Monday, November 22, 2010

Another Word on S.O.s

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.

Friday, November 12, 2010

A Word On SOs

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?

Monday, September 6, 2010

In Sickness and in Health

Tonight we are definitely experience the 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!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

One down... 47 to go...

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....)

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

One down....199 to go

Update: A life in the day - week one.

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.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

More Advice

Dr. N was in a pre-med med-prep class at college. One day there was a class for the spouses. The wife of a prominent doctor in town - who also happened to be the president of our college - gave the lecture.

Her Dr. N (Who was actually Dr.C) was INTENSE. So much so, that on their wedding day he spent the morning getting married, the afternoon in an organic chemistry class, and the evening at their wedding reception. This woman had more patience than I knew existed.

Anyway, one of the pieces of advice she gave has stuck with me (I've forgotten all the rest).

She said, "Do everything you can on your own."

I didn't really understand at first, but she went on.

"Buy a ladder. Use rubber bands to open jars. Take out the trash. Do all you can around the house that you can, so that when something you can't do comes along, he can do it for you."

Our toilet broke the other day. First instinct: Dr. N will be able to fix this for sure.

Second instinct: Remember what Mrs. Dr. C said? Can I do this??

Turns out I could! All it took was a screw-driver and serious control for my gag reflexes. Since then I have changed 7 light bulbs, fixed the shower handle, and taken the trash out....twice.

I've also killed numerous spiders. Only while Dr.N is away though. That's still one of the things that is specifically HIS job when he's here. Maybe someday I'll be man enough....we'll see.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Emotional Deposits

Medical School = The Land of Many Loans

Not just financial loans either.

A few months ago when the words 'subsidized' and 'variable interest rates' were becoming all to common in our household I started to think about other things we are probably going to be short on.

Time together.




Money loans are scary, but at least they are somewhere to turn when you don't have enough of something, right?

SO: We decided to make a little (actually a BIG) deposit in the marriage bank. We quit our jobs early and have spent the last 6 weeks travelling around, visiting our families, relaxing, and enjoying each other. We have literally spent every second together.

It has been wonderful, and we have been able to build up a pretty fantastic reserve. We'll be running short by next summer, I'm sure, but no worries, by then we'll be able to make some more deposits.

Monday, August 2, 2010

First Day

Lab coat: $25.00
Lap top computer: $1,400.00
New scrubs: $20.00
Tuition: $168,000.00 (and counting)
Learning how to save lives every single day: priceless

I've had 17 first-day-of-schools (I counted this morning during breakfast). Each one of them I've picked out an outfit the night before, woken up that morning super excited, waved goodbye to parents/siblings/roommates/husband and headed off. 

This first-day-of-school was different. For the first time, I stayed home, the one being waved to. 

It is a weird feeling, one that I suspect mothers feel when sending their children to school for the first time. Kind of like my heart is being squeezed, I have a lump in my throat, and I'm filled with all sorts of worries. 

What if he gets lost looking for his classroom?
What if he can't keep up in school?
What if he doesn't LIKE this school?
What if he spills his lunch on his shirt and the other kids make fun of him?
(This is a legitimate concern - it happened to my brother in the 6th grade. It's a good thing we moved 8 months later because he was still being teased.) 
What if he doesn't make friends?
What do I do now?

I didn't think I was going to cry, but as I stood in the driveway waving goodbye even after I couldn't see the car anymore, I choked up. 

I don't really know what to expect from the next 4 years, but I do have a feeling that life will never be the same. 

Friday, June 4, 2010

Who Gives the Best Advice?

So, today in my tennis class I was talking to my instructor about moving and medical school and all those things that seem to be the only topic of conversation these days.

I really do like it when people give us advice about med. school. It makes me feel more prepared and excited.

My tennis instructor's advice, however, was less than exciting.

He told me of an old roommate of his who went to medical school. While in school, he and his wife had to make a goal to stay married. Their philosophy: let's try our best to just stay married; we can't expect more.

His advice was actually very helpful. It got me thinking. I don't want to just 'stay married'. I want our marriage to be made stronger THROUGHOUT med. school, not AFTER it. Everyone says, "Our marriage is so much stronger because of what we went through." I want to be able to say "Our marriage has been getting stronger from day one, and during medical school it was no different. We didn't put anything on hold. We didn't just wait for it to end. We rocked it!"

I'm not naive. At least, not completely. I realize it's going to be mostly up to me to accomplish that goal. I realize that the give-and-take of our relationship will change drastically. But I DON'T want to look back in 8 years and say, "Phew, glad that's over! That was the WORST." after spending a quarter of my life wanting it to be over. Or be the person that gives the advice, "don't worry, it goes by fast," or especially, "just TRY to stay married - that's all you can expect."

No, I plan on kickin' it! I've yet to hear a med. wife say, "I just loved the time we were in med. school." Well, let's see if it can be done.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010


There are a lot of emotions mixed up with a husband starting medical school. Excitement, relief, anticipation, pride... I think the one emotion that trumps all the others, though, for me, is fear.

What am I afraid of?

I'm afraid of lonely nights.
I'm afraid of missed vacations.
I'm afraid of eating dinner alone. Every night.
I'm afraid of him stressing out and shutting down.
I'm afraid of not fitting in with the other wives.

I'm afraid of other, silly things too.

Like Dr. N seeing hot ladies without clothes on during a physical. And his OB/GYN rotations. And I'm afraid of really sexy nurses that think my Dr. N is also really sexy (which he IS). And I'm afraid of Dr. N thinking I'm a sissy when I think I'm dying from a canker sore. (Right now he still thinks I'm a princess who should never have to suffer a paper cut.)

I'm afraid of lots of things.

But mostly I'm afraid of what they call, "The Physician Marriage". Where two people share a home but not a life. Where spouses go days without seeing each other, or interacting with each other. Where the homes are big, but patience is thin, and laughter is rare.

I'm mostly afraid of that.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Introduction to A New Life

Do blogs need an intro? I think so. A blog might as well be a book, each new post a new chapter. Although, sometimes if the introduction to a REAL book is too long I seriously consider skipping it. Prologues are different, right? Oh well, sometimes I skip them too.

Anyway, back to the introduction. I will call it 'Pre-Med Life'.

First of all, it should be known that 'pre-med' does NOT mean 'before med'. It means before med SCHOOL. Our pre-med life was very much full of 'med'.

Dr. N and I were married on December 26, 2008. On Jan 3, 2009 he started studying for the MCAT. Yes, we had an entire week where our marriage was med-free. Then, the lonely nights started. MCAT study was T/Th from 6 - 10 pm and Sat. from 8 am - 12 pm. Not to mention going to school for his undergrad. The MCAT was taken May 1, 2009. Stress free! Med-free! For one more week. Then it was on to the application process.

Oh, horrid application process.Shivers down my spine.

Resume, personal statements, letters of recommendations, essays, AMCAS, AACOMAS, TMDSAS, primaries, secondaries, writing, revising, the list goes on and on.

Probably the most work I'll have to do in the whole medical process, that's for sure!

Before that was finished the interview process started. August 31, 2009 was the first. And the favorite. And the most  please-please-PLEASE-pick-me-ist. After that, more interviews, more applications. And more waiting. Painful, pressure-filled, unknown waiting. Until one day, it suddenly stopped.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009. Upstate NY. On the way to the mall for some last-minute Christmas shopping with my family. Sitting in the middle seat of the middle seat of the family SUV. An unrecognized phone number. "Answer it, Dr.N! It might be them!"

"Hello. It is us. We would like to offer you immediate acceptance to our school. Are you still interested in attending?"

First shock. Then JOY! A Christmas miracle! (We hadn't been expecting to hear back until May.) Walking on clouds, on sunshine, on air! (Until Dr. N locks the keys in the car as the mall closes at 11:00 pm. Slight damper on the day. But only slight.)

10 more days of stress free! med-free! life. Then back to school, to finish up the pre-med classes. Last semester at current college!

Jan-April. School. Studying. Work. Giving them (med school) all of our money.

April 23. Sunny, happy, springy day. GRADUATION!

One week later. Loan applications start. "Please, may we have $75,000  to carry us over for the next 9 months? At least $300,000 over the next 4 years? Oh, yes, and we won't have a steady income for at least 8 years. Thank you!"

Next step: Moving day. June 16, 2010.

  • Step 1: Pack up life
  • Step 2: Put in truck
  • Step 3: Drive to a new home where you don't know anyone
  • Step 4: Attempt to un-pack, but mostly focus on making new friends
Then, buying books, computer, lab clothes, lab fees, etc. etc. 

AUGUST 2, 2010
First day of med school. Pre-med life ends. Med life begins.