11 May 2015

Yr 4 Perspective of a Med School Wife: Megan

Even though it has been two years since Megan and Devin have lived in Lebanon, we still were able to see them last year when they were in Medford (links to Megan's 2nd year and 3rd year perspective posts). I have missed Megan and her cutie-pie kids. I would say that Scott missed Devin, but they talk frequently on the phone. So though I've heard about their plans, I hadn't heard Megan's perspective from this year. And I have to say, I'm so glad she was willing to share again this year. Megan's story is honest and detailed. Each of us has had unique paths in medical school, and Megan's story highlights that. I'm just crossing my fingers that we'll get to see them while we're both in the mid-west!

Intern Year/Residency: Internship in Jefferson City, MO

Q: How did you support your med student in year four?

A: Basically I was Devin's sounding board. He changed his mind on what he wanted to do about a million times. (I may be exaggerating, but that's what it felt like!) I was always there to listen to him weigh the pros and cons of different specialties, and (hopefully!) I was able to provide some feedback that was useful to him.

Devin was gone for three months, which may have well been three million months because that's how it felt. I held down the fort with our kids without too much, if any, input from Devin. I knew that he needed to be so mentally focused on what he was doing that I tried my best to not distract him from that.

The first part of fourth year was so much harder than the second half of the year, though. They almost feel like two separate years all together.

Q: Did your family move for fourth year?

A: We moved home and lived in our parents basement for fourth year. All of us, in one room... Yeah... It was a long year, but thankfully we are finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel! We moved home mainly to save money. Away rotations and interviewing is expensive! And we didn't want to take out any more money than we had to.

Also, with Devin being gone as much as he was, it was incredibly nice to have help with our two small children from time to time. Living with parents gave me a little more adult interaction each day than I would have gotten had we stayed in Oregon. (I have a big family :) Someone is always around!) I was also able to start working at our family business, The Blindman, being their general office manager. It gave me something to do during the day so I didn't go crazy! And it helped financially!

Q: What did your student consider when selecting residencies for applications and the match?

A: First, it took us forever to decide on a specific specialty. We had it narrowed down to: OB, Peds, Derm and Family Practice. He loved the clinic setting, but he also loved delivering little babies. So, his first two away rotations were for OB and he HATED it. With a passion. So, yeah, waste of two months! But, at least one of his rotations counted for one of his required 4th year rotation, so not a completely lost month. He then interviewed for Peds residencies because he realized what he loved the most about OB was at the end when he was with the little baby. He interviewed at a couple of different places and was actually offered two residency spots outside of the match! At this point he did a rotation with a Dermatologist that he used to work with. The whole reason that he had gone to medical school in the first place was because of his interest in Derm, but the field is so dang competitive we hadn't really given it too much thought! But, after doing his rotation with the Dermatologist and having many in depth conversations with him and the other Derms there that he was working with, he decided that we should just go for Derm. In the grand scheme of things, if it doesn't work out we will at least know that we tried. So, Dev turned down the other residency offers and started applying to intern years. (Derm is different than any other specialty, you do an intern year and then match into Derm the next year.)

The specialty was hard for us to decide on, but other than that location was huge for me when it came to residency spots. Safety of the area and cost of living. Being a SAHM with two kids really changes your perspective, especially when you know your husband isn't going to be around a lot.

Long story short, we are headed to Jefferson City, MO so Dev can complete an intern year. Then next year we will be doing this whole audition/application process again as we apply for Derm residencies.

Interestingly enough, though, Dev's last rotation of med school was ER and he LOVED it! So, if Derm doesn't work out, ER is the back up... which wasn't even on our radar until he did the rotation. So, maybe him not accepting any of the previous offers was a blessing in disguise, even if Derm doesn't work out. Who knows :)

Q: What was the most frustrating part about Yr 4?

A: Definitely the away rotations. Though I don't think our marriage or anything suffered because of it, it also didn't do us any favors. We were still able to talk every day but he was so exhausted from his days, and the kids missed him like crazy. I was so relieved when those were over!

Also, just the not knowing where we were going to be the next year, that was crazy hard. Even though we found out in February, I am such a planner, and not being able to play - even though it was months in advance - was incredibly hard. But hey, it's kind of an adventure!

Q: Any advice for medical student significant others who are approaching this stage?

A: Figure out what you want to do early. Sign up for audition rotations EARLY! But, as your significant other is finishing up required rotations for fourth year, don't count anything out because you think it's too late. It's always better to maybe take an extra year, but have them do something that they absolutely love! I would hate to get all the way through all of these years of training and then have Dev not love what he is doing.

Be your medical students #1 fan! Schedule in as much family/couple time as possible, because I hear there's not much during residency ;)

Also, lean on family and friends during the rough months - the away rotations. Find a support group, whether in real life or online, but someone who understands and can commiserate with you when things get hard. Because they will get hard. And then they will get better. And then they will get hard, again. But, that's the life we chose, and I wouldn't trade it for anything! (Though, having a house would be nice :) )