Thursday, March 28, 2013

Is My Husband Cheating On Me?

Thank you for all the words of encouragement on my last post. I really appreciated them, and it made me once again so thankful for this community that we share. I left a few things unwritten then, because it was getting so long. This is the second half of the story.

If anyone were to analyze the purchases my husband has made over the last 6 months and compared it to our prior decade long history they would probably jump to the conclusion that my husband must be cheating on me. Only guilty men who have something to hide do what he does.

Let me present the evidence:

  • He works long and erratic hours.
  • He travels for work conferences and meetings requiring over night stays.
  • He uses a pager and a work issued blackberry that is password protected.
  • He disappears in the middle of the night.
  • He doesn't answer his phone (unless of course he does).
  • He has made several expensive purchases as gifts.

Sounds suspicious, doesn't it?

Luckily, I know him better than that. And most of the above has been a part of our life style for as long as we have had a life together. That is except the last one. 

We aren't a gift giving couple. Our finances have always necessitated creativity over price. Or in lieu of gifts we'd go out to dinner and get a babysitter. 

I knew my husband had the potential to be a gift giver, because even when we would set the budgets for gifts (when we allowed our selves to give them) he would always go over. Or he would ask that I not give him anything and allow him to use the full amount. Or he would always tell me about the things that he wanted to give me. Always so selfless.

Here is where I need to come clean. I have been holding out on you. I started this blog so that I could have a place to be completely honest and work out the "stuff" I deal with. But, I haven't told you everything. I think I felt self-conscious and didn't want to draw attention to the fact that life is getting really good right now. Maybe too good.  I am much more comfortable sharing the truth about all the bad stuff, but hold back on the good. So, here it is.

I wasn't prepared for was the unleashing of his giving. Apparently the repression has been severe and now the pendulum has swung the other way.  At the first available opportunity he started buying and hasn't been able to stop. We are talking spending worthy of an intervention, and that's kind of what he is about to get. 

For the record I was pleased with all of his gifts. However, I didn't expect them all so soon. I was thinking over time... lots of time. Like years. Now what is there left to buy?

First there was a new van. He has known that I wanted a new van for the last 4 or 5 years. The one we had was picked out by someone else and given as a gift, which I am very grateful for. Let this be a lesson, if you start looking at something you will buy it. If you don't want to buy it don't look at it. 

This first purchase made me very nervous. Yes the contract had been signed, but it was still in the mail when he went to the dealership. I should have known this purchase was coming because he had been spending a lot of his free time on the Internet shopping around. But he has always done this for as long as I have known him. Build cars online and dream. Dream. I thought I had successfully convinced him of the merits of waiting 6 months or even until we moved. We didn't need a new van, the one we had worked just fine as long as we didn't need to transport anyone other than our children to and fro. 

Perhaps it was my fault for complaining about the car pick-up line at school and how the attendants didn't hardly know how to open or close our van door which required me to pull over, get out and re-close the door before heading out into traffic. Or maybe he felt like a neurosurgeon's wife should be driving something made in this decade.

I forgave him for the van. It is gorgeous, spacious, much nicer than anything I could have dreamed of. I am keeping it.

Then a week later he bought himself a foreign, super horse power, sporty vehicle. I cringed a little bit, because we (he) had just bought a new van and I thought we had agreed to wait a little bit. But, I know that he is a car guy and that he has hated everything he has driven for the last 8 years. And he has worked so hard, doesn't he deserve the one thing that he wants? I know he thought he did.

He had been eyeing this particular model for a few months. It was a special edition and there was only one left in town. The year was coming to an end so there wouldn't be any others. I am sure the salesman used urgency to his advantage. Maybe he bought me the van to soften me up for his car. It worked.

I forgave him for the car. He loves it, it is gorgeous and I am starting to feel less uncomfortable driving in it. It has taken some time.

Thankfully the stipend starting coming before the payments did. 

Then while on a conference trip he came home with a diamond necklace from Tiffany's. That's right. Diamonds from Tiffany. Why? Well this he said was my "thanks for putting up with med school and residency and fellowship" present. He said I had earned it and more. 

I forgave him for the diamonds. I love the necklace. It is gorgeous and I wear it 24/7 even in the shower. At this point he tells me they also had matching earrings but he decided not to buy them. I can't decide if I am disappointed that he didn't, or proud of him for showing some restraint. Mostly proud, my fake diamond earrings I couldn't part with.

Then there was a family vacation after Christmas. Western Caribbean 6 night Disney Cruise for the family, complete with grandparents flown in to join us. We had been planning on this celebratory purchase so I couldn't get upset, but I was beginning to get very uncomfortable with the fact that our bank account should be growing but it looked about the same as it did before.  

It was an amazing trip and our first family vacation that didn't involve staying with our family and visiting relatives. Our kids had been anticipating this trip for months and were so excited, it was priceless. 

We weren't planning on buying anything in the Caribbean, but apparently they have some amazing shopping and no sales tax.  So we left with a high-end watch for me. Not Rolex, but not far from it. Why? Well, my husband is also a watch guy. For his wedding present I purchased him the same brand watch and he has always wanted to get me one. So now I have one. 

It was the Caribbean, the sun, the water, feeling like a million bucks.. had it been on US soil I probably would have put up more of a defense, but I stood there and let him buy it for me. I am wearing it right now, and I even sleep with it on. I love it, he is forgiven.

Oh, yes, there is more. 

For Valentine's day he bought a purse for me. Mind you I have never owned a purse that cost more than $50. I like purses, don't get me wrong, but I never felt the need to have anything nicer than I did. Until I touched it. Is that what leather is supposed to feel like? Amazing. And now I get why people are obsessed about purses. I should use it more, but I am afraid to get it dirty or scratched, and I still feel a little weird wearing it. I am sure it will grow on me. In time.

I know that these purchases aren't every day purchases. I know that they were one time purchases being made in quick succession. But there are the million other little expenses that all add up. Eating out more often, buying whatever we want at the grocery store, our attitudes about money and spending are changing... and they have changed faster than I want them too. You would be amazed at how quickly you can adapt.

I think that is what I meant in my previous post about wanting to freeze time. I want things to stop for just a moment so I can wrap my head around what we have now and get it under some semblance of control before we jump into yet another round of wheel of fortune.

I am not a materialistic person, or I never thought I was, and now I feel like I might come off that way to the people around me - but I don't want to be.  See the problem?

A universal truth has been made perfectly clear to me: your expenses will always rise to meet your income unless you are a diligent task master over your budget AND budgets have to be worked out together not alone. 

I have always known that, but I let myself take a little break after he started getting his stipend because I felt that we deserved the respite and now I am feeling the effects. Even when I had worked out a budget it was too stringent and he wasn't on board with it. It was his (our) money so he had a right to decide how it was going to be spent too.  And it was the first time in our married life where we actually had the room to make decisions about "extra" money. What is there to talk about when you only have enough to keep a roof over your head, food on the table, and clothes on your back?

Even so, I have put him on a spending fast. I think he has worked everything out of his system so it might not be too painful. He isn't allowed to make any other purchases until our savings account reaches a specific number. Our anniversary is today and I have asked that under no circumstances he buy my anything. What I want is to see our savings account grow between now and the time we move. And for that matter, every day thereafter.

I have always had a high need for financial security. I think that is one of the reasons I have fought so hard to keep us out of consumer debt. Remember the life/disability insurance we got for Christmas? It is an expensive gift that keeps on giving every month, but it has been the best present he could give me. 

This was a long post! Thanks for sticking around and listening to my ramblings:-) Hope to see you back here Monday morning for another great edition of Medical Mondays!


Tuesday, March 26, 2013

That's Crazy Talk, and I Know It

I know this sounds crazy, but I don't want fellowship to end. I want things to stay just like this for a little longer. Maybe another year. It could have been possible, because the program does offer a 2 year fellowship with the 2nd year being pure research. My DrH would love that, but I shot that option down almost two years ago. I am having second thoughts now, but it is too late to change our mind we have a job to go to.

Why do I want to stay? Is it because fellowship is so great? No, but it isn't bad. Do I want to stay in this city/state? No, but it isn't bad. Do I want to live in this rental house? No, but it isn't bad.

I think what it comes down to is I am scared out of my mind. I know what I am dealing with right now and I would like a little more time to get used to it to figure out how to make it work. Recently, okay a few months ago now, we signed a contract and started receiving that long awaited stipend. What could be broken? Good question.

Why would this point in our life be scary? This is the moment that we have been waiting for.... forever. I think I have expressed sentiments similar to this already this year, but it's on my mind again and this is the only way I know to shake it out.

There is something scary about stepping into the unknown. And I realize how ridiculous that sounds because we are stepping into something very known. My husband has been perfecting his craft for 7 years, he knows it. We are moving back to a city we have known for decades, we know it. We know how to do it, but will we?

What we don't know, and what I think is at the core of my fears, is that I don't know what my life is going to look and feel like. Now that we are on the brink of starting it, it has become clear that the grand illusions I started out with in the beginning aren't real. What I envisioned, was picture perfect and flawless - and that's not life. I had hilariously high expectations. Maybe you know what I am talking about.

What I thought we would have achieved at this point is a life free from fear and worry. That once we had a job the world would magically fall into place and life would be easy. How very idealistic of me.

The truth is, there are plenty of things to worry about and pieces that need to be worked out. I don't think that will ever go away. Some things are just part of life, and regardless of how much money you have or security you feel, there will always be things that are completely outside of your control.

Sometimes I think I am super-human and immune to the temptations that upset mere mortals. Yes, it's true. What is also true, is that despite doubling our salary over the last 3 months we have saved next to nothing. That's right, we are living the life - or perhaps we are living with unintended consequences.

I certainly didn't expect this extra money to disappear so quickly, and trust me it does. I had what I thought was a great plan in place so we could save X by the time we relocated. We aren't going to come close. Maybe I'll post about that later this week.

What it boils down to is I am afraid that we haven't had enough time living like this and that when we do get more (and we will) it will disappear just as quickly.  We need to find our balance, our average, our baseline, our groove.

So if I could stop the clock for a while, I would stay like this - just as we are now- for a little longer. Maybe 6 months to a year. Seeing as that isn't possible I am going to have to come to grips with my fears and make a plan to conquer them and arm wrestle my husband into following along.


Monday, March 25, 2013

Put on Your Hopping Shoes

When Monday falls on the first of the month it always throws me off a little bit. The particular Monday I am referring to is Medical Mondays which is taking place a week from today on April 1st! And how fun that it is April Fools Day, too.

Don't worry, we won't be playing any jokes on you. You can count on us to be there the first Monday of every month and we hope that you will be too.

This month's hosts are yours truly and Emma from Your Doctors' Wife. But you already know all about us. Our guest co-hosts for April are:

  • Lives of Doctors Wives, a collaborative blog and pioneer in the medical/spousal support blog world. They have been blogging since 2009 so you are sure to find posts on just about every topic applicable to a med wife.
  • Diana at Pictures And 1,000 Words - a fashion inspired blog complete with pictures of herself, a medical student spouse. Don't know what to wear today (or tomorrow), check out her blog for some inspiration.

But don't wait until next Monday, feel free to check out these blogs now!

The party gets started at 12:01 am EST on Monday April 1st. So before you do anything else, create an event in your calendar and plan to join us. See some of your favorite medical blogs and find some new ones too. If you link up early, don't forget to check back in later in the week to see who else linked up. Make a few new friends, jazz up your reading list, and say hi.

As always, thank you for supporting Medical Mondays and linking up with us each month. It's the equivalent of a girls night out (with a few boys) and is a great way to start off a new month and a new week. 

Monday, April 1st - see you there!

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Thursday, March 21, 2013

Nice Guys

My husband is the quintessential nice guy. The guy that people go to because they know they will get good advice. The guy that people ask for help because they know he won't think they are weak for not doing it themselves. They guy that people feel comfortable talking with when they are going through difficult times. He is that guy.

He is also the guy that will never say 'no' unless there is a legitimate reason. That reason would have to be pretty serious, like someone is dying serious, for him to refuse help.

During residency I got pretty tired of his willingness to help people. And by people, I mean other residents. I know that I don't have the full background stories, but it seemed to me like some residents knew they could ask him to cover for them and he would. And then when it was time that my nice guy needed something they were otherwise occupied and couldn't reciprocate.

Things like that bother me, not him.

Thankfully, in fellowship we haven't run into situations like that. Maybe he is no longer the nice guy at work. But I doubt he has changed much.

The way this last nice guy moment turned out wasn't so bad.

He was scheduled to be on call Wednesday night, but called me on Tuesday afternoon to say that he switched call with someone because they needed to do something (I am sure it was important). No big deal. It was already 4:00 and I didn't plan on him being home anyway.

As luck would have it, for being on call he managed to get home by 6:45 pm, take our son to his 7:00 pm activity, and picked up milk at the grocery store. He was home by 8:30 pm and as far as I know did not get a single page all night. Finally, a good nights sleep.

Wednesday he did work all day and most of the evening. Anyone who has spent time on call knows that things move in cycles. If one night is super slow, the next is usually busy. So to me it seems like he got lucky and got a slow night and the guy he switched with got his crazy night.

Maybe nice guys don't always finish last.

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Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Sugar Highs

We have had quite the week (but aren't they all) and I am glad it is over. My almost two year old has consumed more sugar in the past week than my first child did in his entire first two years of life and I am paying the price right now. It hurts.

It is so bad that she will only eat the marshmallows from her Lucky Charms. Did you catch that I am feeding my daughter Lucky Charms? Yes, I know better. My first and second born were restricted to plain Cheerios only. Now look at us! What have we become?

We used to be such good parents, paying close attention to what went in and what came out. Documenting sleep patterns and diaper changes, washing clothes in special detergent for no reason in particular other than a cute baby was on the bottle, and sanitizing anything that fell on the floor. That is the short list.

Things are a little different now. We don't have any real documentation other than a birth certificate and some photos of our last child. She does take a nap, but only one (our others were still taking two at this point), her clothes get washed with the rest of ours, and things on the floor - that's laughable. I figure if it looks edible, it is edible. If there isn't anything that I can see on it then it can't be dirty and she can put it back in her mouth.

I am torn between feeling like a lazy mother and mother of 4. I am sure there is a difference, and the amount of energy it would require to recreate the toddler years of our first baby for our fourth is on par with a nuclear bomb. I don't have it in me. And even if I did, the results might be similar to a bomb going off!

So how is my punishment being doled out? She is crazy. She woke up at 7:00 hungry but refusing to eat. The protesting continued for two hours. She ate the marshmallows wicked fast and then cried because they were gone and she didn't want to eat the boring sugar coated oat cereal pieces that were left.

And then she found a package of PEZ candy that her brother left on the floor in his room and ate most of it, including the wrapper, before I discovered her. She is like an addict, willing to eat the paper packaging to get to the good stuff!

Finally, she has had some milk and ate some of the boring cereal and is quietly sitting in front of the TV. I don't dare disturb her for fear that she will start crying again. At this moment Daniel Tiger is keeping her and me happy.  Thank you PBS.

Now to figure out how to defeat this cute little candy monster. It's nice to have a goal.


Friday, March 15, 2013

Match Day

Congratulations! This years residency match is over:-)

What a relief that I never have to relive that event again. Ever. My nerves can only handle so much excitement and drama.

I remember the absolute feelings of fear. Will he match? Will he match some where we want to live? Will it be close to our family? Will we know anyone? Will the people be nice? Will they have a Chipotle?

I had at least four different plans that had been previously worked out that were ready to be put into action the minute the news was received. I was probably a little over confident and had my heart set on one location in particular because it felt like home. Something about it seemed to call to me. Mind you I had never been in the state other than an airport layover years earlier. I had seen pictures that my husband had taken during his rotation and interview there. The location was far from home, and the climate was like nothing I had experienced before.

I knew before the match results were in that it was where we were going. We were supposed to be there. I could feel it in my bones.

Thankfully I wasn't disappointed, but I easily could have been. There are so many working parts to the match. Any one of them could have derailed our dreams. My husband assured me that he would match. But there is no guarantee than anyone will. We have good friends who didn't match the first time and had to scramble! Scrambling is about as much fun as the name implies.

We feel lucky that it worked out the way it did. The city we moved to was good for us in so many ways. We had been married for two years and had a small son. We grew up during residency, if that is possible for a pair of grown-ups to do. Rather we matured.

I am so excited for all the families who are starting this next adventure in the pursuit of medicine. Residency is about so much more than medical training. It is relationship and marriage refining. It is human development and social experimentation. It is strength AND endurance training.

I hope that you will look back on these years as some of the best of your life. I used to roll my eyes at the people who would say that about difficult years, but now that they are mostly behind me I can see what they mean. I wouldn't trade those 6 long years for anything:-)

P.S. They won't be the best because they are easy. Trust me, they won't be easy. They will be the best because you will discover who you are, what you are made of, and what you can do. Your husband will find that out for himself, too.



Tuesday, March 12, 2013


Maybe it is because we are coming to the end of a very long journey that I find myself longing for days gone by. This week in particular I have been thinking about some of the more interesting things we picked up or heard during medical school from different preceptors. Notice how freely I used the word "we" as if I were there? It certainly feels like I was, and yet I wasn't.

During your third and fourth year of medical school the classroom lectures are over and you are thrust into a clinical setting with various specialties. I suppose the exercise is meant to help you figure out what you want to be when you grow up and see examples of the good and bad. And in our case it provided for my entertainment after each rotation.

There was this really old family medicine gentleman who worked in a retirement community. When I say old, I mean he was certainly of retirement age, but situations were such that his accountant had stolen money from him and while he should be enjoying his golden years he was required to work well past his planned retirement date. (Note to self: get a good accountant and have the books audited annually by a third party.)

You can imagine that his attitude toward patients and medical students was somewhat tainted by his financial predicaments. He is what you might call a grumpy old man. In his practice he did just about everything, except prescribe certain medications. He told patients straight up "NO", and they didn't like it. He had no problems telling a patient exactly what their problem was, even when those problems were not medically related.

He also liked to give the most disgusting jobs to the medical students. Like clipping toenails that were nasty. Or digging things (more nasty) out of some one's belly button. This community had lots of men in need of prostate exams, too. Fun times.

And then there was another man whose office was in a downtown strip mall, next to a strip club. Classy place. His clientele seemed to be heavy on the drug seeking variety. The doctor was part social worker, part doctors, part pastor. He did it all.

To this day I really wonder if he even when to medical school or if he acquired his MD from an online university. It wouldn't have surprised me. Now that I think of it maybe his office was a front for a drug operation - that would make more sense!

My husband always came home with the best stories and words of wisdom from these preceptor. After all these years, these are the two gentleman that I remember out of the 15 or so different preceptors he had.

I had always thought that family medicine was kind of boring and mundane, but after hearing stories from these two family practice docs my tune has changed. It may be possible that family medicine is where all the action is and the regular hours.

I still get to hear stories every once in a while, but it seems the people he works with now are more normal and less fringe. Fringe makes for good stories, normal is not nearly as much fun.

People are fascinating, and their doctors are too!


Monday, March 11, 2013

The Man of My Dreams

Is it possible that I have been living in a dream? I swear this past week was something unlike any other I remember. Maybe I have early onset dementia.

I am sure that I am married. I have a ring. I have four kids. I have a home, albeit one I don't own. I don't work, yet a paycheck is deposited once a month from some hospital. I pick up mail for someone who lives here who I think I have met before.

I go to bed alone, and in my dreams a man comes into my room and snuggles up to me. I can smell him. He seems familiar. But when I wake up in the morning he is gone. What kind of sick trick is my mind playing on me?

Then the weekend comes and I wake up (or am I going back to dream land)!

This past week was rough and it was only 80.75 hours. I have gotten out of practice and lulled into a sense or normalcy with 60 - 65 hour work weeks. It was so bad I started to doubt whether it was real and had to write things down just in case.

Thankfully for us, not the patient, one of his cases was cancelled on Thursday afternoon so he drove home to quickly say hi to the kids before heading back. I think he was afraid they might forget what he looked like. He tucked them in on Sunday night and then vanished.

And because the phone reception in our house is so awful I forget what he voice sounds like. I know his ring tone though. And the peel the phone makes when he leaves a message. Thank heaves for the weekend off. I makes us feel like a normal family for a brief moment in time. And then Monday comes again and it starts all over. Only this time I hope that it will be better, and by all forecasts it should.


Thursday, March 7, 2013

Financing Fellowship

What else did I do while I was grounded? I crunched numbers! Lots and lots of numbers, mostly for tax purposes. But it also allowed me to finish a post I have been meaning to write. Win Win!

A reader asked a question a few months ago about the costs associated with fellowship. I looked at the date I started this post and it was in July. I guess it has been more than a few months - can you tell I wasn't really excited about knowing exactly how much this adventure costs? I didn't forget her question, but was waiting until all the bills rolled in. Well, it looks like the bills are still coming and I am afraid this blog post is going to go stale before it is all said and done. So before it is too late:

Fellowship is not cheap! In fact, it is rather expensive especially when you consider how much a fellow makes (about $60K), the income potential they lose by another year of training, and the interest that accumulates for an additional year on your student loans.

In our case fellowship was especially burdensome because at the same time some of these expenses were being paid we were losing money on the house we were selling. Houses aren't always wise investments when you are in training. It's a gamble. So it felt really expensive! You might recall some of my we are running out of money posts from this time last year.

I believe our calculations border on the low side for one reason and one reason only: he applied to three programs. His first choice had interviews first, and his first choice took him before the other programs even scheduled their initial interviews. The early bird gets the worm. Had there been multiple interviews the associated costs would be higher.

The process for obtaining a fellowship is different for each specialty. For us there was no match, no silly algorithm. It was much more like looking for your first job. They like you, you like them, they send you an offer, it's done.

These costs may pertain to you even if you don't do a fellowship. They may occur during your last year of residency as you prepare to practice and in some contracts these fees may be paid for you. Maybe not.

Here is a breakdown of our fellowship related expenses:

Travel for interview(s): $756.00
Prep docs/books for test: $311.00
Licensing application: $1,002.00
Misc. licensing fees: $136.00
DEA (for Rx): waived (how, I don't know)
PHY Registration: $844.84
Total Fellowship Acquisition costs: $3,049.84

And then these are the associated costs with fellowship that really hurt. These are the expenses that are usually covered by your new employer if you are heading out into the world as a practicing physician/surgeon. Since you are technically obtaining further training you pick up the tab. All of it. And I don't (didn't) like it one bit! Perhaps some fellowships allow moving allowances, but don't count on.

Depending on the distance you have to move, how much stuff you have, and what method of transportation you use this amount can vary widely. We traveled light and cheap. 

Moving: $3822.24 (PODS - 1,000 miles, 2.5 months storage, 1 16x8 box)
House Hunting: $1,963.00 airfare/hotel/rental car/food 5 days for 2 - more or less depending on duration.
Deposits/Set up: $1,805.00
Total Fellowship Moving associated costs: $7,590.24

Another expense to factor in is your grocery bill the first month that you move is going to be quite larger than previous ones. Think of all the things you couldn't bring with you. It isn't cheap to stock a new pantry and buy perishables that are typically replaced as they run out, not all at the same time. Chances are good you didn't pack those few rolls of toilet paper or paper towels, half used cleaning supplies, etc. You could easily add an extra $200.00 to your grocery budget that month and maybe the next one too.

Fellowships are not typically in Low Cost of Living (COL) areas. More often than not, they are located in High COL areas. That means everything will typically be more expenses (housing, utilities, groceries, gas, etc).

Some costs you would incur in you last year of residency anyway and aren't unique to a fellowship. In particular I am thinking of professional conferences and boards. In our residency program they had an expense account for conferences. In fellowship it is our dime. They must think we are going to get a good job and can afford to travel all over the country!

During fellowship year there have been trips to Chicago, Las Vegas, Phoenix, Austin, and Tampa (or was it Orlando).  Some have been taken already, others are coming up. I estimate the total to be $2,500 in hotel, airfare, transportation, food, registration fees. But then again, we aren't really done yet. There are four more months and something exciting is sure to come up.

He travels alone, sadly. Every time he leaves I wish I were going with him. If you plan on attending conferences with your spouse, or as a family, and making a vacation of it I will be jealous. I am waiting for a really good conference.... that's what I keep telling myself.

And then there are more tests. His board exam happened to be combined with a conference, but the cost to sit for the written exam was $1,500. It's one test you hope you only have to take once. Some specialties can be board certified in several areas. That's more exams and more fees. Cha-Ching.

I took this picture of his board application/fees and about died when I saw all of the amounts. I believe this is the first picture that I have ever posted on this blog! It's that good.

It seems that the closer you get to becoming that "real-paycheck-earning" doctor that the cost of little things get more expensive. Can't wait to pay for the oral boards this summer:-)

If you are headed off to a fellowship, or have a specialty that demands one, or your spouse/so just wants to do one (because you never know when you might wish you had it and this is the only time to get it) you probably want to save about $15,000 to $20,000 . Of course you don't have to have all that money right as you begin fellowship, but some of it you will certainly spend before you get there. Some will be spent in the first month, and the rest will come in starts and spurts. Just know what you are dealing with so you can make adjustments in your budget if needs be before and during fellowship or make decisions about other financing options. Maybe you will use a sign-on bonus or stipend to pay for them before you ever have the pay the bill. Maybe not.

I think the expense of the endeavor is one of the factors that makes a fellowship so discouraging and bordering on depressing. On the bright side we have friends who have secured jobs with stipends before fellowship began so the pain wasn't as great. And if you secure a job early in your fellowship, or just before you are about you sell your belongings at an auction, you are good. The longer it takes to get a job, the more expensive it feels. Sometimes you don't have much control over the "when" you get a job. It so frustrating. I would have preferred to have had the job before we started fellowship. If only everything went according to my plans:-)

This is just one more "investment" that gets made in pursuit of medicine. Thinking of it in those terms helps the medicine go down. So does a little ice cream and chocolate. And then when it pays-off you can breath a sigh of relief that you may actually live long enough to see a return and it was money well spent.

Is your spouse/so considering a fellowship for his specialty? Don't let this scare you away - we survived, or at least plan on it!


Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Mortification or Humiliation?

Thanks for linking up with Medical Mondays! I am sad it is over, but so happy to have a group of ladies I feel honored to call my friends. And this is the kind of post one can only share with friends.

How did I start out my week of grounding? By getting a massage, a pedicure and a manicure all from licensed professionals! In the past I have written about my longing for a massage, and my husbands failed attempts at painting nails. (I still can't believe hands that operate in tiny spaces can't get nail polish on just the nails.)

Anyway it was a lovely day. It was a Saturday and the husband was home and offered to watch the kids so I could use my generous valentine's day present of pampering. I showered and shaved and looked and smelled good. The weather was warm (how strange) so I wore a pair of flip-flops I had purchased at the end of summer last year because I felt that I had graduated from the $1 Old Navy Flip Flop sale and was ready for more stylish flops in the $7 dollar range.

I started with the mani/pedi. I didn't have an appointment but they didn't look busy and welcome walk-ins. I had my gift certificate in hand and asked for my services but they didn't have prices listed anywhere so I had no idea what my husband had in mind for me. It had been so long since I had a mani/pedi that I didn't know what they cost anymore. Or what the different types were, so I went regular.

I had the mani/pedi and it was all fine. My last manicure was so long ago I cannot remember, and the last pedicure I received was the week or two before my last baby was born almost two years ago. I am sure there was plenty of work to be done on my digits, all twenty of them.

The place I was at spoke English, but that didn't mean that they spoke English to me. In fact it felt really strange. I think they forgot me at one point or I blended in with the walls and they couldn't see me. I was pretty sure my nails were all dry and there wasn't a clock on the wall and my watch and phone were in my purse so I couldn't see what time it was, but I knew that I had an appointment for a massage that I wasn't going to be late for.

So I tried getting out of the chair myself. They did the mani/pedi in the same chair. That was convenient except for the fact that there was no one to talk to, nothing to watch on tv (or rather there was something to watch if you don't mind Saturday afternoon PBS without the sound), and nothing to do because my nails were wet and my phone was in the purse. When I tried getting out they asked if I was ready to go. Why yes, I think I am done. I wonder how long they would have let me sit in that chair before suggesting I leave? I am guessing hours, or until they needed the chair for someone else.

At the register I am given the total for my mani/pedi and discover that I still have $20 left on the gift certificate. I guess that means I get to go back! I was excited about that prospect, but not delusional enough to think I would actually get back anytime soon.

I leave and put my watch back on only to realize that I had more time than I thought so I head to the drug store to buy the color of nail polish that was currently on my nails. I choose Wet and Wild for $1.99 in fast dry formula. That's me!

Then it's off to the massage. Lovely, amazing, wish I could go every week. What more can I say about that. Amazing.

Then I get home and discover something that leaves me mortified and/or humiliated. The cute black flip flops I had been wearing have discolored my feet. What I do not know is if they became discolored from the moment I put them on my feet, or if after the pedi or massage they turned colors. But the bottom of my feet looked as if I had been running around on the black asphalt all afternoon. Technically in three hours those flip flops had only been on my feet for 40 minutes top. And most of that time was sitting in the car or waiting room. Not walking.

In my mind I start replaying the day. The lady who did my pedicure thought I was filthy dirty and is that why she wore latex gloves? Oh my goodness the lady who did my massage saw my feet too! Did she touch them? I don't remember. I don't think she did. I don't blame her, I wouldn't have either. At least three people have seen my feet, and they probably told all their co-workers about me. The massage place has my name, did they make a little note on my file about my feet!? The mani/pedi ladies were probably snickering about my feet to each other in their foreign language!

So now I may never get another mani/pedi or massage at these locations again. It is possible that I will forever be remembered as the lady with dirty black feet. Thank heavens I am moving in 4 months and will never see them again. But I have learned my lesson. My trusty Old Navy $1 flip-flops have never left my feet black and my $7 flip flops are going in the garbage - they betrayed me!

Oh, what a week it was!


Monday, March 4, 2013

It's Medical Mondays and I'm Feeling Good!

My self-inflicted grounded has worked! It is amazing how much a person can get done when they force themselves to do it. In my case I had to shake things up and thought about what I normally do and then did just the opposite. It felt odd for a while, but I got the hang of it.

Feel like texting a friend or sending an email? I made a phone call instead. Thinking about what to pick up for dinner? Played my version of Chopped with my own pantry ingredients. Want some entertainment? Let the kids entertain me instead. Want to spend some money? Read a book about not spending money - that's a cure I won't forget. Taxes. Documents are ready and the highlighter didn't dry out. House? Spring cleaned and uncluttered. All those annoying appointments that never get made - made.

It has been a productive week and has given me plenty to write about. But there will be time enough for that later. Right now it is time for another edition of Medical Mondays!


I hope you'll all take a quick second to link up your blog with us!

Medical Monday is an opportunity for any and all medical/med life blogs to link up and meet others. So join us!

Are you confused if you qualify for the party?

If you have a pager interrupting your life... you DEFINITELY qualify!
Do you work in healthcare?
Doctor? Nurse? EMT? Chiropractor? Vet? Dentist? Therapist?
Are you the spouse or SO of a healthcare worker/student?
Are you a nursing student? Medical student?
Intern? Resident? Fellow?

You get the picture, right? Come on, now... don't be shy! Last month we broke 50 fantastic link ups and we want to keep our group growing!


Our once a month bloghop for bloggers like yourself, where we can build a community of support and friendship, learn from one another and share our stories and what's going on in our lives.

Here are the rules:
  1. Follow your co-hosts via GFC or email.
  2. Link up you medical/med life blog. If your blog name does not clearly state how you fit in to the med/med life world, please write a little intro or link up a specific post which clearly demonstrates your connection.
  3. Visit at least 3 other link ups, comment, introduce yourself, and tell the your stopping by or following from MM!
  4. Help spread the word by using our button on your post or sidebar, tweet about Medical Monday, or spread the word on Facebook! The more the merrier for all of us!
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Not sure how? Click here for instructions.

Complete step one by following your co-hosts:

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Post our button on you post or sidebar and help spread the word:

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Now, link up below and have fun! The link up is open through Friday, so be sure to come back during the week to check some great reads!