Archive for the ‘ Dental School ’ Category

“How Do You Do It All?”

Wednesday, February 23rd, 2011

I get this question a lot. I wish I were half as heroic as some people seem to think I am. Just because I am a single mom in dental school doesn’t mean I have it all together… lots of things fall by the wayside because I am so busy and pulled in so many different directions. My flaws: dear internet, let me show you them.

Exhibit A: my desk at school. Unfortunately this is its natural state. Okay, fine, it’s actually a little less messy than usual. Yes, those calendars on the bulletin board are from December.

Exhibit B: my car. The check engine light has been on since last May. A piece of it fell off while I was driving down the highway a couple weeks ago. (It was making a strange noise which stopped as soon as that piece fell off, so I assumed it was for the best.) The oil hasn’t been changed since… well… I guess Tyler changed it last. That means it’s been… longer than recommended. I’ve had one headlight out for at least three months. In my defense, I did try to change the headlight, but I couldn’t get the cover off so I gave up and figured that one headlight was better than none. Plus it makes my car look totally badass.

Exhibit C: my utilities. Paying the bills was always Tyler’s job. Sometimes I forget to pay a bill until whatever it is I’m not paying for gets shut off. To be fair, this is a very effective reminder technique. Well played, cable company. Well played.

Oh no. Now that I’ve started listing my irresponsibilities, I can’t stop. Sometimes I put meat in the fridge to defrost and forget about it for a couple weeks. Sometimes I put off taking out the trash until the smell forces me to do it. I have incomplete audits on some of my patients’ charts that were due last October. I have a strange aversion to writing papers for oral surgery and so I haven’t fulfilled a single oral surgery requirement since 2008. Sometimes I keep my Netflix DVDs for 3 weeks at a time because I forget that I have them. AHHH!! Can’t stop!!

My point is. I don’t do it all. It only looks like I do.

Now please share all of your similar stories in the comments below, to make me feel better. And if you have no similar stories and you actually do “do it all”, please refrain from saying so.

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Monday, December 6th, 2010

So, my short Thanksgiving break was pretty awesome. I got to hang out at home with Caroline and just relax and spend time with her. Our days are hectic, so it was nice to “catch up”. But I don’t think the break was quite long enough, because my brain appears to be totally fried. Luckily, Christmas vacation is just two weeks away…

I keep losing my school ID, which I need to get to my desk and into the labs. I also keep putting things down around the clinic and then realizing they are missing a couple minutes later, and then running all over trying to find them. Basically I am just leaving pieces of myself all over the place and being really scatterbrained. I never used to be like this! I guess I am just a little overwhelmed and need a vacation. But the worst happened yesterday…

I was in the lab working over the weekend because I am pretty much drowning in dentures, which is actually a disgusting mental image and I am truly sorry for inflicting it on you. I had a bunch of projects going on at once, trying to be efficient because I had to pick Caro up from Tyler’s place (an hour away) at 3:45. The last thing I had to do was make a shell for a temporary bridge, around 1:30. I put a sheet of plastic in this plastic-melting machine that gets extremely hot, and went to gather up my stuff to leave while it was heating. I’m sure that any of you stretched-too-thin mothers can guess what happened then. I picked up my stuff and walked out of the lab, completely forgetting that I had turned on that machine.

All was well until about 10pm, when I sat bolt upright on the couch and remembered. That machine gets HOT. It totally would be capable of burning down the building. I frantically texted everyone I knew who might be at school. No one. I called public safety and told a cop there what I had done and asked him to go make sure someone had shut off the machine, because I couldn’t drag my sleeping baby a half hour to school to do it myself. Ohmylord he was so annoyed with me. Understandably. I guess.

I didn’t know the room number to the lab and I am the worst direction-giver ever, so these cops were wandering all over the hospital (which is huge) trying to find the lab. I didn’t know the technical name for the machine. (We just call it a “suck-down machine”, to which the cop said “is this a prank call?”) I didn’t know anything, really, except that I would probably be in a little bit of trouble if I burned down the entire health center. They found it eventually and of course it was already shut off. The cop was going on and on about it so finally I said “look, do you want me to stop in at public safety tomorrow morning to help you fill out this report? Or maybe pick up some kind of scarlet letter to wear on my chest?” and he was all “well you don’t have to be rude” and I was all “well I’m sorry but neither do you sir” and I’m pretty sure public safety is going to key my car tomorrow.

Then of course I was wishing the damn place had burned while I suffered through a terrible morning in clinic, but that’s neither here nor there.

So. Long story short (way too late for that), I could use a week of vacation or two!

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Overly Personal Statement

Tuesday, August 10th, 2010

I’ve been struggling a little bit lately, hence the long absences between posts. Tyler’s been away. Pretty much constantly since June. He’s been home a few days here and there. Juggling school and Caroline all by myself has been… tiring. Tiring isn’t the word, really. I’m drained. I’m falling behind on my paperwork, losing too much weight, and running on fumes. I know I can do it, and I don’t have much longer to go until I get a little help. I’m just, you know. Struggling a little.

So, I’m trying to get things together for residency applications, because that’s coming up quickly. I have to write a personal statement. I despise writing about myself for personal gain. It feels so fake. I sat here staring at the cursor blinking for the better part of the evening before writing this all in one go, without stopping. I can’t put it in my applications. But I kind of wish I could. It sums up how I feel. If I can do this, if I can have enough of myself left over to still love what I’m doing, I deserve to get in wherever I want. And those bitches better take me.


I had a baby during dental school.

People don’t do that. Well, women don’t do that. I didn’t mean to. She just happened. I found out right before part 1 of the national boards, and I cried every day for weeks. I thought I was losing my career. And my career meant everything to me.

I didn’t know how I was going to do it. I didn’t really think I could.

But I did. I am. I took a break for a year, after encountering some pregnancy complications and reevaluating some priorities. Leaving her and going back to school was the hardest thing I ever did. But I did it and I’m glad I did. I wanted to finish. I want to do this. I still want this more than anything.

More than almost anything.

In order to do this, in order to have a baby and raise her with very little help (due to my husband’s long absences due to his job) during a demanding program, I had to reprioritize. Rearrange. Find a balance. Make things work. I couldn’t be single-minded about my career anymore. And you know what? I think I’m better off for it. I love my daughter. I think she has made my conviction that I want to work in this field even stronger. If I could leave her at home to go back and finish what I started, and still love every single day of what I’m doing, well. It must be the right choice, right? It must be what I’m meant to do. If I can add this little person who requires so much love and attention to my life and still have enough left over to devote to my career and be happy with it every day, I must have chosen well for myself.

This is what I want to do. I still believe that, more than ever.


Even on days like today, when I’m totally exhausted and overwhelmed, I’m glad things happened the way they did. Sure, I still think about how the timing could have been better. But my motivation doesn’t drag at times like my classmates’. I’m doing this for her. She needs me. And I’m so lucky to still be doing what I love.

She’s pretty cute, too. That doesn’t hurt.

And guess what? She took her first steps alone last weekend. I cried so many happy tears. I can’t believe she’s 18 months old. I know it’s cliche, but really. Where does the time go?

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Teeth: Those Pearly Whites

Tuesday, July 20th, 2010

I promise I’ll write a post here soon, because I have one rolling around in my head. Until then, here’s an informational post I wrote for The Baby Standard on baby/toddler teeth.

Enjoy! Hope it’s helpful to moms out there.

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Friday, July 9th, 2010

Oh hai there. I haven’t posted in forever, so I have a lot of random things to say!

Caroline and I have been visiting Tyler and the in-laws in North Dakota for the past week and a half because I am on break from school. It’s always a nice vacation to head out to the middle of nowhere and just relax. We even went to the rodeo this year. I didn’t even know that rodeos still existed before I married this man, by the way. Caroline was obsessed with all the horses. At one point during the day she was throwing a tantrum and I said “Caroline, use your words. Tell me what you want.” and she sniffled and said in a tiny voice “hoss”. I guess all those times I promised her a pony to get her to go to sleep are catching up to me. Crap.

We are struggling with sleep these days… both of us. Her crib was in the same room as us in North Dakota, so she kept waking up and seeing us and wanting to play. Now that she and I are home, she still thinks it should be party time around 2am. I was so tired last night that at 8pm I thought “well, it’s 10pm in North Dakota, so I should probably go to bed early” and then I laid there and laid there and couldn’t sleep, and finally realized that actually I can’t do simple math and it was only 6pm in North Dakota. But by then it was 10pm here so I just stayed in bed anyway. What a boring night. The scary thing is, I’ll be able to write prescriptions for people that involve numbers in just 10 short months. Shhh, it’s fine. Don’t be afraid.

Caroline still isn’t walking, although she loves to hold onto our hands and walk. (She holds her hands up and says “awk! Awk!”) So things are improving in that department. I am for real going to suckerpunch the next person who asks if she’s walking, though. Getting pretty sick of answering that question and hearing the inevitable “wait, how old is she again?” I think I will respond next time with “how old are YOU again?” and see how awkward I can make things.

What else? She is doing a long list of hilarious things. She has so many words now that I have stopped keeping track. She brings me a tissue and says “boogies” when her nose is running. She begs to go “ah-side” and “up, up, up!” She brings us her toothbrush and sternly tells us to “open”. She pokes us in the eye (hard) and explains “eye”. She can name most of her body parts and lots of animals and animal noises. She loves to snuggle and give kisses.

So, I go back to school on Monday. It was a perfect amount of time to be free. I am ready to get back in there and keep being productive, even if it does start my long summer of single-mom’ing it. I’ve got to get going on my summer checklist, though… so far, the only things I’ve done are the girls’ night (Chicaghoes FO LYFE) and the spa treatments, which were glorious, thank you for asking. Maybe Caroline and I will go to the farmer’s market tomorrow, if it isn’t so ungodly hot outside!

Hope you’re all having fantastic summers!

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