hi dee ho, neighborette

Just a little housekeeping announcement:


Here in Y's hometown, in a medical community he grew up in, we are comfortable enough to assume that nothing I say on this little blog will get him in trouble. In Minnesota however, we don't know anyone. And not that I think I'm particularly controversial, but you know how curmudgeonly those doctor types can be.  I don't want anything I say to make anyone mad. (Curmudgeonly is obviously a compliment.)


So effective immediately, Y will be taking on a Wilson-like persona on this blog, meaning he will appear occasionally to offer wisdom, but never show his face. JTT will also be moving in next door.


They'll never figure us out. 







i'll miss you... house



One of the first weeks we lived here, Y was already in the midst of nonstop studying and I had no job and no friends. I was having an ongoing pity party for myself -- here I was, alone in our new house, the only one home on my entire street except for the 16 neighborhood cats. I was acutely aware of the fact that I was not contributing to society while my husband was off with his 120 new friends learning how to do Super Important Things.

One day I was doing the dishes on a creepy, rainy day. It was eerily quiet in my house (we didn't have Ike yet) and, like I said, I was mid-pity party. I was scrubbing a dish, gazing mindlessly out the window, when -- out of nowhere - a cat flew through the air and landed, stomach first, on our window directly in front of me.

If you recall, I have a dire and tragic condition called Jumping Frenchmen of Maine Syndrome. I'm also not a fan of cats. I screamed, fell to the dated tile kitchen floor, and burst into tears. How had I ended up in a place with ugly tile and flying cats, my two worst nightmares?

But then I got a job,  found a guard dog and gained the cats' respect, and eventually, made some friends. And suddenly, my house was my favorite place in the world. The perfect place for a game night, a royal wedding tea party (side note: can you believe it's been a year?), or watching the first three seasons of 30 Rock in bed while eating Mickey Mouse shaped pasta. (best. day. ever.)




I'll miss you... archive:


about me






A few weeks ago I did something that still makes me cringe.


I had a job interview via video chat. (Above, I'm making my I hope this isn't too awkward face/admiring the awesome thing I somehow managed to make my hair do.)


The first thing I was asked: Tell me a little about yourself.


The first thing I said -- and this is the cringey part -- Well, my husband is in medical school.


That was the first thing I said. About myself.


Anything would have been better than that, right? I sometimes call my dog Stinkerton McDoodleface.. I learned how to burp on command when I was 11. I eat a peanut butter and banana sandwich every day for lunch. My dream karaoke song is "Kiss From a Rose". I have a birthmark on my knee and one directly behind it on the back of my knee, and when I was little I thought it had bled through. 


We live in a city that feels smaller than it really is. The city is saturated with people in the medical field, and when anyone I meet hears that I'm married to a medical student, they want to know more. They want to know everything about him and usually nothing about me, except for the occasional Why aren't you in med school? 


I've gotten used to it. Apparently so used to it that I've decided to give in and just skip the small talk about myself and get right to the "good" stuff. 


To be fair to myself, when I led with that tidbit about Y, I was trying to explain why I would be in Minneapolis in the first place. But the fact that I brought it up in that way is so telling, and a great reminder of why I'm excited for a change - a chance to go somewhere where medicine doesn't suffocate me, where I can make friends who have absolutely nothing to do with medicine whatsoever.




My faux pas couldn't have been that bad though, considering I got the job! It must have been the awesome thing I somehow managed to make my hair do.  

Step 1 of the medical boards (from a med school wife's perspective)



This is my blog, and I reserve the right to be lazy.


For the next three days, I'm going to link you to some of my posts from 2010. Step 1, the first part of the medical boards, is coming up and I know a lot of med students are starting to study. Wives of med students are starting to freak out about the excessive amounts of studying.

Y took Step 1 two years ago (before a lot of you found me), and I'll let you in on a little secret: it wasn't that bad. For me, at least. I'm pretty sure Y started going crazy. Here's the proof, in 3 parts:

an illustration of fourth year

Fourth year is known for being the most laid back year of medical school. Allow me to illustrate:


Q: What does the first, second, or third year medical student do when he realizes that the hair product he bought for his beard has an ugly label?


A: Trick question. The first, second, or third year medical student has no time for personal hygiene! The fact that he has no time to maintain his beard is ironic (in an Alanis Morisette kind of way, not in a literary kind of way), because he also has no time to prevent it from growing.


on the flip side..


Q. What does the fourth year medical student do when he realizes that the hair product he bought for his beard has an ugly label?


A: Easy! He uses his vast amounts of free time to design and print his own label!





Q: The first, second, or third year medical student's father mentions that he's had to use the "world's smallest violin" cliche often at work. What does the student do in response?


A: What? He was supposed to be listening to someone tell a story? The only people the first, second, or third year medical student pays any attention to are his cadaver and Goljan.


 and the fourth year?


Q: The fourth year medical student's father mentions that he's had to use the "world's smallest violin" cliche often at work. What does the student do in response?


A: Easy! The student uses his aforementioned free time to create an exhibit for his father's desk!



Anything else you'd like to know about the mysterious and crafty fourth year medical student?

having a medical professional at home is supremely helpful


Since Y has been in medical school, he's gotten several midnight emergency medical questions from family members. Symptoms have ranged from vomiting and diarrhea to Lyme Disease. Every time, he's woken up and given patient, thoughtful answers, backed up with facts from whatever exclusive medical app he has access to.

Since Y has been in medical school, I've asked him several questions about my own health. Symptoms have ranged from random dizzy spells to shortness of breath. Every time, he's looked at me with a scowl and said, "I don't know. Ask a doctor!" 

Have you ever heard the phrase "the shoemaker's wife has no shoes"? I get it. I really do. 

In the past few years, there are two instances I can think of when Y has been helpful in response to a medical issue or question I've had (not including the time I got brain freeze):



1. Y looked up from his textbook. "I know why you get scared so easily!" he announced, startling me. 

"What are you talking about?" I asked, even though just that week he had accidentally scared me to the point that I almost killed him. We were running together, and near the end of our route he had slowed to a cool-down walk as I sped up for a sprint to the finish. A few seconds after I passed him, he snuck up next to me, startling me and causing me to reflexively hit him as hard as I could in the chest. I feel like I was one heartbeat off from inflicting commotio cordis.  

"You have Jumping Frenchmen of Maine syndrome!"

"You definitely just made that up," I said.

But in fact, he did not. Jumping Frenchmen of Maine syndrome is (assuming Y didn't change the Wikipedia page to play a huge joke on me) a neurological disorder.  The person who first described this disorder noted patients "reacting abnormally to sudden stimuli" including jumping, yelling, and hitting (all of which I've done). It was first observed in northern Maine, hence its awesome name. 

I think I'm going to start writing this on any form that asks for my medical conditions. The gym I join when we move isn't going to know what to do with me.



2.  Yesterday, while watching a Rogaine commercial, I turned to Y. "Do you think," I ruminated, "That if I smeared Rogaine on my face, I could grow a beard?"

Y's expression turned serious. "The major compound in Rogaine is blablabla," he said thoughtfully. "so that means bla bla bla bla. I think. Let me get my phone." He returned a moment later with his trusty medical app. "bla bla bla bla. So, no."

I'm still wondering why I often feel dizzy and get out of breath. But at least I know I can fall face first into a vat of Rogaine and be okay. 

doctor of tomorrow

Since I'm sharing holiday gifts in February, I might as well show you this one, too. 



That ripped out magazine page in the center of the refrigerator was part of my gift from Y (the "this isn't really a gift, but I decided to give it to you anyway because I thought it was neat" part). He randomly came across it while flipping through a 1968 Life magazine at an antique store. 



Here's what the text says:

Evening at home.
Like many another courageous girl, she's married her young doctor in the making. And now she shares with him those long, gruelling years of medical study and internship. 

In a very real sense, they're her years of preparation, too. For ahead stretches a lifetime of marriage to a man with whom... day or night, week-ends or holidays...the needs of patients will always come first.

You'll find dedication, as well, among the men and women who carry on A.H. Robins pharmaceutical research. It keeps them persisting through months and years of discouragement. For it may take a thousand trials and experiments to achieve a single success... a single better medicine to help your doctors of today and your doctors of tomorrow. 



Isn't that funny? Here are my thoughts...


PS: this was the actual gift - a vintage earring holder ordered from Etsy.



my letterman jacket

Dear high school me,


Right now you're probably sitting in an overly air-conditioned classroom, shivering, wishing you had a jacket. At least, that's what you'll tell anyone who asks. What you really and truly wish is that you had a boyfriend, and if you're really going out on a limb here, a boyfriend who has a letterman jacket. Think about how warm you would be, swallowed up in a twice-your-size jacket that just reeks of manliness?


Well I've got news for you, sister. Something better awaits you. 


Ten years from now, when you're feeling a little chilly, you can slip on the letterman jacket's way cooler cousin: the white coat. 





Just like the letterman jacket, wearing the white coat will let everyone know that the coolest guy in school picked you. And when you wrap yourself up in the scratchy fabric and take a deep breath, you'll not only smell notes of manliness, but - bonus! - undertones of feet that haven't seen any personal hygiene in decades.  


Forget about patches, or varsity letters, or whatever it is that the cool kids put on their letterman jackets (I can't remember; it's been ten years. Do people even wear letterman jackets anymore?). When you run your fingers over the sleeve of the white coat, you'll find something better: mystery stains. Red, brown, and every color in between. Badges of pride, for sure, because getting squirted with bodily fluids is far superior to making the varsity football team. 


And the pockets. Oh, the pockets. Inside and outside, of varying sizes, most of which are perfect for stashing... miniature notebooks. So convenient! You'll never need a purse again.


So hang in there, high school me. And if I can give you one piece of advice, it's this: bring your own sweater. Because you won't have a boyfriend for a loooong time. {Also, don't really touch the mystery stains. Gross.}







a change of plans


We had a plan.


Okay, sort of. We had as much of a plan as you can in our interesting little situation. Y was going to specialize in emergency medicine (and possibly go into space). He was going to do an away rotation in Baltimore. He thought his chances of actually getting in there were pretty high.

So my brain did the only thing it knew how to do: it created a life in Baltimore. Maybe I would take the train into DC and work. On my days off, I would take Ike and we would comb the state of Maryland for the best crab cakes. My nieces and nephews would come visit me and I would be their fun yet educational aunt who took them to the Spy Museum but only after a visit to the Capitol.

Hello, fun yet educational aunt.


Y would... work. On his days off we would go to baseball games or take Ike on walks on the harbor. Or maybe Y would just sleep.

But then Y did the unthinkable: he switched specialties.

First he decided he was interested in a super specialized emergency medicine/ internal medicine program. There were only 5 in the country that met his criteria. One was in Baltimore, so I kept our Baltimore life active in the back of my head. But suddenly, there were 4 very specific other places we could live. Chicago. North Carolina. Richmond. Brooklyn.

New York hadn't been on our radar before. We weren't even considering it. But for one minute I let myself imagine what our lives would be like in the city. One morning, while crossing a busy street near my work, I even practiced the face I would make when Y announced "SUNY at Brooklyn!" on Match Day. I think it looked like a mixture of hipster wannabe and flat broke.


Or maybe it looked like this, at the thought of having to cross the Brooklyn Bridge again.

But that specialty was fleeting. After a slight existential crisis, Y is now set on internal medicine. The thing about internal medicine? There are programs everywhere. Baltimore isn't on top anymore. Goodbye, crab cakes. Hello cheese steaks. Hello Chicago dogs. Hello Grand Ole Opry. Hello clam chowda and cannolis. Hello Space Needle. Hello Stumptown coffee.


Cheesesteak, cannoli, chicago dogs.

I can't keep up with my thoughts these days. Neither can my stomach, because apparently most of my hypothetical future lives involve food.

Yes, this can be annoying. For example: Besides the fact that I think my brain is running out of juice, I would love to buy a bike. But do I want a bike for occasional, leisurely use or an everyday bike in case we move somewhere bike friendly where I could ride to work? Only time will tell. Time being approximately 224 days, 7 hours, 41 minutes and 13 seconds according to Mrs. Dr. D's countdown.

These are tough problems, people.

But in spite of this annoyance, I kind of want to relish in the moment. How often will we get the chance to daydream about moving [almost] anywhere we want? Not often.

So I have three questions for you: Where do you live? Why should we consider your city/state? Where would you live if you could choose 1 place in America?




(And yes- Y is placing importance on other things than the city and its food culture-- like the strength of the program, and of course, whether he gets a sense that he likes the hospital after he visits. )

does that make me crazy?

Not too much has been going on in the Dandy household lately -- just your basic high school med school activities like prom 2nd Year Ball. Now I sort of joke about how med school seems like high school to me - they see the same people everyday, and there are even cliques -- but I can admit that I exaggerate. But a BACKDROP at your formal? Come on. Now you're just asking for it.

Once prom was over, it was time to start studying for SATs Step I, which from what I understand is pretty much the most important test ever. This is the first part of the boards, and 2nd year med students get six weeks off to study for it. And when I say 6 weeks off, I mean, Y locks himself in a room in the library and studies from 7 am to 5 pm, 7 days a week -- and sometimes after he gets home, too. Some people even spend thousands of dollars and go to what I think of as Study Camp, and what sounds like a Kaplan or Princeton Review course for 8 hours/day, 7 days/week for at least a month.

It's times like these I feel really lucky that I never had any desire to go to med school. I'm pretty positive I would go crazy having to study that much. Apparently... Y's the same way. As proof, I'll leave you with this text message conversation:

Y: I just had an imaginary argument.
Me: With who?
Y: The Situation.
Me: Um... about what?
Y: He made fun of me for not being ripped, so I told him he was a waste of space. Then he said I was lame for studying all the time*.

*To be fair, I have imaginary conversations all the time -- but in a "things I should have said" sort of way, not a "Tuesdays with The Situation" kind of way.