From First-To-Second Year

The First Year of My Medical Training: Completed!

I am very excited, nostalgic, sad, relieved and happy that the year is over. You can't imagine the amount of papers that now clutter my little one bedroom apartment near my medical school. Luckily they are bounded by rubber bands and stacked, but they look like the sad little innards of textbooks that I will probably never read. Speaking of text books I have a bookcase full and three more years to go. Looks like I'll need another bookcase really soon. What a nerd.

I've found that it is hard to be at the computer after I spend so much time on it doing work. After a while my eyes cannot even look at the screen. Oh, internets--there used to be a day when using the computer was fun. Unfortunately not anymore.

I look up and find the world changing--stars that I didn't even know were dating are married, having babies, there is a tsunami killing people, Barack and Hillary are at each other's throats. Being in medical school is like being in a time machine sometimes--it is possible to be so immersed in doctor training land that outside world stuff cannot have any space in "prime-time" brain space.

Right now I am sitting at a Panera Bread, enjoying the free (fast) wi-fi and trying to not eat any bakery treats. This year I managed to not gain any weight, but due to the fact that medical school foiled my workout plans, I didn't lose any weight either. The goal for year two is to get on the ball with some physical activity 6 days a week like we recommend to other people. Hypocrisy be damned, you know. I'm working on little personal projects, uploading pictures from events to email to people and paste on Facebook, putting together little photo albums that Shutterfly will dutifully mail to friends and family. Meaning I don't have to fuss with photo corners or scalloped edge scissors or what have you.

More to come later as I have this summer off from classes to do some research, un-pile my apartment, drink alcohol and convince the next class of MCAT hopefuls that they are doing the right thing.

As always love until later,

Happy New Year before Valentine's Day

Hi, blogosphere:

I can't believe it is 2008! To those of you who are still out there reading "The Slick Adventures of Downtown Girl", thank you. First-year of medical school has made me no longer "downtown" or "slick" and has certainly left little time for blogging (or laundry, or grocery-shopping or exercise, or sleep...). Case in point: It is 11:30 at night and I just got home from school. I am enjoying things greatly but everything at school is really time-consuming. Here's the life overview from various points:

1. Medical School
Going well, did fine in Anatomy. Now have Physiology, with first test coming up early next week (yikes!). Am set for summer research which should be really amazing and interesting--working on papers so I can get paid. Money would be good. Have reapplied for private scholarship for year 2, need to do taxes and FAFSA again. Am still teaching and tutoring sciences on the side.

2. Family
Continued excellent relationship with my mom, which thankfully came in handy when my grandmother fell and hurt herself over the holiday break, prompting a SECOND unexpected trip home over winter break. Things are fine and thank God, everyone is well now but that was very stressful for awhile.

3. Friends
Doing well with friends, considering that I only see friends that don't go to medical school maybe 1x a month if lucky. (Okay...maybe 2x.) As soon as you are squeezed for an additional 10 hours a week, the going and coming to visit other people kind of drops away. And they can only visit you at odd hours and times.

4. Love
After a year and a few months, R and I are still doing great. We are going through a phase in our relationship which I think is kind of a test--he is quitting smoking so is irritable, I am struggling through the second semester of first-year. It is freezing cold here, too. Despite these things we are kind and loving to each other 99.9% of the time. We had our first real fight about a week ago which means that we're past the point where people stop "guarding" and start being real, really real. We were able to talk about things and get back on track, but the only reason for this was that both of us really wanted to figure out where the miscommunication/misunderstanding was and make life clearer again.

He's been making more of an effort to come to me as well, now that I am even more busy--he drives out here once or twice during the week to climb in bed with me. It is so nice to feel his arm curled around my waist all night, to have breakfast with him in the morning before school. Having him here is a comfort, a security. He does little things for me when I'm exhausted, like take out my trash or make my bed in the morning.

Love until later (whenever that is!)

Time Flies When They Are Torturing You

Med School Is Heaven and Hell

I can't believe that in a few days, by Dec. 14th, that I will be 1/2 way done with my first year of medical school. Over the past 10 weeks, I have dissected a human person from the tips of her toes to the top of her head. Her name is Doris. She has a perfect superior thyroid artery coming off of her external carotid artery and lacing into the top of her thyroid gland like the threads on a baseball. Her heart is curved and lovely. She had all kinds of fillings in her teeth.

I did poorly on my first test in anatomy, and then improved. A lot. 12% improvement on the practical part (where they tag stuff on the cadavers and ask you what it is) and 18% improvement on multiple choice. I am hoping for even more improvement on the final exams, pending some hard work.

It is extremely difficult, to say the least, to work with the dead so that one day I will be a competent physician for the living. It is amazing, hellish, wonderful, horrible and beautiful all at once. Our culture neatly protects us from real death and medical students get to come face to face with it. Soaked in formaldehyde. Yikes and Wow all at once if you can imagine.

Spending all of this time learning is a little bit lonely---I often don't have much to talk about besides medical school because that is where my brain is, where my focus is, where my energy is spent. People understand, and they don't. I try to stay calm as I observe surgeries where people live and die, where blood spills and we sop it up, where people stand clinging each other in waiting rooms while I stand in the corner of the operating theater trying to figure out how to breathe wearing too-big scrubs and a large face mask.

I dreamed you, I saw your face...

R and I celebrated our one-year dating anniversary in mid-November. He prepared dinner for us and made me a CD of songs that remind him of me, even including an explanation of why he chose them. He bought me beautiful multi-colored roses, and a sweet anniversary card. Some of my favorite songs on the CD include:
  • Ain't Nothin 'Bout You/Brooks & Dunn
  • Angel Dream/Tom Petty & Heartbreakers
  • Unanswered Prayers/Garth Brooks
  • Just the Way You Are/Billy Joel
  • Amazing/Aerosmith
We're doing awesome--he's supportive and strong, a safe place I run to when I'm pushed to the limits. He makes me a cup of tea and holds me when I sleep. He packs me a lunch to take to school. He sends me text messages reminding me that I'm doing a good job, that he loves me, that he's thinking of me today.

We spend Sunday mornings together, waking up at 8 or 9 in the am, lingering in bed, getting up and having pancakes and bacon, having a hot shower and then going our separate ways. Our Sunday morning times have been great because we spend time talking and he is doing an amazing job opening up to me.

Since our anniversary, which was a huge declaration of love on his part, I have been falling even more in love with him and feeling very good about things. We're headed home to my parent's house for four days after finals are through, and then spending Christmas together here in Chicago. We're going to get a Christmas tree and make a gingerbread house and be big nerds about it.

There are a million things to tell you guys, but I have to get back to watching clinical skills videos, and look at some Netter flashcards. This week is going to be the total shitter in terms of school-work. I have everything planned out, including when I'm going to Walgreen's and what day I'm doing laundry. Yikes! This Friday I'll turn 26. I can't believe it.

Love until later,

October, Already

I find myself wondering where to start.

I want to write tonight because...this evening has been a good one, filled with friends, delicious red wine, chocolate truffles and laughter. Because it's been too long since I've recorded some of the things that have been happening.

A Boyfriend Story
Last weekend, R planned a date for us that included him cooking us steaks on the barbecue and reserving tickets for a play downtown. We took the train into the city on a pretty early Fall night (not yet cold but hints of chill in the air), picked up our tickets and had a steaming cup of espresso before the show. Afterwards, we headed to a favorite Irish bar (one that has the kind of competitive trivia where trophies are won and lost!) and had a few drinks. Over my diet coke and bacardi (with lime, naturally...), I learned a few more things about R that have changed everything. And when I think about these things, they don't surprise me, but it is good to hear him say them, like, "Under normal circumstances (aka not already being divorced before!) I would have already asked you to marry me;" and "I didn't know what being happy with someone was before I met you. Before I would tell myself I was happy, and now I don't ever have to do that because I just am."

And, YEAH! I haven't really told anyone else that he said these things because I have been rolling them through my mind, washing them over myself again and again, holding them extremely close to the center of where I am.

A Health Story
So at my annual ob-gyn visit (I know, we all love it) something happened that has NEVER happened before: the ob-gyn found a lump. In my left breast. Yikes! She sent me to the breast center, where they did an ultrasound (okay, where three people did an ultrasound) and they couldn't find anything abnormal. I was pretty worried about all of that and now feel kind of sheepish for thinking of how awful it would be to lose my hair or to have to endure medical school and radiation, or what it would be like to have an entire breast removed. Luckily I don't have to go down any of those roads, and I tried to stay calm, but somehow my fear crept into my thoughts and finally was put to rest today.

I have also lost 4 pounds. I am doing a good job keeping a food journal, weighing out portions and trying to round out nutrition. Next comes working in more regular exercise. Being healthy is certainly NOT for the lazy.

A million other things come to mind to write about.
  • I visited my family in my sunny southern california hometown for four days this week while on my break. That was restful, awkward, fun and refreshing all at once.
  • I'm going to be a ladybug for halloween. Tonight I worked on putting some red and black polka-dotted nylons over the top of the bra I am wearing. Now if it shows, it matches!
  • I did great on final exams, scoring in the high 80's and early 90's. Hopefully this showing is good enough for some "High Pass."
  • R and I are going to get pumpkins at a real pumpkin patch on Saturday and I'm excited about that. We're also going to a haunted house, which I don't love but...oh well.
  • I'm going to get my hair and nails done tomorrow at a gorgeous salon and am SO looking forward to the pampering....sometimes in the midst of finals and overall MD school craziness, I get left behind.
  • Monday we start on cadavers. Yikes! We have a funeral for them Mon morning and by Friday we'll have a WHOLE LEG off of one. Halloween is the WORST time to start this endeavor.

Love until later,

An Odd Mix

Crisis and Calm
Being a first-year medical student is the ultimate combination of crisis and calm. I consider myself an organized, on-task, motivated person. Most of you wouldn't think any of those things would be a stretch for someone who is admitted to multiple medical schools. Oh, and the terrible burden that now that we're supposed to be taking care of other people, that it is an unspeakable thing to be having personal doubts, problems, making mistakes, being unorganized or generally flailing in any way.

They (administration, upperclassmen, fellow classmates, attendings, interns, mentors) put pressure on us and teach us how to put even more pressure on ourselves. Thank you for your leadership...yes, as a matter of fact, I'd love another helping of confusion, self-loathing and guilt. Because if I don't accept everything given to me with a smile and eagerness, it's not considered "professional."

An open letter to the a-hole second years (warning: unprofessional)
To the next second-year who dares to snicker when someone from my class is printing notes, working on a project, or otherwise appearing to work: F--K YOU. Seriously. I think it is F---ING AWESOME that you didn't have to do SHIT your first-year of medical school, and that all you had to do was attend lectures and drink pina coladas the rest of the time. You loudly stating that "First Year is a Piece of Cake" while smiling with that shit-eating grin on your face doesn't make you wise, it makes you an a-hole. Next year no one will have to remind me to not be an a-hole to first years. You seem to convieniently forget that you had to transition to first-year too, and that things weren't always perfect for you either. What is bad about it is that so many people in your class are NICE and HELPFUL but you being a DUMBASS makes everything 10x worse.

My second beef with you is this--What? You think I'm an IDIOT for reading required textbooks? I don't know what you've been doing since medical school but I had a job before this, the kind of thing where I had to pay my bills. The kind of thing you've never, ever, EVER had to do because you went straight from your pampered ass ivy-league college to this large, private medical school. And, you don't know how to keep your mouth shut (I know, I have that problem too, but not with this situation)---if people want to try to study and learn something here, just because you didn't have to do that "STUDY" thing doesn't mean that you get to be an asshole. Please don't EVER try to offer medical care to anyone that I know or love. 'Cause you are a first-class prick, oh, and you didn't READ ANY BOOKS. In MEDICAL SCHOOL. Jesus.

A litany of issues, organized in list format for your reading pleasure
  1. Maintaining some sort of order and structure for myself is becoming damn near impossible.
  2. Exhibit A? The fact that I was reluctantly showering at midnight tonight. The fact that I am making schedules of my schedules. The fact that every time I check my email there is SOMETHING ELSE for me to contend with. Pulling my hair out is not an option. I would have no hair left.
  3. I am not finding the time to work out like I should, I am not finding the time to pack healthy meals like I should, I got on the scale today. I was kind of snappy with my sweet, mostly-drunk boyfriend on the phone tonight. I need to call my best friend and my grandparents and both of those things are on a list on a 3x5 card with all of the other things I need to do, like renew my car insurance, deal with my 401K, make an ob/gyn appointment. When did my life get reduced to a to-do list in a personal planner that is now 10 inches thick??!?
  4. All of those things? Unacceptable, unacceptable, unacceptable.
  5. I'm behind in reading, behind in outlining, and probably behind on things I haven't even heard about yet. I'm not behind in pretending to be okay, smiling pretty for my classmates, saying everything's great on long-distance calls from friends and family.

I am bitter, exhausted, self-critical and yet, FORGING on. I don't think I need people to understand or empathize. I oscillate from my position of forced optimism to a position of emergency-level triage of problems.

What I need is a personal assistant, a maid, a personal shopper, a personal trainer and someone to be my stand-in mother and pack my lunches. That would be the day.

But realistically? Until then (which is NEVER), what I am doing is going to be good enough, dammit. And perhaps my personal standards will have to be revised. There will definitely have to be less listening to a-holes, more taking care of myself, more flexibility when the school throws more work at us, and less self-criticism.

All I want is...
More time to MYSELF (that does not include self-care tasks, cleaning, organizing or doing things on the computer that are administrative.)
  • More time with my boyfriend, just relaxing, laying around or doing nothing.
  • More time with my girlfriends, being silly, drinking, dressing up.
  • More time to work out, so I have more energy for the above three.
  • More time to get caught up on reading, learning and review.
I promise-I'm okay. I'm just venting.

I love all of you long time.

Measuring a Year, Welcome back to September
Saturday, September 08, 2007 | posted by Kate | permalink | |

Back to the question--how do you measure a year? What can change in a year?

Exactly a year ago this month, I...

was in my first apartment after my separation
just had joined Match dot com and started dating
had not interviewed at any medical schools yet (but was to be invited shortly)
moved from my old blog to this new blog to start over!

was working at a preschool (already in my second month)
worked out at a fancy gym downtown, Holmes Place
ate a lot of sushi (spicy tuna, my fave) b/c there was a great place across from my old place
saw Navy Pier everyday on my drive/walk home!

was nervous about being accepted to medical school but hopeful
was all done taking the MCAT
just finishing my last few admissions essays
used to walk to the grocery store and lug the groceries home, leaving red marks on my arms!

And Now?
7 weeks into medical school
shiny new white coat & fancy stethoscope
one test down, one to go on Monday (toga party after)
handful of new "best" friends I was dreaming of

One new boyfriend (one year will be in Nov) who spent the night last night
who holds my hand when we sleep
who gave me Sox tickets (for me and a friend) later this afternoon
whose sister is having lunch and visiting with me today

Closer with my family
even talking to my mom
visits home, less stressful
a new appreciation of my hometown and comfort with Chicago

second apartment (first after official divorce) beautiful and big
my own one-bedroom for the first time
bright pink bathroom
couch all to myself in the living room...


Study Time & Other Schedule Snafus

SNAFU=Situation Normal All F-ed Up
Being in school has kind of messed up my flexibility. Let me explain.

I am an extremely adept logistical and organizational planner, so, normally I am able to effortlessly juggle many commitments during the day, see many people, and have every object, change of wardrobe and even my car keys with me. Prepared. Perfect. This comes from being type A personality, I think.

Medical school is the ginormous wrench in these works. This educational process is suddenly all of my commitments, all of my "stuff" that I have to shlep along with me and in all of my thoughts night and day.

What does this have to do with anything?
Naturally, I have become a little terrified that my relationships with friends from before medical school will begin to strain when I can no longer "do my part" or even do MORE than my part to accommodate their schedules/needs/locations. Plain and simple, people are going to have to accommodate me. If I can do my part, I always, always do. But most of the time? Hands tied.

Most of my close friends have adjusted beautifully, checking in on me via phone and email and "snapping" me into the real world just when I need it. After 5 hours in the library analyzing brain-numbing histology pictures and biochemistry diagrams, I am not even sure WHAT DAY IT IS but then I listen to a voice message from a friend and suddenly feel HUMAN again.

Big Girls Don't Cry
However, R and I came to a head on this issue last night when he was supposed to come stay over here, and legit things came up for him (big work things and a family thing). It was late when he finished, and he chose to not come over after that.

What could have become a COMPLETE nightmare turned into something great--me expressing that I was afraid that now that I can't accommodate him more easily (now that I'm in school), that he isn't willing to go out of his way for me (not just him, others too), and that part of why I was upset was because him showing up looked like proof positive to disappointed little me that I'm not worth going out of the way for.

He was apologetic and obviously disappointed/frustrated about the situation. Normally, he's someone who doesn't want to be on the phone for very long but we spent 90 minutes talking to each other calmly, comforting the other and explaining our feelings and expectations. He realizes he has to figure more logistical/planning things out for us (instead of me doing it automatically like I have been). I need to trust him (and others) to love me and to pick up the "slack" inherent in people hanging out. Other people can worry about the details sometimes, too.

Love, Always
He said how much he loved me a few times and at one point said that there isn't anyone else that he'd rather be working through things with. Today, I got some sweet text messages from him even though he's on his 24-hour shift. I am so excited when we are able to move forward together through things--makes me feel like we are becoming a better team everyday. I love him dearly but am sort of proceeding with a bit of caution given the job situation. However, after some of the things he said on the phone (and the WAY he said them), my instincts tell me that he wouldn't leave me for a job somewhere else. (I realize that those instincts could be wrong, but...)

Hopefully I'll see him tomorrow night--I am DYING to see him. He's going to come out here to stay (if I get done with teaching & tutoring at a reasonable hour...) so I can just meet him at my house after my "marathon" of a Wednesday. Even though he starts his Thursday in the wee hours of the morning (his next 24-hour shift) he is going to come and stay here in the middle of the week. Woo.

I'm finding that being totally honest with people about my fears and expectations is not getting easier but I understand the value of being transparent with those who deserve it. If I had chosen to not do that, he would have thought I was trying to guilt trip him into coming over (which I wasn't) or worse. And, I would have felt like he wasn't willing to make time for me or that our time isn't important to him. But, we talked it out, and got to understand the other person and their approach to not only life, but our love a little bit more.

Life, and our love story, goes on.

xoxo until later,

PS: I'm sort of caught up on studies. No more code red. I do think nerdy jokes are even funnier, though. I am becoming EVEN NERDIER than before. I'm just sayin'.

Sub Sandwiches, Tooth Fairy, White Coats

Mon 20 Aug
My first medical school test.
Results? 93%. Honors. Whew. Med students get the rest of the day off--no lectures.

R comes over for lunch, we walk hand-in-hand down the streets of my Chicago suburb, looking for somewhere to eat, contemplating various little diners and looking in shop windows before choosing Jimmy John's! It starts to rain lightly and we get a little wet but are exhilarated and laughing.

We sit on my fabulously comfy couch and talk more about the pending job situation. He tells me that he "doesn't want to do anything" that would take him away from us. He also explains that he hadn't thought of it the way that I had thought of it, that a normal breakup (if things were wrong) would be understandable, but to miss the potential on a perfectly good relationship because of a move? Hmmm....

Our talk made me feel better and I have calmed down slightly. His test for his out-of-state job (the next stages), if he completes them, happen on September 22. So for now, we all hope and pray that he lands a job that he wants HERE IN CHICAGO in the MEANTIME so there will be NO AWFUL decisions to make.

Friday 24 Aug
R's family (all five of them!!!) come to my medical school for our facility tours. They treat me to a delicious Italian dinner afterwards. I pick up my best girlfriend in the city and we have a sleepover.

L and I are laying in bed together, talking, when I feel something under my pillow. A jewelry box. She gave me a beautiful set of earrings as a "Congratulations!" gift for medical school. It was kind of like the tooth fairy had come...yay!

Saturday 24 Aug
Along with the other 145 members of my class, (2011!) I receive my white coat. R, very handsome in a full suit (even though he HATES wearing them!) and L, in a lovely blue dress, were there to cheer me on. We were only allowed to have two tickets, which sucked because there were a lot of other people that I would have wanted to invite.

The three of us went on a boat cruise on Lake Michigan with the rest of the class.
R and I went to a Bears game at Soldier Field. Bears win! (Da Bears!)

Code Red--Study Time Needed...
So much studying to catch up on because of TWO NIGHTS out this week--Friday and then ALL DAY Saturday. Normally I get at least 4 hours on Friday (but didn't because of the tour/dinner/sleepover) and then at least 4 hours on Saturday (but didn't because of the ceremony/brunch/cruise/Bears game).
Wish me luck.

Welcome to the Break Point

Possible out-of-state job for my guy?
He's been applying for all sorts of jobs, and the one that is moving forward the fastest is the one that would take him out of state, out of my immediate day-to-day life. He's got other prospects, of course, but there is a remote possibility he'll leave the town he calls home, where his family lives, to go do something else. Somewhere else. Somewhere not here.

My Position (*When I am not hyperventilating, of course)
I can't deal with a relationship that's long-distance; not with the pressure of medical school, and also because I understand love in a physical sense as well as a verbal sense.

If he's leaving, I need to know NOW so that I can get out of this relationship with him, stop spending my weekend mornings with him, stop building this relationship with him where I am picturing that potentially it would go somewhere. I don't like that I can't be more flexible, but I'm looking to build a serious relationship with someone, and that takes time. I can't lose 1-2 years in my mid 20's not having experiences with someone...because they are not around.

Basically, I confronted him with the above (albeit tearfully at points), letting him know that:
  1. I wasn't criticizing him for looking at jobs, and am very supportive of the fact and recognize that he wants to find a stable career choice
  2. I want him to do what he is going to do (b/c people do what they want eventually ANYWAY), and want to know what his thinking is, whatever that is, so I can understand his position better
  3. If his move is that he's moving somewhere else, that affects me directly b/c I can't deal with some long-distance stuff while I'm in school.
Indirectly, I think he also got the following messages:
  1. That he is extremely important to me, that he's a huge part of my life
  2. That even though I look strong, being abandoned is possibly the worst thing ever for me, someone leaving or going unexpectedly

We ended up going out to dinner after our talk, having a good evening, great morning, and breakfast together, too. We might get together tomorrow after my FIRST EVER MEDICAL SCHOOL TEST and he said "definitely" to hanging out next weekend, which is my White Coat Ceremony.

The Bottom Line
I am at that horrible place where I get to watch to see if at this point, if our lives are going to continue to converge. I've drawn my line, which is that I need someone who is HERE. If he's not going to be here, I can't play this. It is too hard for me. A good friend of mine said that this isn't an abandonment issue on my part ('cause I'm adopted), but rather something adults have to face from time to time.

So I get to hang in the balance and wonder if things are going to work out, if what he really wants is to be somewhere else, starting a new life and career. I understand what it is like to want to go places and start a new life. I understand he needs to have a career that he enjoys.

Questions for Thought
I know that if things don't work out, and he moves away, that I will be able to move on eventually. That I'll find someone to be with who will be happy to be with me. But I DON'T EVEN WANT TO THINK ABOUT THAT, to acknowledge that I might be losing R so soon. As long as he lives here, there is no reason why we can't be together as long as problems don't crop up, etc. I can even understand a regular breakup in time. But to have a perfectly good relationship (with lots of potential in my opinion) bite the big one because of a career choice? Seems like a waste. Seems like a heartbreak on both sides that doesn't need to happen.

I guess I get to see where we really stand, where I fit into this vision of his life, if at all, in the future. It is completely possible that I am the "Right Girl" arriving at the "Wrong Time." And that would be just my luck. UGH! I guess it is better for me to find that out now if it's the case, and be "Right on time" for a man that is going to put me first.

My personal prayer:

God-I'm frightened and heartbroken over the prospect of this relationship with R ending. I'm NOT ready to let go of his love in my life yet. I'm not ready to give it up. What I AM ready for is for you to handle this situation, because you know my heart, because you've known me my whole life and even before then. Whatever the outcome is, I trust that you have a man for me and I promise that I will do my best to be good-hearted and worthy of that man so I will get another chance to be someone's wife someday. Please show me how to be strong. Amen.

My House or Yours?

Note to Readers
I have decided that it is important for me to really think about what my motivations are for doing certain things, or making certain decisions. This is in part due to a question asked to us recently at school: "Who am I becoming by my actions?"

Don't get all up in arms and send me an email asking if any of these situations have happened to me...they haven't, which is precisely why I am exploring possible courses to take and what the outcomes may be.

On Living Together, and Autonomy
As most of you know, (or if you visit the archives!), I'm divorced. I didn't live with my ex-husband before we got married. Living with him would have facilitated my understanding that we weren't going to work out MORE QUICKLY, but our fate would still be the same--apart. For me, living together and marriage are related, but I want to make sure that I am understanding how. Let's talk about it.

One of the nice things about living on your own is that you get to have a whole place that is uniquely yours, where your things live in a (hopefully) secure space. You decide where things go, when things get cleaned/organized (or not), what you're going to eat out of the fridge, etc. You can have down times and quiet moments that no other person is able to witness because you're in your own place. Breathing room. Your way, the only way, all the time.

It can get lonely, you can feel isolated. All day-to-day responsibilities are solely yours. Depending on how many people you have around who you can call in for help, you are generally on your own. No input from someone else on decorating, improvements or organization (if you value that sort of thing, and I do.)

Moving in?
Obviously if you are going to give up the benefits of Autonomy, of having "my own place", living together should bring it's own benefits that equal or outweigh living alone.
But here is where it gets tricky. Living together brings the amalgamation of two people's personal lives, the messes of our daily lives under one roof. What's love got to do with it?

My Standard for Moving In Together
Moving in together, in my opinion, should be considered if and ONLY if:
1. It is NOT a "litmus test" for "should we get married?"
There are always going to be issues in living with ANYONE, day to day. There are problems inherent in running a household. Married people, in principle, get the protection from the covenant that they have made to each other that even though things get rough in day-to-day life, that those "bumps" don't jeapordize their relationship. People simply "living together" do not--more problems can arize and the two people don't really have a promise to each other to "see it through."

2. The motivation involves the following things:
a. Being able to spend more time together (to increase communication as well as emotional and sexual closeness)
b. Being able to work together on day-to-day life issues (as a team instead of individually)
c. To help one another out and begin to practice supporting the other in a more realistic sense
d. Financial benefit from the synergy of a household

I think those are pretty self-explanatory.

3. The understanding that the relationship will move to marriage in time (and explore each other's definitions of marriage) is implicit and unwaivering. This can mean engaged or not, depending on the relationship between the two. Engaged is definitely better though.

I don't think that people need to move in together to decide if they would be good married or not. Over time, you can tell if you should marry someone or not. I have decided that the best compatibility factor for marriage has to do with how closely the two people's understanding of what the covenant of marriage is. If both people have the same ideas (or similar) about what it means to be married and why someone would get married (as opposed to just live together or whatever), and they are willing to commit to that standard and that relationship, they will probably be fine. I say "probably" because there are most likely multiple factors at play--but I know that both people being on the same page is a huge one.


Because I really know how to get in the moment...
It's been a long week. After several days just trying to keep up with school work, put on a happy face and remember a TON of stuff, I find myself standing comfortably nestled in R's arms. He leans me back, so I can see his handsome face.

R: "You are incredibly beautiful. Even if I don't say it, I'm thinking it."
K: "Wow, I'm glad you think so..."
R: "Um, sweetie? You're standing on my toe."

I look down. I am. Shit.

K: (blushing, horrified) "Oops."

Is There A Doctor In The House?

I have a nasty $250/day habit.
Don't look so surprised. It's medical school, friends. I have classes stacked up to my nose and I am loving about 90% of the content that we are reviewing and learning. I am grateful that I have already mastered a lot of these topics as an undergraduate or been over them since for the MCAT, etc. If I was coming in fresh, I would already be sunk.

The pace is terrifying.
None of the material that we are going over is exceedingly difficult, but there is a TON of it. Take for example, the $1,000 of books (yes, 1K) that I ordered for this year. Volumes and volumes of medical reference books ranging from "The Difficult Patient Interview" to "Genetics in Medicine" to "The Cell" to "Biochemistry." The amount of things I need to find, read, understand and makes me tired thinking about it.

I am loving every (overall) minute.
Sitting in our beautiful, sunlit (indoor!) atrium area, eating my lunch with some colleagues, it struck me: THIS is what I get to do for the next four years. Be here in this beautiful building with these other smart people and learn things. Compared to work, this is a haven of wonder and the land of milk and honey. Work sucks.

I am officially my own mother

I packed myself a lunch for school tomorrow, put my things in my backpack, made myself a note to not forget my phone, and have my clothes all set out.

With classes tomorrow morning kicking off at 8:30 am, I am beginning my $250/day medical education.

The journey of a thousand miles (and two hundred thousand in loan debt) obviously starts with a pb&j pita for lunch and a clif bar for breakfast.

Exhausted but Great

Top Ten Cool Things About Medical Student Orientation

10. All of the free lunches, dinners and beer. (The beer mainly from M2 host students!)
9. Meeting 140 new people. (Also a "challenging" thing about orientation)
8. Getting a "class of" T-shirt commemorating your entering group.
7. Finding where your locker is and discovering that it is HUGE!
6. Receiving a membership to an awesome gym with an Olympic size pool and an indoor running track. Oh, and a full size basketball court. Yay!
5. Being fitted for a white coat.
4. Receiving a picture ID badge/scan card that has your name right above "MEDICAL STUDENT" in large letters.
3. Knowing you're actually going to be a doctor someday.
2. Starting to know your way around the place and scouting out study locations.
1. Meeting people that you're pleased to call your colleagues.

I'm exhausted but happy.

More soon.

Vodka + Lemonade=??

Kate's Best Vodka Lemonades (Ah, Summertime)

You will need:
Semi-Premium or Premium Vodka ( I like Skyy or Ketel One, personally)
"Simply" Lemonade (It comes in a jug and is not too sweet, in the fridge section)
Fresh Limes, Cut into Wheels
Ice and a cool pitcher to pour from

And Then...Fill the pitcher 1/3 of the way with Vodka. Add a handful of ice and squeeze the limes as you add them in. Fill the pitcher the rest of the way with Lemonade. Taste to see if you need more vodka (why not?)

You can have your own authentic Vodka Lemonade experience
Just like I did this weekend if you follow the recipe above. R and I went over to his best friend's house and were joined by a few more of their friends to drink, watch the boxing fights at Mandalay Bay on TV and eat pizza*. (Deliciously gross* but wonderful Pizza Hut pizza.) I, of course, brought the ingredients for the famous VL because it was what I really felt like drinking. A few glasses of that later (it goes down really, really easy....too easy) I was totally drunk. Woo!

I wake up with a start, head slightly swirly, to find myself curled on a couch next to R.
I unsuccessfully try to rouse him, he swats at me because he's asleep and passed out. Blech. I am wishing we were at one of our homes, curled on a soft mattress, under my fluffy duvet, R's strong body enveloping mine as he sleeps.
No dice?
Okay, fine! Being a party girl is SO unglam, this is why I only drink like this approximately twice a year.

I make myself a bed on the carpet below the couch so I can stretch my legs. R spreads out on the little couch and looks less scrunched and more peaceful. Good.

R starts to wake and apparently would prefer to sleep holding me (hurray!) so he joins me on the carpet and we share the blankets (or, he just really wanted a blanket.) I'm feeling better about crashing at his friend's place now that we're laying together. If he's holding me, sitting next to me or standing close behind me I am suddenly very secure and calm. He's like man-prozac for the nerves. The quiet footsteps of R's friend's girlfriend approach as she arrives back from her night shift at the hospital. I should have worried more that she would think that R & I was her boyfriend and some other girl (she's the jealous type, okay?) but I don't because R has his arms around me and I'm hazy and exhausted.

I wander down the hall to find R's friend's girlfriend staring at me from their bed. "Hi, Sunshine!" she calls. I twist my face into a smile. She lets me know that R's friend has gone to get us breakfast, which is good news. I put some pressed powder on my face, brush my hair and try to look not so, well, hungover. My stomach starts to rumble.

Two bites into breakfast, I feel that sickening tightening in my stomach and throat. Oh, God. Oh, God. I start to panic....but don't want to let on. Quietly, I get up from the table and barrel down the hall where I proceed to forcefully vomit from my nose and mouth into the sink. I try to tell myself to relax and let it come out. It is hard because I want to fight the sickness so badly. I turn on the water so our friends don't hear me vomiting. Yuck. The acid burns my throat and the tears run down my face. I thank my lucky stars that my hair was already pulled back. Since I rarely vomit (twice this year already, weird) my body is exhausted and my hands and feet are shaky.

12 noon
R and I are back at his place. Still weak even after some Gatorade, I lay on his bed and nap with his two cats. He lays nearby, working a crossword puzzle. He kisses me on the forehead and the cheek. Just having him around makes me feel much better.

This evening I had dinner with a good girlfriend and did my laundry at her place. We danced around the house, ate dinner on the deck and drank sparkling water out of wine glasses. Yeah!
I gave R a call to see if he wanted to come over tonight but he said no because of where his work is located tomorrow. He did say that he loved me though and was very sweet. I think if he could be two places at once, he would.

Tomorrow is the first day of medical school orientation. I got my drink on before the start of doctor school, my leather shoulder bag is packed, I have plenty of laundry clean and I am ready to go.

In my own little world of whatever. I'm just sayin'.

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