Aug 29, 2012

A Tale of Three Walmarts

Our new apartment has a nice, large patio.  It was part of the reason why I fell in love with the place.  I could envision dinners eaten outside on warm summer evenings, or drinking a cup of coffee and reading a book on a crisp fall morning. 

Unfortunately, the furniture budget was pretty tight.  And with the need for pretty much everything (sofa, coffee table, dresser, lamps, etc.)  there wasn't much wiggle room for patio furniture.  No matter how much I insisted, Josh was not going to believe that patio furniture was a necessity. 

But, prior to moving, I had seen a GREAT deal at Walmart for a patio set.  I'm not at all too high and mighty to shop at Walmart, but let's just say I also don't spend a great deal of time there.  Too many people, not enough parking, long lines, and well, you get the picture.  Anyway,  Mom and I had seen this amazing deal online for a patio set that looked pretty snazzy.  She then saw it on display at one of Bakersfield's many Walmarts.  She came home, told me about it, said I should get it because she thought it was the only one left, but of course I said no because we hadn't even moved yet and how could I explain buying patio furniture when I didn't even have a sofa yet. 

So, two weeks later Josh and I moved and we spent the first week outfitting our new apartment with all the necessities. Okay, maybe the rug wasn't exactly a necessity but I really wanted it. :)  And as the place started to really come together, I realized I REALLY wanted a patio set.  I started looking around.  Target, World Market, Pier 1, Big Lots, they all had patio sets that were either far too expensive, or so cheaply made they weren't even worth buying.  In the back of my head, I still remembered the sale one from Walmart.  I got online and typed in my new zip code to see if there were any in the area.  And my answer:  OUT OF STOCK.  In big, bold, capital letters at every Walmart within 60 miles of Redlands.  Darn.

So what does a girl do when she can't get what she wants?  She calls Mom.

The Bakersfield area code told me that they had LIMITED STOCK at one of the Walmart stores so my wonderful Mom and Dad went over that weekend to see if they had it.  After lots of "help" from a not very helpful Walmart employee, it was realized that no, Walmart #1 did not have it either.  BUT, the employee called to see if a different store in town had it and told my parents that that store had SIX.  Mom thought this especially questionable considering no store in the Southern California Area seemed to have any, but they went anyway.  Sure enough, not the same one.  Fail at Walmart #2. 

At this point, I think that most people would give up, especially when it wasn't even for them! But Mom decided they would go back to the third Walmart where she had seen it on display weeks prior.  And sure enough!  Walmart #3 still had it on display.  This was the ONLY set they had.  After some arguing over the price (it wasn't listed the same as the discounted price online) my parents got the patio set for us.  Mom had the cushions cleaned for me and they drove the set down in their suburban on Saturday.  What great parents I have!

We are thrilled with our new patio set.  Since we only have a one bedroom apartment, it really adds to our living space.  We've already had some nice dinners out there.
Mom is even making me some throw pillows that will match the dining chairs she reupholstered for me earlier this summer.

While they were here, Mom and I bought some plants for my newly furnished patio.

And while Dad slept....

Mom and I put together our new dresser.

We're so handy!  Notice the pink tool kit.
My parents were such a help this weekend and I was so glad to have them here, especially since Josh was on call.  Our apartment is really coming together and I'll get around to doing an apartment tour blog post soon.  I promise!

Aug 23, 2012

One week down...


Welp folks, you know how when  you are in the midst of first and second year and everyone tells you, "just get to 3rd year and it will get so much better?"  Ha!  They lied.

Josh is almost done with week one of Internal Medicine.  And I use the term "done" loosely because he still has to work tomorrow and is on call (call does NOT mean you have a pager and may get called in, it means you are at the hospital all night and you are working).  He will go into the hospital at 7am tomorrow and will not be back until 7am Saturday.  That's 24 hours straight people.  His week has looked like this:

Monday: 28 hours (overnight call)  That's day numero uno!
Tuesday:  get home at 10am and sleep allllllllll day
Wednesday: 9.5 hours
Thurs: 9.5 hours
Friday: 24 hours (overnight call)
Saturday: get home at 7am and sleep allll day
Sunday: off (hopefully this will be a spend time with wifey who has been neglected all week day!)

So, that's a grand total of 71 hours during week one. 

I suppose it could be worse.  It could be 90 hours a week, which we have heard happens.

He is exhausted, has been underfed all week, and his feet are swollen from being up on them all day.

But, it's not all bad. :)  He is learning...A LOT!  He is admitting patients, taking historys, performing physical exams like DRE's (google it!), and taking care of his own patients each day.  He is enjoying it, but to suggest that MSIII (at least in IM) is going to be anything but extremely exhausting would just be a total lie.

So what have I been doing with all my time? 

Well, working, working out, laying out, cooking, cleaning, laundry, and decorating my home!
The living room is coming along!
I definitely need to find a hobby.  Or get a dog. :)

Aug 20, 2012

Third Year...

...has officially begun.

Josh headed off this morning bright and early to Arrowhead Regional Medical Center where he is starting his 12 week Internal Medicine rotation. 

He looked very Doctor-like in his tie, short white coat (not to be confused with a long white coat, those are for MD's, not students), and stethoscope.

I can't help but feel so proud of him.  He's come so far and I know that third year will present it's own new challenges, but I also know he's plenty capable of handling anything that's thrown at him.  In fact, he welcomes the challenges and he's excited about them.

It's the first day of school for many, including our nephew Caleb who starts Kindergarten today.  And for us, it's the first day of a new chapter in this journey of medical school.
Looking Spiffy!

Aug 13, 2012

The Med School Process

When you are in medical school and let's face, I'm in medical school, you tend to get asked all kinds of  "What's next?" type of questions from friends and family.  And with so many different terms, basic sciences, rotations, clinicals, residency, attendings,  Step I, the Match, Step II, scramble, it's no wonder that things can seem a little confusing. 

I'll be honest here, I really had no idea about any of this when Josh started school.  My thought on the whole process was, getting INTO school is the challenge, then it will get easier.  Ha!  I'm not going to say it's been drastically harder, but there are constant hurdles to overcome once you are in school that I'm not sure the general public or even the general student is aware of when they start school. 

So what does medical school at SGU look like?

Well, first things first, you get in.  Yay! You are going to be a doctor and it is the best day in your life so far (unless you are Josh, then getting married to me was the best day of life so far).  All of your hardwork and dedication to undergraduate school has paid off.  You've just jumped over hurdle #1!  You've been given the OPPORTUNITY to be come a doctor.  I say "opportunity" because that's exactly what it is.  No one is going to hold your hand along the way and then give you an M.D. degree at the end of 4 years. You are going to have to put in some serious hardwork and dedication to school.

When Josh started Term 1 at SGU, I was so nervous.  I wanted him to succeed and be at the top of his class (like any wife would), but mostly, I just wanted him to survive Term 1.  Because if he got through his first term of medical school, then I was convinced that he could get through anything medical school had to throw at him.  When the grades came out four months later and Josh had successfully made it through Term 1, we were thrilled.  Phew! Time to relax!  However, you don't go through SGU without hearing about the dreaded Term 4.  Dun dun dun! 

I agonized over Term 4 all through Term's 2 and 3.  We had heard horror stories.  "More than 120 students decelled (had to drop and retake) Term 4," said one student.  "The 13 credit Pathology course is hard, but Microbiology is just as bad except there's no time to study it because all you are doing is studying path," said a friend.  The rumors just kept coming and by the time 4th term rolled around I was psyched out.  And I wasn't even the one taking the class!  However, Josh made it through 4th term unscathed and we moved on to the last term of basic sciences

Josh would probably say that 5th term was one of the easiest terms of his first two years.   But, the first big board exam for any medical student comes soon after the end of the first two years and believe me, the students have been hearing about this test since medical school orientation day 1. The USMLE or Step I MUST be passed in order to move on to Clinical Rotations.  This is what Josh just finished a few weeks ago.  He successfully passed (more than passed!) the USMLE Step I.

Now, he's free to start clinical rotations.  During his 3rd year of school (this starts next week), he will rotate through a set of required clinicals.  These include Internal Medicine, OBGYN, Family Medicine, Pediatrics, Surgery, and Psychiatry.  There is no exact order, but these all must be done.  He is NOT paid during this time in the hospital.  In fact, we are still paying a HEFTY tuition.  He will be worked hard (we've been told 80-90 hour weeks) and will still be expected to study and take shelf exams at the end of every rotation.  He will have both residents and attendings that he reports to daily. 

After 3rd year, he will study for and take the Step II exam.  Yet another national board exam that has two parts, the CK (clinical knowledge) and CS (clinical skills).

Once he's made it through the Step II, he will begin fourth year electives.  During year 4, he can choose which rotations he would like to do based on what he is interested in.  He can do anesthesia, cardiology, neurology, urology, etc, etc, etc.  We hear that 4th year is a walk in the park compared to 3rd year.  In the fall of the 4th year, he will begin applying to Residency

Residency is what comes AFTER you get your M.D., and it can last anywhere from 3-10 years depending on your specialty with most in the 4-5 year range.  You FINALLY get paid during residency, but it is pennies compared to what you will make after and oh yeah! you are paying on those few hundred thousand dollar loans that you took out to get you here.  He will apply to his specialty of choice much like he did when he applied to medical school, letters of recommendation, transcripts, test scores, personal statements, the whole she-bang.  Some people apply to upwards of 80 different residency programs.  We will await invitations for him to interview for these programs and he will travel to take as many interviews as he can (did I mention he's still in 4th year at this point).  Once he's interviewed at all the places he can, he will make a list ranking the top programs he would like to go to.  The programs will do the same, ranking the first students they would like.

In February of his 4th year of school, these rank lists will be submitted.  The lists from programs and the students go into the computer where a set of algorithms "matches" students with programs.  This is called The Match.   How scary to think a computer decides!  Match day happens in March and you either are "matched" with a residency program or you are not.  If not, you enter what's called the Scramble, where you are "scrambling" to find a program that didn't get filled and programs are "scrambling" to fill their spots.  If you are unable to match in the match or the scramble, you will be forced to wait an entire year to try and match again.

After all of this craziness that is medical school, nothing scares me more than match day.

After the match, you finish out 4th year and walk across that stage in New York City with an M.D.  following your name.  And at this point, I think it's safe to say you've earned it.

Aug 5, 2012

Where have we been?

Well,  between bachelorette parties in Vegas, weddings in Southern CA, Step I taking, Pismo beach vacays with the family, apartment hunting in Redlands, and packing to move, we've been a little bit busy.  And by a little, I really mean a lot!

Unfortunately, in the midst of real life, my blogging has fallen by the wayside.  For some reason, I just seem to have less time on my hands than when I lived on a 22 mile long island in the middle of the Caribbean.  Go figure.  But I haven't forgotten about my island...go Kirani James!!

So, let's catch you up on what's been going on this past month.

I traveled to Las Vegas with Julie for her bachelorette party in early July.  We had such a blast!

Team Bride!

The next week, we left for Camarillo so Josh could take his USMLE.  We also attended our friends Riley and Gabby's wedding in Malibu, CA.  We hadn't seen Josh's Whittier friends since our wedding two years ago!

Some of the Whittier Boys.

Whittier crew with Gabby and Riley!

Then we headed back to Camarillo for Julie and Kevin's rehearsal and wedding!
Julie and Kevin's Rehearsal

With the bride!
Photobooth fun with my love!
After a long weekend of wedding shenanigans, we headed back to Bakersfield where we quickly found out that we had been placed in Colton, CA for Josh's clinical rotations!  There wasn't much time to look for apartments because we were scheduled to head to Pismo Beach with some of Josh's family.

It was a wild five days with our three nephews and the rest of the fam.  But we had so much fun enjoying the sun, bike riding, boogie boarding, and eating our fill of Splash Cafe and frozen yogurt.
First trip to Splash of the trip.

View from our beach house porch.

Football with Cole.

Time for boogie boarding

And bike riding

The Whole Family!

Pelican on the pier.


Once back from our trip to the beach, we didn't waste any time before heading down to Redlands to look for a place to live.

And guess what?!? We found one. Yay!  We move next Saturday.

And we are so excited! I can't wait to use all of our wedding gifts that have been in storage for two years and be able to get in our own routine.  And! Possibly get a dog!!!

This next will be super busy as we prepare to move...again.  But we can't wait! Prayers that everything goes smoothly are always appreciated!!