October 13, 2010

Newbie and Questions, Questions Questions

Well I am so excited to have found you guys, its really nice to have others out there that have already done what we are about to start. I was actually getting really frustrated having so many questions and just no one we know to turn too to ask. We currently have no friends that have gone to medical school in the last 10 years or are planning on it. So once again I am so grateful for all of you out there that can answer questions.

I think I will start by introducing us. My name is actually Loni and my husbands name is Jordan. We have been married for 4 years. We went to school for a short time in Rexburg Idaho and shortly after getting married transferred schools to the University of Pittsburgh for the neuroscience program they offered, we were so excited when we moved, we bought our first home there and then later invested in another duplex to rent out and are now renting out both houses. We lived in Pittsburgh for 3 years and then both of us graduated with degrees in Neuroscience/chemistry. We had almost every class together and helped each other all the way through school. We have done sales for 2 years, working side by side, being together 24-7. I was pregnant during our last year of school and our first son was born 6 days after graduation. We named him Kyren and he is now 18 months old and just adorable. After graduating my husband got a job as a Neurophysiology Technician and monitors nerve activity through several tests (electrical) in the OR during spinal surgeries mostly. Every once in a while he does brain tumor cases or other head trauma. Last year he was laid off due to several neuro-surgeons quitting the hospital he worked at. And being the newest employee was laid off. So we found a job doing the same thing with a company called Physiom in southern California and gratefully moved back west closer to family.

6 weeks ago we had our second son, its been so much fun, we named him Parry, which is my maiden name. He has been such an easy baby and I can't believe we have two kids already.

The goal has always been medical school, infact we were going to go together. But somewhere along the way my mommy button was pushed and I decided I wanted to invest in what really matters to me: Family. I love being a mom and always wanted to be a stay home mom (even after med school), and so I decided to forgo med school. Anyway He was just accepted to the med school PNWU in Yakima WA and I started doing some more reasearch and now have many many more questions.

Question 1: One has already been addressed but I feel like I need some more help in that area or perhaps a specific answer to how you guys feel. I have always known about the pelvic exams and they really didnt bother me but heres the clincher....My huband asked how his school performs them and he was told that the Students perform the exams on EACH OTHER!! So not only does he now study with these women, spend time with them, but now he has to do a pelvic exam on one of them! I just don't know how I am to overcome this. I have slight jealousy tendencies but have never heeded them due to the fact that I trust my husband very much and their usually very silly, BUT I do not trust other women. Anyway it has never really been an issue but I all of a sudden feel this terrible jealous feeling, and I have always been able to make them stop because they have always been unlogical, but this one doesnt seem to be silly. BUT then you add that they have to have their own class mates do the prostate test on HIM!! I cant stand the idea of another women touching my husband, its bad enough to get over him touching another women knowing that I am sure its not a romantic thing, it becomes "work" its not the right setting but come on, his own class mate that he might study with? And then she gets to touch him? I mean he is a man, they get stimulated very easy! Anyway please ladies help me find some logical way for me to calm myself down or let me know that this classmate thing is trully really weird and shouldnt be done, maybe I can talk to someone in administration about it or something. And what about the Breast examination, I know vaginas stink and are on the whole pretty unpleasant but what about Breasts? And it would be nice if all other women were ugly but they arent so what do you do when hes examining some "hot chick"?

Question 2: Does medical school training change sexual behavior/ relationships? I am sure you guys know what I mean. So our relationship is "X" now and then after 4 years of exposure to many bodies, breasts, vaginas, cadavers, tests, other women, supressed feelings etc. Does your relationship change to "Y"? Do any of you have experience in dealing with the emotions your husbands go through throughout medical school and the best way to do so? Does he look at you differently after skinning a breast earlier that day in the cadaver lab? Is there the temptation to do the taught exams on you during love making? Does he compare you? And if the answer is yes, then how do you handle these emotions to not make it worse for your relationship?

Question 3: Are they forced to study with other women? Is it plausable to ask him to not study with other women? I know he would if I asked him, but is that even feasible? I would like to think it is. This worry stems from the fact that our relationship was built off studying together, we had our whole degree together, talking about the curriculum stimulated other converstaions. I also know that my husbands main language of love is time. how do I handle him spending time with other women when I feel like that is the time that made our relationship what it is. I also feel like he is going to have some connection with his classmates that I will always be left out of because I did not go to medical school. What do I do with that?

Question 4: So this is off topic but we have a lot of student loans from undergrad and we are trying to figure out if his will go back into deferrel during medical school or if we have to pay them with other loans. I want to stay home and am hoping to find some line of work to do from home but we won't make enough to live off of and pay back student debt. The other question is if its worth it to consolidate them knowing that you cant defer them EVER once you do so. Do you really pay student loans with a nother student loan? That just irritates me, so much debt! Let me know what you guys did. We have two private student loans from undergrad and then of course some federal ones.

Question 5: Would you all do it again? Do any of you wish you had decided to not go forward with medical school? Or wished that your husband had found another career....like being a dentist or something?

Alright, those are the most pressing questions to me right now and I would LOVE and appreciate any words of advice or comfort from you ladies with more experience. Thank you so much and I am glad I found this blog. Its now time for me to go feed a cute little boy thats very hungry and then make some banana cake that I have been craving all day.

Hope to hear from you soon.



Jordan and Loni Carr said...

Oh and my blog is http://jlcarr.blogspot.com if you want to add it. Thanks

Amy said...

Hi! Welcome! So... I would be *shocked* if they had to do pelvic exams on each other. Are you sure that's correct? That seems like it breaks so many codes of ethics.

While I've had insecurities, in the end I haven't had any problem with my husband doing pelvic exams, etc. (he's a second year med student). It's all very clinical to him and very very separated from anything sexual (as it should be- it would not be good if the doctor, male or female, were "turned on" by any of that). I mean, put yourself in his shoes- if you were doing a pelvic exam on a man for example, would you at all look at it as a sexual experience? You'd be focused on providing care, on not messing up or causing pain, and not on anything else.

I would suggest you just have a lot of communication with your husband. Don't act jealous, or it will just push him away and he won't want to talk about it. Ask about his experiences and learn about them and you'll probably feel much better. Same goes for other women he meets at med school. Stay open to becoming friends with them yourself. Invite his friends (male and female) over so they can see you together.

I'm going to follow your blog! Mine www.lifewithkarma.com.

Jamie said...

My husband and I both have a lot of undergrad student loans as well. We were able to defer all but one of his loans throughout medical school. You'll have to talk to each of the lenders to find out whether they deem medical school as a proper reason to defer. Most lenders usually have deferment applications on their websites. Hope that helps!

Good luck on this journey!

Ams said...

Hey Lori - email me if you get a chance - justmeandmys {at} gmail {dot} com

(I have a response to you but would rather send it via email!!)

Jessica said...

Hey Loni - congrats on getting to the newest stage of life. I also remember wishing I had a place to ask questions and only found these blogs after we were knee deep so I just answer questions I feel like I have input on. (DH is a third year medical student)

1. As past posters have stated it seems really inappropriate to have the students do exams of that nature on each other. I know that Yakima is a fairly new program (my dad and my whole extended family lives there so we considered it) so maybe they just haven't built up community support? My husband's school is connected to a major university so they get students or community members that volunteer for the process and then receive money for it. If this is indeed correct that they perform pelvic/rectal/etc exams on each other then I would definitely encourage your husband and his classmates to speak up and suggest getting paid volunteers. Even if they are paying out of their own pockets! ;) I love and am good friends with many of my husband's classmates but would not be comfortable with this! I can't imagine any of them would enjoy it but it would be so awkward (who enjoys pelvic exams? Esp with someone who has no clue what they are doing?)

2. The only way it changed our sexual relationship is probably in frequency. The stress of medical school is intense and sex can definitely get put on the back burner. I think that he was grossed out for about a day of studying venereal diseases but then it was so much business that it doesn't come up. He has confided in me that occasionally it will pop in his head but then he pushes it out because there are far more interesting things to focus on! He does not (and does not want to) practice anything medical of that nature on me and I suggest any medical school couples to do this as well.

3. My husband occasionally studies with other females but it is not required. For the most part he prefers to study alone at our house. I know most of the students with children at home prefer to get up extra early and study before classes and then after until six and then go home for dinner and playtime. Some will then study after bedtime for the kids if they need to. All of the females he hangs out with are people I am friends with too. Make sure that you go to as many meet and greets at the beginning as you can and invite people over for dinner, etc. I think it wouldn't be a bad thing to discuss study habits with your husband. I don't see any reason why he would need to study with only one other female although my husband did at times. Maybe discuss how you would feel most comfortable if he were to study in groups or with a male or alone.

4. We also have a lot of undergrad loans. We are still paying on mine (although I am employed - your case may end up being different) and we are also paying on one of his private loans. His perkins and stafford were able to be deferred until the end of his schooling. We probably won't consider consolidation until after residency but if we had multiple private loans we would probably consolidate those.

5. I would choose to do medical school with my husband again. Sometimes I tease him that he should have chosen a different career when he starts wishing we could do things that are on hold until he is in a paid residency. There are so many easier career choices he could have made but he loves medicine and helping people and it is one of my favorite things to see him so successful, happy, and passionate for his schooling.

Anyway - longest answer ever! I prepared for the worst with medical school (made him promise I could see him at least Friday evenings and that was all) and I have been pleasantly surprised. I think that the students with children make an even bigger effort to be home and around the kids (I do know a few that even study at home with the kids around but I think that would be extremely hard!) Let me know if you want clarification on anything I wrote! :)

N+C said...


We were accepted to a school last September, and as soon as we sent in our deposit I remembered feeling many of the same feelings you are feeling now. DH and I also did our undergrads together, at BYU.

I toyed with med school as well, then PA, and finally decided on a accelerated nursing program offered at DH's school, which is where we are today.

Like Jessica, I was prepared for the worst. I imagined going days, even weeks without seeing DH, the stress, I imagined him changing, becoming solemn and boring like most doctors I've seen.

We've been at it for 3 months now, and it hasn't been nearly as bad as I expected. We don't have kids, but all of our friends at DH's school do, and they seem to be just fine. The kids seem to keep the moms busy, and it doesn't seem like they miss their DHs AS much, if only because they don't have time to think about it. Now for your specific questions:

1. I cannot fathom a school allowing, let alone forcing student to perform pelvic/breast/prostate exams on each other. It seems wildly inappropriate. My DH had to do certain OMM exams on a girl, and I wasn't even OK with THAT. (I bit the bullet though.) If the school really is planning on doing that, maybe your husband can ask if you can come in and he can perform the exam on you. I don't know if you'd be comfortable with that, but that is probably what I would do. I do NOT think it is OK for the school do that though.

2. I guess this question would really depend on the couple, but it hasn't effected us in the least.

3. At our school, some classes divide the students into groups and of course the groups have girls in them, but they aren't forced to study one-on-one with girls. DH did have to get together with his partner for the OMM exam test, who happened to be a girl, but they practiced in the busy OMM room, and only for about half an hour. Last night DH came home and told me that he saw one of his married friends studying one-on-one with a girl for several hours. I promptly informed him (as he already knew) that that kind of studying was not acceptable in his case (and he agrees). I am constantly asking him who is in his group, who he is practicing things on, who he sits by, etc., not because I don't trust him, but more for a preventative measure. If he knows I'm going to ask him about it every day, he's not going to do anything even remotely questionable. ;-) I might be a little extreme and paranoid (or maybe a lot), but my DH completely understands and is OK with it, and I would rather be safe than sorry.

4. We don't have loans from undergrad. I do know it is hard to find sure answers about how to handle loans though. Ugh. It's the worst. Good luck!

5. I will have to let you know in 8 years if we would do it over.

Good luck with everything! You will love the pacific northwest, PNWU was our 2nd choice, and sometimes I wish we had chosen it instead - we are in Vegas, and I don't always love it :-).


Anonymous said...

Wow - this program allows students to do pelvic exams on each other? I think that was common when my father went to med school, but I didn't know it was a common practice! Anyway, I think that giving a person a pelvic exam is probably the least sexual experience ever - for both parties. My husband hated his OB/Gyn rotation. (In fact, in answer to your next question, that was the only rotation that changed our, um, relationship, in any way. He didn't want to touch me with a 10-foot pole during that rotation. But things went back to normal quickly.)

Studying is totally a personal preference. My husband preferred to study by himself, in the library. Other students worked in groups. I think that you can discuss your concerns about your husband being one-on-one with a woman before hand, and ask that he only study with women if they are among others in a group.

I remember getting jealous once - of one of his co-med students. And it was pretty much in my head. But all I had to do was express my concerns, and everything was fine. As you know from being married for four years, communication is so critical to ensuring closeness and strength of your relationship.

Med school is tough, but like anything, you get through it. You get used to it. And you find new ways to find time together, and you find new ways to be independent, new ways to be proud of your husband. You can email me if you have other questions. Lifeofadoctorswife [at] gmail.

Rumbles said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

We are just starting too, so I don't have answers to everything, but here are a few thoughts anyways!

Whoa! Practicing on each other?! I would be crazy not okay with that either! I'm not sure how to react to a school requiring that. The school we are at has standardized patients that can't do more than one program at a time so students won't run into them again for testing...etc.
They are put into groups, which are a mix, but so far no partner things. One of our first rules was no studying one-on-one with a girl (married or no). My hubby and I also had a lot of classes together and know how bonding that can be. Mostly he studies at home, but there is talk of study groups here at the house where I can provide food and flip a few flash cards.
Our loans went to automatic deferral when classes started up. Apparently the systems talk to each other a little more these days.
Anyways, good luck, and welcome to the Pacific Northwest!

Ashli and Anthony said...

Hi Lori!!! :)


Ok, it definitely seems SUPER weird that they would do pelvic exams on each other and is crossing some serious boundaries. However, if that IS the case, I feel like that would create even MORE awkwardness between your husband and whatever female(s) he would have to examine in his class. I don't care if Brad Pitt were to be giving me a PAP, I would be TOTALLY eeked out and the last thing on my mind would be anything remotely sexual. I agree with what Amy said, it's very clinical and separated from anything personal- he is learning to provide care in a very invasive way that deserves reverence and dignity for both him and his patients. Any encounter with a patient that crosses into a romantic relationship is severely violating the ethics and laws of the profession.

Boundaries are important, and although you may not trust the other women in his class, be clear with your husband about how you are feeling. For example, to him, having lunch with a female classmate may not be a big deal. Maybe it wouldn't bother him if you had lunch with a male co-worker. But, it may bother you immensely. You might even consider it a form of cheating (or not, but this is just an example). Talk to each other about your expectations and what is and isn't acceptable behavior and interaction with members on the opposite sex. Medical school certainly brings up some unique situations between coeds- be clear with each other so that you always remain connected and on the same level. Remember that you have nothing to worry about- he married YOU, who is awesome, after all!

We have a lot of student loans too from undergrad- we deferred them but we are paying on the interest so that it doesn't accumulate while he is in school, and paying more in the months when we can (I am a Licensed Massage Therapist, so there are ebbs and flows with income) It's all going to work out though, I trust :)

I am a newbie too!!! I am curious to read the rest of the answers, you have written some wonderful questions!

Hope this helps <3

Hartleys said...

Wow, just found this site and wish I had sooner. My hubby is a 3rd year and we've been married for 7 - have two kiddos (3 and 2).

I had to comment on this poster's questions.

First of all, I would confirm that they will be doing PELVIC exams on other students - I highly, highly doubt they will. I do know my hubby had a "living anatomy" class he took his first year and his partner was, YES, a girl. I just had to make the decision then to accept this is part of his schooling. Hubby is on OB rotation right now and has done his fair share of pelvic/breast exams, etc. The thing to remember is that the two are sooo separate. In my opinion, although easier said than done, the best way to boost confidence in my marriage is just to keep myself happy, confident and fulfilled at home and in our marriage. The last thing you would want to do is make him feel guilty about necessary aspects of his schooling (I'm sure you're not, just wanted to throw that out there). In our experience, the more confident and supportive I am of my husband, the more he's attracted to me and is sooo happy to be home and away from all those pelvic exams!!!! :)

Good luck!!!

Laura said...

Oh here we GO!!! Ok - as far as I understand there are few and far between medical schools that do pelvic exams on one another. I honestly do not know of any -- and especially any in the South. This practice was much more common about 30 years ago -- my husband's dad (retired OBGYN) did do them on female med students. Now, being the daughter in law of 2 generations of OBGYNs and my husband finishing up medical schools now -- but he is not going into OBGYN for wanting more of a family life and liking another specialty much more -- I personally do not have a problem with students may having to do these procedures. Here's the deal too -- your husband is going to see a lot of vaginas in training in medical school. Just wahlah. There is nothing sexual about it. In fact -- most of the time it's just gross they say. Jake's dad has tons of stories from his practice and Jake's grandfather's practice. It's NOT pretty. Now honestly, I like the fact that my husband knows a lot about the female body now. He's had to put a finger up dilated vaginas to feeling for lumps and actually finding cancer in a woman's breast last year. I really believe that America has a distorted view of shame in the female body as well which is so tragic. There is nothing shameful. Being checked out as a woman is SO humbling and a process NO ONE enjoys. I know that there are many OBGYN women out there now -- more in residencies then men --but when the time comes for children, I much prefer a male. Sorry ladies - men are more tender and level headed. Not anything against my own sex -- but if something were to go wrong in delivery -- I even know deep down that my husband would prefer a man's cool than a woman's. God made man and woman so uniquely different. It's beautiful.
As for sex changing in medical school. HARDLY. The only thing that changes is the stress level. Your man will have to choose sleep over intimacy sometimes -- and that has been the only hard part. But at the end of the day as far as my friends go -- they love to come home to a woman who is loyal to them -- and a loyal woman in the medical arena by tag along is a gem to be sure too.
In reading your post -- I really sense a deep sense of insecurity -- in having to detach yourself from your husband's future career in medicine -- one that you thought you would go into together. The best advice I can give you is to please allow your husband freedom. Men do not like to be kept in a box -- and especially in this track of medical school. There is hardly time for social occasions -- studying comes first. Yes, I know that Jake spends more of his waking hours at work with other people than he will with me in waking hours -- but we love to swap stories at the end of the day. I also got my masters degree with him in medical school -- I have a life very much independent from Jake. As a medical spouse you MUST. Trust your husband to make the best decisions for everyone. Affirm him daily with your love and support. CONTINUE to have your OWN life -- apart from him AND your children. (Though family does indeed need to come first.) I humbly remind myself that I do not have children with Jake yet -- and you do. That is a JOB that you have -- and your husband is going to NEED YOU so much during this medical school endeavor. It will seem that everything revolves around medicine and studying and call hours -- and it does. Medical school is temporary -- and we are in the final months before residency -- and I'm in awe of the past 4 years. We have sacrificed a lot for one another and for Jake to be in the best position possible -- because in the end it will serve us ALL and our family someday, Lord willing. I beg you to please have these discussions and questions with your husband.

Laura said...

Do not hound him -- but please be sure there is an open dialogue. I have cried a lot with Jake in medical school. I'll be the first to admit I have NOT been a perfect girlfriend, fiance, or wife in this journey. I have felt that everything revolves around him -- and it does to an extent. Your husband is going to hate how much this process is going to take him away from you and your babies. The best advice I got while getting married last year from a physician's wife (husband just recently died too--and they were the BEST of friends): "Your husband will have call times that come at the WORST times: birthdays, holidays, vacations, etc. When the call comes or your husband discusses the schedule with you -- and you have children watching -- whatever you do, please tell him that you love him, to take care of what he needs to do, and that you and the family will be waiting for him when he returns. If children seen you calm and unaffected by news -- they will respond the same way." Resentment is the deadliest poison for a spouse in medicine I have come to realize. Plan ahead -- always -- but know that nothing is set in stone.
Finally Jake is applying for a competitive specialty. Interviews are coming in now -- and we both gave up a lot to ensure that Jake could be where he was today. I look back over the past 4 years and realize that we will be better off because of what we sacrificed early. Neither of us have regrets. NONE. It was really hard at times -- but we worked as a team.
I look forward to hearing your journey! Please check out my blog as we approach the end --- there is light at the end of the tunnel!!! Blessings to you and yours!!!

christyglenn said...

I'm new here. My husband is a 2nd year.
I think any exam performed on each other is completely inappropriate. They are to view each other as colleagues, and that is not going to stay as long as they are investigating every crevice on their classmates. I would protest definitely.
As for your personal life, you do just need to be honest with him. It is hard not to compare yourself with the new female classmates, some much younger (in our case). Plus we have kids...nothing's the same after that! But you need to tell him how that bothers you...and maybe request that he picks the most unattractive girl that he will never talk to again for his exam!

The cat in the hat said...

Hello everyone... I'm from Ecuador. I met my now husband 4 years ago, when he went to my country to volunteer in a clinic for malnourished children, and to learn Spanish. We met at my church. He lived in Ecuador for a year. we started dating after 6 months of friendship and then he left. We had a long distance relationship for over a year, then he proposed, and I said yes :). I finished college over in Ecuador, and when we got married I moved to the US with him.
It has been very hard for me to get use to live here without my family, and no friends. However, I feel like I have grown so much, and I have become a stronger person.
My husband has been wanting to go to medical school since he was a kid. He's worked very hard for it since high school,... well, now it is the time! He took his MCAT last year and applied, and we've been going to the interviews. He already got accepted to 2 med schools. we are now trying to decide where to go.
All this process is very exciting... It makes me so happy to see him so enthusiastic and ready to start this journey, but at the same time... I CAN'T STOP WORRYING! I've been trough a very hard time getting use to live here, and now we are going to move again, and to think he's going to be so busy. I've grown very afraid that I'm not going to find things to do to keep myself busy.
With my degree in economics from a foreign country, and not knowing anybody...I'm afraid I'm not going to find a job. I want to study some more, and work part time. I've just been so needy for attention from my husband this last year, because I don't have anybody else in this country, that I'm afraid of what's next with medical school, and EVERYBODY AROUND ME saying how hard it is going to be does not really help... I know my post is going to sound depressing, but I'm just a 23 year old learning about life...So, hope you guys can give me some advice. Any ideas to get prepared for this long journey that I'm about to start with my hubby will be very very appreciated.

(sorry for the English mistakes lol)

The cat in the hat said...

BTW how do I join the blog?

Anonymous said...

Just FYI... There are no medical schools in the United States who encourage, request, or force students to perform pelvic exams/prostate exams on each other. You have been misinformed.

Also, not to be harsh, but it sounds like your husband has picked the wrong profession, especially if he knew that you had these feelings. There will be LOTS of times when he will be doing things that you might not like - not just related to sexuality, but many other issues. Sounds like you and him need to have a serious talk.

There's nothing to be jealous of when medical students perform pelvic exams, breast exams, etc. on paid volunteers, which most of them are. If you are jealous, then I would suggest getting some professional counseling, because that feeling is NOT "normal".

Regarding osteopathic treatment, how else do you think the students are supposed to learn? Your husband is going to be touching many, many bodies - both male and female, during his medical career. Wouldn't you want YOUR physician to have had the best training possible?

The next 7+ years of medical training for him are going to be hell for you if you both aren't on the same page.

Good luck!

Anonymous said...

I think my problem is not so much that I'm jealous of my husband doing pelvic exams or delivering babies, it's more that I feel like there is nothing left that's just ours or sexy anymore. Everything has become medicalised and I feel like when we get intimate he's either examining me or being a pervert (because in my head I cannot fathom how a man just because he has a doctor hat on at work can disengage from his nature). I should say that I am a doctor as well, so I KNOW what he sees and I DON"T understand how he can see those things and then come home and find me attractive... this is incredibly frustrating because I just can't seem to enjoy sex with him anymore... unless I think about something else, whcih makes me feel like a horrible person. Any thoughts or advice on this?? would greatly appreciate it :(

Anonymous said...

A woman undergoing the exam is bare below the waist. She lies on the examining table on her back with her knees bent and legs spread apart, her feet in stirrups and her buttocks near the end of the table. The doctor inserts a lubricated, gloved finger into her vagina and, with the other hand, presses down on her abdomen to check the shape and size of her uterus and ovaries.
It’s called a bimanual exam. Westhoff is among an increasing number of experts challenging the value of this practice, which is done as a matter of course when women come in for routine gynecological checkups or Pap smears.
These experts say that for women who are apparently healthy, a routine bimanual exam is not supported by medical evidence, increases the costs of medical care and discourages some women, especially adolescents, from seeing doctors.

Read more here: http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2013/05/06/4025967/are-pelvic-exams-always-needed.html##storylink=cpy