5 Ways You Know You’re Married to a Medical Student

Some of these are borrowed from my facebook statuses over the past 3.5 years.

1) Husband is in Anatomy: You are vacuuming the floor and have to move a real human skull out of the way!

2) Husband is in Peds: He comes home humming the theme from Blues Clues. Also, he sings the words from The Amazing Swedish Diet but changes the words to refer to the seizure-reducing and butter-heavy Ketogenic Diet

3) Dinner table conversations with any other med student, or medical person for that matter, quickly disintegrate into discussions about obscure diseases that you have probably never heard of and don’t want to hear about

4) You learn all kinds of great terminology, e.g. medical students get “pimped” (or asked tricky questions) on “rounds” which are when the team visits the patients. Those who work really hard are “gunners” or overachievers. Then there are the Steps (the two tests students have to take), First Aid (books most often used to study for the tests), the Match (see previous post about rank listing), etc etc.

5) You tell your spouse, “I have X symptom” and s/he quickly works up a differential including several diagnoses that could kill, cripple, or maim you. (If in third or fourth year, will add a disclaimer that your symptoms probably reflect Y unconcerning ailment).

I am so thankful to be married to this particular med student, however, and I can cheerfully overlook all the minor inconveniences. I hear residency will be considerably more difficult… Kudos to you, medical spouses everywhere!

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5 Fun Ways to Make Your Rank List

It’s that time of year for 4th year medical students: rank list submission time. You see, medical students don’t get to pick their residency so much as they get to enter a raffle. They know they are probably going to get a residency, and residencies know that they will get students. Students rank the programs they interview at, programs rank their interviewees, and a computer makes the connections – known as the Match –  in March. The results are announced this year on March 15.

You can imagine how much fun this is for medical students who have pretty much controlled their entire lives with their minds and decisions… suddenly, not so much agency! I would think it was a cruel psychological experiment but it’s been going on for 30+ years and seems to be working.

Often, students know exactly which program is at the top of their rank list and which are at the bottom. But sometimes all the options are good and it’s hard to pick. Sometimes, you just need to figure out the middle order. Here are some ways you could use to make your rank list.

1) The MATSH  Method (like Match, get it?):  If you were ever a seventh grade girl, you probably played MASH. Mansion, Apartment, Shack, House. (The T stands for Tree house in our version). For our 2 rounds of MATSH we used the categories of “Residency,” “Type of Fellowship,” “Where to Live Long-term,” “What kind of dog to get,” “Where to vacation,” and “How many children to have.” Apparently we are going to vacation in Mexico, have 1 child, own a labrador, and Chris will do a C-section fellowship.

In other versions, we’ll have 18 children and own a capybara… I guess we’ll see!

2) Magic 8 Ball Method: I used my iPhone Magic 8-Ball app and we kept shaking it while asking “What about X residency?” However we got bored of this quickly as we came up with a lot of “Ask again later” responses and not enough residencies were getting eliminated. (I think of it as a modern day Urim and Thummim, although apparently not as effective).

3) The Polling Method: We didn’t try this but I kinda wanted to post a poll on facebook and see where people thought we should go. We had informal polls going of course but mostly people seemed to vote for the place farthest from where they lived… interesting… 😉 Just kidding!!!

But I think it is hard to get an unbiased response on “where do you think we should go?” I think it’s hard to say, “I’d like you here and yet… I think you should probably go FAR, FAR AWAY.”

4) The Random Bible Verse Method: I tried this with my Bible application on my iPhone and I got John 14:6, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” Very true but not exactly what I was looking for. But God works in other ways…

5) The Pros/Cons and Prayer Combined Method: This method worked for us. Chris looked through all the program information and we worked on a comprehensive pros/cons list for our top five. Then we prayed for discernment and guidance, and began to feel more and more settled in our decision over the weekend.

Of course just because we have our rank list doesn’t mean that it will happen like we think. But we are feeling a lot of peace about our decision. Thanks to all of our friends and family who have supported us through this whole process. You are the best! The great thing is that all of our choices are good and we are going to be happy wherever we end up.

I for one am excited about the next step. I know residency will be tough but hopefully God will give me the strength and guidance to be a good support for Chris during the rigors of residency and whatever other challenges lie before us.

Uncomfortable Choices

We got up early to play handbells this morning. I liked the piece we played although I did have to “slip.” I didn’t know what this was  until a couple weeks ago, but “slipping” means that I have to move handbells from hand to hand. It wasn’t graceful but all the notes came out, more or less in time. (I admit, “slipping” doesn’t sound too good, especially in icy Minnesota in the winter. Perhaps “transferring?”)

The Call to Worship this morning was great. We meditated on Jesus’ journey into the wilderness, into hunger, doubt, and temptation, and responded accordingly. “As we begin our Lenten journey, let us also be led by the Spirit, even into the uncomfortable places… as we seek to follow Jesus, we would be led, even into the uncomfortable choices.”

I hope as this Lenten journey continues, that I will be open to going into those uncomfortable places and choices, to examining the truth of what I’m doing. Very often in music ensembles, and in life, I will follow the music. I will listen and find my entrances and exits through “feeling.” I find my way through the relationships between notes and melodies.

And very often, this does work. For example, after my sophomore year of college, I went to the CityLights urban ministry program in St. Louis because the director sent out an 11th hour recruitment email at a time that I had just been refused from a summer job. I felt like my question had been answered; I felt the call. Things fit together like puzzle pieces: their need, my availability. In music, I can usually figure out where I am supposed to come in just by listening and watching other people’s music without necessarily counting.

But many times, the easy way is not the right way. “Broad is the road that leads to destruction” (Matthew 7:13). Actually I can’t think directly of a time I took the broad road and suffered for it, more of instances where the broad road was tempting and I was turned away. For example, a couple easier, more natural job opportunities during my “2 years of Lent” after college that I simply didn’t get.  Instead, I was a barista and CNA and grew a lot through those very different, challenging, interesting jobs.

In a similar vein… right now in our little church flute choir, we are doing a challenging piece where I cannot hear my entrance. I have to count, count, count (and math was never my strong suit). I can’t depend on “feeling” it yet to come in at the right time.

I suppose the difference lies in why the choice seems easy to me. Is it easy because that decision is in my comfort zone, before prayer and discernment? Is it easy because everyone else is doing it? Easy because it seems right with my earthly brain?

Or “easy” because God has been guiding me to that choice, by closing doors and windows, by having people whisper particular verses in my ear? Easy because he has surrounded me with teaching and guidance that make that the natural choice, the straight and narrow road that leads to Him?

God, help us face the uncomfortable choices and find the right road!