realized I no longer have the ability to call in sick… I felt horrendous and desperately wanted to curl up in bed, but I had nobody to take over for me. When this same bug hit my son, I learned that I still get the pleasure of cleaning up every type of gross body fluid imaginable. That was not something I missed about the ICU! When, in a period of five minutes, my son puked on the couch and then pooed in the tub, I began to miss the ready-access I had to latex-free gloves.  I once left him outside in our fenced in back yard for a brief moment alone so I could go use the ladies room and returned to find our gate open and him on the other side of the street checking the mail. This made me miss always having a second nurse around to look out for me if I needed a second. It also brought the harsh reality that if someone were hurt due to my negligence it would be worse than losing a license; it would mean losing my child and the fault would be 100% mine. 
Since staying home, I find myself losing my temper with him far more than I ever did when I was working. My son is two, and like most two year-olds, he is very busy. He is very strong willed, and sometimes, after a particularly difficult day, I watch the clock waiting for 5 pm when I find it acceptable to have a glass of wine. I love my child, but I don’t always enjoy playing trains for hours on end when I have a to-do list a mile long waiting for my action. I will never love chasing him around with his clothing, literally begging him to be still so we can get dressed and get out the door. I don’t like discovering the food I make him being fed to the dog or thrown on the floor, and temper tantrums make me want to throw myself on the floor and scream. One minute, I find myself swelling with pride at his verbal ability, and the very next, wanting to a dig a hole in the ground and disappear with his words (namely when he clearly stated, “You’re fat, don’t see me” to my overweight relative at my grandfather’s funeral). When he insists on using the potty (and immediately demanding a marshmallow when he sprinkles 3 tiny drops into the pot) and ten minutes later pees through the undies he demanded to wear and onto my couch, I find myself trying not cry.
The constant power struggle is exhausting and I give in to him on things I know I shouldn’t. He drinks too much chocolate milk, watches too much TV, and eats too much macaroni and cheese. Every day is a battle for independence and I am pretty sure I am not gaining any ground. Our days are filled with mundane tasks and happy little moments. Yet, I still find myself checking out job postings and longing to apply. As much as I love answering his constant questions and his extraordinary joy at the tiny things in life, like getting stopped at a train track, I will probably always miss my old life.  I don’t really believe that I was designed to do this forever, but I am grateful that I get to do it now. After all, when in my life will I be able to do this again? My son will never be two again. I will never get to hear him “vrooming” his trucks down the hall and see him chasing the dog outside. I will get one opportunity to answer the questions, “how do plants grow?, “What does special mean?, and “Where is God?” It is hard, thankless work, but somehow, there are moments of unbelievable gratification, brief glimpses that tell me, “You’re doing alright.” Advice from wonderful women in Side by Side (a national organization for Christian medical wives) and women from the Facebook LDW group made me realize that it takes time to grow into this new role and I must take time for myself. I do have some spare moments, if I let myself. My floors don’t have to be spotless, my bathrooms don’t have to be scrubbed, and I don’t need to cook a gourmet meal every night. I was encouraged to join some women’s groups and have and the interaction with the women I have met is absolutely essential to helping me maintain my sanity. I have started to carve out a small amount of time to do something I want to do at least once a week, rather than making time to do only the things I feel obligated to do. This is no small feat for me, as I am usually overwhelmed with the obligatory tasks, and find it near impossible to squeeze anything else in. However, I have discovered that moments I carve out painting something for our walls or working on a scrap book, taking an excessively long shower, painting my nails, or reading the New York Times bring enough happiness and sense of self to make each moment “wasted” worth the small stress that having foot prints on my wood floors brings me. By no means do I consider myself an expert in mommyhood. In fact, I would like to meet the woman who does. But each day, I learn and grow. Some days, I can’t wait until that promised date in December. Then the next day comes, and my child wakes up and tells me, “Mommy, you are my princess,” and I pray that I get to do this forever.  

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Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Tasty Tuesdays - Halloween Recipes

Ghoulishly gourmet ideas for Halloween!  The cool thing about these recipes is they can be adapted for gory, Doctor-themed parties as well.  Here's a little preview of the recipes:

Spider Web 7-layer Dip
Intestinal Pizza Bread
Zombie/Witch Finger Cookies
Pumpkin Rice Krispy Treats
Glow-in-the-Dark, Shrunken Head Punch

Check out the full recipes and links over here.  

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Monday, September 23, 2013

One Lonely Lady

I'm a social butterfly.  I love being around people...I love socializing.  My husband does not.  But we've always balanced each other out.  Except for this thing called medical school.  I never imagined medical school could be so lonely for a mom of 3.
We moved to our new state and had about 3 weeks before school started for him.  We had so much time as a family, time we hadn't had in years!  Then orientation starts and his schedule is filled with 'mandatory' barbeques (student only), 'mandatory' ice cream socials (student only), 'mandatory' burgers and bowling (student only), 'mandatory' this and that...(student only).  It felt that after WE worked so hard to get here, WE spent hours writing and re-writing essays, WE had this as a goal together, the WE was suddenly forgotten and it turned to a (student only.)  Not by my husband...but that was just how it worked.  (There was one family BBQ...one we were out of town for...my brother got married!) We had moved away from all our friends and family and I knew no one
I'm sure I'm not the first wife, girlfriend, fiance, or significant other to have felt lonely as the medical school year began.  But I wasn't prepared for just how lonely I would feel.  My husband would come home from his 'mandatory' fun events telling me all about who he met and how he met some nice people and how fun it was....and I could tell him about the monstrous fit our baby threw, or how the oldest two have fought for 2 hours, or how I'd cleaned the toilets and done 3 loads of laundry.  It felt like such a crappy trade off!
We are now almost 3 months into medical school....and it has gotten better. I got a job. We have an amazing spouse group here that offers everything from a baking club to a book club to even cocktail club!  There are so many opportunities to get involved...and if you can't find one that interests you..then you make one up!  I recently scheduled a Pizza Social at a local pizza joint.  I work as a teacher so as much as I wanted to go to baking club at 10:30 on a Friday morning, I just couldn't.  I put myself out there and put that Pizza Social on the calendar...and the most amazing thing happened.  People showed up!  It was that easy!  I was able to meet some other wives, have some adult conversation...and discover that I'm not the 'only' wife out here who is probably feeling lonely too.

The point of this...take the chance and check into the spouse group at your school.  If there isn't one...find out how to start one.  It can be as simple as a Facebook group or as big as you want it to be.  I'm so thankful for the Complements Club here...that's what we are...we complement our students.  Although I haven't gotten the chance to get to know many of the spouses yet (we are only almost 3 months in) I'm sure I will.  And when you're far from family and friends...you learn to rely on those around you who are in the same boat.  This is a journey that no one can understand unless you live it...and our club has 100's of people who understand! 
If you are new to a school...ask around..or have your student ask around...many schools have huge and established spouse groups that are probably looking for someone just like you to add to their membership!  Chances are if you are wanting to join there are other people just like you there too!


Monday, September 16, 2013

Show-Off Sunday September

It's that time again! Show-Off Sunday! Link up your blog posts, website, 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!


Airline tickets, ties, and unemployment

This journey, as we all know, is full of milestones. Bachelor’s, MCAT, Primary, Secondaries… This waiting game has a lot of stages and each one tells us that we are making progress, even if it is isn’t as apparent to the outside world who thinks you apply in spring for the following fall semester along with high school seniors.

We are at the next big milestone… Interviews.

It just got real, ya’ll… and yes, I am from San Diego, but I say ya’ll and have for years. It could come in handy for fitting in next year depending on some of these interviews.

Here are a few observations I have made at this stage of the game:

1.       “Are you going with him?” Uh no. This is expensive enough without carting me with him to every interview where I can sit bored and alone in a cheap hotel. I am rooting for schools I have never rooted that much for, simply because a yes from there could mean he doesn’t have to go to a more expensive interview location that we are even less interested in. This is March Madness, and my bracket is broken down by airline trip expenses. The interview that was two miles away?… Winner Winner, Chicken Dinner!

2.       “What about this tie? Do these shoes go? I was better dressed than anyone there!” That man didn’t give nearly as much care about what he wore to our wedding,. He wore flip flops his mom picked out with his tan suit his grandma bought him. I sometimes have to veto outfits as we are leaving the house and send him back to change.  Suddenly, he is looking up fashion advice online and sending me pictures of ties under suit jackets and showing off his new shoes to me.  He even told me that he kinda likes picking out outfits… Who are you?!

3.       He has gone from Mr. Confident to terrified he isn’t going to get in anywhere. Interviews mess with your head, and MMI's are even worse.

4.       We are asked every single day if he has gotten an acceptance yet. No. Most schools haven’t even set up interviews yet. We will tell you when there is a yes. You will hear us yelling and jumping up and down. Live in a different state? Don’t worry… you will still hear.

5.       I have been unemployed pretty much since June 1st. I got a job for the month of July, and they weren’t able to pay me, and I am still trying to get paid. I have been the main income earner for us, and now I am making 1/6th of what I was… while he is spending 6x what he was.  I’m no math genius, but that doesn’t add up. Looking for a good paying job when you have no idea where you will be living?  All this uncertainty is awesome on marriage. Not.

6.       We could have a yes in October, or we could have nothing at the end of this. We could be nearby, or we could be thousands of miles away. We pray every day that this is not a fruitless journey. The stakes rise every day...  and so do the bills.

A few weeks back, I had a dream.  We were walking to a destination, and the road was extremely rough and had some extreme obstacles that seemed impassable. We had GPS, but were sure it must be broken, because why in the world would it take us this way? Then someone came up to us and smiled and said, “Just because the road is rough, it doesn’t mean that the directions are wrong”.

Through all of these milestones, expensive travel and uncertainty, we are on the right road… and apparently more fashionably. 

Friday, September 13, 2013

The road we're on....

                 The road we’re on
by: Alison Buckley

I met my husband in high school; I was a freshman and he was a senior. After swapping bad dating stories for a year as friends, we began dating the summer after his high school graduation. He left our small farm town for a nearby university and a few years later, I did the same. Fulfilling a lifelong dream, he was admitted to Michigan State University College of Osteopathic Medicine and was eager to begin. Neither of us could have predicted the blessings, growth, sadness and fear that was about to enter our lives.

We were married during his third year of medical school and for the first time, we lived in the same zip code together in a one bedroom apartment with our two dogs, Sugar and Spice. I graduated from college a few months later and started my first full-time job in the corporate world. A couple of months into my young professional career, I found out I was pregnant with our first child. We were excited, but knew we needed to move somewhere with more room, so we upgraded to a nice three-bedroom duplex a few miles from our apartment.

Our sweet daughter was born that September. We lived close to our loving family, which made a big difference while his work hours continued to increase. He had an hour commute to his base hospital, while I drove 30 minutes north to work and cared for our new baby. Life was busy, but good.

Near the end of his fourth year at MSUCOM, DrH began interviewing for Family Medicine residency positions – all in Michigan. While moving away sounded exciting, we wanted to stay near family. Match Day arrived and our world was turned upside down. All plans were out the window and we found ourselves making life-altering decisions in a matter of hours.

DrH called me at work that morning to let me know he didn’t match and would be making the one-hour commute home to begin calling programs across the country. After hanging up, I began calling my manager, who happened to be on vacation at the time, to find out if I would be able to keep my job. He told me odds were good I could keep my job as long as we lived near one of the company’s sites in the United States. Seems simple enough, right? Wrong. All programs were strategically placed about four hours from our sites, until we found out that one of my company’s sites was located in North Carolina, but only about an hour and a half from the residency program in Virginia.

After a quick telephone interview, DrH was offered the position that evening and received a contract that had to be signed by the end of the next day to move forward. That evening was difficult for us. We were excited and scared all at the same time, but knew this is what was meant to be. He signed the contract, sent it in the next day. A few months later, he graduated from medical school, we moved out of our duplex, and lived at our parents with two dogs and a baby for about a month until our move.

In June 2011, we left the only place we had called home, along with close friends and family, to embark on a new journey in a place we knew very little about and with people we had never met. After arriving, we were told there was a mix up with our closing date by the mortgage company and we were forced to stay in a hotel for four days with DrH’s parents, my mom, our nine month old baby and two dogs. During our stay, my father-in-law’s truck was broken into and expensive tools were stolen. Needless to say, our first impression of the new city was not very bright.

After settling in for a few days, DrH drove 45 minutes north, while I commuted 30 minutes south to daycare and work. Those first few months, I relied as heavily on our GPS as I did memories from back home. In the first six months of DrH’s new residency, we drove 13 hours home twice (once was an emergency), lost a baby from miscarriage and celebrated our daughter’s first birthday. My husband worked his first Christmas, while my daughter and I ate lunch at iHop; and he lived out-of-state for a month during an away rotation. We were both exhausted and now I know it was because we were growing – individually, together, personally and professionally.

Since the start of his residency two years ago, I have worked full-time, part-time, stayed at home with our children, and am now preparing to go back to school to complete my master’s degree while working as a teaching assistant.

DrH is now starting his third and final year of residency. If someone would have told me at the beginning how many dinners he would miss, I wouldn’t have believed them. I also wouldn’t have been able to imagine what it would be like to move away, have two beautiful daughters and lose a job. But, that’s what’s great about this ride. We can’t imagine – until we go through it. If there’s one thing I’ve learned along the way, it’s not that residency is easy or always fun, but neither is life. I’m learning to accept and enjoy change, because that is the only constant in our lives right now, and most days, it’s what keeps us going.

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Monday, September 9, 2013

Survivor Stories: Riding it out

Submitted by Jennifer, survivor in Pediatric Ophthalmology

It happened again. We are very, very sad—but not surprised. We’d seen this one coming, though we dared to hope it wouldn’t.
Another medical marriage, with people we dearly love, has bitten the dust.
Our first response was historically typical: In what ways are we different so this won’t happen to us? We’ve had that conversation with every divorce we’ve witnessed from the sidelines. Yet every time we reach the same conclusion. It could happen to us.
Here’s a heaping tablespoon of reality: Your marriage is not safe. You are not immune. Infidelity, addiction, apathy, depression—all of these could happen to you, or to your spouse. Your faith, your family, your idyllic childhood, and your socio-economic status will not protect you. None of us is exempt. No one.
Which is why we have to work our butts off to maintain a healthy marriage. It does not come by default.
My husband and I will celebrate our eighteenth anniversary this year. We were engaged our senior year of college and married during his Christmas break of MSI, so obviously, we’ve been through a lot. We’ve had seasons of mushy-gushy love fests, and other times where we have come dangerously close to throwing it all away. There are times we have looked at each other and said, “I love you. I choose to love you. But I am not in love. I really don’t even like you very much.”
And we choose to ride it out, and figure it out, and work it out. During those times, we realize why so many marriages end. Riding it out is hard. But we know these brutal seasons won’t last—as long as we commit to not ignoring the issues that threaten to strangle us.**
Here’s what we’ve learned: marriage is an equal partnership of mutual submission. We both yield to each other for the greater good of our marriage and our family. There are times when one of us yields more than the other. During the training years, his job certainly claimed priority, but we still found ways to nurture our marriage and take care of each other. It was very, very hard, but we rode it out.
There are times still when his career takes precedence. We can’t control when some kid decides that running with scissors or playing paint ball without protective eyewear is a good idea. It happens, and I choose to yield. But he has some control over how many patients he will allow on his clinic schedule, or when he can block his call dates, or when he can work on charts at home late at night so he can take our son to basketball practice during the afternoon. He chooses to yield. These are things we figure out together.
Canyons begin with a tiny crack. Small, seemingly insignificant decisions can lead to insurmountable problems. We have to watch over our marriages with diligence. We have to talk to each other. We have to seek counsel when needed. We have to work. And we both have to yield.
No marriage looks the same. There is no blueprint, no handbook, no money-back guaranteed method. You and your husband have to figure out what works for your marriage. No matter the season, you have to work at it relentlessly. The reward of a healthy, nurturing marriage far outweighs the agony of effort.
What about you? What have you learned about “riding it out”? In what ways do you & your Dr. H nurture your marriage? What have you learned about yielding and mutual submission? Comment below and share your thoughts.

** Obviously, if there are issues of abuse in your marriage, you should not “ride it out.” GET OUT. None of the above applies to you. 

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Monday, September 2, 2013

Residency Roundup: The Gift of Today

Transitions are peculiar.  Despite all your planning to prepare for a new transition, you never know how you will feel or react until you experience the change.  My latest transition that I wasn't expecting, has been hearing our dear med school classmates discuss or post on Facebook about finishing up residency, hunting for jobs, or reviewing contracts.  While I am very excited about their futures and possibilities, I cannot help but think..."Sheesh, we aren't even half way yet!"  

Often our emphasis is on large life events like graduations, building a solid career, raising good children, obtaining financial security...etcetera.  The medical path includes successes like Step 1 and 2,  the Match, Residency relocation, Senior resident or Chief, and Residency graduation.  Truly amazing things each DrH (and their loved ones) completes.  Large achievements can attract our whole attention.  'In only xx more years and we will be done' 'Maybe then I can have _____' 'What if ____' ....yadda, yadda, yadda.  And while we are looking and dreaming about steps in the future, we may be missing what is happening around us today

"You are too concerned with what was and what will be.  There is a saying:  Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, but today is a gift.  That is why it is called the present." Master Oogway, Kung Foo Panda

 I would suggest that we work on cherishing every small step we complete, while balancing the preparation for future accomplishments.

My junior year of college I was challenged to keep a gratitude journal for an entire semester.  The idea was to think about and record things that I was grateful for or things that made my life better.  In the beginning, my attention was on larger (easier) things like family, friends, warm shelter, indoor plumbing, etc.  I found my heart changing as I focused on the simple things around me: the bird that was chirping near my window when I woke up, the car that let me merge in front of them, or a new blog post on my favorite blog.   

Residency is tough.  I often look for new strategies that will encourage happiness and joy during those really ridiculously rough weeks or months.  Find what is good in your life each day!

Cheers to Happy Days,