Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Thankful Thursdays

2010 has seem to gotten off to a negative start for me. It somewhat feels like there is a dark cloud looming over my head. In the past three weeks I feel like I've been repeatedly hit with family and friends receiving bad news or undergoing hard times.
When I find myself in being negative, jealous or simply in self pity, I find that the best cure is counting my blessings. So I thought I would revive Thankful Thursdays.

This Thursday, I am thankful for unexpected blessings. Today when I went to get my new side view mirror put on my car (see this post for an explanation) I was pleasantly surprised when the total cost came out to be $90.00 cheaper than we expected! So instead of paying $341, we only had to pay $251.00 for a brand new side view mirror! And secondly, when I looked at one of our accounts, (my Dad invested the wedding money we got in the stock market), I found out that in the last couple of months, it has gone UP! The amount that it has gone up should allow us to help pay moving expenses (truck rental, gas etc.) for if and when we move! Money has been so tight lately with financing Drew's interviews. They say God always provides, and he truly does. I am so thankful for both of these unexpected blessings that will allow me to worry a little bit less about finances (at least for a little while!)

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

I'm so over it!

This applying to residency and match process. Yep, I am over it! It has been exhausting and seriously has been non-stop since July. And I am not even the med student! July was studying for the boards. August/September/October - we were apart for away rotations. September he officially applied to residency programs. September/October/November - were filled with scheduling and organizing interviews. And as soon as Drew got home from his away rotations at the end of October, he started interviews right away. And the interviews have pretty much been every week since (with the exception of a two week break for Christmas).
Tonight I am waiting for Drew to get home from another interview. Thank goodness it is his second to last!

:Sigh of Relief:

This process. Has been. Exhausting.

The funny thing is that is that fourth year is supposed to be the easiest! And I guess academically (with the exception of his Away rotations) it has been the easiest year for Drew. But this whole match process has been much more time consuming than the actual academic portion of medical school. I've been so incredibly jealous of Drew friends that are applying to different specialties in which they didn't have to do away rotations; didn't have to take as many interviews; and are virtually positive where they are going to Match.

I am ready to be done organizing travel itineraries, and picking out suits and ties, and paying astronomical credit card bills for travel expenses. I am ready to have a routine, and have my husband in the same state with me for seven consecutive days. I am ready to stop wondering what our future will hold. I am ready for March 18th. Well maybe not... but as for this whole process, I'm over it! And you're probably over me talking about it! Thank God we only have one more left!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Travel Troubles Part II

Okay, so I mentioned in my last post that we were driving home to Springfield so we could pack for our vacation. The next day we headed to warm Florida for a wonderful vacation with our families.
(Hopefully I can post pictures later this week)
It was our last day of vacation and exactly 7 days after our little ice accident that we got an email from Orbitz telling us that our flight to Charlotte, NC was cancelled. It was less than 24 hours prior to our departure and we suddenly had no idea how we were going to get home. We contacted Orbitz and they were able to connect us to US Airways. After giving them a little pressure, they were able to get us on another flight home, this time going through Philly.

So we got to the airport about 10:30 for our 12:30 flight on that Sunday morning (exactly 3 Sundays ago). We are walking down the terminal looking for our gate when I hear "your flight is going to be delayed until at least 5:00." I thought to myself, "man that sucks them." And then I looked to my right to see that the announcement was coming from our gate. We went and spoke to an agent and they said that they still expected us to make our connecting flight but that they would set us up a hotel in Philly and a flight out the next morning if for some reason were delayed longer than expected.

Surprise, the plane we were waiting on didn't even arrive until 5:20 and we didn't board the plane until 6:00 p.m. We arrived in Philly at 9:00 p.m. forty minutes after our flight home had taken off. When we asked about our luggage the airline agent told us that we could wait for our luggage but that it would be a while so we probably just wanted to head to the hotel. The hotel they were putting us up in was the Quality Inn. And they might be nice hotels (we've never stayed in one), but as Drew says "when the name Quality is in the name, it just raises red flags, kind of like when a place advertises clean beds."

So after exiting the plane we head to get our luggage. We had been in the airport all day and I just felt gross and I wanted to get some fresh clothes and all my stuff. We waited, and waited until all the luggage was on the conveyor belt, and our stuff was no wear to be seen. We decided to go talk to the airline agents in baggage. Turns out that their policy is to forward luggage on, so that it doesn't have to be checked again the next day. So instead of giving us our luggage, we were given toiletry bags. Awesome.

Next we headed in line to catch the shuttle to the Quality Inn. There were about 20 or so of us waiting for the van. At this point it was around 9:30 p.m., we were tired, and hungry. After waiting in the cold for about 10 minutes the van pulled up. The driver rolled down the passenger window to tell us he was already full, and that he would be back for a few more trips. Realizing that the hotel was 15 minutes away, and it would be 30 minutes before he came back, we started to consider other options. We were not looking forward to waiting 30 more minutes in the cold, only to fight other people for seats in the van. And we figured it would take additional time to check in, and it would probably be too late to find food.

While waiting in the cold we met a Canadian couple who were both medical residents. They called the Marriott that was attached to the airport via skywalk and found out that their AAA rate was only $90. The decision was easy. We were checked in and in our warm clean hotel ordering room service within 15 minutes. Who knows what time we would have gotten to bed if we waited for the shuttle.
The room was nice, but not much a view.
And trying to lighten the mood and laugh about the whole situation, I used my timer to get the picture below. If you cannot tell my husband did not find it entirely entertaining as he was incredibly exhausted.
Oh and although the toiletry bags the airlines gave us looked nice, they were pretty crappy. The toothpaste tasted like pure baking soda!

Being that the hotel was attached to the airport we figured that arriving at 6:00 would give us plenty of time for us to go through security for our 7:40 flight. We were very wrong. When we exited the hotel and entered the skywalk there was a line more than half way across the skywalk. That line was to get through security. And this was at 6:10 a.m. By the time we got through security it was about 7:20 a.m. and we weren't at the right terminal. We sprinted through the terminal to catch the shuttle. The shuttle driver called our gate but the agent didn't answer (he said that was a good sign because that meant they were still busy boarding). When he dropped us off we quickly started sprinting again, and of course our gate was at the end of the terminal. When we got there completely winded, huffing and puffing, we saw that it was not the correct gate. Sometime when we were going through security, they switched the gate. We had to run to another agent who told us the correct gate. We went running in the other direction toward the correct gate. When we got there the door was closed and we could see the airline agent walking away. We must have just missed her. According to Drew's watch it was exactly 8:30. And the worst part was that if we would have had the right gate we would have probably made it on time because we spent a whole 2-3 minutes running down the terminal to what we thought was our gate and then running back. Needless to say Drew and I were incredibly frustrated. Although we were extremely annoyed, we tried not to be too incredibly rude to the agent as we knew we needed her to get us on another flight. She claims she waited until 8:32 to close the door, but as Drew said "I guess we need to adjust our clocks."

Finally around 11:30 on Monday we did get on a Flight home. And we eventually made it home to sweet home Springfield late Monday afternoon..... about 30 hours later than we were originally scheduled to get home!

And the really ironic part is that last night (as I started writing this post) my husband had complete deja vous. He was traveling out of St. Louis for an interview and his first flight out was delayed over six hours! And then his connecting flight was cancelled. He was stranded in Atlanta and waiting in line until midnight to try and get a second connecting flight. He had to stay in a raunchy hotel and then woke up early this morning to try and get out on the first flight out, but it was full! He finally did get out on the second flight today, but again he arrived at his destination about 20 hours later than originally scheduled. Thank goodness this is a two day interview because he missed part of the first day today, but made it to dinner and will be there for tomorrows interview.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Travel Troubles Part I

So I mentioned yesterday that we are taking a break from traveling. Or at least trying to. Well to be honest, part of that is because we have had quite the travel trouble in the past few weeks. And that may even be an understatement.

It all began on the day after Christmas. I wasn't feeling my best - as we had gone to the E.R. on Christmas day so that I could could get some antibiotics for my strep throat. We were heading from Drew's parents house back to Springfield, so that we could pack up and head out on vacation the next day. A few minutes into our drive we hit a patch of ice. Drew used his best driving skills to try an regain control of the car but we began to slide all over the place. Part of the problem was that we were on a road under construction. The left side of the road was barricaded off because of construction (the road dropped off drastically as they were preparing to put down new asphalt). And the right side of the road was a ditch.

I cannot recall the first part where we initially lost control, but I remember the back end of the car spinning forward as we nailed a construction barricade. And I am not talking the little barricades with the flashing lights, I am talking those large barricades. Like this:

Yeah. Next we bounced off the barricade and it spun us hood first into the ditch on the right side of the road. We weren't fully in the ditch as our back tires and trunk were still on the shoulder of the road. Fortunately, we were only about two miles from Drew's parent's house so he called his Dad to help push us out.

I was the lucky one who got to drive while they pushed. It was a bit frightening as I didn't have much room behind us (just the two lanes and then the construction), and the road was slick. I didn't want to accelerate (in reverse) too quickly (as I was afraid of spinning out of control, or running into the barricade again) but every time I took my foot off the accelerator the car fell forward toward my dear husband and father-in-law. Luckily after a few seconds, they had us pushed out of the ditch.

It could have been a lot worse. At least it was just a one car accident and we weren't harmed, just a little shaken up. Although I had planned to rest up during the ride home, I was took shaken up (and nervous) to sleep. We I counted a total of 10 cars in ditches on the ride home. After a long slow car ride, we eventually did make it home, safe and sound.

So I bet your wondering what the car looks like. I would have to say the barricade won.
It left some paint all along the side of the car;

It did a number on the passenger side of the car;

And it is incredibly embarrassing to drive it around.

Oh...and then the side view mirror.... Completely gone.

Classy. I know.

Yes, that is right, I am officially one of those people. One of those people you laugh at, and wonder what the brilliant person did to take off the mirror.
We had an estimate of the repair done. The good news is that the cost to replace the mirror is only $340; the bad news is that the cost to repair the mirror and the driver's side is $3,100. And the car has 142,000 miles on it, so we think the car insurance company will total the car if we make a claim. And the amount of money we would get wouldn't be enough to buy another car. So for now we are just going to have the mirror fixed, and possibly paint the car to prevent/minimize rust. And I will just continue to drive around like a hillbilly.

Stay tuned for Travel Troubles, Part II and III . . .

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

First of all, I just wanted to say thank you for all the encouraging comments! Sometimes I need to hear those things from other people to help me believe that they are true. Like I said, it is truly a battle because I do know that everything will be just fine, I just struggle with the lack of control and all the unknown. Posting my feelings was theraputic and Tuesday and Wednesday were much better days. I also think that tums may be my new best friend.

I noticed this week that our apartment has been particularly organized and the running of our household has been so much smoother. It wasn't until I noticed this that I realized that it might have something to do with the fact that I've actually be home, the past two weekends. I had been on the road every weekend since October, and Drew hasn't been home a full weekend since July! It's amazing how much smoother the week can go when you have the weekend to do laundry, dishes, tidy up and organize. We've been used to getting home around 7:00 p.m. most nights and then having dinner and then trying to pack/unpack, do laundry, dishes and the household chores at night. And most of the time we are behind on these chores so we just can't manage to catch up! So it has been unusually nice to just be able to get ready for work or make a meal without having to do a load of laundry or clean the sink full of dishes first. I am already looking forward to another weekend home, and having Drew home for at least part of it.

Speaking of staying home on weekends we are somewhat on a travel boycott. Well at least I am. Drew has still had interviews so he hasn't been able to stay home. The poor guy is so used to staying on aerobeds, guest beds or hotel beds! Needless to say we are trying to cut down on travel and visiting friends and family for the next few months, just so that we relax at bit. To give you an idea we put 24,000 miles on my car last year. And I only live six miles from work and its less than 3 miles to Walmart! We travelled a lot in 2009 both for interviews and also to see family and friends. Its hard because my family in particular isn't the best with coming to visit. Which means that if I want to see them, we have to drive up north. It also doesn't help that almost all of our family and friends are located in the same area. Which means that we usually try to pack in visits to several different people in one weekend. And while it is so much fun to see everyone, it gets exhausting. And the sad part is I still don't see everyone I'd like to nearly as much as I'd like too! But ultimately, I realize that we are truly blessed to have so many wonderful people in our lives that we wish we could see more.

I don't know how long I'll be able to avoid traveling, just because its hard to pass up opportunities to see the people I love, but for now, I am enjoying the time at home!

Monday, January 18, 2010

This is me, like it or not

I may have mentioned last month that I have started to notice the anxiety creep into my life. Shortly before Christmas I found myself struggling to stay asleep. I was so exhausted I could fall asleep but I would find myself waking up in the middle of the night unable to resume my slumber. My mind would race, my thoughts were uncontrollable and I found myself thinking about all I had to do. At the time I thought it was the stress of the holidays and making sure everything got done in time. Unfortunately I found that even after I had gotten everything taken care of, the problem didn't subside.

Fortunately, however, a few days after Christmas, Drew and I headed to Florida with our families for a relaxing vacation. While I was there my sleep issues disappeared (for the most part.) We did sit down with our parents one night to discuss the "rank order list." That night we put together a tentative list (except for the programs Drew has yet to visit). Our parents mostly listened to what we had to say and chimed in occasionally to point out things that we didn't realize or make comments based on their life experience. They wouldn't tell us where to rank any of the programs but they did give us some greater insight and made us feel more confident in our draft list (which will change because we still want to give the remaining programs full consideration).

Immediately following our discussion, I felt great; like a weight had been lifted. But then again, later that night, in the early morning hours I found myself wide awake, mind racing. I was wondering if I had made a mistake expressing my thoughts and feelings causing Drew to change or flip flop the order of certain programs. I began to think, what if my feelings cause us to match at the "wrong" program. Or what if we end up at a place and are miserable, all because I was advocating that program over another? I know I do want to be a part of the decision, as this is our life. But I am also horrified of Drew being unhappy in residency, and feeling like my opinions and contributions to the rank list are the reason for his misery. It never occurred to me that I wouldn't be able to handle the pressure associated with helping in his decisions.

When I shared my sleep difficulties with others, someone suggested that I write down all my fears. They said something about writing or communicating your concerns can help both sides process the feelings and possibly help with the sleep problems. I put it off for a while because I guess didn't even know what I was scared of. All I knew was that I was terrified of this whole match thing. Eventually I did sit down and write out all my fears and worries. It made me realize that not only do I have a lot of worries, but also that I have worries about residency in general, and not just about specific programs. It also made me realize that while I have a worry about every program, I also have something I like about every program.

While writing things down has helped the sleep issues there is still an ongoing conflicting battle between by brain and my body. My brain and my heart, know and believe that everything will be just fine, but my body insists on manifesting signs of anxiety. And I hate it. I feel like a crazy woman. I do. It is horribly frustrating for me and those around me. My poor husband doesn't understand it, and feels helpless. I don’t understand either. I’m upset with myself for not being able to better handle these things. In quiet times, when I should be relaxing I find my heart begin to race, and my stomach will be in knots. I am doing all that I can by exercising, praying, and taking deep breaths, but it is still a struggle.

I am hoping by sharing my madness it will either help me accept my fears and worries (and somehow be therapeutic), or it will at least make someone else out there feel a little less crazy because they aren't the only one going through it.

2 months. And now, I am ready for it. I cannot handle the unknown much longer, it is literally wreaking havoc on my body. I realize I may not like what that envelope holds, but at least there will be something to face

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

I can hardly believe we are almost half way through January! I feel like I am constantly saying, "I can't believe it's ______ already." I suppose I probably am. I figured it is about time I give a brief update on things going on in our life. And unfortunately I am too lazy to try and somehow incorporate these random facts into a cohesive post, so you are stuck with a bullet-point list for things I want to talk about.
  • Friday January 15th, Rank order lists open up, which means we can start to put together our official rank order list with the NRMP website. Another reminder that that match day is approaching.
  • Here is a good explanation on how the matching process works. (And how a candidate should rank programs).
  • Drew has completed 13 interviews.
  • Due to complications with school schedules we have had to cancel one interview this month and may have to cancel a second. He is currently in the process of totally rearranging his schedule so that he can keep a particular interview. His curriculum director is not very happy with him. But, unfortunately Drew didn't get to pick his interview dates and this whole interview process kind of effects the rest of his life. Kind of.
  • Drew has three more interviews scheduled, but he probably won't be able to take one of them because the curriculum director may just kill him if he does.
  • As a result of the above two mentioned bullet points, it looks like our rank order list will have 15 programs on it. Which is 3 shorter than we'd hoped for, but he has to graduate, so we'll just pray 15 is enough.
  • TODAY our last semester of student loans were distributed. This means that we are DONE acquiring student loans (just interest). Wooo hooo! Shh, I don't want to talk about paying them off, I just want to celebrate the fact that we won't be increasing the principal amount any more.)
  • We have recently had some terribly bad luck with travel (which I will elaborate on in the future).
  • And last but not least, 64 more days until Match Day!

Monday, January 11, 2010


we said "see you later" to a beautiful and sparkling woman who brought joy to those around her. As I sat through the beautiful funeral service, I cried like a baby as I heard her children speak of her unconditional support, encouragement, and love. Deanna was a woman who brought the best out of those around her, and everyone knew it. She was the silent strength behind her children's success, and the graceful woman who made her soul mate (who she met late in life) come to life. Although she is physically gone, the joy that she brought will always be remembered.
And so today, I encourage you to call your Mother, or your Father, or the love of your life (or all of them) and tell them you love them.

For I am so grateful that like Deanna's children, I have a best friend in my Mother, who will would do absolutely anything for me and my sisters. When she isn't coming to my rescue she is on the sidelines as my biggest fan. I don't know what I would ever do without her.

And like Deanna's husband I too have found a love that brings out the very best in me, makes me a better woman, and can bring me joy on my worst days.

Please pray for Deanna's family as they can no longer receive her loving hugs, look into her sparkling eyes, or find comfort in her glowing smile. May they find peace knowing that she is experiencing a whole new joy with our Lord Jesus Christ in heaven.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Christmas Vacation Part II

Christmas Eve for my Mom's side of the family was held at my uncle's house. As many of the cousins live all over the country, I had a fun time seeing their little ones. Below is little Sophia.And Connor and although you cannot see it, his shirt said, "Is it too late to be good?" And here is precious Maddy
Maddy and Sophie loved the tree and all its sparkly ornaments.

And Connor liked eating tissue paper.

We had a good time catching up, watching the kids open their presents, and filling up on all the delicious food.

It was a very relaxing Christmas Eve!

Friday, January 8, 2010

Another first

It's my 27th Birthday today! And my sweet darling husband is gone on an interview. But thank goodness he will be home late tonight, so at least I won't have to sleep alone! It made me realize that this is the first Birthday he is unavailable to celebrate with me, and it will probably be the first of many as he will often be working late nights or on call during residency. Surprisingly I'm okay with it because I'm accepting that holidays and birthdays will just have to be celebrated on alternative days. It doesn't make them any less special, we will just have to adapt to the demands of medicine. Tonight I'll be hanging out with my close friend Shannon, and then hopefully, the med student and I will be able to do something special tomorrow!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Christmas Vacation: Part I

The week of Christmas we got news that my family needed to find a new caretaker for my Grandpa. He is a little forgetful, so the family prefers that he have someone stay with him to make sure he keeps his med straight as well as help around the house and with any errands. My dear Grandpa, that I dearly love, can at times, be a little ornery. He is stubborn German man, so in the past he has known to be a little difficult. My first thought was what did he do to offend his care taker? Well turns out my poor grandfather did nothing wrong, instead it was his caretaker. She was taking his money and making large purchases on his credit cards. While she was authorized to buy him groceries and gas, she wasn't authorized to buy herself airline tickets, electronics, jewelry or expensive purses! Needless to say she needed to go. It was like something you see on TV. Our family could hardly believe what happened. With the holidays it being the holidays, Drew and I offered to travel up and spend the night with my Grandpa on the 23rd (so he wouldn't be alone). So Wednesday evening we headed up there and stayed the night. We had a lovely breakfast of Dunkin Donuts with him before we hit the road to travel to Drew's Grandma's house to celebrate with his extended family.
We had a wonderful lunch with Drew's family and opened presents. Drew's cousin has two darling little girls and we enjoyed watching them open all their presents.

Although I think Stella like eating her presents more than anything else! Isn't she adorable!

Mmm! Feels good on those teething gums!
And big sister Ophelia got a lot of great presents too....
And Drew even helped her put her barbie together (If you ask me, I think he just wanted an excuse to play barbies!)

And then shortly thereafter we headed to my Uncle's house to celebrate Christmas Eve with my Mom's side of the family.... stay tuned for Part II....

Monday, January 4, 2010

We're back

from our Christmas vacation, that is! It was one of the best and worst breaks/vacations all rolled into one. We spent the 23rd-26th with family and then came back to Springfield and left for Florida on the 27th. We were supposed to be back yesterday around noon (with plenty of time to get ready for the work/school week... but we just got back early this evening. Our travel journey is a tale in itself. We did have a wonderful time with our families but there were definitely a few hiccups and stresses along the way. And then of course there is the upcoming "match day" lingering over our heads, which seems to be giving me quite a bit of anxiety. Drew and I are hoping to get back into a routine, and I am hoping to find some coping mechanisms, so that I can handle the anxiety, because there is still a lot of time before match, and it is much too early to be so worried! Here's to hoping that the week will be better off than it started (with all our travel chaos)!