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!!