31 May 2013

Five Years

I remember waiting inside of the Sacramento Temple five years ago this morning, as a newly married couple, waiting to make a grand entrance to our world of excited family and friends, and one of the ladies volunteering in the temple that day brought me my bouquet. I love that bouquet so much! It smelled glorious and was bright and exotic. As I was enjoying the aroma, another volunteer inside the temple came and took my bouquet away, saying I couldn't have it until I went outside. Oops! Well, I guess I could wait. The flowers were placed gently in a vase near the door.

Next thing I knew, the first volunteer was walking quickly in my direction bringing my ball of pink with her - didn't care what anyone said, she thought I needed to have it! Anything to make a bride happy!

High five to my honey! Somehow it doesn't seem like it has been five years. I feel like I'm barely out of college, nowhere near looking my age, and yet I can't seem to remember what life was like without my husband by my side. Anyone else feel like they should still be planning their wedding reception?

22 May 2013

Soy Vay House Party

The med students are studying intently for boards and planning their get away from Lebanon, so of course a party was in order and lucky for us Soy Vay was willing to sponsor it! We  had applied for the Soy Vay House Party for this very purpose!

Scott and I prepared chicken kabobs and drumsticks marinated in Soy Vay's Veri Veri Teriyaki. HouseParty and Soy Vay had sent us one large and one small bottle of it, which is lucky because the only other flavor I found in Lebanon was Wasabe Teriyaki and I didn't think that would go over well with the children.

And there were LOTS of kids. We had 34 of our close medical school friends come over for the BBQ. I was hoping all week long that it would be sunny so we could have the BBQ outside next to the playground. Oregon has had some really lovely weather, which means of course that everyone is talking about how we need the rain and someone in Oregon is likely leading a rain dance. They were successful dancers, because it POURED right in the middle of our BBQ as I was trying to push the children outside of the clubhouse to play.

Soy Vay also sent us a shirt for my BBQer to wear! Here he is talking about board questions with his fellow student doctors. There will come a day, very soon, when I will cringe when hearing another medical school test question.

Do you love how we had the Food Network on during our party? I think it made everyone hungrier.

Soy Vay also sent us all goodie bags to take home with recipe booklets and coupons. OH! And a mini Glad container for all, which is very fitting because my friends here always joke that I somehow fit a whole lunch for Scott into mini tupperware containers. Would you believe that sometimes he eats the same amount as me? It's strange.

I love my med school friends so much and will sure miss them when they are off in rotations! I might have to hang that group picture up in my living room, Photoshop in Morgan, Chase, and Colt, and bring it with me everywhere I go!

17 May 2013

To the Pro Bowl

Scene: Western University COMP NW campus

Just looking at the picture you would think Scott was teaching a study group, right?

You would be wrong. This is a meeting of "The Second Years" flag football team of the Lebanon Flag Football League. (Yes, that was their official team name. They clearly did not consult a woman before they chose it). The above meeting occured before the semi-final game, where members of the second year class battled against members of the first year class for a chance to compete in the league championship. My husband takes his sports seriously.

So seriously that when he twisted his ankle on the day of the championship game, you would have thought he had broken it. He immediately called his players to prepare a backup game plan. It was also one of the three times in our marriage that I've seen him take pain medication. When he walked on that ankle it was painful, so he prepared to not be quarterback or even play in the game at all.

How long do you think that lasted? I love this picture of him standing on the sidelines that night. You can tell from his posture that he is so frustrated not being in the game.

The Second Years were battling under the lights against a team of local athletes. Since The Second Years were two seed in the tournament, playing against the first seed team, they were listed as Guest on the scoreboard and our cheering section was on the uncovered bleachers. Though Scott and his team were welcomed competitors, you could feel that this championship was more than just a game. The local teams did not want to be beaten in the Lebanon flag football tournament on the Lebanon High School football field by this group of nomadic students. The home cheering section included not only the wives and friends of the home team, but also team members from some of the other local teams.

And it was a great game! Home would make a touchdown, followed closely by a guest touchdown. There was a lot of movement and tension. It wasn't even the end of the first half that Scott was playing again, saying he could barely feel any pain in his ankle (it really did heal up by the next day).

Second half, the game was tied, 42 to 42, with about a minute left on the clock. The Second Years had taken the ball all the way down the field. With their last chance on the drive, they attempted a field goal kick and made it! This certainly motivated the home team, who turned around and made a touchdown with only five seconds left on the clock.

With a team full of (extremely) competitive medical students, this loss was tough. Heads were down. I believe I even heard some loud barking. But I was really impressed with Scott (may have been a side effect of the drugs). He took a leadership role and congratulated all his team members pointing out their best plays. And while the winning team took pyramid pictures in front of their scoreboard, Scott rallied the team for their one and only team picture of the season.

The story doesn't end there, because of course the Lebanon Flag Football League is having a pro bowl game. Team coaches were asked to nominate four players from their team to play. Of course, as coach, Scott nominated himself... as quarterback. This time he vows he wont be playing ankle twisting basketball on game day.

14 May 2013

Yr 2 Perspective of a Med School Wife: Morgan

I'm so glad that Morgan started feeling the pressure to participate in my review posts, because I love her perspective. I'm probably biased, though, because Morgan and I have spent a lot of time together since medical school began. Scott and Morgan's husband, Chase, were roomies during the summer ISAC program in Pomona. So Morgan and I were destined to be besties, especially after I was able to score her a job with me at the Foundation in Corvallis. Carpooling, lunch hours, and games nights with the hubbies have been so great. I'm not evening thinking about how they will move for rotations, because I like to pretend that I will still see Morgan and her adorable baby every week.

What are your responsibilities while your husband is at school this year?

Unlike the others that have posted so far, my responsibilities have changed from the first year… but not because its year 2 but because we had our first baby.

So I spend my time taking care of Colt and I do most of the shopping and cooking. I would like to say that I am a wonderful housekeeper, but Chase would tell you otherwise. Thankfully I have a husband who likes to wind down after tests by giving the house a good scrubbing.

Chase likes to always go, go, go. So I try to make sure that he has fun and doesn’t get too worn out.

What did you do differently in year two to support your med student?

I made sure to stay out of the way during test weekends. Chase loves to hang out with Colt and me, and I noticed one test weekend that I was totally being a distraction. I don’t have the discipline to leave him alone, especially on weekends. So I try and get out more on those weekends and keep myself busy.

The first year of med school I was working full time and also coached cheer a couple nights a week. I cut back from coaching cheer at night. It felt like I was away from the house too much,  and Chase has enjoyed having me home every night even if we were just in the same room while he was studying. I am sure having dinner ready for him doesn’t hurt either.

I try and focus on the end goal more. It helps me to remember what is important and why we have to make sacrifices now. For example, right now when I want to take time away from Chase’s board studies, I remind myself that his board scores will help decide what residency program and what specialties Chase can or cannot get into. If I take away too much from his studies now that could affect his path as a doctor and also our future.

How did you prepare for rotations?

I made sure to talk with Chase and see what his expectations and hopes were for rotations. I tried to stay informed and learn about the process as much as possible. It was kind of difficult to get all of the information when I was looking for it, but it all came eventually. I just needed to be patient.

What did your family consider when participating in the lottery?

Chase went and talked with the rotations director and a few of the teachers at school. He also contacted some residents at different DO schools around the nation and asked what is important for the field of medicine that he is thinking and hoping to go into.

After talking with all of these sources, he decided that he wanted to be in a location that wasn’t too small, but not too big either. Some of the places in the big cities have residents also at the hospitals, so it may be harder to get as much hands on experience. But in larger cities you may have the opportunity to see more rare and interesting cases. Then in smaller hospitals you get more hands on experience, but may miss out on having a variety of cases. Chase wanted his rotation site experience to be the happy medium.

Once we figured this out we looked at our different options and narrowed it down to our top five places. Then we further discussed the advantages and disadvantages of each. Our top two rotations sites ended up being McMinnville and Bend. The school put out a Google doc where people put in their top chooses. When we saw how many people put Bend as their top choice, we decided that we would rather put down McMinnville then end up somewhere further down our priority list.

What was the most difficult part of year two for you?

I think the unknown was the hardest part for me also. I feel like the school (and once in a while my husband) could do a better part at informing us of the process.

Another hard part at the end of this year has been finding a place to live in our rotaion site. There isn’t quite as many options in the price range that we are wanting, and since it’s not super close we can’t just make a quick trip to see the places.

I think the next thing that is going to be difficult is moving. Not only because moving just sucks, but because we will really miss our friends and support system that we have in Lebanon. However, it is exciting to move on to the next part of the journey, and Chase is super excited to be out of the classroom and start feeling more like a real doctor.

Any advice for first years?

Stay positive. I think it is easier for you, your medical student, family, and others around you if you stay positive. Yes, medical school is stressful. Yes, we are all poor. And yes, we don’t see our husbands as much as we might like. But this time is precious… and lots of time Chase and I have found ourselves wishing our lives away thinking if only we were in rotations, residency, or if Chase was already a doctor. Enjoy this time because soon you may be leaving your friends and moving on to the next adventure. Plus you want to have a positive effect on those around you!

I will also echo everyone else’s advice… communicate!

Oh and plan lots of parties and get togethers! And take a lot of pictures. It is such a fun time!

13 May 2013

Yr 2 Perspective of a Med School Wife: Shaila

Thank you to Shaila, who was willing to share her experiences again this year. You can read her first year review by clicking on this link.

What are your responsibilities while your husband is at school this year?

A day in my life makes me tired and may make you tired just reading about it! We added our 4th boy to our family during the summer and a puppy at the beginning of the year, so that even added to the workload. (Our 4 boys, Malcolm is 9, Quinn is 7, Winston is now 5 and Sterling is now 10.5 months and our puppy, Brody, is almost 6 months.) My "days" would start out by waking up the big kids and getting them fed, dressed, everything put together, so that they could get off to school, where Matt would drive them if he was on his was to school, or I would. Then I get to feed a cute and precious baby and entertain the 4, now 5, year old. Then the rat race begins, laundry, bathroom scrubbing, dusting, vacuuming, dishes, tripping on hundreds of toys, picking up hundreds of toys, organizing, bill paying, errand running, meal cooking, dog trainer, pooper scooper, vet appts, dr appts, kissing boo-boos, comforting, breaking up wrestling matches. Those are just a few of the things I do. What doesn't a mother of 4 boys do!?!

What did you do differently in year two to support your med student?

I didn't do anything really different this year to support Matt. I felt like we did pretty good the first year. I just tried not to vent to him my frustrations of the kids and housework too much (which was difficult as I've struggled with some post partum depression). That might not be the best thing to do, and he doesn't like it that I do that. I try and handle things, as best as I can, before putting any more stress or burden on his full plate. His first priority is his family, but getting this education is what's going to provide for his family in the long run. I tried to keep our bedroom (where he does the majority of his studying) quiet and somewhat clean (definitely not always clean) so that he could focus and want to be home as much as possible. The moments we had together, we tried to make them the most meaningful and stress free, so that he could enjoy the limited quality time he had with us.

How did you prepare for rotations?

I'm not good at seeking out information. So everything I knew about rotations, came from Matt, which let's be honest, really wasn't a whole lot. I told Matt what my priorities were, and pretty much left it up to him. We discussed locations a few times, and I'd let him know what I thought. I didn't play a huge part in the process. Matt's happiness is number 1! If Matt's happy, it makes me happy, which trickles down to happier kids, a happier life. So I wanted Matt to do what would help him achieve the success he wants most.

If it was possible, I didn't want to move. We have kids in school, we've moved around a lot already, and will have to move more in years to come. One less move and more stability would be nice. We live in a beautiful home, with wonderful neighbors, in a culdesac, with a great yard - all things that my kids need, and I love. So in the end, Matt was able to get a rotation in Corvallis. He will commute, and we can stay put. Our kids can feel like life is as normal as possible. Honestly, if we didn't have older kids, Matt would have tried for a different rotation, but Matt's priority is his family. I'm pretty blessed that he feels that way.

What was the most difficult part of year two for you?

The most difficult thing in year two would probably be the amount of stress that Matt had. It was definitely a harder year for him, for many reasons I'm sure. He had to put more time into studying. I know I added to the stress, as I struggled with some post partum depression. He sometimes felt the need to love and comfort me, when he needed to be studying instead. But thankfully we both survived and got through it and love each other more for the love and support we've given each other. Another hard thing, was again, money. I felt like this year was harder financially than the first. Part of that is this second semester, where they had to pay test fees for boards.

Any advice for first years?

My advice for first years, pawn everything you own and keep the cash hidden away in your freezer for future bills. :) Budgeting and frugality is what will get you through this year. Ask your hubby what fees he'll have so you can consider that too.

Make the most of your time together, all the little moments, especially if you have kids, they need those little moments with their daddy (or mommy). I don't expect to have Matt be of any help around the house. I want him to come home and take those moment with his kids, not cleaning or helping with household duties (not that I don't want that!). So keep your expectations low with what you're hubby can help with and what time he'll have to give. If you absolutely need something extra, asking lovingly is what I've found gets me what I want. Haha!

Just encourage him, let him know how great he is, how handsome he is , how proud of him you are, how you believe in him. Little things like that help anyone feel worth more. Good luck!

It's great to know we're ending class study and halfway through this phase. Yay!

10 May 2013

Yr 2 Perspective of a Med School Wife: Megan

Megan is a new contributor to my little review game, so I'll tell you a little bit about her before writing her responses. Megan is married to Devin who is a second year medical student at Western University - COMP NW. They have a little boy, SJ, who just turned two. I remember meeting Megan and Devin at the beginning of first year and SJ couldn't walk yet. It was fun to watch him escalate from crawling to running! Scott and I see these three often to play games, talk sports (while Megan, SJ, and I observe), or on occasion find ourselves at Buffalo Wild Wings. We will miss them when they move to Medford for locations, but already hooked them up to live in my parents neighborhood!

What are your responsibilities while your husband is at school this year?

This year I started working at WOW! Fitness' day care. It has been a blessing and a challenge. Our day usually consists of working at the day care in the morning, coming home and preparing lunch for Devin and SJ, putting SJ down for a nap and then heading back to the gym for a couple more hours. I take care of the cooking, cleaning and taking care of SJ so that Devin has time to focus on school. On days that I don't work at the gym I have been busy with my church calling, leading teenage girls.

What did you do differently in year two to support your med student?

The second year seemed so much easier than the first year! All of the initial adjustments that we went through from the first year seemed to have smoothed themselves out. We both knew what to expect. I don't know if I necessarily did anything different, but I have tried to support Devin as much as possible and make his life easier, which in turn makes our life easier! Devin has also done a really good job at making sure that we know, as his family, we are still his #1 priority - whether that means coming home from lunch every day, making sure that we have dinner together, or helping with SJ as much as possible.

How did you prepare for rotations?

I feel like, no matter how much you prepare for rotations and the lottery, you can always end up in a place that you least expect. At least, that's what happened to us! We thought we had everything planned out and when we finally got our rotation locations we were shocked! But it has actually turned out to be a very good thing, and we're very excited about our new location! (Though we are going to miss our friends here tremendously!) So my advice when it comes to rotations, keep an open mind! It will work out!

What was the most difficult part of year two for you?

All of the stress with the boards coming up has been pretty hard! I can't wait until those are over! Test weekends are hard but, if you know they are coming, you can make sure that you have stuff going on that weekend to make it go by faster!

Any advice for first years?

It's always hard not having your husband/significant other around. It's hard feeling like a 'single mom' or just plain single, but you need to remember you're not alone! These days will come to an end, eventually. While it's a big sacrifice for these next couple of years, in the grand scheme of things I would do it again so that my husband can do something that he loves.

09 May 2013

Yr 2 Perspective of a Med School Wife: Tabetha

Tabetha has become a new friend since she posted on my blog last year, which is how I have this lovely picture of her and Brian (and their artistic pumpkin) from Halloween. Ignore our messy apartment.

I'm so glad that she was willing to share her perspective from year two!

What are your responsibilities while your husband is at school this year?

My responsibilities didn't change much from first to second year. Basically, I did all I could to make life as easy as possible for Brian. We don't have kiddos so really my home life is pretty easy. I do most (maybe all *wink*) of the grocery shopping, laundry, and cleaning. I still travel about 17 days per month so Brian has to be self-sufficient when I'm gone. I try to keep the fridge and cabinets well stocked for when I'm gone and I make sure he has enough clean undies to last until I'm home again.

What did you do differently in year two to support your med student?

Year two seemed a lot busier than first year. The classes seemed to move a lot faster and had more information. While this made things feel a little more stressful, I think Brian actually enjoyed it quite a bit more than first year because the information was more "medical" than science. This made my life a whole lot easier! Because he was happier, I was happier. This year I felt I didn't have to continuously "push" him through each day. Most days he was excited to study and go to class and learn so all I had to do was not be selfish and let him.

How did you prepare for rotations?

Rotations can't come fast enough!!! We've had friends in rotations since our journey began, and life during those two (or three years for those taking the fellowship route--us included) just seemed like.... Bliss! It seemed like "having a life" would never come again but it has finally arrived! Well, I guess not officially until after Step 1 (Board exam)... Details. We talked a lot about where we wanted to do rotations--well, Brian talked... I listened and prayed!

What did your family consider when participating in the lottery?

Since we bought our house location was pretty important to us. Brian was extra interested in doing his rotations somewhere he could get a lot of hands-on experience. We had heard lots of good things about several locations, but none really within a commutable distance for him. We went back and forth for a while as to where exactly would be the best fit. In all actuality it was Brian trying to decide if location or experience was more important to him. I just listened to his concerns and gave my opinions when asked (I was always extra careful not to push my own agenda because I wanted him to make the decision and be happy with it. I didn't want him to make a decision based on what I wanted and then resent me for it later. I could be flexible and make it work out for me no matter what the outcome. I prayed like crazy about it though!) Eventually Brian went in to talk to the rotations director and got some good advice from a non-biased party. He eventually decided Corvallis would be a good fit both in experience and location. We picked an uncontested track for our #1 and waited patiently. We got it!

What was the most difficult part of year two for you?

The most difficult part of second year is without a doubt the "unknown". There is so much waiting around for answers and so much hanging in the balance. It can really wear on your nerves! Between the rotations lottery and fellowship applications I thought I'd never know what the next 2-3 years would have in store for us! Eventually all the answers come in and the weight is lifted. It is so nice finally being able to see the light at the end of the med school tunnel (unfortunately I can already see the dark opening of the residency tunnel...)

Any advice for first years?

My advice for first years going into second year is definitely continue to communicate!! There are so many decisions to be made during second year and it is important you and your spouse know all the options. I would recommend for spouses to attend any rotations meetings they can so they don't have to rely on their student spouse to relay all the information. Talk about your wants and needs as a couple. Do you have kids who are in school? Would your family benefit or hurt from a move? How far are you willing to move if you have to? Is location more important than having fewer students/residents around to compete with? How will you feel about getting a location you didn't want? Ask lots of questions and discuss all options!!!

Extra, Extra! Tabetha's husband Brian was accepted as an OMM fellow and I asked her to share a little about that option and why they chose to pursue it.

Western offers COMP students a chance to increase their OMM skills by becoming a pre-doctoral osteopathic teaching fellow. This is a program where students take time off from their rotations during third and fourth years to come back to the school and assist in teaching OMM to the first and second years. Because of the time taken off from rotations fellows must extend their med school careers to five years instead of four. Fellows will teach one semester each year for three years equalling a total of 12 months teaching--hence the extra year. This program is for students who want to really improve their OMT skills.

We decided to apply to the program for two main reasons. 1) Brian loves OMM. He is very much a hands-on person. Before coming to DO school he had originally applied and been accepted to chiropractic school. He was a kinesiology major in undergrad and loves physical medicine (right now PM&R is his choice specialty). The reason he came to DO school rather than a traditional MD school is because of OMT. The fellowship will give him a chance to attend workshops and conventions, as well as work one-on-one with the OMM faculty at COMP-NW. The experiences granted to fellows is too much to pass up. 2) As Brian thinks more and more about his future, the idea of returning to medical school after several years of practice to teach has become more and more appealing. Being a fellow will give him experience as a teacher and will potentially help him in deciding if teaching is right for him in the future.

The fellowship is also a scholarship program. If the idea of paying for five years of medical is enough to stop you from applying, have no fear! That's not the case. If you are interested in OMM and are serious about continuing your OMT knowledge passed what's taught in classes, the fellowship is the perfect way to do so! Don't let the extra year sway your desire to be a better OMT doc!! It is a great program!!

08 May 2013

Yr 2 Perspective of a Med School Wife: Maren

Maren, too, was so gracious to write a year-in-review post for me again. You can read her year one post here.

What are your responsibilities while your husband is at school this year?

I usually help with the kids early in the morning to let Jared keep dozing, because he's probably been up later than I was the night before, studying. When he is at school, the kids and I will go to the gym do errands. Jared often comes home for lunch to help.  In the afternoon the kids and I take walks or play with friends or at home until it's time to make dinner.

Jared used to come home every day, right when I needed him most, but he's usually at school until 5:30 or 6pm these days. Sometimes we eat dinner without him.  After dinner Jared usually goes back to school to study.

I take care of all our finances, all our household needs, almost all of the chores, almost all the shopping and food-making, a fair portion of the maintenance, our responsibilities as landlords (except for some maintenance), social and future planning, etc. Basically I take care of everything besides Jared's studying.

What did you do differently in year two to support your med student?
This year, but mostly this semester, required more studying of Jared since he's studying for both classes and boards at the same time. He used to stay until all the kids were in bed, but this semester he's only been home about 2 hours per evening. And since we can't converse well when the kids are around, and I'm asleep when he gets home at night, we just don't have much time together. Our relationship is still somehow totally good, maybe because we both can see the sacrifices the other is making (Jared's is trying to be home as much as possible and mine is trying not to nag him or get resentful) and we both know it's temporary. During the times when I'm ready to start yelling and making demands, I remember that we already warned ourselves that this is how this semester would be.

How did you prepare for the lottery and rotations?

For rotations, we thought a lot about how close we would be to family in each location, and also about #1's schooling situation. We wanted to get her into a Spanish Immersion program, and there are only a few areas that offer that. Also, we knew that Jared will possibly be traveling to various Air Force rotation sites for 4th year and I'd better have family around to help me. Those factors were at least as heavily, if not more heavily weighted than what Jared thought the rotations would be like for him. We also figured, one really has no idea of how it's going to be until one does it, and every situation's got it's pros and cons, so there's no point fussing too much about trying to predict whether he'll like the rotation site or not.

What was the most difficult part of year two for you?

The most difficult part of year two has probably been this last two weeks of finals. The schedule has been much more full of tests than normal, and I've had to remind myself a lot that this is temporary and that Jared won't always be this stressed and absent.

Any advice for first years?

My advice to first years and everyone else is to identify what your expectations are, communicate them, decide whether they're realistic, and adjust where necessary.

07 May 2013

Yr 2 Perspective of a Med School Wife: Kristy

You might remember Kristy from the review of year one. It was so nice of her to answer my questions again, and this time she included a fun picture of her family!

What are your responsibilities while your husband is at school this year?

I stayed at home with the kids and did mom things. Two or three days a week I was part of a home school/preschool group with other med school families and that takes most of the weekdays. I still try to keep order and take care of as much of the finances, shopping, handyman duties, planning for moving, and such as I can to keep my husband free to focus on his studies.

What did you do differently in year two to support your med student?

Second year was much more intense for Josh, it seemed. So I tried to step up even more to keep him free from having to deal with details that come with running a household. I don't know what was different in terms of what I was doing to support him, it was just more efficient. We all (including the kids) just got better at doing what we needed to do so that we could maximize our family time.

How did you prepare for the lottery and rotations?
Josh and I talked a lot about what we wanted to experience in rotations. We both wanted to be in a small town setting if possible, and we wanted to be where Josh had as little time away from home as possible (where most of his time was in one hospital rather than several cities). We also looked into schools since our oldest is starting Kindergarten this fall, and we wanted to make sure she would be able to have a good experience with that. We loved the idea of Astoria from when we first heard about it, and when lottery time came it felt like it was the perfect fit for what we wanted. The particular Astoria track we chose based on how the elective and vacation slots were scheduled. We wanted to try to have one of his electives in Idaho Falls where we are from and wanted that to be either right before or right after the vacation slot. It worked out perfectly for us.

What was the most difficult part of year two for you?

I think financially it has been pretty hard - worse than the first year. You have to be so super frugal and learn to get by without much.

Josh had a more intense study schedule, especially during the second semester when he started more aggressively studying for boards. The kids had a hard time understanding why he was gone even more than ever, and it was hard for Josh and I to get time with just the two of us since the kids missed him so much. It really was a growing experience for me, and I have learned how to take charge of my own life since I haven't been able to rely on Josh for things that he used to take care of.

Any advice for first years?

Just keep at it. Keep taking advantage of the little bits of time your spouse has. Find ways to save money wherever and however you can. And just keep pushing ahead. It goes so fast that it wasn't too bad!

06 May 2013

Yr 2 Perspective of a Med School Wife: Me

Could it be possible that the second year of medical school is already coming to an end? The first year seemed to drag on for four years, so the fast pace of year two has caught me off guard. I'm not ready to watch friends move for their rotations or for the unknowns that come with year three! Nevertheless it is time for a med school wife review session. If you are just tuning in, here is a link to my Year 1 summary. There is also a link on my blog to all medical school related posts. I will be posting year in review perspectives this week from spouses and significant others of osteopathic medical students at Western University - COMP NW.

My Responsibilities
During this second year of medical school my responsibilities didn't change. While Scott was busy studying for and being tested on each of the body systems, I kept myself busy with work, school, church, and household chores.

Supporting My Husband During Year 2
Occasionally Scott would pitch in to do dishes, laundry, or take out the trash. I couldn't count on it and usually had to ask if I needed help because of his intense study schedule. I NEVER asked during a test weekend and learned from year one that it was best to keep myself busy those weekends with girls nights and shopping trips. Win-Win! When it wasn't a test weekend, Scott and I made a point to spend time together on the weekend, whether it was a game night with friends or dinner and a movie at home. Year two didn't take it's toll like year one, because I knew what to expect when it came to the hubby's study time. We have learned a lot about the importance of good communication as well, so I try to be clear about my expectations and ask him to define his. If you are a significant other of a medical student, you would probably agree with me that they fail to communicate school things. I had to ask what was new, when is the next event on campus, when will I know more about rotations and residencies. Scott often already knew these things, he just didn't realize I would like to know as well.

Preparing for Rotations
Possibly the biggest "trial" of this last year was preparing for rotations in year three. Since Scott is in the first class at this campus, we were guinea pigs to the new rotations staff and process. I wanted to know information often before it was available (love me some research). Sometimes the students would have a town hall meeting where they would learn about the rotation lottery or base cities, but I was invited and would hear about it first from other wives. If you missed my post on the lottery process at Western University - COMP NW, you can follow this link. When rotation schedules were released from the school for the lottery process, Scott and I sat down together to decide what our top lottery picks would be. We factored in the costs of moving, available housing, potential learning opportunities for the rotation cites, and schedule of electives and vacation. We decided to put the Samaritan Health System (primarily in Corvallis, Albany, and Lebanon) as our first choice because I could keep my job and continue school, moving would be optional, and Corvallis is a residency site so there is potential for great networking and residency-like rotations.

Advice For Those in Year 1
Breathe a sigh of relief! You survived year one, and year two will be a breeze in comparison. Continue to communicate with your med student, and be proactive with him/her or the school in getting the information you need for year three. Start thinking about residencies now as a family, because it will make a difference in how you select your rotations. Most importantly, savor your friendships in year two! Sadly for us at COMP-NW our groups of friends are split during the third and fourth years. Enjoy year two while it lasts because year three and year four bring the unknowns of boards, how to best support your med student during rotations, and how to prepare for the residency match.

03 May 2013

Med School Update: Closing Out Year 2

Taken at OSU Spring Game
Scott has now completed the last of his course lectures in medical school. A fun milestone to celebrate, though we all know the learning doesn't end here. With these two years of course-work done, the school offers second-year students a month lecture and test free to study for board exams, which will be taken by most students in June. Rotations begin the last week of June. Year three includes rotations set up by the school, including OB/GYN, Surgery, Family Medicine, Pediatrics, Internal Medicine, Psych, OMM, as well as two elective rotations, and one vacation. Year three will be an adventure, the likes we have never seen before. There will be confusion.

Systems reviewed this year:
Endocrine (hormones), Cardiology (heart), Renal (kidney), Pulmonary (lungs), Gastrointestinal (stomach), Reproduction, Dermatology, Pediatrics, Geriatrics, Emergency Medicine, Osteopathic Manual Manipulation, Clinical Studies

I would say that Scott spent a majority of the year either on the COMP-NW campus or in our living room sitting on the chaise of our maroon couch, with his laptop streaming past lectures. Scott made it a goal this new year to spend more time volunteering in the community and went a few times to provide service at the local free clinic. His reign as Vice President of the DO 2015 class at COMP-NW has also come to an end. This year has been one final after another, with the last ten days of school this year including eight tests. Now that lectures and exams are over, there will be a week of orientation on campus for board exams and rotations.

Two more years of medical school to go, then on to internship/residency/fellowships.

01 May 2013

Bob's Red Mill - Portland

I've wanted to visit Bob's Red Mill since we moved to Oregon. Bob has a plethora of whole grain and gluten free products. Though their product line is admirable, the main reason I wanted to visit Bob's Red Mill was their cafe (Breakfast from scratch served until late afternoon, need I say more?).

As it so happened, the perfect time to visit Bob's was during my parents long lay over in Portland before our travel. It was a Saturday, around noon, and a long line had formed inside to eat at the cafe.

Our group was torn between the amazing Red Mill breakfast and lunch options. I ended up choosing the vegetable omlet with Bob's Red Mill biscuits. The omlet was tasty, but the star of the meal was Bob's biscuits! I could have eaten four more and taken a dozen with me on the plane! They were not much to look at, but clearly whole grain flour, flakey, soft, and addicting.

Scott enjoyed the French dip.

I would love to return to the Red Mill for another meal the next time I'm in Portland, but whether or not that happens, I will definetly be finding Bob's biscuit mix in my grocery store.