The Mrs. The Mommy. The M.D.: January 2012

Monday, January 30, 2012

Operation De-Clutter

I spent a lot of time (and thinking power) over break purging and de-bulking our home of junk. I just can't think clearly when there is a lot of clutter. It also causes me to be obsessed with it when I should be doing things like studying, so that's why I have to have things in order and have my hair done going into an exam - or it will drive me nuts :shrug:

Anyway, it started with making room for all of Nate's new toys after Christmas. So far I also have redone the majority of the closest in the house (thankfully, I get rid of clothes twice a year so my closet has been pretty reasonable), and I want to do something new with the guest room/office so that I am making the most of that small but functional space.

A friend of mine shared this de-clutter your home in 2012 calendar on twitter. It breaks down cleaning out your whole house into very, very small daily steps. Brilliant.

Photo Credit

Also, Pinterest and StumbleUpon have been a wealth of cool, home-made organizational tools. They opened up a container store in Indianapolis recently, and it's probably for the best that I haven't had time to go, because I love me some plastic bins and such...LOL


Do you have any good tips for keeping everything at home or in the office in its place? 



Music Monday

This is one of my favorite songs. When I feel lonely, it gives me great comfort to know God has assigned angels to watch over me...

 

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Applying to Medical School: Do I Mention That I am a Mother?

A reader asked for some insight regarding her personal statement and I thought that this would be a great post because it was something I went back and forth about during my application cycle.


Two application cycles, 15 rejections, and 2 acceptances later, here is my take on things:




Photo Credit
I have a lot of reservations regarding writing about motherhood in your personal statement or talking about it during the interview. Everyone has a different backstory, but my feelings come from the fact that  my pregnancy was both early and VERY unplanned. I wasn't even telling my family and friends let alone some strangers on an admission committee. Frankly, I did not want to be written off as ill-equipped to handle to rigors of medical school because I was a new mother. Needless to say, I didn't mention it either time that I applied in my personal statement. 

And for the same reasons I didn't mention it on my interviews. Even when I was running back to breastfeed my 11-day-old son in the middle of my interview day at IU, I kept my mouth shut.

I did break my rule once, during the second application cycle when I interviewed at Morehouse.  I actually was stunned by the fact that I both simultaneously got emotional and shed a tear while talking about how having my son hadn't stopped me and that then, more than ever, I knew being a doctor was something I was born to do. It was an intense interview, but I felt like I laid it all on the table, and I was able to be completely myself. After the interview I kept playing this scene in my mind and how I might have sabotaged my chances but Morehouse School of Medicine will always have a special place in my heart because they were the first school to say they wanted me to be a doctor too :-)

I haven't known anyone personally who got a negative reaction for talking about their kids in the PS/interview, but I just didn't want to chance it if I happened to get the interviewer who believed that women should stay at home with the kids... Unfortunately, biases are alive and well. 


:Disclaimer: Obviously, now that I am in medical school there is FULL disclosure. I don't think you should have to hide motherhood, but unless you are certain it makes your application stand out in a positive way amongst the vast majority of single or non-parent applicants, for now it might need to be left unsaid. 

I think the main thing is, whether you talk about your experiences in motherhood or not, you want to focus on YOU. As a mom we tend to focus on everyone but ourselves, especially our children. So although it may be easy to talk about them, you don't want anyone to sell you short because they think you can't emotionally be invested in medicine.

You only have a limited amount of time (and words) to give someone a taste of the dynamic and multi-faceted person you are. I wanted them to walk away from my PS/interview knowing me as a person and why I couldn't see myself doing anything besides being a doctor.

That's just my two cents...Hope it helps!

I would love to hear other opinions on this! What is your take on sharing your role at a mother while applying to school programs and/or for jobs?  

Monday, January 16, 2012

Happy MLK Jr. Day!

‎"Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be. This is the interrelated structure of reality." - MLK Jr.
Growing up, my mom always taught us that this was a day ON and never "off". Even when our school did not recognize the day as a holiday, my mom would always keep us home to go to the DuSable Museum for their annual MLK Jr. Day celebration. In college, Michigan always had an awesome MLK Symposium with nationally renowned speakers - one of the many things I miss about undergrad...

I hope to pass this mindset on to Nathan. Today we had our lesson on who Martin Luther King, Jr. was and what he stood for - a very quick lesson to suit his attention span. I found a cool video that we watched together:


Me: "This is Martin Luther King, Junior"
Nate: :wide-eyed: "Ooooh Ok!"
Me: "He said that his dream was for all of God's children to be able to play together and be happy"
Nate: "I wanna have a dream!"

I hope you all are having a great day ON too!

Music Monday

A little old school...shout out to my Grammy :-)

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Let's Be Productive!

One of the first messages my pastor preached this year was about the importance of productivity to attain God's best for your life. I am all in!

Here is what I have been up to making things more productive in our house.


Early To Bed, Early To Rise. 
Trying to get up at 5 with the hubby but so far 6-6:30 I am downing coffee, and reading for the day before I wake up my little ray of sunshine :-)

Budgeting.
Two words, EXCEL SPREADSHEET. I'm tracking all (most of) our spending so we can be more a financially savvy household.

Giving My To Do List An Upgrade.
I just got the free "Wunderlist" app and so far I like it. It syncs from my laptop to my phone so no matter where I am, I can amend, add to, or, my personal favorite, cross things off!







Being More Organized.

The weekend is when I wash, press, and fold for the week. I bought this organizer on Amazon to help me lay out all of the little one's outfits. Now I don't have to use brain power trying to find and matching clothes.













Planning Meals.

Well, I'll sort of be doing the planning...I saw a deal on Eversave for 6 months of meal planning at Relish that was too good to pass up. It is
supposed to save us money on groceries because they even make your grocery list! I'm excited!




Practicing Better Overall Time Management. 
I am scheduling things AND sticking to it! Homework time is for homework - not blogging. Family time is family time. And everything is going to actually be written into my schedule. I know things won't be perfect, but planning out my days can't do anything but help...



How have you made changes to make 2012 your most productive year yet?

Syphilis?

There is definitely a method to the madness when it comes to a medical school curriculum. For the most part we learn about the same things in different classes all together. This helps us to see connections and hopefully memorize it better. They told us that accurate diagnosis is all about "pattern recognition", so right now we are trying to see the patterns...

Anyway, last semester, syphilis was one of those diseases that kept popping up. Did you know at one time Indianapolis took the award for most syphilis diagnosis? Now I think we are just a "top contender" in the obesity category... 

Here are some of the syphilis patterns: You will see thoracic aortic aneurysms with the tertiary stage of syphilis, but abdominal aortic aneurysms with atherosclerosis...Or you may see the "Copper Pennies" rash of the secondary stage of syphilis...








Photo Credit

This makes for interesting Q&A sessions with practitioners because they can always tell what we are currently learning based on what we guess on the differential - no matter how far off our guess may be...haha

A discussion might sound something like this: 

Doctor: "Patient presents with a fever, sore throat, and unspecified abdominal pain. What are some possible causes?"
Thoughtful med students: "Syphilis?"

I mean it could be on the differential, but obviously there are some more common, less life-threatening things it could be as well LOL

Some other top contenders this year have been: "AIDS", "Tumor", and "Ebola". Hopefully they teach us some less-extreme diagnosis so that we don freak out the poor patient that comes in with a pollen allergy...

After all, this is real life, not an episode of House.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Thursday, January 5, 2012

What if Your Doctor Wrote a "Tell All" Book?

I just read an excerpt from Confessions of a Surgeon by Paul A. Ruggieri, M.D. It wasn't Grey's Anatomy raunchy, but it did serve up some "real life" drama in the operating room. Here is a mental conversation Dr. Ruggieri has with the difficult colon he is trying to remove. Yes, the colon...

"'You're going to earn your fee tonight, Dr. Surgeon.' The colon kept talking. 'I hope you're not in this business for the money, like the last guy who operated on me. Between what Medicare pays you, the phone calls in the middle of night and the time you spend guiding my recovery, I figure you will make about $200 an hour for this operation. How does that grab you?'
Should have gone for my M.B.A., I mumbled to myself. Big mistake going into medicine, never mind surgery. If I could only go back and do it over again. 
The colon's rant continued: 'Wait, subtract what it costs you in overhead to bill for this operation (double that if the claim gets rejected), plus malpractice costs for the day, and we are now at $150 an hour. And how could I leave out the biggest expense of all? The price of the mental stress from worrying about me after the surgery (and double that if there's a complication). Now, I figure you're under $100 an hour. Plumbers make more than that just to step inside your house. I bet they sleep well at night. Just remember, Dr. Surgeon, nobody put a gun to your head. You chose this profession.'" 
Obviously, HIPAA requires by law that we protect the privacy of our patients. I am a firm believer that the patient is the sole owner of their medical records/history, and by-no-means, should anyone administering their care compromise that.

Social media has really changed how everyone in all fields does business. We are a "share it all" culture no matter how uncomfortable it may be. Just turn on the TV and everyone all is giving "the inside dish" on their lives. But how much sharing - even if anonymous - is too much? Physicians are people too, so what's wrong with knowing their thoughts and feelings about their job? Or knowing they wish they had just gotten their MBA? What if you were the patient being written about anonymously, how would you feel?

When looking into his book further, I found another book by a different physician that seemed interesting too... I feel like Bravo already did a show on this (LOL, but I'm serious): 


There is a lot out there both anonymous and not regarding the life of doctors. I think that by the nature of how my blog evolved, I never considered blogging anonymously. And I also think that by having my name, not to mention all the other personal information about my life that you care (or don't care) to read, there is more accountability on my end when it comes to talking about my experiences in school.

On the flip side, I feel there should also be some privacy  preservation on the physician's end when it comes to the patient-doctor relationship. For example, we had a discussion the first week of med school about "What if a patient 'friends' you on Facebook? or tries to 'follow you' on Twitter?" Do my patients need to see the inside jokes I posted on the walls of my college roommates back in 2005? Or the millions of pictures I took of myself in the dorm before going out when I thought I was looking cute? LOL Things that make you go "hmmmm..."

How do you feel about knowing the personal life of your physician? What if they had awesome bedside manner and clinical skills, but then you read their book/see their Facebook, and they seem like a jerk? Would that change anything? Would you change doctors? I would love to hear what you think!

The Working {Outside the Home} Mom War Rages on...

**Made a few addendums to this post because I don't want you to think that I feel mom's who stay at home aren't working too. Definitely not the case. But this research was focused on the children of mothers who worked outside of the home, compared to those whose mothers remained home with them. Ok, carry on.** 

During exam weeks I always have a HUGE case of Mommy Guilt.

I would only see my child for maybe two hours a day - getting him ready and taking him to school in the morning. I know he misses me, but I always wonder if he is angry that I am gone all the time, or thinks that I would rather be at school instead of at home with him. The thought of this makes me want to cry.

WebMD ran an article back in July basically saying, "rest assured Moms, your kids won't have any major behavior problems because you work outside the home." You can read the article on the study done by the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health in it's entirety here.

It never even crossed my mind that Nate could have long-term behavior problems because of my absence. My mom worked out of the home up until my youngest brother was born and then she stayed home, so I got both experiences and I think we all turned out fine - in fact, quite excellent haha...

Even though we working {outside the home} moms continue to tell ourselves that working outside the home isn't short-changing our child, it was a refreshing change to hear someone else saying it. A completely different message than the New York Times article in which one mother and physician slaps us with the notion that we can't have it all.

The article asserts something that is kind of common sense - that a big part of your child's success is taking the time to find a good caregiver...Oh ok.


But it concludes with this:
In fact, "parents who do the best job are the ones who have interests outside of children, and working is certainly one of these interests," she says. "If you need to work or want to work, guilt is a wasted emotion."
I think that point is HUGE. Whether you work outside the home or not, moms need to have a life/identity outside of their children. This ensures that they are fulfilled and happy. And a happy mom is a better mom for her kids.


Moms, did you read this article? What do you think? Should we even still be talking about this, let alone doing/funding research on it?

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Why I LOVE BEING HIS Mrs.

Photo Credit: Zazzle.com
When someone says "I don't know how you do it..." I always need to give credit where it is due. I couldn't have done half of what I have without God and my awesome husband. A spouse in medical school means that the whole family is in med school. I think it takes the whole, "marriage is give and take" to the extreme, because a lot of times I feel like I am the one doing all the taking.

My husband has always supported my dreams and every day I see more and more how someone like him is one in a million. I am so thankful to have him in my life. I put more pressure on myself to be the "best wife ever" than he ever did. He sees me working for something greater and is the best co-pilot a girl could have. He is definitely no "Elvin" LOL...




I'd have to write a whole different post on how he is such an awesome dad. Our son adores him :-)

Since school started, I have been trying to find the best ways to keep my marriage high on the totem pole despite all of my responsibilities. Nate has been an awesome supporter, and I feel like I have been doing very little to fill his love tank.


Wives, what kinds of little things do you do to let your husband know he's loved throughout the busy week?

Monday, January 2, 2012

This is How WE Do It!!!

I was honored when Tara at The Young Mommy Life asked me to contribute to her first ebook of 2012 - This is How We Do It: A Survival Guide for Busy Moms. And now, I am so excited to announce that the book hit Amazon.com today!!!
"Half tips, half relatable stories, This Is How We Do It features essays from eight moms on how to make the most of every day. With a variety of experience (some raising toddlers, others wrangling teenagers), they've seen it all and learned to laugh about it."
You can buy your copy HERE for $4.99!!  Be sure to tell all the mommies you know! And stay tuned for more details on the #SurvivalGuide Twitter party!

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Music Monday

This song really goes with my theme this year of getting closer to God and making the right choices this year :-)

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy New Year!!! Roll Call!

Happy New Year Everyone! 
I wish you all a blessed and prosperous 2012

Thank you so much for reading my blog, your comments, and support! It all means so much to me because you don't even have to come and visit, but you do and I am so grateful for all of my readers :big hugs:

You guys know so much about my life and I feel like I have gained another family through my blog. In 2012 I want to really get to know my readers and create more ways for us to connect.

I think the best way to do that is with a roll call! :insert DJ mix music:

So tell me more about yourself!
1. What is your name and where are you from?
2. Fun fact about you (and/or) what do you do (and/or) what is your passion?
3. How did you first find out about my blog? 
4. What content do you want to see more of at MMMD? 
5. What content would you like to see less of at MMMD? 
(sidebar - new acronym, yes? leave it in 2011? LOL)

Can't wait to hear from you!
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