This week I did something very brave. It stemmed from the fact that I'm tired of not having medical school friends.
So, I INVITED MYSELF TO 'HANG OUT' with two wives from school. They both have babies. One has two (one that's only a month old!) and the other has one. They always go to each other's homes and just chill while their husbands study. Can you smell my jealousy?
In less than an hour I will be heading over to one of their homes and watching HGTV or playing with their babies, or making cookies, or just chatting, or whatever else they do when they 'hang out'.
I just hope I don't seem as awkward as I feel.
In other news... I haven't written in a while. I've wanted to. I just don't know what to say. It hasn't been a FABULOUS few months. It also hasn't been AWFUL. We've just been taking it one day at a time. One early morning at a time, one test at a time, and so on.
Taking it one day at a time has its advantages and disadvantages. The days go very slowly - that's a disadvantage. And I often think, 'can I really do this every single day for 3.5 more years? And then for how many more years after that?'
Some days I think, 'if I have to cook one more dinner, do one more load of smelly laundry, load one more dishwasher, after a long day I am going to S.C.R.E.A.M.'
But some days I think, 'we are really lucky - we are healthy, we live in the same house, we get to see each other every day, we have the potential to SOMEDAY be financially stable....' The blessings go on and on.
So far, I would describe the medical school experience as a rocky, hilly marathon - one that starts at sea level and ends on Everest - and takes 5 years to finish (including applying).
There are definitely ups and downs. I would have said roller coaster, but roller coasters go fast. This doesn't. (so far....)
I was really trying to have a good attitude on not finding soulmate friend S.O.s.
Maybe this is a demonstration of my own social phobias, or a demonstration of what the world is turning out to be like, but I realized something after my last post: virtual soulmate friend S.O.s are just as great as real live ones.
Not that the S.O.s connected through the Internet aren't real and alive. But you know what I mean.
And so, in the spirit of Thanksgiving: I am so thankful I live in a time where I can communicate, commiserate, lift, and be lifted by people who are just like me, but who I won't ever get to meet; where friends can be made simply by sharing true feelings.
I've been trying for months to make friends here - putting myself out there, trying to be charming and likeable. But while reading the comments on my last post, I felt real friendship for the first time since moving here. And it was so easy! And so honest! And also a bit confusing. After all, it sort of defies every definition of 'friend' I've ever known.
Some of the medwife blogs I read and I feel like I know the author already. I get excited by new posts. It's like getting a telephone call from a friend who will tell you what she is really feeling, what is happening in her life, her ups and downs, her fears, her goals and ambitions -
Some bloggers feel like best friends. Others are like that one girl in the group who is a little awkward, but you listen to her anyway. Some feel like the cool girl, the one that probably wouldn't have talked to you in high school, but if she did you would have hung onto every word she said. Some feel like my mom, some feel like my sister. A few are the ones that I probably wouldn't get along with in real life, but I would pretend to for the sake of good manners and proper social protocol.
One big group of friends, connected by common interests, problems, feelings, and of course, the Internet.
This whole new blog-world is a little confusing, a little weird, and sometimes can be a little scary. It adds a whole new dimension to friendship, though, and I think it's definitely worth exploring.
During all of our med school interviews and tours we kept hearing about the SO (significant others) clubs. I was so excited for the many activities they talked about: decorating the studs' cars during class, eating lunch with them, lunches together with other SOs, etc. Mostly though I was excited about the camaraderie that was ensured with such a club. Surely women going through such a trying time together couldn't help but form a strong bond amongst each other. I was sure that I could handle the Stud being gone for so many hours, as long as I had these intimate friends to go through the process with.
Well. With so many tours and interviews, I failed to notice that one school didn't mention any such club. A few months later, we were attending that same school. When I realized there was no organized SO club I was highly disappointed, but determined to still make my bosom friends.
I put the Stud to work, finding other studs with SOs. I got phone numbers and e-mails. I looked through the Stud's class Facebook page for students with SOs. (creepy, I know) I hosted an ice cream social at my home, and a lot of SOs came! It was there that I learned every single med couple had kids.
Again, at first I was disappointed. In my experience, couples with babies don't normally associate with couples without babies. (Or maybe couples without babies don't normally associate with couples with babies. Either way, it happens.) But, I was still determined. I invited some of the SOs and their kids over for lunch. Twice. All of my hosting allowed the other moms to meet each other, talk about babies, and plan play dates.
And that was the end of it. For me, at least. Now, whenever there is a big event and everyone gets together, the wife-moms always spend the whole time talking about recent mom-kid get-togethers. I spent some time being jealous, some time being sad, and now I am spending some time being happy for the wife-moms - it really is wonderful that they have found their medwife bosom friends. I guess it's just not for me.
Is anyone else out there the only medwife non-mom? Do you feel included? How do you handle this situation?
Tonight we are definitely experience the former...in sickness.
Tomorrow are Stud's first 2 block exams. Which means our Labor Day weekend was made up of Stud studying and me being bored. Until this afternoon, when Stud started to feel.... queasy.
He lied down in his study at about 3:30. When I came up to bring him a snack I noticed he looked a little grayish. I read to him, quizzed him, and helped him study until about 5:30 when he started to be REALLY sick. Like, sick when the 'sick' actually comes out of you. I rubbed his back while he leaned over the toilet and, in between vomits, I read him more flashcards.
THIS continued until about 10:00 pm.
(There was one slight break when I went downstairs to grab some ice water for Stud - while I was gone he ended up being 'sick' in the toilet, and then not wanting to lean into that sick, decided to get sick in the bathtub. It was then that I moved stud from the bathroom to the bedroom (with a few buckets) and double-bleached the whole bathroom for the next half-hour. It was gross.)
Finally, Stud started to feel well enough to fall asleep. Hopefully there aren't any more episodes tonight and he can recover enough to do well on his block exams tomorrow.
Usually I do NOT like helping the Stud study. I get ultra-bored reading him notes or quizzing him on flashcards. But tonight it was not hard for me or boring at all. My heart hurt so much for my poor husband that I wanted to do whatever I could to help him feel just a little bit better.
I wonder if this experience, GROSS as it was, will help me be a better study-buddy in the future?
I hope so - because that's one way to get Stud to spend more time with me!
Month update. Doesn't 47 sound so much nicer than 199? I'm officially going to speak in months from now on, never weeks.
SO, the med stud's (my new name for Dr.N, since the former name was a bit controversial, and I like med stud better anyway. It's short for med student, and by shortening it, it turns into what he is....major stud. I know, I'm clever,) been at it for 1 month. The schedule has changed a bit from the first week. He leaves a little earlier and gets home a little later. He's also afraid of getting fat (after all, the ONLY thing he does is sit- sit and read, sit and study, sit in lecture, sit to eat, oh, and sleep) so he's started riding his bike to school (8 miles), which takes more time away now but prevents the risk of heart attack and stroke, so I'll let it slide...
He's had several small quizzes and one big quiz, and his first exams are coming up next week. He is still getting plenty of sleep (well, about 6.5 hours or so each night) and doesn't seem like the sullen-and-fried med student type yet. Fried, maybe a little, but sullen, nope.
And me? Keeping busy is harder to do now, since we are all moved in and settled, and my new position in this strange new land doesn't start for another 2 months. I tell you what, 3 months of vacation may have been AWESOME in the 4th grade, but not anymore!
Some days are harder than others. Lately I've gotten to feeling a little bit like I'm quarantined. More on dealing with that later. (once I find out how to....)
The first week is over. It went pretty well, much like I expected.
Dr. N leaves for school a little before 7 every day. Of course, I wake up and make him a SPLENDID breakfast (ie, I put the cereal and milk on the table) and make him a lunch and send him on his way.
He comes home a little after 5 pm, smelling something fierce of dead-body juices. Ugh. We have dinner, during which the conversation mostly consists of the body he cut open that day or the nerves he's learning about, or the drama that took place in class today when someone unexpectedly moved seats.
Then he studies until about 10 or 11 pm, taking small breaks to play ping-pong with me or have a snack.
He's doing well and seems to be enjoying school. He HAS started mumbling in his sleep. In the middle of the night I'll hear, "Jusgt a moofin falatchkey nonifactatoe meloon" and say, "What, Dr. N?" and he'll repeat it, louder. It's pretty funny.
Staying busy during the day helps me not miss him too much, but I've found the important thing is to save stuff to do for night. Stuff that is more fun to do alone. Like painting my nails while watching a movie, or making cookies, or practicing the piano. That way I'm not tempted to go up to his study and watch him. Slash, talk to him.
It also helps a lot to think of it like a job. I mean, other people have jobs where they work 14 hours a day, 6 days a week. Don't plenty of people work around 80 hours a week? He just has one of THOSE jobs, and would be away this much even if he WASN'T at medical school. That helps me not be resentful towards med and the med profession.
I met some of the med wives at a dinner last week. They all had kids, so there is that invisible barrier there between acquaintances and friends. Most of the wives have kids, it seems. I guess it just means I'll have to be more pro-active in getting them to be friends with me, instead of tagging along for the ride.