Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Back on the Horse

I realize it has been four months since I've blogged.  I wasn't quite myself for a few months, and I wasn't quite comfortable sharing, and next thing I know its November, then December, and now January.  It's simply too easy to get out of the habit of blogging.  But the only way to get back in the habit is to jump right back in!  So here goes!

The last four months, the cliff notes version:

  • My family had another victory in their trials and tribulations in early August.  It's been wonderful to see the light back in my parents eyes, and see them enjoying life again.  It's been a huge weight off our shoulders, and I cannot praise God enough for being faithful to our prayers.
  • Due to the economy my contract work has somewhat dried up, so I've been looking for work since October without much luck.
  • I was absolutely worthless the months of September and October due to a little parasite growing in my belly.  I was sick (even with medication) and since we waited until November/December to share our news with family my poor mother, mother-in-law, and husband had to listen to my excessive whining and complaining.  Thank goodness by mid-November the sickness finally passed, but I found my body revealing our little secret!
  • Christmas was wonderful, probably the best I've had in years.  Nothing unusual about what we did, but for the first time in several years we did not have any major worries or illnesses hanging over our families heads!  Below is a picture of Mr. Dawkter and I on Christmas day.  
(We were pleasantly surprised that he got Christmas off!)
  • Mr. D is officially half way through his second year of residency (one of the hardest years for his specialty).  
  • I'm still somewhat looking for work, but realize that with a bambino due in April, most employers will not hire me at this point.  So I'm mainly browsing for part-time or work from home work.  I hope to resume the full-time job search in June or July.
And that's it in a nutshell!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Overheard at the gym...

Lady 1:   I heard it was your Birthday Maria!"
Lady 2:   Yes, sure is.
Lady 1:   Well, Feliz Navidad!
Lady 2:   (Smiles and nods) Thank you!

Okay, I don't know Spanish, but I am pretty sure that woman meant to say "feliz cumpleaƱos" rather than, "Merry Christmas."

Just made me giggle.

And on the topic of the gym, I would like to address to random (and separate) gym patrons...

1) No it is not a good idea to jump rope along the narrow three lane indoor track.  Those of us who are trying to run/walk/jog, are terrified that we are going to get whipped by your jump rope, which takes up two and a half of the three lanes.  Please jump rope in place, or around the basketball court, or somewhere where you are not in close proximity to others.  

2) I am not a doctor or nor do I have any basis for this assumption, but my guess is that your collection of converse hi-top sneakers which always match whatever workout outfit you are wearing each day, are not necessarily supportive or meant for jogging or working out.  Although you look very stylish and color coordinated, I cringe as I watch you work out in those things.  What do I know though?

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

No News is Good News?

So we're almost two months into PGY-2, and surprisingly I haven't had much to say.  I guess that's because things are surprisingly unremarkable.  Although I think that is a good thing.  In general when things are harder, more difficult, I have more to write about (read: vent, complain).  But surprisingly, things haven't been that bad.  I guess our motto of "expect the worst, hope for the best," has somewhat prepared me for this year.

I was really expecting it to be a. lot. worse.  And I must admit, as I type this, continue to delete and retype.  I'm afraid I am speaking too soon.  I fear that if share at how "easy" this year has turned out to be, I will end up regretting my words.

But, here goes nothing.

I cannot help but feel totally, ridiculously, lucky and blessed.  There are a number of things that have allowed this PGY-2 to be much, much, more bearable than expected.

First there is Stanley, my hubby's wonderful co-resident.  At Mr. D's program they alternate the amount of residents they match into his specialty, some years they take one, some years they take two. We were lucky not only to match into a year with two, but I also feel like we won the lotto with his co-resident.  Seriously, I love this guy.  Why does this matter?  Well honestly, your co-resident has the ability to make your experience very smooth, or absolute hell.  And Stanley, is not only smart and hardworking, but he is also loyal and a team player.  He and Mr. D seem to get along really well, work well together, look out for each other, and help each other out.  I know this is what you reasonably should expect from a co-resident, but realistically, it's not always what you get.  Since you have no control over who you match with you could end up with someone who is slow, or lazy, or less intelligent, or selfish, or so competitive that they will take any and every opportunity to throw you under the bus.  And thankfully, Stanley is none of those things.  

Oh and the alternative is not having a co-resident, which can also be challenging because you don't have someone to share the work with.

And since only one resident graduated, and there are two PGY-2s, that adds one extra body to the team.  (PGY-1s rotate through other services and aren't in the call pool).

Secondly, we got an extra resident back this year, as he was cross-country doing his research year.  That adds another body to the team.  

And thirdly, we got a new resident transferred into the program.  This is somewhat unusual and hard to get approved.  They had been trying to get this resident all last year, so I didn't believe it was going to happen.  If you're still following that adds three working bodies the team/service.

Three extra people.  Do you know how much three extra people helps a service of under a dozen residents?  Let me say it makes a huge difference.  Mind you they all still work ridiculously hard, but I can't help but think that I get to see my husband more than the wife of last year's PGY2.  

Instead of having Q3 call (every third night), Mr. D only has call every fifth or sixth night.  I cannot express to you how amazing that it.  It means my husband being home a lot more evenings!  (Even if it only means him home for dinner and to sleep!)

So although I have days where I am frustrated because I really miss Mr. D.  I cannot help but feel guilty for those feelings knowing that I have it a lot better than other significant others in other years/specialties/programs.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

There will be good weeks

and there will be bad weeks.  

We are currently in a "bad" week.  It just happens, some days there are more patients, consults, emergencies, surgeries, and whatnot causing a medical service to be busier than usual.  For some reason, whether it be the weather, the moon, the time of year, or the forces that be, this last week Mr. D's service seems to be very busy.  

Earlier this evening, I got a text saying he was about to sign out and I thought,

"Sweet!  Finally, an early night!" 

But the doctor spoke too soon. Who knows what it was, but something came up, and so I was updated that, 

"It will be a while longer."  

At that point I decided to eat dinner by myself.  And thank goodness I did, because an hour later I got another text saying, 

"Sorry, it's gonna be another hour."

But duty calls, and he obviously is doing something important.  So I'll just hope, that maybe, just maybe we'll get to have dinner together tomorrow night, or maybe the next night.  Eventually it will happen!

Now to be completely fair, I really cannot complain, as the first two weeks of this month were great.  Really great.  We had dinner together every night, and he had several days off.  But unfortunately, it goes in cycles, and some weeks are better than others.  This past week has just been a bad week, as he hasn't had a day off (except being post-call) and there have been many late nights, and extremely busy call nights.  (Meaning he has needed to sleep during his little time home, so we really haven't had much waking time together.)  But so is the life of residency.  I know if we can just get through the next week (or so), his schedule should lighten up, again, and he'll have a few days off. 

I may never like it, but I can only hope that eventually I'll get used to this crazy and unpredictable schedule.  

Again, I really can't complain, as it could be so. much. worse.  But I guess I realize how much I was spoiled by the first two "good" weeks of PGY2!

Monday, July 4, 2011


Already? I can hardly believe we've completed Intern year!  

One year down, (at least) six more to go!  

Just like last year, this July 1st, I again woke up hours before the sunrise on Mr. D's "first day" to make sure I could capture a photo.  And similar to last year he was telling me to "hurry-up," as I pressed his patience, repeatedly asking for "just one more." He tends to blink, and it takes several shots to get a good one in.  
I was sure to remind him that "You'll thank me one day, when you have seven of these photos to look back on as you graduate."  
"I know, I know," he muttered as he rushed off to his first morning of rounds as a PGY-2.  

Here he is, day 1 of 365 of PGY-2. 

For a comparison you can see day 1 of PGY-1, here.  

Note this year he is in scrubs as he was working the floor his first day.  This is because they alternate between working in clinic seeing patients (dressed up and wearing their white coats) and working on their department floor in the hospital (wearing scrubs).  

Also note that we finally have pictures on the wall, and we painted our trim white (it was taken in the exact same place of our house).  Maybe next year we'll actually have the walls painted?   

Monday, June 27, 2011

Summer Vacation 2011

For Mr. D's last vacation of intern year, I wanted to make sure we took some time to actually get away since it will be several months before he has more than a day or two off in a row.  Unfortunately money is extremely tight so I tried to plan a low key, budget friendly getaway in the midwest.  With some suggestions from friends and family I was able to plan a very fun few days!

We started our trip meeting with our good friends (Mr. Dawkter's cousin and wife) at Starved Rock in Utica, Illinois.  We had a delicious picnic lunch and then hiked the afternoon through the park.

We had a perfect day for it!  The weather was in the low 70s which was perfect for hiking!
Jake and Lindsay

It was absolutely beautiful!

Although I had never been there before, it isn't too far from where Mr. Dawkter grew up, so we had a nice dinner that night with his parents and Grandma.

After that we headed north, up to Lake Geneva, Wisconsin.  Personally I love Wisconsin, but Mr. D being a devout Chicago sports fan, has a serious negative association with the state due to the intense sports rivalry (in football in particular).  As a result I've never been able to convince Mr. D that we should tour or sight see in the wonderful state of Wisconsin.  I'm not sure why he was suddenly open to it, but I think he's changed his mind!

We stayed two nights in Lake Geneva.  One night at generous family friends' place, and the other at a hotel on the lake.  The first day we got there we walked along the lakeshore, looking at all the beautiful homes.  That night we went to dinner near big foot beach, where we had a beautiful view of the sunset.

During our second day there we rented a double kayak from a place right across from our hotel.

Although we rented the kayak for two hours, we only lasted about an hour and forty minutes.  We also walked around and checked out the shops, and had dinner at the local favorite Popeyes.

The fountain in front of the Rivera

After that we continued north up to Cedarberg, Wisconsin.  We were a little bummed because our first day was rainy and dreary.  We tried to stay dry by checking out many of the cute little shops, and even took a tour of the local Cedar Creek Winery
One of the stairways at the settlement shops

Just outside the Cedar Creek Winery

That night we walked to dinner went to dinner at a delicious pub called the Anvil.  They had me sold when I saw pesto mozzarella sticks on the menu!

We stayed overnight at an adorable bed and breakfast called the Stage Coach Inn.  

A few things we enjoyed about the Inn were: 

  • Each bedroom had its own bathroom
  • In the evenings they had a free wine and root beer social in the little pub on the main floor where you could check out menus from the local restaurants
  • They served a delicious breakfast of fresh fruit, pastries, muffins, cereal, yogurt, coffee and tea
  • The the staff was incredibly friendly and helpful
  • There was a little candy shop on the main floor
  • The Inn gave us a coupon for a discount on bike rental and a free lunch at one of the local cafes for renting the bikes.
Thank goodness the rain cleared up for our second day in Cedarberg.  The beautiful weather allowed us to take some pictures around the precious little town.

Outside the Cedar Creek Winery

After getting a few pictures, we rented bicycles from the local bike shop.  For roughly $45 we got two reusable water bottles (to keep), two bicycles for four hours, and a coupon for a free lunch at a local cafe.  

Mr. Dawkter and I have cheap (crappy) bikes, so we really enjoyed renting and riding the "fancy" Schwinn bikes up to Port Washington, WI.  


The beach and the view of Lake Michigan was absolutely beautiful!

When we got back to Cedarberg, we grabbed our free (and delicious) lunch, a cup of coffee, some gelato and went to check out the covered bridge on our way out of town.  

After leaving Cedarberg, we took our time getting home, spending one more night on the road before returning to reality.
It was our first vacation (other than our honeymoon) that we spent somewhere other than Florida, and we had a wonderful time!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Home Sweet Home

Mr. D and I just got back from our summer vacation.  It was our last extended period of time together before he starts the dreaded PGY-2*.  In my husbands specialty second year is one of the more difficult years (although not the most difficult year, it probably involves the biggest adjustment as it the hours and responsibility increase from this past intern year).
The past twelve months have flown by, I can hardly believe we moved here just over a year ago.  But every time we return home from a long weekend or a vacation, I am always reminded how this place feels like home.  I am so thankful for how this new place has so naturally, so seamlessly become our home. Everything about it seems so perfect and so right.
Since Mr. D and I met (six years ago) between the two of us we have had ten different addresses in eight different towns!  And no place has made me so happy as where we are now.  And  although I know we have (at least) six rough years of residency ahead of us, I can honestly say there is no where I would rather be!

I love it here, it's home.

*PGY = Post Graduate Year (residency/fellowship)

Friday, June 3, 2011

On the Eve of PGY2...

Yes, I've been gone; Missing In Action. 
(Here is my attempt to fill in the gaps for the past several months.)

March was hard.  

Very hard.  Probably even harder than last March (when I made myself crazy worrying about match).  If you remember my family and I were enduring a storm, and March was a turning point for us, we were waiting for the forecast. We would either be enduring months of more rain or we would finally get some relief in the form of a rainbow.  So in March, I was consumed with the turn of events and simply put, I was an absolute mess.  

But turns out we got our rainbow.  God faithfully answered our prayers. The sun is now shining on my family, and while we are still expecting a few lingering showers, we have made it out of that storm, stronger and closer than ever.  

And to be honest, April was still a little tough because even though I had gotten my wish, our prayers had been answered, I still felt bruised and broken.  I didn't understand why I was still hurt, I had expected the pain to all vanish as quickly as it had appeared.  I really struggled with being unable to bounce back to my prior self.  But with time, the pain and anger has faded, and I finally feel like a normal human being again.

But I have since struggled with how to get back to blogging.  Its hard to return to something when you have gotten out of the habit.  

When I was going through the storm with my family, it was not something I could share publicly.  It was also something in which I felt like I was constantly going out of my mind.  The turn of events were so unreal, I had trouble even putting them in writing for myself.  I just couldn't wrap my head around it all.  

But as we are wrapping up intern year, and I see the difficulties and challenges of PGY2* on the horizon, I realize I need to get back in the habit of blogging.  Writing has been my therapy the past several years (until recently of course).  And I lost that outlet.  

I know the next few months are going to be a difficult transition, as Mr. Dawkter takes on longer hours and greater responsibilities as a second year resident. I know I need to return to blogging as it is so therapeutic to share my frustrations, fears and laughs as we continue our journey through medical training.  Not to mention I will have a lot more time on my hands, and Mr. D will be spending the majority of his time at the hospital!

So while I've had a major leave of absence, hopefully I am back for good now.  

*PGY2 - stands for Post Graduate Year 2 (second year of residency or second year out of medical school)

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Snow-ly Cow!

That would be our grill, patio table, and chairs in our back yard! Luckily despite the massive storm, we did not lose power, and Mr. Dawkter was able to get safely to and from the hospital this week. 

I hope all of you that were effected by this week's storm were able to say safe and warm!
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Sunday, January 23, 2011

Embracing 2011

Last New Year's I was such a mess, I didn't even think about resolutions or goals.  With the anticipation of Match, and not knowing where we would end up, I was consumed by my fear of the unknown.  I was such a ball of nerves I could not even comprehend setting any resolutions, I just wanted to try and function without having meltdowns every day.  I know it sounds extreme, but I am a major control freak, and the concept of having no control over where we would end up was absolutely killing me. 

Anyways, needless to say, what a difference a year makes! I am in a totally different place (literally and emotionally), and therefore I wanted to set out to accomplish some goals for 2011.  And I know I know its already late January, but I did make this list, before, I just haven't gotten around to blogging about it.  And my point in putting it in writing is to keep me somewhat accountable and to document my progress. 

My goals for 2011 are the following:
  • Reach lifetime goal with Weight Watchers (by some small Christmas miracle I made my goal weight just after Christmas)
  • Run a half marathon (I've already signed up for one in May!)
  • Not sweat the small stuff
  • Be more organized
as well as accomplish the following daunting tasks, many which have only gotten larger and more intimidating as time passes:
  • Clean and organize my desk and around my desk
  • Clean and organize the file cabinet
  • Organize the office (with Mr. Dawkter's help)
  • Finish Mr. Dawkter's match scrapbook
  • Upload all old pictures to my computer
  • Make photobooks for 2005-2010
  • Organize our basement
  • Organize the guest room closet
The reason I want to do the above tasks this year is because I know that Mr. D will have a lighter schedule the next 5 months so I want to take advantage of his help, and get a little more organized before second year starts.  Once July rolls around, I expect his hours to be long and crazy (for the next six years), so we might as well try and be organized before the chaos begins. 

I've also become totally overwhelmed by all the digital photos I have.  I absolutely love taking pictures, but lately I find myself not wanting to take any because I know I am soooo behind in organizing all of them.  I know if I can get the pictures in files on my computer, and ideally in photobooks, it won't be as overwhelming to maintain all of the memories.  But for now, knowing I am years behind, just makes me want to stop taking pictures altogether!

So far I haven't gotten very far anywhere in the project department, (I just got back from Florida last week), but I have gotten up to six miles in terms of training for my half marathon!  (That's the farthest I've ever run in my life).  In order to try and be ready for the half marathon in May, I was shooting for 6 months by the end of January, 9 months, by the end of February, and 12 months by the end of March, which gives me an extra month in case I hit a hurdle or plateau along the way.

Happy (belated) New Year! 

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Happy Birthday to Me

Greetings from paradise, I'm spending my 28th Birthday in sunny Florida. I've been spending the week with my mother, mother-in-law, sister-in-law, and nephew (Poulet).
The poor doctor is at home working in the frigid midwest! But don't feel too sorry for him, we'll be coming back down together next month!
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Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Christmas 2010

I hope you all had a wonderful holiday with your family, and friends, and that everyone had safe travels.  The doctor and I had an absolutely wonderful Christmas. 

Mr. D's program is organized so that the residents either get 4 days off for Christmas or 4 days off for New Years.  He was extremely lucky, because despite being low-man on the totum pole (an intern) he got his break over Christmas.  We tried to appreciate every moment, because I don't know if we'll be so lucky the next several years!

We had a wonderful time spending time with family, laughing, eating and relaxing. 

It was a much different Christmas from last year.  I seem to have tried to forget last Christmas until Mr. Dawkter reminded me of some of the events.  Not only was I uptight last year (stressed with the upcoming match), my head just wasn't in the right place because I was so worried about where we would be next Christmas, and whether or not we would even be able to celebrate with family.  Having a worried state of mind coupled with my uncle and cousin getting into a wrestling match, and my uncle making two of my Aunts cry (on Christmas Eve), waking up to strep throat and going to the E.R. on Christmas morning, and then on our drive home sliding on an icy road into a construction barrier and then into a ditch made last Christmas not exactly one I want to remember.  

Looking back we have been beyond blessed, as doc matched at a program in the midwest, which was pretty high on his list, and also gives residents four days off either for Christmas or New Years.  This is such a relief because it means that we should be able to see family around the holidays, regardless of whether it is on Christmas or not. 

This Christmas, was much lighter, more uneventful (thank goodness), and I embraced the fact that we are with a program that will allow us to be with our families on the holidays. 

Not to mention the doctor and I got some pretty great presents too!  We both got fabulous North Face coats to keep us warm this winter. I got some boots, an apron, and a Vera Bradley bag, to name a few things.  Mr. D got some medical tools (a pen light, and one of those reflex hammers) and some much needed, underwear, clothes, and belts.

Hope you all had a wonderful Christmas as well! 

Monday, December 20, 2010

Bathroom renovation

So the bathroom is just about finished - just need to put the trim back up, put down a threshold and touch up a few spots with paint. 

So here it is BEFORE (when we first moved in). 
Note the plastic fake-wood trim around the shower door.  That didn't last very long before I ripped it off.

Then here is a picture after some of the demolition had begun (you can see in the mirror of the shower door that the medicine cabinet has been torn out).


The very functional, but not-so-attractive light

Old mirror


Tile floor




And..... ta da! 
Our updated bathroom (a.k.a. "our vacation/reno-cation")
designed by myself, and done by Mr. D with the help of his cousin Jake, his Dad, and my cousin's hubby John (Thanks guys)!

New shower curtain

I'm so proud of my husband, he has never done tile floor before but he did such a great job!

The pretty shower curtain and tile (trim will be put up eventually)

The "over-the-john" which provides additional storage

The new, more attractive bathroom light!

I love the granite countertop!

Another view of the vanity

The awesome custom mirror Jake made us!

and yes that is an outdated intercom, which will be updated eventually, but it's not in the budget right now!  Above the intercom used to be a small medicine cabinet, and a hotel hair dryer; again functional, but not-so-attractive!)

I absolutely love how the bathroom turned out!  It makes me want to re-do our master bathroom and our kitchen, but there is simply no money to do so.  Hopefully in due time we will be able to make additional updates, but for now, this will have to do!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Christmas cookies!

This is seriously the funniest Christmas cookie I've ever seen! (Thanks Joyce! They look so pretty I almost don't want to eat them!)
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Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Best three syllable word:


Yep, a few weeks ago (yes, I'm behind) was Mr. Dawkter's first vacation of residency; and it was wonderful! Mr. D's hospital gives him three weeks off a year, and this first vacation couldn't come soon enough! I had been missing my husband like crazy! Our vacation wasn't really much of a vacation however; it was more of a "stay-cation" or "reno-cation" because we stayed home and Mr. D renovated our guest bathroom.

Just so you know, the bathroom project was not my idea - it was doc's idea. He thought, "why don't I re-do the bathroom on my vacation." And shortly after he suggested it, there was a fantastic sale going on at the home improvement store. And so the project began.

With the help of Mr. D's cousin, and my father-in-law, the demolition was done prior to vacation week, so that his time off was spent on reconstruction. Although D didn't have any experience, with the help of his Dad and his cousin, he was able to redo our flooring, vanity, patch the walls, and give us an entirely new bathroom (with the exception of the bathtub).

Mr. D's cousin also made us a custom mirror for the bathroom. He just finished the mirror this weekend so all that is left is to hang the mirror and over-the-john. I'll post some before and after pics once the bathroom is complete.

While I absolutely love our new bathroom, I will say that it will be our first and last big DIY project. As Mr. Dawkter's vacation was coming to an end we both had some feelings of "It's over already? We didn't even do anything fun!" As a result we had some regrets, but did spend his last day of vacation having fun around town, shopping, and going out to eat. We have since decided that all future vacations will not be spent working. Our next vacation is not too far away (February) and it will be spent relaxing in a warm climate!
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