28 May 2012

Yr 1 Perspective of a Med School Wife: Shaila

Q: Give us a little background of your family, your education/work, and where you came from before coming to Lebanon.

A: Matthew and I are both from Central Washington, Matthew from Moses Lake and I, having divorced parents and moving many times in my childhood, claim my hometown as Ephrata, as that’s where I went to most of high school and graduated. But I lived the longest time in one place with my dad on his farm in Quincy. Matthew and I met through the affections my sister had for Matt, after I returned home from a semester (and the only semester I attended there) at what was known as Ricks College (BYU-I) at the time. We soon found love for each other and have now been married for 10 years! Yay! We’ve gone through a lot of transitions with Matt and schooling, as it took him a long time to figure out he wanted to be a doctor, and he has been in school nearly our whole marriage, so we’re really good at being poor. I returned back to school at our local community college for a year and a half as Matt applied and interviewed for medical schools, but had to be done with it when Matt went back to school, as I couldn’t maintain it all. We have 3 handsome boys, Malcolm who will 9 in July, Quinn who will be 7 in July and Winston is 4. We will also be adding another handsome boy (yet to be named) to our family soon, by the beginning of July, and hoping for end of June so I don’t have 3 birthdays in the first week of July.

Q: What are your responsibilities while your husband is at school?

A: I’ve been blessed to be a stay at home mommy since I’ve had our second son. My days are spent doing the usual mom duties. I get the kids up and ready for school and the day. I entertain and talk and cuddle and have “cuddle time” aka naps with the 4 year old, who doesn’t take much entertaining as he loves to play without the interference from his brothers. I scrub bathrooms, clean dishes, clean floors, do laundry and all that comes with that, pay bills and run errands. Then the boys get home from school and I give snacks, make them clean their rooms and do their homework and hope they can play outside so I don’t go insane from the loud, fighting and wrestling boys. I also love to cook and bake, and that is a big part of my life, along with the eating of it all, but I do share some with my family. I also find it my responsibility to occasionally hang out with friends at play dates to help ease some of the humdrum of the daily life.

Q: What resources did you find in the community that are supportive to you and your family?

A: One the main resources we used prior to moving here was from our local church. We had never been to Lebanon prior to moving here, as my husband didn’t have to interview here. He contacted our local bishop here and asked for advice on some of the places we were looking at renting that we had found online. Then when we moved into town, there was a group of men from our church that were there to help us unload. Then through church we were able to meet several medical students and family. The other resource I have found is through the Complements Club. It has been a great way to get to know many SO’s and to create a bond through this process together. Occasionally going to the meetings has been a great way to have a night out, and book club has been the greatest way to have a fun night out bonding with the other women.

Q: What did you find was the best way to support your husband while he was studying this first year?

A: I’ve always supported Matt by letting him know that whatever amount of time he needs to put in, or be away from home is okay. Together we chose for him to go to medical school and that means I have to play my part in letting him put in as much time as he needs, so that he can provide for our family. When he needs a break from studying, I let him have that break, whether that means playing with the boys, or playing video games after they go to bed. Matt usually studies at home, so sometimes I have to restrain myself from going in and having conversations with him while he needs to be busy. If I’m missing him, I’ll just go watch him study for a few minutes and just be next to him. I’m easily pleased just to have him in my vicinity.

Q:Did school become stressful on your relationship at any time? How did it effect the relationships he has with other family members and friends?

A: Being married for 10 years now, we’ve endured a lot of stressful things in our marriage, and I feel that medical school hasn’t been any more stressful on our relationship than anything else we’ve encountered. We have a good sense of how to communicate our needs, stresses and feelings with each other and that has probably helped keep the stress out of our relationship. Matt also is usually home for dinner and bedtime with the kids so they still have their dad around to feel his love and presence every day and I think they have yet to feel the effect of medical school taking time away from them.

Q: What solutions have you found for dealing with the stress or burn out for either you or your SO?

A: I think communication is key at all times in marriage, and even more importantly in medical school. I have Matt’s Google calendar for his class schedules on my phone, so I’m always aware of what his day will probably consist of. I will let him know of activities I would like to attend or activities our children have, in advance so that he can either let me know if he has a conflict in his schedule, or if he can be around to make that doable for me or to be there to support our kids. I also make sure I’m aware of any upcoming tests, as I know he will be putting more time and energy into his studies prior to the test. I don’t ever expect Matt to help me with any household chores. Though there are times that I wish he would still help me clean up the kitchen at night, I know that he needs his downtime, or time with the kids more. Matt’s priority is in school and mine is maintaining our home. Matt is still great at seeing when I feel stressed or having a bad day, and does come home and pick up the slack sometimes, helping get dinner on the table, or getting the boys to clean up, but it’s nothing I expect from him. I try to be aware of the times that he needs to unwind and just do nothing and let him have that time. If I feel he is extra stressed, I try and be encouraging to him. I like to tell him how smart he is, how proud we are of him, how much I love him, how much the boys love him, and what a wonderful husband/father he is. Prior to medical school, we decided that Sunday’s would be the day that we can expect to have Matt home, have family time and attend church together. We thought it was important since we have older children that will remember this time and know if their dad was around or not. Matt also is home most evenings for dinner and to help get the boys bathed and in bed. We love having these times with him and take advantage of any little time we have with him. Having these times together as a family has helped feel less stress. We also make sure to spend time together as a couple, though we occasionally go out on a real date, we usually just hang out together at home, whether that means watching a movie together, or just sitting next to each other while we do our own thing, Matt studying and me reading or playing on my phone next to him. When he wants to go out to a movie with friends, I’m totally supportive of him having down time. We also love to entertain and feed people, and that can be a fun activity to enjoy friends and forget the stress of them studying.

Q: Do you feel connected with other signicant others of students, and have you found good friends?

A: Moving to a new place always brings the fear of making new friends. I’m so thankful that I feel I have many great friends with other medical student wives, and that I could call on them at any time that I would be in need of something. Complements club and church has been a great resource in getting close to the other wives. I couldn’t be happier with the great relationships I’ve made in this first year.

Q: Any advice you would give to new medical student wives?

A: Communicate with your spouse about each other’s schedules, needs and concerns. Be supportive and encouraging to your spouse and aware that they will spend the majority of their time focused on school. Let each other both have outlets and hobbies, and down time when needed. Don’t expect too much from your spouse at home. Do what works best for your family and circumstances, which might not be the same as others. Make friends with other SO's. Lastly, budget your money as much as you can, because it makes it less stressful on each other when you know you can pay the bills.

25 May 2012

Yr 1 Perspective of a Med School Wife: Shelli

Q: Give us a little background of your family, your education/work, and where you came from before coming to Lebanon.

A: I'm from the San Francisco Bay Area (Walnut Creek, CA) and my husband is from Mesa, AZ. We met at Brigham Young University in an Italian class. I fell in love with this sweet, gentle, dorky neuroscience major, and married him a year before we both graduated. I took my last final at BYU sitting on a boppy pillow, still too sore from childbirth to handle the hard chair. I literally took the pillow with me to the testing center. You do what you have to do, right?

Q: What are your responsibilities while your husband is at school?

A: We have two little girls, and I stay home with them. We spend our days playing, reading, coloring, taking pictures, cooking, cleaning, grocery shopping, snuggling, watching movies, and bathing (it's an event, the bathing). Eldon leaves for school around 7:30am and gets home around 8:00pm. Usually he gets a few minutes in the morning to play with the girls, and a few at night before bed. He's our hero, so when he's home he's the center of our world. Oh, the question was about responsibilities. I forgot. :) I do everything except take out the trash. That's his job. :) He always helps me with my jobs whenever he's home ... he's just not home that often. School is his responsibility right now, and I understand that.

Q: What resources did you find in the community that are supportive to you and your family?

A: The library, I suppose. The comminuty pool. And our church, of course.

Q: What did you find was the best way to support your husband while he was studying this first year?

A: The best way to support him was to make sure he ate well and that I was happy when he came home. The last thing he needed after a long day of schoolwork would be to come home to a wife who resents that schoolwork. It's hard work to be a med student, so vocalizing my appreciation for his effort and not complaining about his long hours away from home was helpful for him. I just tried to make sure he only had to worry about school, because I had home all taken care of.

Q:Did school become stressful on your relationship at any time? How did it effect the relationships he has with other family members and friends?

A: There were times I felt like the last thing on his list, which was hard for me. But luckily I could just hug him and tell him I missed him and he'd make an effort to spend more time with me. It felt like having a long-distance relationship even though we lived in the same house. He keeps a blog, so his friends and extended family all read that and feel connected to him. I actually think that's been extremely helpful for him and for them. We all just get less of him these days, and we have to just accept it as a temporary necessity.

Q: What solutions have you found for dealing with the stress or burn out for either you or your SO?

A: Physical and emotional intimacy. We love each other, and that rejuvinates us both to fulfill our separate roles. Love is powerful, and it's the reason we're in this together in the first place.

Q: Do you feel connected with other signicant others of students, and have you found good friends?

A: I could write an entire BOOK about how grateful I am for the other med student wives. I think women need girlfriends, so that has been extraordinarily helpful. We hang out, babysit each other's kids, do playdates, and keep each other sane through the husband withdrawls. I could do this without them, but I wouldn't want to try it. They are the highlight of my days here.

Q: Any advice you would give to new medical student wives?

A: Make good friends. Try not to fight over his time. Find out what he needs from you for him to be successful and DO IT. Just make sure he knows you love and support him. He'll worship you for it. He's going to feel pulled in 50 directions during med school ... there's always going to be something else he could or should be doing for school, and that can make him feel guilty 100% of the time - no matter what he chooses. Try to be sensitive to that. And be tough. Make friends and have fun with them so the responsibility of keeping you company or fulfilling all your needs isn't completely his. Otherwise you'll be lonely and he'll be miserable because he can't help you more, which is a no win situation. But above all, don't forget how much you LOVE him. You chose to do this together, so don't let it tear you apart. Fight for a happy marriage, and don't pity yourself if it's hard ... it will be. :) But it's so, SO worth it.

24 May 2012

Yr 1 Perspective of a Med School Wife: Amanda

Q: Give us a little background of your family, your education/work, and where you came from before moving to Lebanon.

A: We are the Bedfords! We got married in 2006 in Salt Lake City, Utah. Before medical school, we both had awesome jobs. We worked on a Air Force base for 4 years in Las Vegas. Kevin did construction, and I was a secretary. We both really enjoyed it! I am from Arizona and Kevin grew up in Vegas. We have one little girl Jordin who is 2.

Q: What are your responsibilities while your husband is at school?

A: While Kevin is at school I chase Jordin (my little girl) and I babysit a little boy and that keeps me busy.

Q: What resources did you find in the community that are supportive to you and your family?

A: The resources we found that are supportive is our church and each other (the wives). Everyone in the community is very well aware of the students. Anytime I say my husband is going to the medical school they are so nice and make me feel so welcomed.

Q: What did you find was the best way to support your husband while he was studying this first year?

A: So far the first year is already blurry and its not over yet but... The best way I supported Kevin was making sure he knew that we were OK being alone a lot and letting him know that it was OK. Communication is a big thing for us. As long as there is communication we are great. But I think the first semester was the worst, I never ever saw him. But second semester he has actually been home a lot more and its been really nice. When Kevin gets burned out and I"m stressed we watch movies together.

Q: Do you feel connected with other signicant others of students, and have you found good friends?

A: I have made some of the best friends I will ever have here. I love the wives. We are all going through the same thing, so its easy to get along (at least for me).

Q: Any advice you would give to new medical student wives?

A: The only advice I can give is support your husband/wife in school no matter what. Don't make them feel worse about not being home a lot because they already feel bad. Love them and let them know you love them.

23 May 2012

Yr 1 Perspective of a Med School Wife: Jenny

Q: Give us a little background of your family, your education/work, and where you came from before moving to Lebanon.

A: I was born in Illinois, raised in Idaho. I have lived/worked in several places, completed a B.S. in physical education, minor in music at Lees McRae College, served a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day saints in Montevideo, Uruguay. The last 5 years have been in western North Carolina where we worked on a farm. Then husband decided to go to medical school so he completed his masters in chemistry and went for it.

Q: What are your responsibilities while your husband is at school?

A: Raise 2 happy kids, keep clean clothes ready and pantry stocked.

Q: What resources did you find in the community that are supportive to you and your family?

A: Church, COMP-NW administration, COMP-NW Complements Club, and nearly every neighbor and community member we run into.

Q: What did you find was the best way to support your husband while he was studying this first year?

A: Talk about school/study struggles often - encouragingly, be ready in late evening to do something to break the study trance so he will not tormentedly study in his sleep, narrow my items I am wanting to discuss down to top 2 or 3(keep it simple).

Q: Did school become stressful on your relationship at any time? How did it effect the relationships he has with other family members and friends?

A: While we have our challenges, school was not the cause of relationship stress. Everything but school was just put on minimal maintenance so we could make it through - drama was chased off with a stick (southern phrase). Some branches of our extended family anticipated/knew and encouraged this - the others understood it and accepted with time and explanation. We highlighted how much we would look forward to more time and visits in a few years when we could breathe and enjoy them.

Q: What solutions have you found for dealing with the stress or burn out for either you or your spouse?

A: During ISAC we had a family home evening party with Martinelli's toast’s every Friday - celebrating surviving another week. We also made countdown paper chains. Complements activities brought smiles to many weary students. Overall though I think the students playing together - basketball or other sports helped and little short family visits/lunches encouragement helped the most.

Q: Do you feel connected with other med school wives, and have you found good friends?

A: Yes - I feel very blessed by this. I do not see many very often but when I do or even see posts on the Complements FB page, it really lifts and strengthen me.

Q: Any advice you would give to new medical student significant others?

A: Make sure you budget out your expenses upfront. Students will be in study la la land as soon as they get their white coats on and they won’t need that stressor/drama. Live as close to the school as possible, be involved at the school as much as you can, and be involved with Complements Club even if very minimally. Embrace the community/area - it will be a blessing and you will feel very blessed/happy here. Explore the outdoor/rec opportunities here. There are so many great places right here or within an hour's drive. Bring your bike and not much else. The furniture share, yard sales, thrift shops and other resources here are great and generous. We wish we would have come with just our suitcases!

22 May 2012

Yr 1 Perspective of a Med School Wife: Tabetha

Q: Give us a little background of your family, your education/work, and where you came from before moving to Lebanon.

A: Brian and I met in undergrad at Colorado Mesa University in Grand Junction, CO. I am was born and raised in CO and CMU was about as far away as I could get from home and still pay in-state tuition. Brian was born in Bend, OR but grew up in Pacific Grove, CA (Monterey Bay area). We never dated in college, in fact we weren't even friends. I wasn't even sure of his name until our last semester before graduation. I was a biology major and he was a kinesiology major. We had a lot of the same sciences courses together. In fact, from the time he transferred until graduation we had at least one class together every semester. It just worked out that we never really officially met until our General Physiology class in the spring of 2007. We ended up sitting next to each other at graduation (May 2007) where he spent the entire ceremony talking to me about his girlfriend--about how he wanted to break up with her but didn't know when or how to do it. After graduation I went home to the Denver area and he went home to CA. That summer we began talking online (video and chat) and on the phone. A friendship quickly grew between us and before long he was my best friend. The rest is history!!

When Brian was applying to medical school we were hoping for a school near family. Since my whole family is in CO our number 1 choice was Rocky Vista is Parker, CO. When he didn't get accepted there we didn't know what we were going to do. Then he got an interview for Western in Pomona. It was about 6 hours away from his parents but it would work. Then he was wait listed. We were getting married in July and were hoping he would start school that fall. Then, in May Brian got a phone call from Pomona saying he'd been accepted off the wait list!!! We were ecstatic to finally have a plan, to know what we'd be doing, and where we'd be going after our wedding!!! We were married July 10, went on our honeymoon the 12-19, and then Brian started school August 2nd! Talk about a whirlwind!! Our first year as a married couple was... A lot. It was difficult in so many ways, but not in any of the typical first-year marriage ways. Brian didn't pass two of his classes and was having a much harder time than (what I believe) most students go through. When the review board decided to have him redo the year rather than remediating the two classes, he asked the dean if he could be allowed to transfer to the new campus in Oregon. He was a part of the Northwest Track in Pomona and was afraid if he didn't transfer they would make him do his rotation down south instead of in the NW--we did NOT want to spend four more years in southern CA. The Dean agreed to allow him to transfer and that is how we ended up in Lebanon.

Q: What are your responsibilities while your husband is at school?

A: Since Brian and I don't have any kids my life at home is actually quite relaxed. I am a flight attendant and am sometimes gone up to 10 days at a time. While I am gone, Brian is typically pretty good at keeping the house clean and in order. When I am home my biggest responsibility is probably grocery shopping! Brian hates spending money so when I am gone he won't go to the grocery store, even if there is nothing for him to eat. I always make sure to fill the cupboards and the refrigerator before I leave so I don't have to worry about him not eating. Since I don't work everyday or have kids to care for when I am home it's important for me to have hobbies to keep me busy. Without hobbies I would probably get quite bored and resent all the time Brian spends studying or in class--not with me. I LOVE to bake but I try not to do that hobby too often, those calories add up quickly!!! I've recently began to try baking "healthier" treats that Brian won't mind eating and are still yummy delicious! We have lots of friends who are pregnant so I love crocheting hand-made gifts for their new little ones. I also recently started crocheting hats, gloves, etc. to donate to those in need. I love reading. I read about two books a month, sometimes more, sometimes less. Getting involved in a book club was one of the best decisions I've made for myself since Brian started school!

Q: What resources did you find in the community that are supportive to you and your family?

A: I never really searched the community for resources of support. Brian and I pretty much just figure things out on our own. When we were down in Pomona we didn't have any family near by so we really learned to rely on each other for support and encouragement. I was recently talking to my mom about how the most difficult part of our first year down there was not having any family near by. She made an excellent point, telling me that not having family nearby was a blessing in disguise because it forced Brian and I to learn to rely on each other early in our relationship and would make us stronger in our future together. Now that we are in Lebanon we are closer to family on both sides. He has family is Salem (an aunt, uncle, two cousins close in age, and his grandmother) and I have family in Prineville, about 2 1/2 hours away (grandparents, an aunt, uncle, and 3 young cousins). I personally have gotten involved with the complements club and it has been such a blessing to have that support specific to me!

Q: What did you find was the best way to support your husband while he was studying this first year?

A: I had a very difficult time with this. As I mentioned before Brian didn't pass two of his courses and was having a very difficult time. He would study 14-15 hours/day on weekends, and 5-6 on weekdays, more if they had a short class day. His self-esteem took a huge hit and by December (after failing his first class, MCBM) he was ready to give up. When IDIT started and he failed the first test he was depressed. I felt absolutely helpless. I would've done anything I could to help but the only thing he wanted was to pass--and I couldn't do that for him. I found the only thing I could do was to encourage him and tell him over and over and over and over, again and again how wonderful he is, how smart he is, how much I love him, and how proud of him I am. No matter what grade he got on a test I made sure he knew I was proud of him for what he was doing and that I do and will always love him. He tells me now this encouragement was what got him through. So, even though I felt like I was doing nothing, I was actually doing a great deal. It was also difficult for me to sit back and watch him get the best support from his fellow students. I hated that they were able to give him something I couldn't. It was very selfish of me, but deep down I knew they had a better understanding than I did and it was important for me to put my own feelings aside and support him by allowing others to support him.

Q: Did school become stressful on your relationship at any time? How did it effect the relationships he has with other family members and friends?

A: School never became stressful on us as a couple. If anything, as I mentioned before, it definitely brought us closer together. The stress it brought was always more to each of us as individuals -stressful on Brian for the obvious reasons, and stressful to me as a spouse trying to support and encourage in ways I didn't really know how. Because he was so stressed about studying as much as possible, relationships with other family members and friends (outside of school friends) were effected in a sense that he didn't put much time into them. He is very close with his family and it got the point where he only talked to his parents on holidays or the evening of a test (the only time he didn't study). After failing IDIT, Brian in a sense "gave-up". He figured 14 hours of studying wasn't doing him any good and cut back his study time and started spending more time with me and the friends we had made. Ironically, his grades began to improve. It is true! When students farther along in their studies advise new students to make sure to balance school and personal life, they aren't making it up!!!

Q: Do you feel connected with other signicant others of students, and have you found good friends?

A: This question comes with two very different answers. When we were down in Pomona, the answer would be no. I had a hard time connecting with the med student's wives down there. However, I found great friends in a couple of the female med students themselves. Now that we are in Lebanon, with an active complements club I have found friendship among the student's wives and have made some lasting friendships. I feel blessed to have had to opportunity to be an SO at both schools and have developed lasting friendships out of both experiences.

Q: Any advice you would give to new medical student wives?

A: The biggest piece of advise I think I could give would be make sure to be patient. It will take your student SO time to find what works for him (or her) and find a balance of personal and study time. Encourage your SO to spend time with you on weekends and to take the night off after a test if they aren't doing it on their own--but don't forget, patience is key; don't get frustrated if (s)he refuses, just stay supportive! Be encouraging and as hard as it may be for you sometimes, remember it's probably even harder for him (or her)!

21 May 2012

Yr 1 Perspective of a Med School Wife: Maren

Q: Give us a little background of your family, your education/work, and where you came from before moving to Lebanon.

A: I'm mostly from Portland (OR) and also from Rhode Island and a few other places (I won't admit to TX, but it's true).  I have family throughout OR, WA, and UT, but especially in Portland.  I went to Brigham Young University and graduated in Spanish Translation with social science minors.  I lived in Central America as a volunteer for 2.5 years.  1.5 of those years was as a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.

My husband, Jared, went to chiropractic school in Portland before this, so that's where we moved from.  We have 3 precious children 'cause we just can't seem to resist babies.

Q: What are your responsibilities while your husband is at school?

A: While Jared is at school I am a full-time mom with a lot of socializing and service mixed in.  Never thought I would, but I LOVE IT!  I've found a lot of wonderful friends through church and through the Complements Club.  Usually Jared comes home at lunch time and from 5:00-7:30pm (that's our rush hour-- dinner prep, dinner, clean-up, bedtime).  We spend our weekdays trying to fit in naptimes, exercise, feeding, playdates and playgroups, cleaning, argument-mediating, delicious-food-making, babysitting, fulfilling others' needs, mess-making, mess-removing, story-reading, skill-learning, and a reasonable amount of hygiene.

Q: What resources did you find in the community that are supportive to you and your family?

A: The Community Services Consortium has been helpful, as has the county health department, the library, and Samaritan Health Services, oddly enough.

Q: What did you find was the best way to support your husband while he was studying this first year?

A: The best way I seem to be able to support my husband is to not take it personally that he studies so much.  He wants to do well so that he feels good about his efforts, and I had to get used to that idea for a while because he didn't study much in acquiring his other degrees.  I also have to remind myself that since he's home so little, the highest priorities for his time while he's home is not helping around the house, but being a dad.  And I also have to remember that it's only fair that he get time to decompress, just like I would want if I were him.  When things get bad and he's stressed out and the whole family is feeling neglected (read: I am feeling neglected) I cope by either hanging out with friends, trying to hold out until a moment when it's reasonable to ask him to just take a break and forget the test because I'm more important in the long run (can you tell I've practiced how to phrase that?), simplifying things (take'n'bake pizza is okay every once in a while), or keeping busy with other projects. 

Q: Did school become stressful on your relationship at any time? How did it effect the relationships he has with other family members and friends?

A: Overall, school has not been any more of a stressor on our relationship than various other circumstances were in the past, so I wouldn't say that this has been a uniquely stressful experience or something that has very negatively affected our relationship or Jared's relationships with other people.

In fact, the choice to do medical school has had a very positive effect on our relationship. Because Jared is finally doing something he felt really directed to do, and because he feels this can fulfill his potential more than he has in the past, he is happier and more at ease than he has been in a long time, and that has had a domino effect on the rest of the family. And because Jared recognizes the sacrifice we are making for him to do this, he tries to keep his priorities straight and be the best husband/father he can be. So, you never know-- med school might end up being the best thing that ever happened to your family!

Q: Any advice you would give to new medical student wives?

A: Really, the best part of this change in our life has been our social life here in med school.  We have a lot of awesome people around us that we wish we had more time to get to know, both from church and from Complements Club, as I mentioned before.  I would highly recommend getting involved in these groups to any newcomer.  There are other community groups that offer great opportunities for friendships, service, and fun, too, so it's just a matter of getting involved!

18 May 2012

Yr 1 Perspective of a Med School Wife: Me

I'm not sure if any perspective students or their spouses read my blog, but I have tried to make it available as a resource if anyone has concerns about what life will be like in medical school. When Scott and I approached medical school, I had a lot of unasnwered questions about what to expect as the wife of a future doctor and current student, specifically at Western University and in Oregon. There are still unanswered questions about the process that we are waiting to discover through trial and error.

One of the resources I thought might be helpful to perspective students/spouses is to see a year in review from the spouses of those students currently in the program. I have prepared my own  comments and next week will post a few interviews with wives from various backgrounds and families to provide a perspective of what it's like to be a "complement" of a Western University - COMP NW student.

My Background
If you read my blog regularly you already know my background, in fact you're probably part of my background. For those who have some reading to do, let me give you a summary. My husband is just finishing his first year in medical school, the DO program at Western University - COMP NW. Our little family is built with just the two of us for now, and we are comfortable with that. Scott and I moved to Oregon from California. I have a Bachelor's degree in Business and was lucky to find a full-time job in Corvallis when we moved to Lebanon, Oregon for school. I am also taking classes towards my MBA through OSU, which makes me a very busy woman.

My Responsibilities
Knowing that medical school was going to be jam-packed for my husband, I made big plans to keep myself busy. I would have to say that I've been overly successful in that endeavor. I commute to Corvallis for my 8:00 - 5:00 job, I take one evening class a week each semester, I am involved in church activities, I try to be social, and I feel like I carry the majority of the home chores - all in the name of love and sanity.

Community Resources
Lebanon has been so welcoming to all the students and their families. It is a very small town, but it is growing and there are many resources that we have loved having nearby. First off, we have very supportive church members. We contacted the local bishop when we were moving in to help us organize a moving party. It also seems like there is always a church activity going on that I am wanting to attend - "wanting to", being the key phrase there. Western University has helped the significant others of students to form a Complements Club, which is a fantastic resource that I don't take advantage of nearly enough. We look out for each other, and I definitely have my sisters backs (I don't know any of the husbands or boyfriends of students, but I would probably have their backs too). There are definitely other resources for students and families in Lebanon, but I have not used them much. I have, however, blogged about some of the fun things we have done in Oregon.

Supporting My Husband During Year 1
This first year of school included a lot of studying for my husband. He studies each week like it's finals week in his undergraduate career. This means that he is often either not at home or not paying attention to me when he is at home. I am a pretty independent person, but I even felt at times during the year that I just wanted to be selfish and tell him to not think about school for an hour. We have gotten better at communicating where we will be and how we can help each other. I tell him when I'm feeling jealous that he spends more time with his classmates than me, and he will respond with having me act as a patient for either a clinical class or osteopathic manual manipulation. We are going through this journey together, and since we are practically living two seperate lives, the most important thing is to share them with each other. I also don't nag about sharing household chores and have taken to doing them myself, as it gives him one less thing to worry about during cram sessions.

Moments of Stress
Probably the most stressful moment for us this year was right before the holiday break in December. Classes were coming to a close and Scott was studying for multiple finals. He was studying at school or friends' apartments a lot, and when I would see him we would have short and surface-like conversations. Because he is a student, focusing on tests and school, and hanging around 50 (ish) student bachelors, Scott was acting pretty selfish. I reminded myself that I'm a strong, independent woman and I can keep myself busy... but that wasn't it. I love my husband and love spending time with him, even if he's just studying at home. It was a lonely time, and I made it more lonely by not telling him before I felt bitter about it. I also felt hurt when his needs came before mine. We finally talked about it, and when we did, Scott felt so bad at how his actions had come across. We've been able to prevent other such moments of stress just by talking.

Friends
I had heard so many wonderful stories from friends and family who had attended dental or medical school about the close friends that they gained during school. I was lucky to make friends shortly after we moved to Oregon in May and even luckier to have one of the med school wives working with me at OSUF in Corvallis. I love all the ladies I have met so far and have found that there is always someone who shares common interests. Working full-time means that I feel a bit disconnected from other med school wives and the fun they are having in Lebanon. I'm glad that I have a good friend working full-time with me that I can vent to about medical school or life in general. There's a very good chance, too, that I will keep making friends as each new class is admitted.

Advice For New Med School Significant Others
Communication is key! Know each other's schedules and make time to spend with each other every day, or as often as possible. Have something (a tv show, church, etc) that you share so your worlds aren't completely seperate.

15 May 2012

How My Dad Spends Retirement


I always knew that my dad would never be completely retired. He's worked his whole life - from newspaper routes as a kid, to FedEx operations in college, to being a physical therapist for the U.S. Public Health Service. When my dad set his retirement date a few years ago, I tried to imagine him not working, but it just didn't match his character - especially since my dad was vocal in his fear of reitrement boredom. My mom was vocal about that too, now that I think of it!

Retirement settled well with Dad, though. He's always loved vacation and that's kind of what retirement became - my parents visited my neices a bunch to play Nana and Papa, they traveled the West Coast looking for their new home, and my dad recently finished a PhD program in Physical Therapy to officially become Dr. Cavanaugh. As though that weren't enough, my dad started to volunteer his therapy services part-time at an equestrian center in the Medford area that provides "horsie therapy."That's what I call it.

I suppose for my dad that equine therapy still isn't even in the work category. My dad loves horses and he loves physical therapy, so it is more like a dream come true! He was recently photographed volunteering for this article. He looks happy, doesn't he?

10 May 2012

Save the Campus - Sitka Fine Arts Camp

When I was five years old, my family moved to Sitka. My dad's then new job at an Indian health hospital took us to this little island in Southeast Alaska. I attended grades 1-12 in the Sitka School District, my graduating class was a total of 89 students, and ever summer (almost) from 6th grade through high school, I attended the Sitka Fine Arts Camp which hosted students from around the Northwest in a couple weeks of art education. Yes, if you didn't know me then, I do have a dramatic side. Growing up, the camp changed locations from summer to summer, but it has recently found a new home at the oldest college campus in Alaska, Sheldon Jackson (known as SJ, to locals).

Sitka Fine Arts Camp is a magical event for teens (and even younger kiddos now) held in a very culturally diverse town. I always felt like Sitka more than supported and encouraged my artistic abilities and cultural awareness. It probably helped that my parents encourage all of our passions, as well.

To the point-

SJ couldn't survive as a small community college and the campus was gifted to the fine arts camp organization to preserve it's historic value and provide the grounds with a purpose. Now the community of Sitka, unsurprisingly unified by this arts education goal, is asking for support in their cause to revitalize this campus.
 



I am proud to be a product of this inspiring community!

Feel free to pass along this Alaskan story, as the exposure is bound to help the cause.

08 May 2012

Short Again


For all the Moms and Grandmas in the world, Scott now has short hair again. You should know, though, that I REALLY miss his long hair.

03 May 2012

A Pillow for Your Feet

Last Saturday I had a girls day because Scott and all the other med students were incredibly busy studying for their last final in Neuro. Anytime Scott is studying for a final like that, he wont even leave the house if I offer him a trip to Limeberry or some other tasty treat! That's a foreign concept for me... refusing food.

Knowing I would otherwise be stuck in the apartment figuring out what to do with my lonesome while Scott whispered all the PowerPoint slides aloud to himself, I decided it was necessary to pamper myself. And by pamper I mean, shop till I drop and get myself at least one new outfit. I'm really bad at shopping for myself! I'm pretty sure my closet consists mostly of clothes from high school or sophmore year of college.

I was joined on my girls day by my good friend Morgan, my friend from Young Womens, and her daughter. We went to Albany where we shopped at Target, Ross, Maurices, Old Navy, and Kohls. I found a couple nice shirts for work, but for all the walking and rummaging through racks I did, I didn't feel like my trip was as successful as I had hoped. UNTIL, I found these:

If I could add a sound clip of heaven to my blog when you saw that picture, I would. Maybe you did it on your own, because I sang a little "Aaaaahhhh!" in my mind. These sandals are kind of a big deal.

Story.
So we were in Kohls. Last stop before going home to nap. We had just eaten delicious appetisers at Carinos Happy Hour... Bottomless Italian Sodas. Need I say more? I wasn't expecting to find anything at Kohls, first of all because their clothes are always over priced, but 70 percent off which makes it less over priced. Secondly, because I had already looked through the new J-Lo collection and found nada. Morgan decided to look in the shoe section just in case there was something there for her to use a coupon towards.

We walked past the "Comfortable" shoes section, which was full of clunky grandma shoes with insole padding. We pressed on all of them to see how "comfortable" we thought they would really be for our feet. We turned a corner to the next shoe isle, and there was a whole section of foam fit sandals by Adidas and Nike. These sandals are like a memory foam pillow for your feet.

My caressing of these sandals turned into a loud exclamation of my new found love. Seriously, I attracted an audience with my fondling! Where have these been all my life?!

Four people purchased cumfy sandals in that half hour. Kohls should pay me!

Speaking of comfortable shoes, as we left the store, wearing our new sandal love purchases, we were talking about how all shoes should be this comfortable. Like, why don't all heels have this sort of foam pillow inside but look just as cute on the outside? Low and behold, heaven smiles again, and I receive an email from BzzAgent, asking if I'd like to be a part of the Dr. Scholls For Her High Heel Insoles campaign. Obviously someone upstairs thinks that my feet are important!