09 July 2014

Yr 3 Perspective of a Med School Wife: Tabetha

Tabetha is one of only a few brave souls who have offered their perspectives each year on my blog. I'm so glad she did, because her perspective shows that we all have different paths on this medical school journey, and we each need to find the best method for supporting and maneuvering this system that works best for our family.

During the first two years of medical school, Tabetha was a flight attendant and was constantly on the go. Then as you might remember from last year's post, Tabetha's husband and medical student, Brian, was accepted to be an OMM fellow in his third year. That is quite the honor and CV builder! His schedule was thus quite different from other third year students. Click on the following links to read Tabetha's posts from our 1st year and 2nd year.

Q: What are your responsibilities this last year while your med student was on rotation?

A: This year was very different for us from past years. To start, a wonderful opportunity presented itself, and I was fortunate to change jobs. My last trip flying was in September, and on October 1st I started a new job where I was able to stay home! This was a huge change for us in my schedule. While I am now home more, I am actually significantly busier than I was and it has been much more difficult for me to manage taking care of everything (laundry, groceries, cooking, cleaning, etc.) on my own. Brian and I split just about everything when it comes to chores. In May, my sister moved in with us (she is applying to medical school this year), and since moving in she has been a huge help with cooking and cleaning!

Q: What did you do differently in year three to support your med student?

A: Year three has been both easier and harder for my med student husband. It all boils down to the rotation he's on. Some rotations he LOVES, which makes life very easy! Certain rotations have been very hard on him. Whether it was simply a specialty he didn't enjoy or a preceptor who has long since forgotten what it's like to be a 3rd year med student... these rotations took forever to end. During these rotations I had to be extra understanding and supportive when Brian would come home grumpy, or sad, or mad, or any number of emotions. During years 1 and 2 I could usually anticipate when he would need extra support (the week before a test), but since rotations were constantly changing I was never sure what I would get!

Q: What surprised you about clinical rotations?

A: Since we have many friends who are ahead of us in the med school game i don't feel anything really caught me off guard when it came to rotations. I suppose the only thing that really surprised me was how much Brian disliked certain rotations. I anticipated he'd come home from every rotation thinking ʺthis is it!ʺ but in fact he came more often than not saying ʺthis is NOT it!ʺ

Q: How are you preparing for residencies?

A: Since Brian was accepted into the Fellowship program we are actually behind a year. While we have and continue to discuss residency possibilities, we still have a little more time to begin applying for audition rotations as he won't be doing those until Fall 2015.

For us, location is definitely important. We have previously spent time living in an area we didn't like and know how detrimental it can be to hate where you live. Ideally we would LOVE to stay on the West Coast (no farther east then Denver), but unfortunately there just aren't enough residency programs on the west coast for us to put all our eggs in one basket. A lot of our time has been spent discussing the ʺwhat ifsʺ and where in the Midwest and on the East Coast we think we would be happy should we end up there.

Of course, program is important too, and there are some programs Brian will apply to even if it's somewhere we don't necessarily want to live. We just have to tell ourselves over and over--it's only temporary!

Q: Any advice SOs beginning third year?

A: Keep an open mind! Anything can happen! It is very possible your student doctor will fall in love with a rotation they had never considered or end up hating a rotation they were convinced was ʺThe Oneʺ.

As I've said in years past, continue to communicate! It is so important for couples to discuss everything! Talk about the future, keep an open mind, and enjoy every second! It goes by so much faster than you realize!