Thursday, June 30, 2011

Last Day of Vacation

So today is it. The last day of my vacation and the last day that I am among the ranks of the unemployed (hopefully for good). I am putting finishing touches on my vacation, am going to try to get some fishing in later today when the sun goes down a little and get some me time. The last time I had me time was in Las Vegas.

This week is also tough because we are still waiting for our last residency loan check to come in but expenses do not wait for that. The cash reserves are starting to really scratch the bottom of the barrel and I may have to suck it up and take a few late fees just to wait. But at least in 2 weeks I get paid and then a steady stream of income will come our way.

The wife and I were talking yesterday about all of the great FREE things that are going around that, if we can, we should take advantage of. For example, free concerts sponsored by the recreation department, going to parks with a picnic, etc. This is certainly the lowest point in our financial life. It is ironic that I am going to be 37 years old and I still cannot hold my head above water financially. It will be great that I can start feeling that my family can hold its own. Yet, I know in my mind that this will be the case once I am done with training either in 3 or 6 years if I get into my fellowship (which I intend to).

So many things that we would like to do. And yet we still have to wait. But if we waiting this long, what is another few years right? We are young and fairly healthy.

OK. till next time.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Orientation almost over

Hello there dear readers. I hope that everything is going well. I am speaking to you from the other side of orientation. Well, not quite. I have 2 more days to go. Tomorrow I take the ACLS exam and then on tuesday I learn the electronic medical record. Then I have 2 days off and the I officially start with my first day as an intern.

So, according to my schedule I am spending my first month in the Emergency Department. Kind of ironic in that this is what I was originally trying for. However, I get to be on call in the ICU and THAT is what I AM going for. Then I do 1 month in the Intensive Care Unit. I will be happier than a pig in shit.....Then I get a month of elective, which I may either stay in the ICU, or do pulmonary. Although I am leaning towards ICU. My hours are probably 7a-5p unless I am on call, then my hours increase until 10:30pm. But I am psyched.

This whole week in orientation, I was anxious and excited and scared at the same time. I am anxious and excited to start, but I am also scared that I do not know much....this is normal for all new interns. But I started reading. I read the NEJM every day and I am going to be adding 1-2 hours per day of a pertinent subject. I will take 1 or 2 cases and read all about them.

In the meantime, have been reading "The Jungle" by Upton Sinclair. It is about the meatpacking industry at the turn of the century. Since the Kindle is a free app for android, the book is available for free as well. So when there is a break, or lunch, or I am in line I break out the phone and read the book. It is a nice diversion from everything else.

Until Next time.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Calm before the storm

So I am relaxing right now. I have until next week, exactly, to be able to sit at the dining room table with a cup of coffee and be able to drink it properly and not have to wait for a red light to prevent spillage. In the meantime, I have house-husband stuff to do. For instance, put away the laundry, clean the house, pick up the girls from the babysitter, pick them up from the bus stop. But that is all in the afternoon.

I plan on going fishing at least once this next week and even hitting the driving range before I start. The good news is that I was able to secure a residency loan to keep the family afloat until I start earning a regular paycheck. This, in addition to more cost cutting items will certainly help. Some of the cutting is to shift money from a low interest rate CC to a higher one in order to pay that off more quickly. I found out that the local supermarket offers free family movies once a month. Free tv shows and movies on the internet such as hulu and comcast. But also I discovered Groupon, where you can get things at a cheaper price. Let's see how that works out.

Also this week, rather than going to the movies at night, the wife and I will take in a matinee. Since the girls are in school or at the babysitter, no need to pay extra. And matinees are usually 1/2 the price.

During this time, I am also starting to work on a new concept for Old Pre Meds, and that is a Northeast Regional Conference. One that is only for day and will provide a good amount of information but will also introduce people to the larger, annual conference. I do not know where or when it will be held but stay tuned. And if you are in the area, please check it out.

I really should start ramping up the reading, considering I have been decompressing. See you later.


Monday, June 13, 2011

10 days to go

So in 10 days, I will have orientation for residency. During these next few days I will have the time to fix things around the house, probably hit a Matinee with my wife (date day) and just enjoy and relax.

A recent issue had come up that I wanted to share with you all. I miscalculated how much we would need between medical school ending and getting a paycheck. So I applied to get a residency loan and I was turned down because of an issue with my credit report. It turns out that said issue was an error by the creditor which needed to be taken care of right away. Had I looked at my credit report before I applied for the loan, I would have seen the error, fixed it, and then applied. Since I fixed the problem, I am debating whether or not to apply for the loan again. The question is, should we grin and bear it or should we give ourselves some breathing room.

Last week, I had the utmost pleasure to go and speak at the Old Pre Meds conference in Las Vegas ( For those of you have not gone to a conference of this kind yet, I urge you, nay, I STRONGLY urge you to go next year. Word on the street is that it will return to the east coast but nothing formal has been announced.  The conference is 100% non traditional. There is nothing in the conference that does not aim at the non trads. Not to mention there was a good showing of schools and programs to speak to.

I had the pleasure of speaking to several people who are just starting out and they have families. Specific questions included how to assuage your spouse from fearing that once you are done with medical school that you will  not leave them. This is one of the most feared situations a support person has. The best advice that I can give is to constantly remind them how much you appreciate them, how much you love them, and how much you cannot do this without their support. Recognize them whenever you can. Whenever I am asked how I was able to accomplish medical school with a family, the first words out of my mouth are that "I could not have done it without my wife. She deserves the praise". In addition, during graduation, I had the family gather around and I presented her with my own gift to her. Which is seen below. The wording took me about 3 weeks to figure out.

"Three weeks!!!! Why did it take you so long to figure out what to say. Why not say 'I Love You' and be done with it?" And the answer is, because she KNOWS I love her. She does not need a plaque for it. What she wants to know is how much I appreciated her SACRIFICE  she sacrificed everything for me. And I needed to not only let her know how much I appreciated it, but that I publicly acknowledged it. The wording, I felt, needed to reflect not only how much I appreciated her love, but how much I appreciated her doing a lot more of her fair share so that I can study, go to conferences, build my resume, and participate in school functions.  But the sacrifice was not isolated to medical school but also to the preparation for it. For the time I took to go to graduate school and prepare for it. Write and defend my thesis, study and take the MCAT (not once; but twice).  But most importantly, for keeping the family together during this stressful time. And while a gift or a plaque will not fully assuage the fear that I would leave her after I am done, telling her that I will not and showing her that I will not (by being open and honest) will do that.  But the most important thing you can do, is to acknowledge the fear and keep telling them that all will be ok. 

And so with that, fellow non trads I leave you for now. Stay tuned for more as I enter Residency. 


Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Transition Period is hard

Well here I am, a fresh Doctor of 1 week, and we are in a bind. Because I am not in school anymore, I am unable to get anymore student loans and since I have so many loans because of school, my credit report is affected. As a result, time to scrounge up some cash!!!!

There are things that we have been doing to reduce payments but still. It is very anxiety ridden to not be able to tap into funds. I feel like I have to go out and find a part time job, but then I remember that I already have a job and I just have to wait for it to start. Once I start the residency then I know that I will be earning a paycheck again and things will start to get better. But still, it can make some one go nuts.

So now the question is, what can I do? Rather, what can my family and I do? Well, we still have our reserves (which will only last for so much longer). I will learn to love Spaghetti but not meatballs, and will look for free things to do with the kids. The park is a great place. One thing that I did do, was get a bike rack from Craigslist for a much lower price than I would have if it were new. And because of that, I can take the kids to the park and they can bring their bike while I bring the cooler with food from home, as well as water from home. That way, there is nothing to buy.

And while I know that this period is only so long, it reminds me that I was able to weather the economic downturn at school only for so long. And with the reports coming in that the economy is still not doing well, it is time to think about the long term again. Keep reducing the balance on the credit cards, think about refinancing the mortgage, etc. This brings me a very important point: No matter how much you want to, no matter how much you think it is the right thing to do: DO NOT USE YOUR CREDIT CARDS WHILE YOU ARE IN SCHOOL UNLESS ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY!!!

Remember, you will have to pay that back plus interest. And unless you feel that you have no other choice, the best thing is that Cash is King and a debit card it preferred. Even though you fell the pinch right away, you will not have to worry about paying it off later. I mean it is not like the cash was yours anyway because you already gave it to the credit card company once you signed the agreement and you have the interest to pay as well. So even though it is hard, do not use the cards.