Thursday, August 8, 2013

hello and welcome to the other side of the world!

So I used to have a blog during my fourth year of medical school.  It was here:  You can read it if you like!  But I kind of abandoned it during residency, because… RESIDENCY.  There’s a reason that the life mantra for residents is “eat when you can, sleep when you can, pee when you can.”  Note that there is no “blog when you can” in that mantra.  For me there was apparently a “have babies when you can” caveat, though, because I had two.  You know, if you CAN spend half your residency pregnant (and another
year of it breastfeeding/pumping), why WOULDN’T you?

Anyway, residency is now over.  And I felt like starting a new blog instead of picking the old one back up, because SO much of my life has changed since then.  I’m, like, a doctor and a mom and stuff.

And also, living in Guam!

Guam.  Yes.

We just moved here so it’s still a bit surreal. 

What happened was that, back in the fall/winter (I don’t remember exactly when, to be honest), the Navy told Jack, “Here’s a list of 22 places around the world where we have pediatricians practicing.  List them in your order of preference.  Go!  (No guarantees that we will honor your preference.)

Do you know how weird/hilarious it is to list 22 worldwide locations that you know almost nothing about in order of preference?  We had to look some up to see where they were.  We literally wrote them all on slips of paper and then arranged/rearranged them in a list on the floor.  I took a picture of the final result:

It seems a bit random, because… well… it kind of is.  I mean, what order would YOU put them in?  Is Okinawa preferable to Yokosuka?  Rota vs. Sigonella?  Bremerton vs. Jacksonville?  It’s just such a crazy spread of places.  (Some that seem like preferable locations, we ranked lower if they only had a clinic instead of a whole hospital.)

Anyway, back in March they broke the news:  Guam.

In case you’re not ENTIRELY sure where Guam is (as, I’ve found, most people aren’t), it’s a little speck of an island in the Pacific, just north (yes, north) of the equator.  It’s about 1000 miles east of the Philippines, 1500 miles south of Japan, and 1500 miles north of Papua New Guinea.  It’s 30 miles long and about 6 miles wide at the widest point.  Population of around 160,000.

Not much different from DC, right?  (Hahahahaha.)

If you know anything about PCSing (PCS = Permanent Change of Station - the military could rival medicine for number of acronyms), you know that the whole time since they gave Jack his orders to Guam, the whole five months since then, have been full of… paperwork.

(That’s another way the military is similar to medicine, by the way.  Both SOUND exciting, but are in actuality fairly boring and full of mostly paperwork.  Moving to Guam sounds kind of exciting, right?  But in actuality it entails things like getting medical checklists signed off by doctors you’ve never met, completing powerpoint-style “move counseling” online, tallying up the total weight of your household goods, standing in line for no-fee passports, and getting health certificates for your dog.  Working as a doctor in a hospital sounds kind of exciting, right?  But in actuality it entails things like writing endless structured daily progress notes, typing orders into a computer, calling the lab to ask them why the results aren’t in yet, and trying to reconcile lists of patient medications with the pharmacy.)

And if you know anything about PCSing overseas (a.k.a. OCONUS = Outside the CONtinental United States), you are not surprised to learn that despite being here for almost 2 weeks now, we are still living out of suitcases and in temporary housing, and our household goods (a.k.a. HHGs… again with the abbreviations) are God-And-The-Navy-Only-Know-Where.  We certainly don’t.  On the ocean somewhere, I suppose.  We’re supposed to be able to track them on the DTS (that’s Defense Travel System) website, but it seems to be broken.  At least, we can’t log in no matter what we try.

BUT!  We’re moving into our house on the 15th, and presumably all our stuff will get here eventually.  So until then, we’re dealing with it. 

And the scenery is nice.

1 comment :

  1. You are so right about the "exciting" jobs being pretty dull most of the time! My father in law is a pediatrician who owns his own practice in rural Georgia (one of the last places you can actually do that!) There is sooooo much paperwork!! And the EMRs promise ease of use, but half the time they make more work IMO. Question: have you ever watched Scrubs? And if so, don't you just love it? I think it's much more accurate than the more "thrilling" TV shows like Grey's Anatomy (gag) or House.