Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Two. More. Days.

Until I get seven, yes seven, consecutive days under the same roof as my husband! I can't wait!

Thursday morning I have my ultrasound. No. I'm not pregnant. But with all my stomach troubles lately my doctor just wants to make sure its not my gall bladder. I just have to remember not to eat in the morning. I have been so flightly lately that I have been forgetting everything. For example I actually had the ultra sound scheduled for Tuesday and I completely forgot. Ooops! So hopefully tomorrow morning I won't eat without thinking... that could be problematic. I am hoping by writing about it now it will help me remember.
Then Thursday night I am picking up Kaiden from his Grandparent's (out of town) and watching him for the night so that his Mommy and Daddy can see him as soon as they get home from their vacation Friday (rather than driving to pick him up.) His mommy doesn't know it but Kaiden will be subject to my very first photo shoot. That is if he cooperates! He is usually such a happy baby, so as long as he doesn't mind I hope to play around with my new camera and take some pictures of the cutie!
Nothing planned for Friday (other than working out and packing). And Saturday. Saturday, I am heading up to see my love! I am meeting him, his sister, and my parents at his parents house and we are all going out to dinner. And then Sunday I am bringing my darling back home to Springfield. He hasn't been back here in 8 weeks. So I may be MIA next week so that I can spend every free moment with my sweet heart. I. Can't. Wait!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

My weekend

Friday night I drove up to my parents house and got to spend some time with my parents, my sister and sweet little Gaston.

He kept sneaking into "Papa Lou's office" to try and play with the computer and Papa Lou!

Saturday afternoon I headed to my (college) friend Jessie's house. I got to spend the afternoon and evening with Abbie, Jessie, their husbands and little Campbell Grace. Isn't she beautiful?
Abbie and Jessie are two of my best college friends and we only get to see each other a few times a year so it was great to catch up.

Saturday afternoon Drew was post call and he decided to take Sunday off since he has not taken a single day off at this second away rotation. Drew took the train out to my parents so we were able to spend Sunday with my parents, sisters and my neighbors.

I have been researching SLRs (digital cameras) for about six months now and while I was hanging out with Abbie she informed me that Nikon D40s were on clearance at Target. I had been originally looking at Canons but they are significantly more expensive and after talking to Conrad (Abbie's husband) I realized that as an amateur photographer I wouldn't be able to notice/appreciate the additional features (of the Canon I was looking at).

Sunday morning I started calling around to all the local Targets. They had one Nikon D40 several towns over. So Drew and I hopped in the car to go buy it. When I got there I saw that they also had a package deal in which an extra (55-200mm) lens was only $80 more - this lens is $200 when sold separately. Unfortunately the Target we were at did not have the package deal in stock. The Target we were at told us that another store 15 miles away had it in stock. We drove there only to find out they didn't. Luckily they called a third store and had them confirm that they did in fact have the package deal in stock. Finally after driving around 30 miles we found the package deal and purchased it. Merry Christmas and Happy Birthday to me! Although the camera wasn't exactly in the budget it was such a good deal we couldn't pass it up. The package deal was $499 (for the Nikon D40; 5-55mm lens; 55-200mm lens; camera case and 2GB memory card). It would have cost me nearly a thousand dollars to get the canon camera and two lenses.

(Below is a picture with the new camera - compare the lighting and clarity to the photos above).
After playing with it, I must say I am very happy with my big purchase. Below are some of the photos I took on my walk tonight.

Monday, September 21, 2009

My precious nephew Gaston is now 18 months old and isn't walking. He was a little slow with the whole crawling thing but is otherwise developmentally normal (actually advanced for his speech) so we weren't worried. Although my sister has been wondering when he was going to start walking. For the past month or two the little cutie has been pulling himself up and moving from one piece of furniture to another and would walk with the help of holding someone's hand. He hasn't been able to walk on his own though... or so we thought.
On Friday we let him play with my mom's little vacuum (it was a shark or dust buster) and he seemed to be able to walk while pushing it. We also noticed that he could stand still and lift it up (without holding on to anything).
So Saturday morning my Dad tried a little experiment with Gaston. Here it is documented on tape.....

Turns out the little stinker can walk (he just has been too stubborn to try/learn). Also notice how he realizes that we are tricking him into walking!
I hope to post more about my wonderful weekend tomorrow!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

So these last few days/weeks have been rough. So tonight I thought I would bring back Thankful Thursday... because I do have a lot to be thankful for:
  • My family and friends are in good health
  • Tomorrow night I get to see my precious frenchy nephew who I haven't seen in several months, and he is now talking up a storm (both french and english) and I cannot wait to hear him babble!
  • This weekend I get to see two of my best friends from college and their hubbies (and one very precious little baby girl!)
  • So far Drew has gotten 5 interviews and only 1 rejection
  • Only 8 more days then I will get A FULL WEEK with Drew (before he heads to his third and final away rotation)
  • My wonderful Mom - she took a list of all 42 programs and the potential interview dates and is trying to make a calendar so that we can maximize the number of interviews we are offered (if we are given a choice of dates).
  • My great job
  • 8 more days.... that seriously needs to be mentioned twice

Thank you all for all your support, encouragement and prayers, it means so much!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

My shelf

Do you have a shelf, box, case, or bookshelf where you put things that are important to you? I do. I have a shelf that I put my most precious items on. In fact they go in a box, and I tie that box with a bow, and then I put them on the shelf. This shelf is very important in my life and it is necessary for my sanity. I know that my most precious items are safe when they are on that shelf. But I have some what of a problem. I take my stuff off the shelf and take them out of the box and I lose them (and my head).
This has been a big issue lately. Our future is one of those precious things that belongs in the box. With all of this applying to residency programs my mind has been consumed with the match process. Its something that I have no control over. But I cannot control myself, my mind is constantly drifting to the what-ifs of our future. And all this worrying has led to no good. I have had stomach problems in the past but they seem to have resurfaced. But part of me believes they are somewhat self-inflicted (or worsened) by the fact that I have become consumed by this whole process. But as I've already said, it is all out of my control. And it is no use worrying over things that may never happen. So tonight I am again putting all my worries, and thoughts about our future back in that precious box. I am tying it with a bow. And then I am placing it up on that high shelf. On that shelf it is in God's hands. I will let go, and trust in Him. All things are safe in His hands.
It is only a matter of time before I take it off the shelf again, but I suppose that is only part of being human. Thank goodness I have family and friends to constantly remind me to refocus, reevaluate, re-anchor and put the box where it belongs. On my shelf. Because I don't have control. And worrying won't help me gain any control.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Two more!

Drew was offered another interview invitation today. For family and friends who would like to know where, please email me and I will send you an invitation to view our Private Match Blog.

So far we have three interviews scheduled, but I've heard that there are a total of 7 programs offering interviews right now (6 of which we applied to) ... hopefully this is only the beginning of the interview offers because based on statistics we need to interview at at least 15 programs to have a change at matching!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Days 8 and 9

As Monday was Labor Day, the hospital did rounds later at 7 a.m. like they do on Saturdays (and possibly Sundays?) - this meant Drew got to "sleep in." He got there a little after six, and being that there were no surgeries there wasn't much to do. Much to my surprise he was done by 1:30 p.m. allowing for an afternoon off for Drew. He took some time to go running - something he hasn't had much time to do - and get to bed early.
Day 8 = 7 hours

On Tuesday the hospital resumed their 6 a.m. rounds. As far as I know Drew got to see a few surgeries and was off by 6:30 p.m.
Day 9 = 13 hours

Unfortunately I haven't had much time to ask Drew what he is doing or what types of surgeries he has seen. Most of the time we talk our conversations are brief and have been limited to "how is your day going" and talking about bills and or his ERAS application. Hopefully I can find out more about this program and give you slightly more interesting posts next week. For an update on yesterday's vent see below.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

My "S" List

Is short. And right now, Drew's school is on it.

Last week Drew submitted his portion of his residency application through ERAS. There are various parts of this application. These parts include:
  • Photo of applicant
  • Profile
  • CAF (which I think stands for "Candidate Application Form")
  • Personal statement
  • Four letters of recommendation
  • USMLE transcript (test scores)
  • MSPE ("Medical Student's Performance Evaluation" aka Dean's letter)
  • School transcript

As the student Drew is responsible for the profile, the CAF, and personal statement. The USMLE transcript is uploaded by the USMLE and the remaining parts of the application must be uploaded by the applicant's school. So far Drew's school has only uploaded one of his four letters of recommendation... nothing else. Granted they cannot upload the letters they don't have (and they may not have all four yet) and none of the schools can upload the MSPE until October, but they still should be able to upload his transcript, his photo and his school transcript! Neurosurgery used to be part of early match (meaning match occurred in January rather March and therefore everything happened much earlier), and many of the schools are still on an early schedule. Four programs have already started offering interviews (we applied to three of those, but have only heard from one). And, I know I am being a little neurotic, considering it is only September 8th, but I know part of me is a little justified considering that I have spoken to people at other programs where their schools have submitted all the the parts to their application. Drew emailed the school last week to see if there is anything we could do to get them to upload the necessary parts and we still haven't heard back.

Okay, and that is only the half of it.

Today, I got home from work and went to check the mail. What do I find? A letter from a collection agency. Saying that we owe over $300 dollars for Drew's medical bills. I find this pretty interesting considering that we haven't even gotten a single bill, prior to this collection agency notice. Back in June when Drew was on his away rotation we did get a notice saying that he needed to fill out a claim form for insurance coverage and while he did not do it on time initially (because he was gone) he did call the school, filled out the form and got it cleared up. Or so we thought. When he had spoken to the person from student insurance they said that we would receive a bill for whatever wasn't covered by insurance. But, no bill ever came. Just a notice from collections today. And from what I understand, I don't think medical companies are allowed to even submit a bill to collections if insurance is still pending. So needless to say the collection agency is going to get a nice response "disputing the debt in writing" as the letter requests. And Drew's school and/or the hospital where the medical bill came from may also be getting an earful tomorrow!

Update as of September 9, 2009 - a friend of Drew's told us that student transcripts are not scheduled to be uploaded until mid-October so that the school can add elective grades but that if he wanted we could request to have it uploaded sooner. Drew emailed the appropriate person and his school transcript was uploaded by this afternoon!

In reference to the medical bill I drafted a letter to the collection agency (and cc'd the medical center and student insurance) letting them know that we never received a bill or a notice of coverage or denial of coverage.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Sub-Internship II - Week 1

So last Monday Drew started his second sub-Internship. He has a much longer commute for this one, and has already expressed the importance of living close to the hospital once we are in residency. His current commute is about 45 minutes (even at 4:30 a.m.) which means he wakes up at 3:30 every morning!
On his first day he didn't start until 8:00 a.m. and was done by 5:00 p.m.
Day 1 = 9 hours
A big difference between this sub-Internship and his sub-Internship last month is that he does not see patients prior to rounds in the morning. As I explained in a post last month, at the last program he was assigned to several patients and went to see them each morning (by himself) and then went with the residents and chiefs to see the patients and he would explain the status of the patients he saw. Well at this program he doesn't see any of his patients on his own. He simply does rounds with the residents. Since he doesn't have to see patients prior to rounds his day technically starts a little later with rounds at 6:00 a.m. (At the last program he tried to arrive by at least 5:00 a.m. so that he was done seeing his patients prior to rounds at 5:45 a.m.). Although Drew doesn't have to be there prior to rounds, he said that he has still been arriving closer to 5:00 or 5:15 a.m. so that he can see if the residents need any help with anything. On Tuesday Drew was done by 8:30 p.m.
Day 2 = 15.5 hours
On Wednesday, Drew took call so he was at the hospital until 8:30 p.m. on Thursday night.
Days 3 and 4 = 39.5 hours
On Friday Drew was done by 7:30 p.m.
Day 5 = 14.5 hours
On Saturday, rounds are later (7:00 a.m.) and that night Drew took call. Fortunately, it was a very quiet night and Drew had time to work on a case report that he is putting together for a doctor from his last sub-Intership and he even had time to get plenty of sleep. He was done by 10:30 a.m. on Sunday morning.
Days 6 and 7 = 28.5
The pace is a little different at this second program, and it is a little more laid back. Drew seems to really like the residents at this second program as well. He is also working with two other medical students on this rotation. Both of them are women - which are fairly rare among neurosurgery (I want to say that more than 90% of neurosurgeons are male). One of the women was on her fourth week last week, but the other woman started at the same time as Drew and will be there for the same four weeks. He seems to get along with both of them pretty well. Thank goodness these women (like the student he worked with at the last program) seem to be serious, but not so competitive that they would throw Drew under the bus. Some medical students (and even residents) are trying to make such a good impression that they are willing (or even hoping) to burn the competition in the process.
This first week Drew didn't get to do too much (mostly observed) but we'll see if that changes at all being that he didn't do much his first week last month either.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

First Interview Invitation!

I could hardly believe it when my phone started buzzing and ringing today. I looked to Drew's email and it said that he had an email from ERAS. My hands were shaking as I went to check the email and try to reply and accept the invitation!
Although we were hoping for an interview from this program (because Drew is doing a sub-I there next month) we were not expecting an invitation already. I replied to the program coordinator and asked if it would be possible to interview during his sub-Internship - and if not his first choice would be to interview in November. I got a prompt response letting me know that he could interview in October while he was there. Although Drew has housing while he is there they still offered to book him a hotel - this program is one of the few that actually arranges and pays for your hotel accommodations!
I should also explain that I have Drew's school email forwarded to my phone so that I can respond to any interview invitations. This is because with his sub-Is this month and next month he will most likely be in surgery when the invitations come in via email. Some programs send out (for example) 15 invites when they really only have 10 time slots. This means that only the first ten to respond will actually get the interview.
Luckily neurosurgery is one of the more organized programs and 95% of the programs have actually posted their interview dates (this is not the case with all specialties). With this information I used Google Calendar to enter all of the potential interview dates... then we will use the calendar to try and schedule the interviews as they come in. Right now many of the interviews conflict with each other but I imagine things will manage to work out as we would be lucky to be invited to half the programs we applied to; therefore I imagine by process of elimination it will be pretty easy to schedule interviews.
I hope this is just the first of many more interview invitations... but we'll just have to wait and see!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Brief Update

Okay this will have to be brief because I am tired and would like to get some rest but its been a while so I thought I would try and update.

Last week Drew finished up the last week of his first sub-Inter ship. It was pretty similar to his third week other than the fact that he was done on Friday at 4:00p.m.

Since he was in between sub-Is, I went to visit him this weekend and we finalized his personal statement and worked on the application. (I will update about the weekend later). Overall I feel really good about his personal statement. I owe that mostly to the help of another surgeon's wife who has been an absolute angel - she has given us so much advice! I cannot even imagine how much more difficult this process would have been without her words of experience and help.

The way residency applications work is that you submit all your information (personal info, experience, letters of recommendation, transcripts, test scores, personal statement etc.) through ERAS and they submit your application to the programs you wish to apply to. Yesterday was September 1st; the first day to submit your application (you have ERAS send it to the programs). Although most program applications are not due until October 1 or November 1, but with more competitive programs (ENT, radiology, derm, plastics, neurosurgery) it is very important to submit your application as soon as possible. So yesterday we did It. We submitted over 40 applications to programs in the following states: Illinois, Wisconsin, Indiana, Minnesota, Missouri, Iowa, Florida, Texas, Ohio, South Carolina, Tennessee, Georgia, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, California, District of Columbia, and Kentucky. The number of programs is so high because 1) most programs only accept 1-2 residents a year and 2) neurosurgery has a 60% match rate. For now I am just going to sit back and wait to see if interview invitations start rolling in, in the next few weeks/months.

I'll try to update on Drew's second sub-Internship later this week!