VoxHumana

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I have been reading the posts on SDN for the past several months and I have decided to finally join. The sense of community it gives during this whole crazy process has been fantastic.

I need advice from my fellow doctors to be brethren...
I am applied this year for the class of 2009 Medical school, I was very fortunate to be accepted. I have been accepted at several schools in Chicago (my home state).
Currenlty, I am 33, non-traditional applicant. I have background in public policy, masters in neuroscience, and I am currently Program Director for a grant funded program at Harvard that does both direct service/public policy. I know I want to be a doctor.
But this has been a very challenging year. I have struggle with my mother's illnes (bipolar/manic depression) while in grad school. She is stabilized now and fine. But this year my father lost his job and has been diagnosed wtih Alzheimer's. They are both 66 years old. He has been degenerating very quickly, he's lost his executive functions. The doctor he believes he's one of those rate cases where, since he's been afflicted at a much younger age, he is progressing much more rapidly. They are both in Chicago.
Financially, I have been trying to sort things out. My dad did not prepare for retirement, no disability insurance. So my sister and I have been paying their mortgage, and until we touch the small amoutn in the 401k.
We are immigrants, no family here...it's just been the four of us. I love my parents very much. Going into neurology, for many reasons including personal. I have been dating someone for the past 3 years, who is amazing, he's been there for me. So, that is coming to a head as well....since I will be leaving Boston. I only have been accepted into Chicago school thus far.
Dont' see changing anytime soon. Work is stressful, I am responsible for the writing grants, and if we dont' get a grant for next year, the program cannot go on.
So I feel overwhelmed, and worried I will be burned out before med school.

My sis is doc, doing her fellowship in GI now.

I don't know if I should defer. I really don't want to. This is my dream. I want to be physician. I am 33, so I don't want to put it off anymore. If I defer my it's not like it would a be a "year off", my drama will not end...my father's condition may get worse. BUt, I dont' want to 'screw up" med school.

For financial and family reasons, I will most likely attend UIC chicago campus. ARe they pretty supportive of their med students? I think I am very strong, I have managed to balance all this stuff in addition to working full time, and applying to medical school. I can work on a plan of action for next several months before school starts....

I know there is no right answer....but I was wondering...what people's experience or thoughts were...

My sis is supportive...she thinks I should not defer...she thinks I always put myself last...and i need to go...that there is not guarantee next year ill be drama free...she also says she can play a more supportive role next year....this year she could not as much....
 

PookieGirl

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My short advice: don't defer. Although you're dad just lost his job, your mom's mental illness, your dad's alzeimer's, and the need to address the future of your relationship will likely be there a year from now. If medicine is really what you want, it doesn't make sense to put it off for the sake of others, especially when it seems atleast in the case of your mom and dad that the support they need is longterm.
 

tomorrowgirl99

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This is a really hard situation. :( If it was just the parental situation, I would say not to defer because no matter how long you stay out of medical school, the problem will still be there and will ultimately get worse. However, overall, you sound very burned out. Maybe you should take some time to yourself or join relaxation classes. It may sound kooky, but they really help to lower stress.
 

tesla123

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For financial and family reasons, I will most likely attend UIC chicago campus. ARe they pretty supportive of their med students? I think I am very strong, I have managed to balance all this stuff in addition to working full time, and applying to medical school. I can work on a plan of action for next several months before school starts....

I know there is no right answer....but I was wondering...what people's experience or thoughts were...

My sis is supportive...she thinks I should not defer...she thinks I always put myself last...and i need to go...that there is not guarantee next year ill be drama free...she also says she can play a more supportive role next year....this year she could not as much....[/QUOTE]

There is support at UIC. I expressed similar concerns to Dean Girotti (I too have familial obligation to a handicapped sister) who explained that you can decompress and take time off if you need to; many students do it simply because the curriculum is so rigorous, so it does not have a negative impact on your record. You may want to speak with him about your situation as well.
Good luck :thumbup:
 

kc123

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What a tough situation -- my heart goes out to you. You sound like a very sensitive, compassionate person -- I am sure you will make the best decision. From the information you have provided, I would say don't defer. Meeting with the Dean at the school you plan to attend is a good idea. Like you say, this is your dream, and I don't think you should give that up or put it off. Med school is tough, but especially if you are living near your parents, I believe you will be able to do well in med school and provide a lot of support for your parents. That's not to say it will be easy. Also, for me, in the face of the difficult situations in my life, I have found school to be a real refuge -- I could throw myself into school, and find some comfort there, and the problems of my life would still be there once I emerged from the library. Everyone is different, but this was the case for me. If you are studying and happy in what you are doing, maybe you will be more fully able to be there for your dad. I'm really sorry -- it sounds like a heartwrenching time you are going through, but follow your heart, and you will do well. Your experiences will make you a better and more compassionate doctor in the end. Also, is there any chance your boyfriend would move to Chicago with you? I wish you a lot of luck. Let us know what you decide. Take good care.