Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The "don't become too focused" debate

So I do have some idea of what it is I want to do when all is said and done with school. And that idea has changed as I have crossed things off my checklist which I found did not meet some of the criteria I know I want in my career as a physician and things have been added as I have discovered routes and options that I had no clue even existed. And I am sure the latter will probably still continue as I enter into rotations and see more options in medicine.
However, I was talking with someone the other day here at school about one of my newer interests and quite frankly probably one of my top prospects of consideration, and he told me I should not become too focused and eliminate things. Huh????
I do not think I am *that* focused, I simply know what I want and know what I am bad at.
For instance, I am a clutz. I swear I can trip up stairs, and I have in fact done so. Knowing this, I know surgery probably not a good career choice for me. Is it bad for me to say I know this is not me at this point in the game knowing that the field and what it requires is not ideal for me??
Also, is it bad to say no I do not want to do OB/GYN because I do not want to have to deal with the insane hours of call that are required because you can not control when someone goes into labor (as much as we may try). This does not fit with my idea of what I want for my family. Is it bad for me to eliminate this at this stage of the game because the demands of the career are not what fits in my lifestyle and my personality???
I guess it leaves me in this crux. I am trying to keep an open mind to new things that fit what I want, but at the same time I think when you do this as a non-trad you have to have some idea of what it is you want and where it is you want to go. Otherwise, how do we endure all of the exams, all of the sacrifices we make, all of the junk we put ourselves through as we reach this dream?? What makes it worth it if it is not for the light at the end of the tunnel?? Why sacrifice a weekend with our family to spend time with 30 cadavers if not for the knowledge of the fact that we are doing so in order to be able to do what we were meant to do and what we love to do? And to endure that torture (sorry for those that love anatomy, but it is definitely not me), why is it bad to keep in mind the goal we are working toward?
And even now, as I debate the whole do I or do I not take the USMLE debate, why is it bad to have some idea of what it is I want to do? Does this not help me make that decision based on availability and location of residency or fellowship programs? Does this not help me decide whether I want to put myself through the horrors of two major board exams, one of which I do not have to take, in order to be abel to have a career as what I want to do rather than settling for something less???
I guess it just comes down to one of those non-trad things that some people, despite their best intentions, do not truly understand.

Monday, October 3, 2011

The "how do you do it?"/ "I don't know how you do it" crowd

I swear if I had a nickel for every time someone said to me either:
1. "How do you do it?" (med school and family) OR
2. "I don't know how you do it" (med school and family)
I think I would have a serious dent made in children's college educational funds ;)

I know these comments come from a place where people do not understand and would like to understand, but I find it hard to explain. It would be like me asking a traditional student "how do you do it without a family?". They equally find their words lacking but they know that they just do. Just as I just do, just as I keep trucking away one task, one accomplishment at a time towards a finish line that keeps inching ever more closer.
Over the past few days I have given this some thought and here is what I have come with so far in my sleep-deprived musings:
I was a mom first. I came into this being a mom, being a medical student was merely a bonus. Being mom was my identity not being a student not being in medical school but mom. That has not changed. When I come home at the end of a long day, I am still greeted with choruses of "mommy!!". I am still greeted with bounding running hugs coming from the bus stop by the over excited kindergartner. I still read stories at night, I still ask what happened in school that day. I am still mom.
Before this began, I knew how incredibly time consuming and life consuming this process could be, and I made a conscious decision NOT to let that happen to me. I made a decision that there is nothing in this world that is worth my family. I was raised in a family where both immediate family and extended family always came first, we always watch out for each others back and always lend a hand where one is needed. Family was always first, and that was something I vowed to keep as I entered medical is something that has been problem some at times, but something I think I am keeping. It is simple things, like eating dinner together when possible, having lunch together on weekends, going out to a movie on a free Friday night, making plans to go to the apple orchard or making cookies on a night after a bunch of exams.
There have been so many times in this process where I have been grateful for my family. This process can become so communing, so overwhelming so....well I think it is hard to explain properly until you are faced with it but it can just take over your life if you let it. Having my family helps keep me focused, they help remind me that there is more to life than medical school. They remind me of the simple joys of eskimo kisses, laughter, pride at watching you child succeed and the joy of spending time with someone who loves you so incredibly unconditionally. It is more than just exams, which is what it feels like at time, it is life.
And life is beautiful and complex, and exists outside of medical school.
THAT is how I do it........but that is also WHY I do it.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

update on my crazy week

So here is the update on my crazy busy week last week :)

1. Pharmacology test Monday and Pathology test Wednesday. This means I have 7:30 mornings Monday and Wednesday and 8:10 mornings the remainder of the week. Needless to say there may be a lot of coffee involved this week.

UPDATE: Both exams went well. B in pharmacology and A in Pathology. I wish I could have done a little better in Pharmacology but there is always the next test :) I will say that Friday morning was a two coffee morning so yes there was an awful lot of coffee involved in my week.

2. Aeryn (my youngest) had an asthma flare at the end of last week, sometime this week I need to get her back in for a re-check.

UPDATE: Aeryn went in Friday afternoon for a recheck and she was doing much better. We have her off of oral steroids (she was on a five day course), and are down to news twice a day for the next few days then will be weaning her down to once a day. Her inhaled steroid dose is also going down from 2 puffs twice a day to 1 puff twice a day then we will go back to one puff once a day over the next few weeks.

3. We have dance Monday evening, Thursday evening and Friday evening between my two girls.

UPDATE: Dance was only Monday evening so thank goodness :) Thursday and Friday were cancelled due to the fact that the studio has a production this past weekend and they were having dress rehearsals for that. Of course this means that the classes that were missed will be made up eventually so that week is bound to be crazy *sigh* Thank goodness for carpooling

4. I have a school conference for Declan Tuesday evening.

UPDATE: Declans conference went well. Completely different picture being painted for me than what I heard about last year. It is amazing what a difference being in the right school with caring teachers makes.

5. Speaking of Declan, I also need to get him in to the doctor. He had a cold a few weeks back but he just can not seem to get rid of the cough completely, it sounds really deep when he does cough and he has been tired lately. So he needs to get in to make sure nothing else is going on.

UPDATE: Declan went in with Aeryn on Friday afternoon, he is okay they think it is just allergies since he does not have any abnormal lung sounds. But he does however have a blocked tear duct so we got some ointment for his eye.

6. We have OMM next week, which means I will start working on that at the end of this week.

UPDATE: OMM is tomorrow morning and I feel pretty ready for it. I am going to do one more pass today then look over the practical sheets later as well and start working n those. I need to review cervical diagnosis but I think that will probably be tomorrow afternoon.

7. I need to make the charts for micro.

UPDATE: I actually decided to go with flashcards for micro and I have indeed started them but I need to make significant progress here so I imagine I will be working on this today.

8. I need to make flashcards for Pharmacology

UPDATE: I started flashcards and am almost through the first 3 lectures so I need to get cranking on this as well.

9. Declan has picture day on Tuesday so I need to figure out what he is wearing.

UPDATE: This was my sad moment of the week. I stopped at Lands End after school on Monday to pick Declan up something and without even realizing what I was doing I picked him out a pale blue plaid shirt, a heather gray shirt and dark blue corduroys. AS I set them down on the counter, all of a sudden as I looked at them I realized what I had done and my heart ached. My heart ached because I knew it was one of those outfits that if my granny had seen him in it she would have said how handsome he looked, she always loved him in blue. :(

10. Thursday evening I am helping out in the Health career professions day at school, something I love but something that means I will not be back until late in the evening, which will make the 8:10 class friday morning that much harder.

UPDATE: This was so much fun. I truly enjoy doing this so I always have fun. I have one more coming up in the spring then I will not get to do these anymore.

11. I need to find time to get my TB test down and my flu shot done so I can do my ECCP soon.

UPDATE: First step of TB and flu shot scheduled for tomorrow afternoon.

12. I need to arrange my ECCP with someone.

UPDATE: I signed up to be in the ER on my birthday, cause what better way to spend your birthday then in the emergency room??

13. I need to call the allergist and make an appointment for Aeryn. Well first I need to find a new allergist. The one we have been seeing only is in the location close to us one day a week and that simply is not going to work with my schedule.

UPDATE: This was harder than I thought it would be, first I had to find an allergy group that took pediatric patients that did not have a zillion and one offices. But I found one and Aeryn is scheduled for her appointment on October 19th. I am praying they find something, that something comes back positive this time although I know there is a chance that she may still pop negative,

14. Somewhere in all of this I suppose I need to sleep.

UPDATE: I did indeed sleep, not as much as I would have like perhaps but I did sleep.