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Why I Would Advise A Non-Trad Not To Go To Med School

Discussion in 'Nontraditional Students' started by Mr. Hat, Aug 7, 2011.

  1. Mr. Hat

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    Let me state flat out that I regret my decision to go to medical school. I actually love the subject matter, the work, and the people. But I hate what it has done to my family. I'm a non-trad, married with kids. Spent 4 years working full-time through undergrad, applied and got in, and am now a third year. My wife got sick of me being gone all the time and had an affair. I scarcely give my kids the time they need, and when I do I'm often so tired that I can't keep up with their energy level. And forget about me being able to provide fun things like vacations and dinners out for my wife and kids, much less hardly the things they need.

    Now many will answer by saying, "This may all be true, but in another 5 or 6 years you'll be making amazing money at a stable job". This is true. And assuming I am by some miracle still married, and assuming my kids aren't in prison because their dad was never around, we should have a pretty killer lifestyle. (Let's just say I ain't going into General Surgery or Family Medicine). But so what? How does that compensate for what my family is missing out on now? What they will end up having missed out on FOR 11 OR 12 YEARS!!!!

    Let me put it to you this way: Pretend there was a career out there which paid 20 million dollars a year and had 100% job security. But say it also required a full 30 years of training, 100 hours a week. 30 years of living on loans, dirt poor, and working insane numbers of hours. Would you do it? I doubt many of you would say yes. But why not? Heck, even though you wouldn't start your career until like age 60, you could work for just 5 years and make 100 million dollars and retire in insane luxury. So why wouldn't you do it? Why would I definitely not do it? BECAUSE NO MATTER HOW GREAT THE BENEFITS AT THE END MIGHT BE, THE SACRIFICE WOULD JUST NOT BE WORTH IT. Raising your kids in poverty, never seeing them, losing your marriage..... not worth it. So you could give each of your kids $20 million bucks when they were in their 40's. Still not worth it.

    So apply that to medicine. Sure you'll make good bucks. Sure you'll work nice hours eventually (if you're smart about it). But at what cost? Are you OK with your kids spending 2/3 of their childhood not seeing you enough and living at poverty level? Are you OK with the real possibility that your marriage will fall apart? Believe me, my wife is the last person anyone would have expected this from. Go back and read Panda Bear MD's stuff. I always thought it sounded like as bad as the process was, his family would make it. And look what happened. No one is immune, and if you want to take the risk fine, but don't kid yourself into thinking it couldn't happen to you.

    I only need to look next door to understand my mistake. My neighbor is an electrician, he'll probably never make over 50 or 60 K. But he comes home every afternoon and never works a weekend. He can frequently, so I am told, be seen in his yard playing ball with his kids. Never misses a t-ball game, never misses a birthday, never has to explain to his family why something else is, or at least seems, more important than them. He takes his family on a trip every summer. On occasion he buys nice steaks and throws them on the grill. He is saving for retirement, and paying down his mortgage. He has time to exercise and isn't killing his body. Money isn't everything. Having a "noble career" isn't everything. In the end, his kids might not live in a huge house or travel all over when they are 15. But they will have had their dad. They will have thousands of fond memories. They will have had a great childhood.

    If you absolutely have to do it, do it. Don't get me wrong. Medicine is interesting. I love my patients, I love those I work with. But I love my family even more and I have failed them. Ask yourself if the sacrifice is worth it. Will you be happier making $250K in 12 years when your kids are all but grown, than you would be making $60K as a nurse or $100K as a PA but getting to be with your family? It's something to think about. I wish I had.

    In the end I will finish because I'm 5-6 years away at this point, am in tons of debt, and would spend a few years training to do something else anyway. But if I had it to do over, I'd choose my family. Just something to think about. Best of luck in whatever you decide to do.
     
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  3. TriagePreMed

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    Thank you for this post. I feel fortunate being a single man with no kids. I really wouldn't go into this line of work if I had a wife and kids. My best estimate is that I'll be 33 by the time I graduate. Maybe I can get married then and have some kids. Even if I sacrifice during 2-3 years, I'll be there for most of their childhood. This is indeed one of the best posts for someone in your situation.
     
  4. n3xa

    n3xa "the anchor"
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    I don't have a family of my own, but your point about family/marriage was one of the many things I thought about before jumping into this. I'm sorry to hear about what medicine is costing you, but I'm glad you took the time to share it with us pre-meds.
     
  5. dotdash

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    I was so sad to read your post, OP. My kids were 5 and 8 when my husband started med school and you are right, it was and is hard. We often talk about whether, if we had known then what we know now, we would make the same decision. Sometimes I think yes, sometimes I think no. But as you say, going back at this point could be worse.

    The trouble is that it's hard to measure and fully account for all the lonely nights, missed tball games, missed family meals, financial stress -- hard to weigh all that stuff against the drive to do good, to achieve, to make a fulfilling future life. There are not many who look at that decision and back down from medical school. Maybe you are right, maybe there should be more. I don't know.

    I think my husband and I are going to make it, but there are black moments when I'm not so sure about that. I hope your post was written in one of those black moments and that there are white moments when the good sides of the situation rise into view.

    On the plus side, life is long and your kids will be your kids your whole life. All you can do is work from this moment forward to keep your family together.

    p.s. One thing for sure: look carefully into the residency program you choose, whatever the specialty. Talk to older residents with kids about their experiences, because residencies vary tremendously in terms of how family friendly they are. They might not express it that way, but there are characteristics of programs that will not be family friendly. Small ones, for instance, where if one resident quits, everyone else's work will double.
     
  6. yankswin2011

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    Sorry to hear about your experience.

    For the reasons you articulated, going to medical school AFTER you got married and have kids only makes sense if (a) you're independently wealthy, or (b) your spouse makes a good living -- generally the husband makes good money and the wife can pursue her dream of becoming a doctor (very rare the other way around for the reasons you articulated because very few wives are going to put up with living in poverty).
     
  7. rrt

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    I know this is going to sound harsh, and I by no means mean that way.

    I can hardly imagine her cheating on you being a direct effect of going to medical school. Did you talk to her about how hard it probably was going to be? What did she say when you had such talks. I firmly believe that if one person cheats in a relationship, they either have thought about doing it in the past, or are not fully committed.

    I was in the Army for about 6 years. Afghanistan, Iraq, and some shorter deployments that kept me away for ~ 6-8 months. I was with my now ex girlfriend at the time. The only reason she is an ex now, is because she decided to have an abortion when I was away due to her going through a mild depression. I would have picked being in a time intensive program any day vs. being 100% "away" when I was gone. Even now, I am in the reserves, we are expecting a baby (my fiance and I) and I am still aiming for Medical School in the next 3-4 years. Maybe the difference is that my fiance was on tract to go to Pharmacy school and stopped when she had her daughter previous to me. She knows first hand what it feels like to miss out on a dream because her spouse was not 100% supportive. She doesn't want me to go through that.

    That being said, I do believe it is important to make a relationship work while in it. It is HARD work. When I was on call or on duty with my unit's flight team (trauma transport) there were many nights I would only see my fiance 2-3 hours a day, and even during those hours one of us was usually busy getting ready for work (in the PM me, or AM her) or bed. When I had a schedule that demanded me to be up and ready at a moments notice, I found staying up while she slept was crucial to making "out time" feel as whole as I could. She works a day time job as a Pharmacy tech, so our schedules never match. Now that I do polysomnography, it helps a little, but I still find that I need to dedicate myself to building this relationship. You will find me doing things like bringing her a grilled cheese sandwich or taco while she is getting ready for work. I make sure to get in bed with her every night that I am home, even if I have to get up a few hours later to study, or just to keep my PM schedule on the ready.

    Why such a long story? Because if you really want it to work, and she is willing, then it will work. Now your eyes are open. What did she need that you weren't giving? Are you as a person, and as a medical student, able to give her those things?

    My best friend is now a doctor. He ate 5 meals a day, and worked out as much as he did when he participated in amateur bodybuilding competitions. He was lucky to go to a P/F school (I don't know much about if that is a good or bad thing yet as I am pre-med) and stated that he didn't care about graduating top of anything. He strived for above passing, and seemed to have time to stop by and watch my band play every now and then. He also met his now wife at my show during his 3rd year.

    You can do it buddy! If you want it to work out, all it takes is effort. Believe me, If I can make it through consecutive deployments (believe me, there were many "black hole" moments during them) you can make it through this. At the very least, your end goal is a good one. After war, regardless of how many awards I came home with, I at times doubted I did any good....

    -Ivan
     
  8. NCOldie

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    I don't think his wife was his only reason for wishing he hadn't gone through with it. He talked about his whole family...kids as well. My son makes me not want to go through with it. But, then again, he isn't even one year old yet. Perhaps it is different with younger kids? I am not sure. He will still be in elementary school (I think) when I actually get to practice. I don't know if I want to put myself through not seeing him often. I guess that's when I should train myself to have good QUALITY time with my son rather than focusing on not having an abundance of time together. Quality trumps quantity all the time.
    I have to agree about your wife cheating, though. Had she approached you about missing you? If she hadn't tried to hash out her feelings to you, and she basically cheated without trying to work on the relationship, then the relationship was not strong to begin with.
    Communication is a very strong key in relationships.
    I am so sorry you are feeling down, but you have made it this far. Don't blame going to medical school on your wife cheating on you.
    Focus on quality time with the ones you love.
     
  9. FrkyBgStok

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    And my wife and I have talked extensively about this. And my kids are excited for me to go to med school. I work a lot now but I make tiime for them, and plan on doing the same.

    My point is that I don't think I am immune, but for every story like this (and if true, I really am sorry) there are 5 stories of everything going as planned. I agree with a previous poster. Maybe there were other issues in your relationship. And saying I have to choose between medicine or my kids going to prison is overly dramatic and ridiculous.
     
  10. Mr. Hat

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    So long away from SDN, I had forgotten all about the joys of medical students (and residents/attendings) being lectured by pre-meds about what the world is really like.

    Buy it, don't buy it, I don't really care. I'm just sharing my story. Sure, my relationship probably eroded over time, and I probably ignored or missed many of the signs. That's what happens when you neglect it for 6 years, fail to put it in first place because you're working 40 hours a week while taking 15 credit hours, and then slogging through med school while continuing to work a shift every weekend. I don't pretend for a moment that it's not my fault. But that's my story. Come back in a few years and share yours, maybe it will be far better than mine. Maybe I am just one side of the dice. Maybe the other 5 sides are pretty sweet. Let us know.

    RRT, congrats on your baby. Nothing like being a father. Sounds like your fiance has a daughter already so you have some idea, but when it's your own.... it's like nothing else. Get ready for your life to change in ways you couldn't possibly imagine. Good and bad (but mostly good). Also get ready for your fiance to change in ways you couldn't possibly imagine. What a woman expects from a man who has fathered a child with her is vastly different than what she expected before.

    Best to all.
     
  11. MJB

    MJB Senior Member
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    Just playing devil's advocate...I'm a non-trad that worked in a very cush professional job in the animal health industry before giving it up to return to school (see the idealistic view of the electrician's life above, though my situation was probably even better) and I don't regret my decision to go to med school even one bit.

    I found that if I chose to, I had time to spend plenty of time with my wife, and when our child came 6 weeks early during 3rd year, I made time to make sure their needs were taken care of.

    Interestingly enough, I chose Family Med in part due to the lifestyle the specialty can afford a person, and I could have done just about anything.

    Granted, there will be times during residency where I don't have the freedom to spend time with family, but I had busy months at my previous job as well.

    Life is a series of choices, and you choose what to make of it, no matter the circumstances.

    Just thought I'd give a different perspective.
     
  12. Nate9862

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    I'm a pre-med, and this annoys the hell out of me too.

    I'm sorry to hear the trouble you're going through man. I spent about 9 years in the Marines and had to deal with failed relationships because of deployment, and it ultimately is what pushed me to leave that career and find another. Hindsight being 20/20, there were probably some things you missed regarding your relationship, but that does NOT lay blame on anyone's shoulders. Being involved in programs like that put normal people in abnormal situations. It's strangely similar to the rigors and stress of military deployment life, where the personal contact between spouses is so limited, and when it does exist, it either exists through a medium (phone, email, etc), or it's peppered with frustration and other destructive emotions.

    I've been strongly considering changing my path because as I start to judge feasibility against desire, med school is looking much more like a desire, and much less feasible. For the reasons you spoke about, do I really want my soon-to-be wife working, taking care of the kids, living with no money, never seeing her husband? Meh... maybe not. Maybe it's not worth it. She says she'll stick through it and she supports it, but I'm sure your wife did too. Again, normal people put in abnormal situations...

    However it turns out, good luck and god bless.
     
  13. NTF

    NTF PGY-6
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    I don't want to discount the OP's troubles and don't get me wrong at times it can be a difficult road, but I wanted to add my counterpoint. I'm also a third year, married with 2 kids. Both my wife & I are full-time students. We don't have a lot of money and we live pretty frugally. So it's true that we don't get to take the kids on vacation. But we do find time to take trips to the museum, have picnics on the weekends. We make use of facetime apps when I'm on-call. I don't make it to everything but I try to have quality time with my wife alone & with the kids everyday and I can probably count on 2 hands the times that hasn't happened in 3 years. Even if it's as simple as the nightly bath or bedtime story or cuddling to our favorite TV show. We do have difficulties and we do butt heads. But we communicate our gripes early instead of later. We always try to be flexible. We don't get 100% of what we want but it's never 0%. We forgive each other when fatigue & stress let's a mean comment slip. But I would say overall, my wife, kids & I are very happy. We try to do something fun every week even if it's only for a couple of hours. Sure there's times when I had to chose family over studying and maybe didn't do as great as I could on an exam. Sure there's times my family didn't see the best of me when I needed to catch up in school. But so far we're pretty happy and my wife & I are devoted. We always check in with each other. We share the chores. We learned early on that it often was faster just to crank out dishes or laundry together rather than whine & moan about how we were too stressed or had no time to do it.

    Our lives aren't perfect. But we enjoy each other and we're each other's cheerleader. I know there are those who are unhappy & have had issues. I'd say my class has lost 50% of the >30yo non-trads I started with. But I love what I do. I love my family. We all make some compromises. Granted I don't know how much worse it'll get during residency, but at least thus far during my OB/GYN rotation with pre-rounding @5:00am, twice a week call, lectures, quizzes, presentations & shelfs, so far we've been making it work and still enjoying it.

    Oh and did I mention that my wife is 40+ wks pregnant?

    Just saying. I think it can be done. It won't be perfect, but it's not all misery until later.
     
    #12 NTF, Aug 8, 2011
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2011
  14. rrt

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    Thanks for the good wishes. I have nothing but those for you as well. I do have to say that I highly doubt that being in med school really shows someone what the world is really like. Perhaps what the world of a medical student is, but think of it this way. How many stories have you heard (especially here on sdn) about women who decided to go to med school, have a child at around 3rd year, and still make it through. Shoot, I've even read advice threads on which year is best to do it in! I think and hope that all here are just trying to help out with some good direction advice. I'll pray for your situation, that's all I can do. The rest is in your and your wife's hands.

    As far as your kids... I am sure they will end up being great young adults. I didn't have a father figure in my life. Yet here I am trying to get into med school. Give them minutes when you can give them minutes... it'll mean the world to them for their eternity!

    -Ivan
     
  15. ksn

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    I'm sorry to hear about your neglected wife and kids.
     
    #14 ksn, Aug 8, 2011
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2012
  16. TriagePreMed

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    "I believe" is not a very good assessment of how different people act. In medicine it's not only the distance but also when seeing that person you see the worst of them. As an example of assessment, "I believe" that your ex probably had the abortion because the kid wasn't yours and you would have found out. Not kidding you either.
     
  17. Bumbl3b33

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    Whoa whoa, lets not get to catty now! (HA..get it? b/c of the avatar?)

    You know, I've noticed something about scientists/doctors/intelligent people. Instead of offering empathy and a support system, we always jump to find the rational side of things and defend our functional paradigm from the "other". Like just now, instead of giving the OP an outlet, we just turned it into, "look bro, i'm sorry, but w/e, it's not going to happen to me!" "you were in the wrong!" "that aborted fetus waddunt yozzz" (<--seriously, in what world is that okay to say? who gives a **** what horrible scenario you can pick out of your ass??) Do you really not think the OP knows what his problems are and why he is saying what he is? C'mon. He has enough of an emotional quotient to have an introspective capacity. I'm not saying have a pitty party for him, or give him a motivational speech, but don't belittle his experience either. That's just wrong, and I wouldn't what to see what you say to your patients and/or loved ones who confide in you.

    Either way, OP--that sucks, and you're definitely not the only person to have fallen victim to the path. One of my favorite things that I try to remember every day is that some times all a man needs is hope-- it seems like you've already had time to reflect on this and understand where you may or may not be at fault, so I'm sure any future players in your life and well-being will not embody the exact same values or expectations as those in your pasts, and I'm sure you'll be intentional in valuing your peers and giving them what they need/deserve. You'll make a kick-ass doctor, man; just try your hardest not to become jaded through all this and keep everything in perspective! There's a reason why so many people aspire to be medical students some day.
     
  18. TriagePreMed

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    LOL That made me crack up big time.

    Yeah, it's a little bit hard to throw out there, but I'm giving an example on how your beliefs don't necessarily correlate with what the truth it. Do I know that she got preggers from another guy? Absolutely not. Did it cross my mind? Yes. And that's the point I'm trying to drive here. You can't just generalize what comes to mind as being fact of how people think, feel, or act. It's not right to tell the OP that his marriage was a sham from the beginning and that medical education doesn't have anything to do with it. But if you throw something like that out there, I don't feel remorse or need to restraint in telling that person what I think.

    And yes, unfortunately it seems I've trained my brain to approach everything by analytically arguing.
     
  19. Beandog

    Classifieds Approved 5+ Year Member

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    That is a sad tale Mr Hat -I'm sorry for the way life has turned for you. I could probably deal with any kind of hardship and difficulty down this path, but a marriage relationship gone bad (affairs and all), that I probably couldn't handle. Thankfully I'm single (not without some scars) and feel best prepared to handle the next 8 years that way, unless a killer-ass wife comes along.

    I've been "the electrician" in your story though, and couldn't take it. I was a UPS driver. A security guard. Landscape Supervisor. Bringing home more than enough to support a wife & family, and could have been that electrician dad. I turned down a police officer job and a management position this year, all to pursue my dream of med school. I feel you've had a bad shake and poor luck, and I don't discount it at all, but I want to give my life for something that I really want to do. I'm relatively still young(26) and have had less pain than your story tells, but I know that the bad story you tell is told by many from all walks of life in all kinds of businesses.
    DRs have a much higher rate of divorce than other occupations, and the stress and lack of time for a relationship is a great factor. Thanks for sharing your story, I know that it's real and a part of the odds we as premeds and students face. Best of luck Mr Hat
     
  20. Chip N Sawbones

    Chip N Sawbones Ship's Carpenter
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    Keep in mind that there are a lot more unemployed electricians out there than there are unemployed doctors. I'm a carpenter, and thanks to the housing crash there's almost no construction work for electricians, carpenters and other trade workers. I was very, very lucky to find work just before I started my prereq classes. Your neighbor is fortunate that he has a job in an economy with something like 20% of construction workers unemployed. Granted, your family situation might be better if you had a reasonably well paying 8-5 job, but what would it be like if you had no job at all, very little chances of getting one, and no student loans to live off of?

    For me, the near perfect job security is an important reason to go into medicine. I don't care about the money so much, and I don't think I would notice a difference between a $50,000 and a $500,000 salary, but I sure can tell the difference between employment and the welfare line.
     
  21. medicalmuscle

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    um

    what
     
  22. Bumbl3b33

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    Haha, I know. Don't feel bad, it's a commonality among ''our type''. I do it all the time too until one day my GBF looked at me and said 'you know, you can't answer all of life's question with rationality, right?'. And I was like oohhh snap, i do do (hehe) that! And a lot of other people who are equally if not smarter than me do that too!
     
  23. rrt

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    Well, fetal testing proved it was mine. See, you are right, but I should have explained that the point behind me saying that was: I would have taken a high intensity job that demanded much of my time but allowed me to be at home a few days out of the week over being away for a year indefinitely. You see, she went through a depression that I believe I could have fixed if I were there. I needed to know that the baby was mine after she aborted. Tests confirmed it was. She ended up going to a treatment center for suicidal tendencies... I think I would have been able to at the very least help her a little if I were here in person during that time. BTW, she aborted in Mexico at 24 weeks... I've helped deliver and care for a baby a few weeks older (premie) when I was working NICU...

    All in all, the point of my ranting. You are here, you can attempt to fix it. While maybe you can blame med school, who is to say it wouldn't have happened anyways? Am I sure my ex wouldn't have gone through the same scenario if I were here? No... But like you, I worry that I "could" have changed something.

    Sorry, this is getting way out of line for me, Just take from this that you did nothing wrong. You can possibly fix it. You don't have to quit med school to do this, and you are probably a good dad! I'd be proud of you if I were your child... and 5 years from now, it'll hit even harder.

    -Ivan
     
  24. Velocity

    Velocity Keep it Constant

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    This is a sad story, and I hope that things get better for you, Mr. Hat. I'm glad you posted it, though, because you're bringing up an element that people don't usually think of. I'm still going through medical school, but as the child of two physicians (both of whom were in relatively non-demanding specialties), I can say that I don't remember seeing my parents much. They'd come home late, they'd fall asleep during family outings, they were stressed, and there were many sports games and after school activities where I was the only kid without a parent in the audience. I didn't think too much of it at the time, but that must have been a really hard sacrifice for my parents to make.

    Of course it's possible to be a doctor and still have time for your family, depending on where you work and what specialty you go into. However, I think that people go into this without fully realizing and appreciating just how many sacrifices we'll be making to be in this line of work. If you're making heavier sacrifices than you realize, and if the money isn't as good as you were expecting (and it probably won't be), then you're setting yourself up to be miserable. Know what you're getting into, and you will be both prepared and only open to pleasant surprises.
     
  25. TriagePreMed

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    Does GBF mean Gay Best Friend? http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=gbf
     
  26. TriagePreMed

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    How do you go about testing an aborted fetus to see if it was yours? I'm genuinely curious. I would have thought they'd get rid of it or that she'd need to give you some permission or something.
     
  27. FiremedicMike

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    The overall level of d-baggery in this thread is truly staggering.
     
  28. LifeTake2

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    With all due respect, your 'belief' is flawed. Trust me on this one.

    As for the OP, it sounds like it has been hard for you; sorry to hear that. But I don't think a lot of people really assess what this is going to be like before they do it. Thus, while everyone 'talks' about it, living it is different.

    To clarify I'm doing this at 36 with a large family, but I have worked 12hrs/day for a decade and have learned how to balance work/family. In addition, and more importantly my wife was a teenager when her mother went thru medical school so she knows better than most spouses what she has signed up for.
     
  29. emedpa

    emedpa GlobalDoc
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    totally agree with the op. I know many non-trads who went back to medschool in their 30's and 40's and ended up depressed and miserable. I seriously considering doing a 3 yr pa to do bridge program and don't think I would have much of a problem getting in. my issue is that I am married with kids, my wife doesn't make enough money at her job to pay the taxes on my pa income so basically we would have to live on 100% loans, not put away money for the kids college or our retirement, etc
    my opportunity cost works out to around 1 million dollars when you factor in cost of school, lost income, etc that has me breaking even around the time most folks retire.
    also I think divorce would be a serious possibility if I was never around for 3 yrs.
    the first semester of the bridge program is 40 credits. I have a friend currently in the program with a working spouse and no kids. I know I could do the work and would be much happier as a physician but I'm not willing to give up my family to do it so opted to do a doctorate in health science instead. I can do all the work while the kids are in school and I don't miss important life events.
     
  30. Bumbl3b33

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  31. Prncssbuttercup

    Prncssbuttercup Established Member -- Family Medicine Resident
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    Ok OP... I am married, no kids, waiting for kids until after school. Why? Because I'd rather be 58 when they graduate HS, than have them now and deal with what you're saying. Additionally, I'd also like to add, I am sorry about your wife cheating on you, I assume you're still married? If so, I'd like to add this: I know several military families, some have problems some don't. The ones that have problems had problems all along, the one's that don't have worked very hard to make sure they resolve issues (as another poster said) quickly while they're small instead of waiting. Two of my friends who are married to military husbands have this to say about cheating: "it may or may not happen, either way, it is your decision to accept that the person loves you or does not. If they love you, and it was not an 'affair' but 'cheating' (as in a one-night regrettable offense), then maybe you have the love in your heart to forgive, maybe you don't. If they are having an 'affair' (meaning a long-term relationship developed) they likely do not love you, and you need to decided if you can handle repeated heart-break."

    The reason I have had this discussion is that my husband lives in CO, and I live in MN. Why? Because I have a job in MN, and he has a high paying job in CO, I have no job in CO, and we can't live without my job or his. So, while I will do my damnedest to get into school in CO, I will go where ever I am accepted. Why? Because I am not giving up on my dream so that I can be miserable and he can be happy. Why? Because it builds long-term resentment, and if anything can break up a marriage it's long-lasting resentment for your spouse. So, while I feel for your situation, I know several people who spend way more time away from their kids and wife (like a year to 18mos at a time in Afghanistan and Iraq), and still are able to make it work. They have struggles, but at the same time, they have many victories, and they celebrate the victories, not dwell on the struggles....

    I would also like to know, what is your family's support system? Who are the people you go to in times of family conflict? Who lends support to you and your wife when there are troubles? I have found that involving my family in my life makes me more stable and my marriage more stable. Involving my husbands family makes him more stable and helps our marriage as well.

    I think your story is the worst-case scenario, not the average out-come for a non-trad.
     
  32. Beandog

    Classifieds Approved 5+ Year Member

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    Take it in context. the difference between an average paycheck and an inflated, comfortable paycheck isn't that different compared to the difference between that average paycheck and NO job. (0-50k < 50k-500k)

    A little exaggerated, but a good point.
     
  33. jace's mom

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    OP, I'm very sorry for what you're going through.

    However, add me to the opposite view point, because I think it's important for people to know that there ARE happy nontrads out there with fulfilling medical careers and good home lives. Fourth year med student, married, four kids. I've had a blast in med school, and my home life is just fine. Now, I'm lucky that the residency I want happens to be family friendly. If I had been drawn to a really cut-throat residency, I would have had to think long and hard about it. Fortunately, that wasn't an issue for me. Overall I've had a fantastic time and would do it again in a heartbeat.
     
  34. TriagePreMed

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    I have a few gay friends. I wouldn't mind having a best friend that happens to be gay. It just hasn't happened. I've never heard anyone say GBF until today.
     
  35. rrt

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    On that note, when I was in college the first time (long story), I used to get paid by my friends gay roommate to iron his clothes. He always liked the way my creases came out.... Not that my creases were gay or anything :D

    I also used to get paid to give massages to girls. I ended up working out a kink in his calf when he tried to join our MMA group. He cramped after a leg lock so bad that his calf actually was pulsating. He spread the word to a few of his circle clique friends (mostly females) that I worked magic with my fingers. The good side of this story was I actually had women knocking on my door for massages. Met a past gf through him. The bad side.... a few guys came knocking also.
     
  36. artsydoc

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    OP-I'm very sorry to hear of the personal difficulties you're experiencing.

    I am a non-trad myself and more pertinently wrt this post, the child of a nontrad. I have very few childhood memories of time spent with my father, but, even as a young person, I understood that he was working hard not just for his professional advancement, but for his family. He took wonderful, generous care of us. Even now, he's helping me some with med school expenses, at my great age. I've grown closer to him through the years as his career grew less demanding and like, respect and love him tremendously. We took a pottery class together when I was in high school. I worked in his office summers. Adult children can still vacation with, confide in, and cherish their parents. Opportunities to be with your children will come and they will still love and appreciate you, despite your feeling that you are not giving them enough of your time now. The mere fact that you're putting so much emotional energy into thinking about the situation shows that their well-being is a part of you.

    Best of luck and I believe a lifestyle that includes your family will come.
     
  37. emedpa

    emedpa GlobalDoc
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    as the son and grandson of physicians I was in the same boat. I have almost no memory of my dad before age 13 or so. not entirely his fault because vietnam interupted his residency for 3 yrs after which he had to do 2 more yrs. I was born the yr he was an intern working 36 hrs on/12 hrs off for the entire yr.
    he had 1 day off his entire internship, the day I was born. his program director wouldn't let him take the next day off to take my mom and I home from the hospital.
    I think I would probably be a physician today if I had better memories of my dad growing up. I was resolved early on not to repeat that mistake.
     
  38. Bumbl3b33

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    Thank you for the early morning laugh :)
     
  39. ejw5075

    ejw5075 Smile.
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    Thank you for posting this.
     
  40. proclus

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    OP, you wrote repeatedly that you have "failed your family".

    You did NOT fail your family.

    Your wife failed your family.

    Hang in there.
     
  41. Ellipsis1104

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    :thumbup:
     
  42. niblet

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    Truth.
     
  43. dotdash

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    No one has failed your family. Your wife is probably still trying to make it work, and you certainly are. There are bumps in family life, but as long as you are loving and you are trying to make it work, I don't see any failure.
     
  44. TriagePreMed

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    Would you go back to your partner after they had an affair? I know I couldn't.
     
  45. evans2000

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    hey man sorry for that...But one thing people refuses to understand is that med school are not for persons who just want to do it because of the money. Any field shouldn't be done because you want the money, if we do then we are totally wasting our time. You have to have passion,zeal, and determination to succeed in med school. It is not like nursing school or whatever. It's better you even have a girlfriend nor a wife when going into medical school because it all requires focus and ability to handle situations. It's allot of stress but rewarding if you harken unto this advice.......Thanks lolololollllllll!!!!
     
  46. MD Odyssey

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    Double post.
     
  47. MD Odyssey

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    Clearly you have never had to pay income tax before.
     
  48. MD Odyssey

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    This is because it doesn't really matter where you go medical school when it comes time to apply to residency. Such is not at all the case for law students - getting in is relatively easy, but if you don't get into a top 30 school, your job prospects are severely limited.
     
  49. MJB

    MJB Senior Member
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    So, I take it you've been through med school then....
     
  50. EdLongshanks

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    I haven't been able to recently spend any time on SDN either, since I am trying to get into the swing of this med school thing. But I found this pre-med's opinion considerably annoying also. I have implemented my medical school schedule for my family, and no one really likes it - but it does glue my coccyx to the study cubicle chair at school for 100 hours a week and that is going to be necessary for me.

    I'm sorry that your family had a temporary break under this strain. What is even more annoying than pre-meds lecturing medical students about time management and family balance is for people who have never been married informing married men about what makes relationships work.

    I believe there is a difference between Panda Bear and you, however, Mr. Hat. You care and recognize your family's need. Rather than blaming your wife solely, you realize that your emotional distance was a mistake. I hope that you are taking advantage of your school's counseling service. The time that you lose by going to counseling will be made up for in the reduction of stress during study.

    What the pre-meds are missing here is the pure amount of time that medical school takes up. I'm not joking about 100 hours each week. My schedule has me leaving home at 6:30 AM and returning at 8 PM 6 days each week and I will study for a good portion of Sunday, This puts me at around 95 hours. My family has my undivided attention from 8 to 10 PM. Since my children are all grown, this is their best time.

    The key is the I cannot withdraw from them during those 2 hours because of extreme weariness. This is what Panda Bear seems to have done that cost him his family. It would be easy to come home and plop myself in front of the TV, but my family will have to come first. I'm certain that this determination will be challenged.

    Edit: Now this is annoying, I'm trying to get in a little Sunday afternoon home study in when everyone is away at church and now THE CAT FEELS NEGLECTED AND WANTS SOME ATTENTION. Ok, here is one family member that I can shut out.
     
    #49 EdLongshanks, Aug 14, 2011
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2011
  51. Northwesterly

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    I take it your cat has been declawed? :laugh:
     

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