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Women in Medicine Blogs & Diaries

TOPIC: married momof3 resident2008

married momof3 resident2008 6 years 6 months ago #69602

And so begins the residency blog... :D

Here's a link to my (lengthy) 4 year blog covering my med school years.

www.mommd.com/ubb/ultimatebb.php?ubb=get...ic;f=22;t=000015;p=1

It's June. The orientation for my Pediatric residency starts June 16th.

The very brief rundown on me, for those who don't want to comb through 20+ pages of previous blog:
I'm in my late 30's, married nearly 17 years to my college sweetheart, and have 3 children ages 13, 11 & 11 yrs. One girl and fraternal twin boys.

My road to med school was long and complicated and I could not begin to tell it here in a sentence or two. Suffice to say it was a 9 year journey with many interruptions. ;)

I'm starting residency at a large children's hospital, in the program that I have wanted to be in since I first realized I wanted to be a doctor. I'm very interested in Neonatology and think I will likely do a Fellowship in Neo after my Pedi residency.

I like to run. I discovered this while in medical school. Never an athlete of any sort in my entire life, I have completed 2 marathons and scores of shorter races in the last 3 years. Running gives me the outlet and stress relief and social life that helps make the stress of medical training doable for me. It's probably the one thing I do for myself that isn't school or family life. I hope and pray I can stick with it through residency and that it will continue to be the source of smiles, fitness, weight management and stress relief that it has been for me in the past.

I'm a little neurotic, more so since med school. ;) I'm a bit of a perfectionist. My daughter would laugh at me for the use of "a bit" since she claims I'm harder on myself than anybody else on the planet. She's a smart kid. But I am a bit perfectionist about my life. Afterall, I have a husband and 3 kids counting on me to find that perfect blend of balance and high schievement in my professional and personal life. Medicine doesn't allow you to "mail it in" too often, and neither do kids. So, a lot of my blog posts wind up being about my struggles to blend hard work in my career and being active and present in my family's life.

I figure the whole point of keeping this blog is to show other women interested in medicine that it is possible to do this with a family. I also figure it is my responsibilty to show some of the ups and downs as I experience them. I'm an optimist, as those who've read my previous blog know. ;) But I do have my bad days, too.

One other note: Patients are NOT real!!!
This blog is not about writing about real patients and their real medical stories. I may write about patient scenarios from time to time to show that aspect of my life. I will make up details and change details and sometimes borrow from other people's stories to make a point. I will never violate any patient's privacy, or their family's privacy for that matter. As I've said before, this blog is about me and my experiences as a wife and mother in medical training.

Hope it's good enough to keep you reading!
"All you have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to you."
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Re: married momof3 resident2008 6 years 6 months ago #69603

How 'bout something boring and mundane? ;) Every time I open an email from my residency program, I feel like a tree has to die! Seriously, the amount of paperwork is staggering. Far worse than any job I've ever had. And I've worked with kids before, for school districts even. There's the occupational health forms and the State forms and the employment forms and the license applications and the job application (didn't I already apply for the job when I applied for residency???) and the forms for the hospital badges (1 for each) and the forms for parking... it's endless! :crossfingers: Next time won't be nearly so scary and that's maybe the best thing I've gotten out of this. Confidence can be everything.

Speaking of confidence, I've had some interesting discussions with my daughter lately. She's quite the artist. She's mostly self-taught, but did spend a couple of years taking once a week classes at the Glassel School of Art back when I was preclinical and had a predictable schedule. She had a scholarship the 2nd year that she won. All that to say, she is actually a pretty talented young lady. My brother (also a very talented person) is the owner of his own game company. When he was in town a few weeks ago he saw her work, was really impressed, and asked her to do some concept art sketches for him.

I was proud and impressed. She was terrified! She's spent a lot of time in the last week telling me all the reasons why she can't or won't do the work. I finally told her yesterday that it was her right to choose not to do it, but that I would be sad if she didn't. A couple of hours later she came creeping into my room while I was watching election results to ask me if I was really mad at her. Of course not! Was I sad? Yes. I told her I was sad for 3 reasons. 1- Her uncle had made a genuine request and she was refusing him. The request came from him, he's not doing her a favor. 2- I would be so proud if one of her drawings was incorporated into a game that I could point to and say "that's my daughter's character!" 3- I'm sad because I know that it's a lack of confidence that's keeping her from doing it and not a lack of talent or ability or even ideas.

That had some effect. I pointed out one other thing and that was that I understood her fear and that I feel much the same way about writing the research paper and submitting my work for other's to read and critique. I think that had more of an effect than any other argument I'd made in the last week. She thought for a minute and then declared that she would do the drawings afterall. :)

My point in relating this long story which is almost entirely devoid of medically related issues ;) is that it shows me quite clearly how going through all this training at this point in my kids' lives has some unexpected positive effects. Instead of having a mom who is established in her career with stories about her training and successes and failures, my kids get to see the entire process up close and personal. They've watched me study my way through weekend days and agonize over difficult rotations and they've cheered for me when my abstract got accepted and they stood by me and beamed with pride at my graduation. They have no doubts about how hard I work, how I sometimes struggle and how that work and struggle gets rewarded. I think that's a good thing. I wouldn't time family and career for this specific purpose, but it has been a nice side effect.

My kids certainly seem to be more goal-oriented about their lives than I was at their age. Even at 20 I was pretty clueless about where I wanted my life to go. I knew who I wanted to spend my life with and I knew I wanted my college degree, but I had spent precious little time thinking beyond those things. We'll see if my own kids find it easier than I did, or if it will just be different.

12 days to orientation! :eek:
"All you have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to you."
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Re: married momof3 resident2008 6 years 6 months ago #69604

Life continues happening, even when you want to put it all on hold.

I took my daughter to see a plastic surgeon today. Now before you get any crazy ideas, it's because of some scars she has due to her heart surgery as an infant. Her midline scar healed very well and although it is very obvious, hasn't caused her any trouble. She's remarkable blase about it considering she's a teenager. The scars from the chest tubes (for draining after surgery) however are the ones causing the problems. At least one of them is adhered to the chest wall and interfering with normal growth. She would be furious with me if I said directly what the issue was, so I have to dance around it.

So we saw the surgeon yesterday and he wants to do the scar revision asap, as in his patient care coordinator called me a couple of hours later and asked if we could do it next week. :eek: I was hoping, expecting, it to get done this summer, but this was with more urgency than I anticipated. I know I shoud have brought her in sooner, but getting a self-concious teen girl to tell you she has a problem is difficult. I had to balance between asking her occasionally if the scar was causing problems and pestering her about it as she was/is hitting puberty. So, probably would have been better to deal with this last summer. :( I feel crummy about that.

But what's already happened is behind us now and I need to focus on helping her get through this. She was mortified to have to take her shirt off and let the doctor look at her. To compound this, she had to have 6 different pictures taken (shirtless of course) so that he could plan the surgery. If you've ever watched on of those plastic surgery programs on tv, or had a similar surgery, you know what I'm talking about. Luckily, the person taking the pictures was a woman and she was very sensitive to my daughter's discomfort. My daughter cried between the visit with the doc and the photos. It broke my heart, but I had to tell her that if this is the worst consequence of her heart defect and surgery that we ever have to deal with, I'm grateful. I thank God for her and for the surgeons and staff who made it possible for her to be this vibrant intelligent and sometimes self-concious teen that she is.

So... it's hard for her and it's hard for me. No doubt I will be even more edgy this week than I would have been with just my residency looming a week away.

Thank goodness I'll be home to take care of her after her surgery next week. It could be worse. I could be already working as an intern and it would have to be her father sitting at home with her the day after her surgery. :boggled:

Life happens, regardless of your plans.

But again, though I'm distressed at the thought of a surgery and the possible appearance related issues she may continue to have (surgeon indicated we may have to do other things in the future), I know how incredibly blessed we are and I will never forget that.

...

Picked up my PALS and NALS (pedi/neo life support) training manuals yesterday. They're each an inch thick! We're supposed to teach ourselves all the material and take a test online before attending the actual classes (2 days) our week of orientation. The manual starts by saying "you should already be proficient in CPR and AED use..." What??? I wish they had told me this a few months ago! I haven't taken CPR in probably 15 years! I kept thinking it was something that would be covered in med school for heaven's sake, but never was. *sheesh* So that's what I'll be doing this next week when not taking care of my daughter. (I think I just felt my BP go up!) :boxedin:

In other somewhat medically related news... my manuscript was submitted yesterday! This is big news, actually. I'm afraid it's barely registered in my mind because of all the other things that piled on yesterday...

...

Back to the personal stuff. I didn't mention that while taking my daughter to her appt I had to pick my boys up from a friend's house where they spent the night. One son has had his glasses chewed up (lenses badly damages) by the family dog and the other son got beaten by a neighbor kid! :eek: :mad: He has a giant 5x5in bruise on his thigh. Apparently he and this other kid (a girl?!?) were playing swordfight and she got mad at him. He had a little plastic sword and she had a metal pole. So when she got mad she just beat him with it. The story is, her parents beat her for it (this is not the right answer in my mind!!!) and then they left early this morning to take her away for the summer.

:confused:

I have no idea what the real story is here. My son is strangely vague about the whole thing. "no one" saw what happened. And of course I get this 30sec explanation at the door to their house while I'm in a rush to get my daughter to her appt for which we are already running late.

So today we're hanging out as a family and I will endeavor to find out what really happened. I'm trying to keep things light since there are so many obvious stressors in the back/foreground at this moment. What a way to start summer vacation!

(sorry for the long post!)
"All you have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to you."
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Re: married momof3 resident2008 6 years 6 months ago #69605

I would like to say that I am calmly organizing my life, studying my ALS courses and getting a few last days of leisure in. But I'd be lying.

Son's glasses replaced after friend's dog chewed them to pieces. Other son's fight with friend's neighbor discussed and dealt with, more or less. Daughter's surgery schedule for... Thursday! :eek: When that surgeon said "asap" I guess he wasn't kidding! I've covered nearly 80 pages of the 1st of 2 ALS texts, 250 pgs each.

Both boys have head colds and I'm sneezing today.

You know what isn't compatible? Reading about the indications for endotracheal intubation after finding out your daughter is having surgery in less than 48 hours is not conducive to relaxing thoughts, focus or concentration. :rotfl:

Okay, some deep breathing and writing and I'm feeling more like myself again. At this point, I just wish the surgery were over and I was at orientation. The anticipation of both is killing me.

Did I mention I'm starting on one of the wards with the reputation for being the worst for interns? Heme/Onc. However, the call appears to be a blessed q6 with 4 late stays (5pm is late?) and at least 5 shifts of H/O clinic 'til 6pm or possibly later. All in all, not so bad. This floor used to be q4 like all the others but I suppose it was rough on the interns (demanding unit with very sick kids) and the program has grown enough to accomodate the q6 call. The following month (Aug) I'm on the floor where I did my sub-I and apparently q5 there.

I'm babbling. Cross fingers for my daughter that all goes well and smoothly. She's scared but she's putting a good face on it. Now let's just hope I can do the same!

btw, I meant to write some thoughts about this "alpha mom" thing I ran across. One of the moms on my son's soccer team used that term when refering to me. She doesn't know me, so I guess it's just the mom and medicine part that leads her to this assumption. I had to look up the term because I wasn't familiar with it. Don't think I'm an "alpha mom." My kids had cocoa krispies for breakfast and have been playing Wii (my mother's day present!) for quite a few hours already today. :p Google it if you're curious. If I have time, I'll write more about my thoughts on this later.
"All you have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to you."
The administrator has disabled public write access.

Re: married momof3 resident2008 6 years 6 months ago #69606

Thanks to everyone who sent well-wished for my daughter. :goodvibes: She did extremely well! Her surgery was moved up a bit before 9am, she was out before 10am and we were home by 11:15! This kid is one tough cookie. She woke up from general anesthesia and started telling jokes to make sure she was really awake! :rotfl: She had minimal nausea, minimal pain (a tylenol last night and an advil this morning is all she's taken since they loaded her with the "good stuff" during surgery)and a fantastic attitude. Her surgeon was pretty pleased with the result in the OR, though he made it clear that she may need further work in the future to get the best result. Apparently he was so concerned about getting the scar revision done quickly that he kicked someone else off the schedule to get her in yesterday. All I can say to that is, wow. Glad we picked him!

I finished reading the Pediatric Adv Life Support materials today, at last. (PALS) I also started the Neonatal Resuscitation Plan text. I like reading the NRP material because it's a little more user-friendly and because I've seen quite a few neonatal resuscitations on my NICU sub-I, so it's easy to put it all together. I've only seen mock codes (practice codes done for residents and floor teams) in pediatrics.

I alternate between feeling excited and terrified while trying to learn this material. On the one hand, it's exciting to think about finally being a part of the medical team actually doing something for a patient in critical condition. On the other hand, it's terrifying to think that one of my pedi patients might actually need me to know this and know it well. My title may be "doctor," but I feel far from having the knowledge to claim it.

Still, I'm actually going to be a resident in 11 days! Orientation starts this Monday, but the real work starts on the wards a week from Tuesday. My long white coat arrived yesterday. I ordered it online because I decided I wanted to be picky and have a cotton coat and cloth buttons. :p (hate polyester!) I put the coat on and feel like an imposter! I remember feeling that way about the short white coat in med school. At first it made me feel vulnerable because I was afraid it meant I should know things I didn't know yet. But by the end of med school, it sometimes felt like a shield and sometimes like it was holding me back. There were days when being able to say "oh, I'm only a med student," felt pretty safe. Other days I wanted to burn the thing and be done being a student.

But the long coat means I'm supposed to know some things that I'm pretty sure I don't! The rational part of me knows that there are layers of back-up and protection for both me and the patients. The other rational part of me wonders who thought giving me this degree was a good idea! :laughing:

Well, I'm obviously relieved at my daughter's excellent recovery and the progress I've made with my texts. I feel very hopeful right now and looking forward to starting the part of my career where I actually get to do what I want to be doing. Taking care of kids! I should say, medical care of kids. I have my own kids and I've been taking care of those for a while now...

Hope I'll have some interesting stories to share from orientation next week. And for those who remember that I'm always dealing with my weight (25lbs lost in med school through hard work with dietician and lots of running), I rejoined the world of Weight Watchers this week. I'm a lifetime member from back when my boys were a year old. My goal weight back then was 125lbs! (I'm short) Well, I'm not there right now and I don't know that it makes sense to try and get back. Losing another 20lbs and keeping those off while in my late 30's sounds a bit daunting. But I'd like to lose another 12-15lbs and stay there. And I know for sure that I'm not going to let the long hours and stress put weight back on me. I've been there before and it's not fun. I don't think I have it in me to lose that kind of weight again, so I'm just going to have to prevent it in the first place! My very close friend is also doing WW (lost a bunch of weight last year) and is in residency with me, so we'll be good support for one another.

Okay, I thought I was done writing about 2 paragraphs ago!

Stay tuned for actual intern posts!
"All you have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to you."
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Re: married momof3 resident2008 6 years 6 months ago #69607

Good news! I survived the first day of orientation! :goodvibes: I know this won't happen with a great deal of frequency as things get busier and more hectic (kids back in school, practices, late nights, call nights, etc), but it felt like a good omen to have this on my first day at work.

Today I feel like we can handle anything together.
"All you have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to you."
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