Sunday, March 27, 2011


3:46 AM


I watch the clock as it changes.

3:47 AM

I lay between them.

My husband to my left and my dog to my right.

The silence is broken by simultaneous snores.

It's like a band - an orchestra.

3:48 AM

I look over at my husband.

He sleeps peacefully.

I run my hands over his back.

"Remember this," I think.

Soon the band will be a solo.

Just me and the dog.

One snore.

At least while I'm awake.

3:49 AM

I close my eyes.

I listen to the music of my family.

I try to imprint it deep into my brain.

This moment.
This sound.
This warmth.
This love.

I smile and I drift off to sleep.

3:50 AM

Three snores.

Friday, March 25, 2011


I may not be blogging very much over the next week or two - please bear with me.  I'm trying to cherish those last moments before my husband leaves. 

I did want to share this incredibly inspiring blog post.  Click here, sit back, and prepare to be moved to tears.

Thanks to Consider the Lilies for sharing this.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Murphy's Law of Deployment

Everyone keeps telling me about this little phenomenon called the Murphy's Law of Deployment.  In essence, everything in your life spontaneously combusts as soon as your spouse deploys overseas.  I've heard stories about flooded basements, broken heating systems, rodent invasions, flat tires, sick children, pet emergencies, chimney fires, and so on.  I figure this is the one benefit to renting - I always have a landlord to call about anything regarding the apartment.  I keep joking that since I rent, all the karma will probably just shift over to my car.

Well, Murphy was listening AND listening early.

My car is now at the dealership after it began making an EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE sound every time I stepped on the accelerator.  Turns out, this isn't good.  Actually, it's really really bad.

Recommendation: Don't buy a car with turbo.  It will inevitably break and it's nauseatingly expensive to replace.

I'm not sure whether to take this as a good sign or a bad sign. If I was thinking positively, I would say that this major car failure snuck itself in right before my husband left.  Phew.  Murphy (whoever he/she may be) decided to do me the favor of having this occur while he was still home.

The negative view would be that this is just a small taste of what's yet to come.

Please pray for me.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

It's a Match!

Just a quick update - I matched with my first choice residency program!!!!!!!!!!

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

The Match

I am sitting in my apartment on the eve of the most important day in my medical education.

Match Day.

Let me explain: 

"The Match" is the way in which all fourth year medical students secure a spot in a residency program.  It's a long and arduous process that culminates in one day: Match Day.

It's the day we learn whether all of our hard work paid off.  It's the day we find out if we will move to our desired part of the country.  It's the day we find out if we get to stay in the city in which our family lives, our children go to school, or our husband works.  It's the day we learn whether we get to go to that amazing program.

It's a HUGE day.

Every fall, medical students apply to multiple programs in their specialty of choice.  They either get interview offers or they don't.  After they are done with the interview season, each medical student makes a "rank list" of all the programs at which he or she interviewed (#1, #2, #3 etc in order of preference).  The programs similarly rank all the applicants that they interviewed.

Then some little gnome in some alternate computer universe runs some elaborate algorithm that "matches" each applicant with his or her future program.  Sometimes we think it's just someone throwing darts at a wall, but apparently there is a system.  Thankfully, it is biased to the preference of the applicant.  Let's say I rank Program A my #1 and Program B my #2.  Even if Program A ranks me #7 and Program B ranks me #1, I will still get matched to Program A (unless all the spots have been taken by other students ranked higher than me).  Understand?  It's ok...most of us don't either.  We just put faith in the system and hold our breathes.

The catch is that the program you get matched with is the program that you are stuck with. Do not pass go. Final answer. That's it. It is a legally binding contract. You have no choice.

This makes Match Day even more exciting.

Match Day is always the third Thursday in March.  Every fourth year medical student in the country finds out where they will be going at noon EST.

This year it coincidentally falls on St. Patrick's Day.
I'm hoping this brings a lot of luck, especially since I married an Irish guy.  It will definitely help with the celebration.

So, tomorrow at noon I will enter a large room on campus and a Dean will hand me an envelope.  Sealed inside? My fate.

Wish me luck!!!!  I'll try to post a short update tomorrow but I make no guarantees.  Come on, it's Match Day and St. Patrick's Day.....

(PS - You may have the question: What if you don't match?  Well, then you enter the "Scramble." Do you really want me to explain that one??)

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Deployment Party Success

For the past several weeks I have been a part-time party planner.  My husband is leaving quite soon and we felt that it was important to send him off in style.  I know that having a deployment send-off party isn't exactly a universally desired event, but my husband really wanted to have one.  He has fond memories (or should I say lack of memories?) of his previous deployment party and it was meaningful to have his friends and family get together before he left. We did not want any old party for this deployment - we wanted to have a PARTY.

I experienced nothing but generosity and support during the planning process.  I rented out an American Legion Hall because we were anticipating a large number of people and wanted to have space to socialize.  The American Legion gave us the hall for a minimal fee (because of the nature of the event).  We hired one of my husband's old high school classmates as a DJ for the event.  He gave us a great deal and he was wonderful.  For food, I called a local bar and explained that my husband is a firefighter in town and is deploying overseas.  The manager dropped the catering menu off at my house, told me not to look at the prices listed, and ended up giving me the most ridiculous discount on food for 125 people.  Family and friends supplemented with some pot luck as well.

Even amidst all this generosity, I never expected the email that I received late one evening.  Tears filled my eyes as I read that the union and relief association from my husband's fire department wanted to give me a check to help pay for the party. 


I was and still am speechless about this.  I was able to do so much more with this party than I had ever imagined.  During a time when we are feeling particularly strapped financially, I was able to throw a huge event with minimal out of pocket expenses.

The party was absolutely fantastic.  There were so many people there and it really warmed my heart.  Everyone ate, drank, danced, and socialized.  It was exactly what we wanted it to be - a celebration. 

I set up a table where guests could write a note to my husband - words of encouragement, jokes, stories, or whatever they wanted to write.  I promised not to read them (they are sealed in envelopes) and I will be mailing these to him periodically throughout the year.  This was a big hit and I have a stack of notes just waiting to be sent overseas. 

I wasn't sure if I would feel sad during the party but I actually didn't. In truth, I felt incredibly and overwhelmingly happy.  I felt so grateful for the presence of my family and friends and the love of my husband.  I cannot tell you how many times people hugged me, told me that they were there for me, and offered to help me through the year.  I swear that every firefighter in attendance instructed me to never hire a plumber, an electrician, or a handyman and to just call the fire station for help with any problem.  This made me feel safe and I think it made my husband and my parents feel relieved as well. 

I am so blessed.

I've spent the weekend nursing a hangover but it was worth it! 

Now I just have to start thinking about the homecoming party ;)

Thursday, March 10, 2011

The Conversation

Yesterday my husband and I had the conversation.   

I'm talking about the "end of life" conversation.

Have you had one? Please do.

Deployment forces it upon you but it's a conversation that everyone should have and it's easier than you think.  We ended our conversation with tears but it was worth it.  I learned some things that I never would have known if I hadn't asked.  For instance, I had no idea that my husband wants to be cremated.

Clearly, no one wants to talk about death.  It's something that we all desperately try to avoid. We push it back into the far depths of our brains and never dare utter a word for fear that talking about it will make it come true.  In truth, death is a part of life and we should all have control over our own lives. 

God forbid anything suddenly happens to you.  Making your wishes known is so incredibly important so that your health care providers can treat you in the way that you would choose.  Also, understanding how your loved ones feel allows you to make easy decisions regarding their care.  It avoids conflict, guilt, pain, and uncertainty.   

Do you know what you would want if you were on life support with virtually no chance of a productive life?  10% chance of recovery? 40%? 70%? Would you want everything done or not?
How do you feel about feeding tubes? How do you feel about dialysis? Blood transfusions? Chemotherapy when you will likely die anyway? What does "quality of life" mean to you?
Do you want to be an organ donor?  What about donating to education? Are there specific organs you wouldn't want donated?
Do you want to be buried or cremated or both?
What do you want for a funeral?

Do your loved ones know how you feel about these things?
Do you know how they feel?

Do you have a health care proxy? We should ALL have one.  It doesn't matter if you are young, old, sick or healthy.  If you are an adult, you should have a health care proxy.

What is a health care proxy?  
A health care proxy is a person that you designate to make health care decisions for you if you are unable to do so yourself.  It only takes effect if you are somehow incapacitated and cannot make your own health care decisions.  This person will make any necessary decisions regarding your care and they will do so in a way that respects your wishes.

Who should I choose?  
You should choose someone that you trust to make decisions based on your beliefs and not their own.  It should be someone that you feel comfortable talking to about these issues.  People usually choose their spouse, parents, children, siblings, or sometimes a close friend.  Sometimes people even pick their lawyer. To avoid conflict (and Terry Schiavo situations), pick just one person.  You can name others as back-ups if your health care proxy is unavailable.

How do I get one?
It varies a little by state but you don't even need a lawyer to get one.  All you need to do take a little time to think about what you want for yourself, download your state form off the internet, fill it out, and have some witnesses sign it.   Importantly, talk to your designated health care proxy about your wishes and let them know how you feel about different situations.

That's it. It's easy.  I dare you.

Talk about it.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Different Perspectives

There are so many paths that we all take in our military-affiliated lives.  Some of us are Army spouses. Some are Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard, or Marines. Some are Active duty and some are Reserves or National guard.  There are girlfriends among us and spouses who service members themselves.  There are Wounded Warrior spouses and Gold Star spouses.  It goes on and on. We all have different and valuable perspectives on this crazy life.

To Love a Soldier  recently added a "Different Perspectives" tab to her blog.  She highlights military spouse/girlfriend bloggers from all the various lifestyles.  Her goal is to help people find others with whom they can relate and connect.

She so kindly listed my blog for the Reserve/Guard spouse category.  Go check it out - she has an amazing blog over there!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

This Life

I didn't choose this life.
This life chose me.

A man walked into my life.
He just walked in.
He was kind.
He was strong.
He was funny.
He was sexy.
He was right.

I did not sign up for this.
He signed up for this.
I just fell in love.

I fell into a life of sacrifice and compromise.
A life of worry and fear.
But I fell into a life of friendship and support.
A life of respect, love, and affection.

I just fell.

I didn't choose this life.
This life chose me.

But if you ask me to choose,
I choose this life.