Saturday, July 31, 2010

Medical School 101

I know I talk a lot about our rotations and what's going on in our lives but I'm not sure I've ever given details of this journey called medical school. I want to document every step along the way of this crazy journey. I'm not sure I could forget this LONG, CRAZY, STRESS-FILLED journey, but just in case. So here we go....
Right after Jason graduated from undergrad he took the MCAT(Medical College Admissions Test), actually we took the MCAT. But after a year of waiting for us to get accepted into the same college and many tears on my end, I decided that God's plan was not for us both to be doctor's.
Jason reapplied and we found a program that we knew was a perfect fit for our family, or at least we were hoping. Jason attended his basic sciences in 2007 for 2 years (some schools are 2 1/2)--tests and finals were inevitable and weren't that much fun! It was basically like college on a major dose of steroids. The program he went to, The American University of the Caribbean, was on the island of St. Maarten and wasn't the traditional schedule for classes. They went year round, which is why he got done half a year earlier than most other schools. He did so well throughout his basic sciences and when it came time to leave the island, we were excited and ready for the next chapter.
After we left the island, Jason studied for his STEP 1. The STEP 1 is a US certified exam that has to be passed, regardless of what medical school, so clinical sciences can begin. Jason went into a crazy, full-time study session for a few months and then took his STEP 1 in June 2009. We waited for weeks until we got the news that he passed and there were a few affiliated hospitals that had openings. We packed up and moved to California in September 2009 so he could begin clinical sciences.
Clinical sciences or "clinicals" are where each medical student has a few core rotations that must get done (OB, Pediatrics, Surgery, Internal Medicine, Psychiatry) and then they have a few weeks to do their elective rotations (rotations that they are interested in). After each core rotation, he had to take an exam to show he was retaining the information and he was ready to move on to the next rotations. Clinical sciences lasts for 2 years and before he can graduate and be titled MD, he has to take STEP 2. STEP 2 is another US certified exam that ALL medical students have to take. The STEP 2 has two sections: CS is an exam that tests the students on their interviewing and diagnosing skills and CK is an exam that tests them on their clinical knowledge. Both exams have to be taken and passed to qualify for residency and to graduate. Jason took his CS in June and we are still waiting on his results and he's scheduled to take his CK in September.
While he's going to his clinical rotations and studying for his CK exam, he's also starting the application for residency. Residency is when a student chooses the type of doctor he/she wants to be as a career. It would be nice if Jason could say, "I want to be a cardiologist" and poof he finds a hospital that will sign him on, train him to be a cardiologist and pay him the big bucks. Unfortunately, it doesn't happen like that! Residency programs base acceptance into their hospitals on STEP 1 scores, STEP 2 scores, clinical evaluations and letters of recommendation. The more difficult programs require better STEP 1 and STEP 2's just the way it works! Jason has decided that he would like to apply to be an anesthesiologist. He's been researching hospitals that are island friendly, meaning that accept non-state schools into their residency program and the average STEP scores of their residents. He definitely has a few hospitals that seem promising. Right now, the whole process is a little overwhelming and scary.
In November 2010, he'll start the interviewing process for residency. He'll be flying all over the country to different states and interviewing for a position on their anesthesia teams, along with a few other areas. Interviews will run from November to January. After he's done all his interviews, he'll have to rank the hospitals that he interviewed and the hospitals will in turn, rank him. It's a weird process but in March 2011 we'll find out where he matched and what specialty area he matched in. Only one option is given....take it or leave it!
In May 2011, we'll return back to the island for graduation! He'll officially be a doctor! That will definitely be a great week! I can't wait to scream up head off when they cheer his name and he can walk proudly across that stage. Another chapter of our lives will be ending and we'll be tackling another chapter....residency!

Friday, July 30, 2010


It seems like everyday is filled with a different, random adventure. Welcome to my life! Enjoy some randomness on this FABULOUS FRIDAY....
Yesterday on my way to LA, everything was going smoothly and all of a sudden I see orange cones lining the lanes. Not one set of cones, but two. Well I just thought they were outlining the different lanes...maybe they were painting lines or something? Well, no! They were actually blocking the street. The police officer came up to my window and proceeds to ask me if I saw the cones. I saw the cones but followed the car in front of me and thought if the street was closed there would be a huge sign that said CLOSED or something a little more obvious. Well I guess they thought the 12 bright neon colored cones were enough...but not for me! I had to turn around and try to find my way to the interstate. Definitely a small detour for me early yesterday morning. I guess I need to be a little more observant...Opps! This is the picture after I turned can sortof see the first set of cones!Somehow in the process of sleeping and getting ready yesterday, I scratched my face. Not only one scratch going across my cheek but TWO! They aren't just small little marks either...they cover a lot of my right cheek. I honestly have no idea what I did to my face by the scratches are deep enough to feel them when I rub my cheek. OUCH! Last night when we were watching TV in bed, we came across a channel that was offering a chance to see the Canadian Tenors. Oh my goodness...these men could definitely sing! We were actually enterained for awhile when all of a sudden, they started asking for donations. All of a sudden the screen changes from the men singing to this....WHAT?! A $100 DVD of these singers sounds a little ridiculous! I mean, these guys are good but are they really $100 good? I can think of a lot of things that I can spend $100 on..YIKES! We were cracking up at their prices so I had to snap a quick picture. Don't worry though, if you wanted 2CDs along with a DVD, then it could be yours for only $200! Crazy Candadian Tenors!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

A Visit With Some Superstars

Today I went to Los Angeles to visit with some Missouri friends that were in town for a game show. They were on the game show on CMT called "Chance to Dance" for a chance to win $10,000 and man, did they get the star treatment. They got a totally free trip (airfare, hotel, food) to LA for a week. The week was packed full of rehearsals, hair and makeup, and then the shooting of the actual show. The show brings unexperienced dancers (groups and/or solos) and allows them to perform a routine for the audience. The audience will then vote on the different performances and the highest score will win the money! They had such a great time...but have to keep all the details a secret until their episode is aired on TV. We are hoping they make their big TV debut in September. I'll keep an eye on the TV guide and when I see their episode, I'll let ya know!
Well I couldn't let them come to all the way to California and not go visit them and show them around Los Angeles. For a lot of the group, the trip to LA was their first time on a plane so I wanted to show them as much as I could! Our first stop was Hollywood Blvd so they could see the Kodak Theatre, all the celebrity stars along the sidewalk and all the other things they could snap a picture of along the path. Unfortunately, my little car wouldn't hold the whole group of 6 but we made the most out of the situation. It was so fun watching them get all excited about certain stars along the sidewalk and take tons of pictures along Hollywood Blvd.

After we left Hollywood Blvd, they wanted to see Chinatown and the Santa Monica pier. We didn't stop at Chinatown because we were running late so we just drove through and headed to the beach.

It was a fun packed day! I had so much fun hanging out with the was so nice to see a familiar face in California. I'm anxiously awaiting their performance to air on CMT so I can see the results of their hardwork.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Happy Birthday, Laura!

This past weekend we had a birthday party for our friend, Laura. Her real birthday is today but it's so difficult to get everyone together during the week...schedules are so hectic right now. Saturday evening everyone was able to come over and help Laura celebrate her special day.
Each couple brought over their favorite snack foods and their favorite board/card games. It was so nice to get everyone back together again for a game packed night filled with lots of laughing.
Little Miss Brooke was the most popular girl of the evening, besides the birthday girl herself. I can't believe how much she has grown over the last few months. Such a beauty!
Laura's birthday celebration was a success! It was so nice to get all our friends together to help Laura feel special on her big day! Happy Birthday, Laura!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Tuesday Tidbits

It's crazy that this is the last week in July. Where has the summer gone? Enjoy some tidbits from the Conway family on this Tuesday...
  • It's officially wildfire season--the intense heat combined with the lack of water has created a monster. About an hour and a half from our apartment, there was a huge wildfire that consumed people's homes and forced others to evacuate.
  • Where did the whole month of July go? It seems unreal that I've been working from home the past four weeks and starting Monday my routine will be changing. I'm excited to be getting into my old routine but I must admit...sleeping in and watching all the TV I can possibly watch during my bulk mailing filled days have been pretty nice!!
  • Jason was on call yesterday and was suppose to get off at 11pm but after a hectic evening, the residents asked him to stay the night. I was a little bummed when he called and said he wasn't coming home...I love having him beside me at night! I know it comes with the territory but I'm slowly learning to deal with the idea that he's at the beckoned call of his patients.
  • Little did we know that by him being on call on the OB floor last night that he would get to fully deliver a baby....all by himself. Once his patient starting pushing, Jason became the man in charge. He delivered a little boy, Armando, last night to a very excited couple. He was pretty pumped that he got to do EVERYTHING! Maybe he's coming around to the whole 'having a baby' can hope!
  • On Thursday I'm heading to LA to hang out with a friend that is in town from Missouri. She's on a TV show called "Chance to Dance" with her dancing group. I'm excited to hang out with her and hear all about her crazy rehearsals and fittings for the fun costumes they will wear during their competition.
  • My mom is in the Bahamas this week! I can't wait till she gets back so I can hear all about her beach/sun/fun filled days. A week with no daily phone calls with mom is rough!
  • Shark week starts on Monday...woo!! I'm so excited and nervous all at the same time :)

Monday, July 26, 2010

Just A Small Surgical Procedure

Yesterday afternoon we had a small, soft knock on the door. We immediately knew it was the neighborhood kids wanting to play or swim with them. They just think we are the coolest couple and any chance they get, they knock on our door and beg us to play with them. Well yesterday was one of those days. We started giggling-- we went and hid in the bedroom (thinking that they would go away). I'm not really sure why we decided to hunker down and run into another room, but we did. Well they didn't let the fact that we weren't answering the door stop them....they kept knocking. Eventually I talked Jason into answering the door and the conversation went something like this.
Jason--Hey man, what's up?
Saaj--Just wanted to see if the surgery doctor would come and help us
(he doesn't realize that surgery was SO last month!)
Jason--Is someone hurt?
Saaj--No, but we need you to show us some ways to do surgery. on what?

After a bit of the two of them talking back and forth, I peek through the blinds to see about 5 other kiddos (all in 5th grade or younger) standing outside the door with their surgical patient laying on the concrete sidewalk. They found a dead frog floating in the waterway by our apartment and decided to learn all about the inside parts of a frog but they didn't want to destroy all the frog's insides so they wanted Jason to teach them. They used sharp rocks and tree limbs as their tools...needless to say that when we went to workout later that afternoon the smell was HORRENDOUS!
The surgery didn't go so smooth and we had to clean up the leftovers that the kids left laying right in the middle of the sidewalk. It was pretty nasty...I definitely wanted to find each and everyone of those kids and make them clean up the disgusting mess they made but they were no where to be found!
After we got over the smell and the fact that they left a mutilated frog 20 feet away from our front door, we had a good laugh. It was so funny that they wanted Jason to teach them how to do surgery on a dead frog. I guess they know how good of a doctor Jason is....they wanted the BEST to help them!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Quirky Personalities

I didn't realize how many quirky traits Jason and myself possess. Just recently I've been picking up on the smallest things, craziest things, that we do.
Jason's quirks:
1. Using a brand new pencil before each and every exam. If he takes three exams during the day, then he will have three pencils that have never been sharpened. His logic is that the new pencils have never made a mistake and he likes that feeling going into an exam.
2. Washing cars, inside and out, each weekend. He refuses to make any plans or go anywhere until the cars have been cleaned to his liking. One of the first things we had to buy when we moved was a bucket, a sponge and all the extra things needed to clean the cars. Who needs furniture or stuff in our apartment when we can have super clean cars?!
3. Making the bed first thing in the morning. Most mornings (not when he gets up at 4am) but he will have me get up and lay on the couch so he can make the bed. He definitely likes to have his bed made, which is good because I could go weeks without making the bed.
4. Freaking out over anyone cutting or filing their nails. Anytime I get the clippers out to trim the dogs nails or start filing my nails, he has to go in a different room and turn the TV up loud. He gets grossed out by the sound of nails getting clipped or filed.
5. Reading the same magazines over and over. I swear, he has some magazines from over a year ago. I try to throw them out when he's at work but he's has them numbered or something. He knows what articles are in each magazine. He's slowly getting better at not having so many but he's not happy about throwing them away.

Ashley's quirks:
1. Picking up pennies when they are tail side up. I don't know how many times I glance down and find a penny on tails and no one stops to pick it up. No superstitions's still a penny!
2. Refusing to allow multiple half eaten bags of chips and half bags of cereal to be in the cabinet. One bag or box must be eaten before a new bag or box is opened.
3. Not being able to stop reading a book mid-chapter, regardless of how tired I am. I have to get to the end of the chapter before I will allow myself to put the bookmark in the book and lay the book on the nightstand.
4. Cannot stand for my food on my plate to touch. If I know that something will run into something else, like beans or salad dressing, then it gets it's very own plate. I'm slightly grossed out by my food touching.
5. Washing dishes IMMEDIATELY after I cook dinner. No letting them soak or sit in the sink until I eat dinner. They need to be washed and dried before I can sit down and have a relaxing dinner.

It's kind of funny to pick out each other's quirky behaviors...we definitely have some odd ones. I'm so glad that we both have some crazy traits because it doesn't make mine seem all so bad.
I love all our quirky personalities...they add just the right amount of spice to our lives!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Prayer=The Best Stress Reliever

Stress. I have quite a bit going on these days. Nothing that I can't handle but too much to act like everything is going perfect. School, work and life in general has thrown a few curve balls our way and I'm tired of swinging. Just when I think that I'm having a rough day and things couldn't get much worse, I am reminded that my life is really pretty good. The amount of stress that I think I have doesn't even come close to the amount of stress that others are dealing with. Even complaining makes me feel like a big whiner but sometimes I feel the need to vent and get some things off my chest. I'm sure my mom gets tired of my daily phone calls that start off with me moaning and groaning about some part of life...sorry mom! She never says "Shut up, Ashley" or "Your being a big whiny baby"--instead she just listens and tells me to pray about it. Without our daily chat sessions, I'm not sure I could function quite the same! Thanks, mom!

God has been so good to our family that I feel selfish for even thinking that my issues are important when there are families out there that are dealing with death, cancer, divorce and any other serious issue. I've had a lot on my mind these past few days...nothing super serious, so don't panic....but still a lot of soul searching has been going on. I know that God has a plan for our family and we need to let him lead us down the path that he wants for us. I'm a planner, organizer and have small bouts of OCD thrown in the mix so it is difficult for me to not want to grab the reigns and try to take control of our life. Wrong. I need to have full faith in my God that he is in control. He wants the best for our family!

Sorry for the depressing post....just what's weighing on my mind! I can already feel myself doing better-sometimes it's just opening up and being honest combined with A LOT of prayers that makes things better!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

OB/GYN Update

It's been awhile since I've updated on the future doctor. Notice how a lot of the pictures that I post are of Jason sleeping. These long hours wipe him out! He's currently in his OB/GYN clinical core rotation. He's got two weeks left out of the six weeks total and he couldn't be more excited! He's not enjoying this rotation as much as he's enjoyed the previous rotations and I thought it would be just the opposite. I couldn't wait to hear the wonderful delivery stories and everyday when he'd get home I'd ask him all the details throughout his day. At first it was all about the yucky part of being an OB doctor but after about a week into his rotation, he got to do his first delivery. He said it took about 10 minutes once the patient started pushing and the baby was out. No bells. No whistles. I guess it wasn't all sweet and emotional, like I had kept thinking it would be, he was on the other end and he wasn't impressed. Ha! The hospital that Jason works at is a county hospital so the population that he sees isn't the greatest. He does have some great stories that have opened his eyes--some not appropriate for the blog! I love hearing about every tiny aspect throughout his day...I'm addicted to his hospital stories!
After he gets home from the hospital (when he's not resting his eyes), he's studying. He takes two clinical shelf exams on Friday--Surgery and OB/GYN and then he's off all weekend. It's crazy to think that core rotations are close to being completed and then he'll be doing his elective rotations. He might be moving across the country for a few of his rotations...we'll have to see what the near future holds for our family.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Monster Golf

Last night, the hubby and I went out for a little 'couple' time. We've been wanting to go to an indoor mini golf course in town and last night we decided was the perfect time. The mini course is called Monster Golf and the course is all under blacklight. Once we walked in, I was upset that I didn't wear white or more blacklight friendly clothing. The decorations were so fun...
The music was monster themed too--we loved singing and dancing along to the fun songs and acting like two crazy kids. We took score about half way through the 18 hole course but once we decided that it would be a REALLY high score for the both of us, we just enjoyed playing and not worry about keeping score.

Overall, I was declared the winner! I didn't have the lowest score but I did have a hole-in-one and in my book...that's a hands down win!! Here I am right after my hole-in-one--so happy!!We had so much fun at Monster Mini was a perfect date night! Sometimes it's nice to do things that don't require too much thinking! It made for a stress-free evening!!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Underwater Fun!!

Give a couple of adults an underwater camera and let the good times roll. I just got the pictures back from our fun Fourth of July weekend. I couldn't help but laugh and share the pictures with everyone! We all decided that we would take the underwater posing know, the kind where you go under, open your eyes and smile all cute at the camera. Here are the results...

These pictures crack me up! Kelsey and Paul look picture perfect, Rachel is clinging to Cody like her life depends on it, Steve is wearing glasses because he doesn't like opening his eyes underwater and I'm leaking bubbles and lifting my arm all crazily because I'm secretly drowning. Water in the nose is a recipe for disaster...

Taking pictures with the underwater camera was a great source of entertainment for us throughout the day! I'm so glad that I was able to capture some of our crazy underwater moments!


Today is the wedding day that I talked about here for two very special couples. We were extremely torn between the two weddings because one was in Pennsylvania (our cousin) and one was in Missouri (on friends) on the EXACT SAME DAY. Well, unfortunately we weren't able to make either of the weddings due to scheduling conflicts--we weren't able to get off of work...bummer!
Just because we weren't at the weddings doesn't mean that we didn't think of the two couples all day. I kept looking at the clock and adding the necessary hours for the different time zones and imagining what part of the wedding was happening. We are so happy for both of the newly married couples! Thank goodness for friends and family that texted pictures! I loved hearing my phone go off because I knew I had another picture to look at! I'm so glad someone posted pictures on Facebook because I could steal a few pictures for the least, until better pictures are posted!

Congratulations to the two couples! We wish them years and years of happiness...

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Riding With The Wind In My Hair

Well, the bike ride to work wasn't as bad as I expected. I made sure to wake up a few minutes early so I could leave in plenty of time....just in case. You never know what complications can go wrong...thorne in the tire, bike traffic, wreck, etc. I can't stand to be late! I made sure everything looked good on the bike and then I headed to camp. Camp isn't that far from the apartment but I was a little unsure where I was going. Yes, I'm the type of person that only knows one way to get to a place and if I try to take a new way, I always get lost! Instead of going the normal 'car' route, I decided to cut through campus and hope that I would find the normal lot. After a stop at the campus map, I finally found my way to the right building. Pathetic, I know! I swear I could get lost in a circle driveway sometimes.I didn't think to bring the bike lock and I didn't feel comfortable leaving the bike on campus without it being locked up so I had one option, I put it in the back of the classroom. The kids were amazed that Miss Ashley rides a bike to school! They were asking tons of questions about the was pretty cute!
Little did I know that at the end of the day, these cute little faces would surprise me with a gift to say thank you. I love each of their signatures on the card...I'm going to miss all my little kiddos!Let me just say that the ride home was a little more difficult than the ride to camp. One hand holding the flower and the other steering the bike...definitely not the safest way to drive down the side of a busy street. I did almost get into an accident when I was crossing the road but we'll skip that small, minor detail. I made it home and that's all that matters!
The car is now back in our possession. The old man down at the radiator shop called this afternoon to let us know that the car was fixed. I'm so glad that the car is fixed and that it didn't cost as much as we had planned on. Thank goodness for self-employed, 70 year old men that enjoy fixing radiators in the tiniest shops in not-so-nice parts of town!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010


This past weekend we smelled an abnormal smell coming from car. Jason is pretty good at most simple car issues so he decided to look under the hood for anything that looked out of place. He found a small hairline crack in the radiator but before we completely replaced it, we tried to patch it with a product called JB-Weld. We didn't drive my car at all this weekend because we wanted to make sure that the product was as dry as possible before we started back to work this week. Well...on my way to work this morning, the smell returned. It didn't take long to notice that the fluid was still coming out of the crack, even with the patch over the crack.
We called a few places to get some estimates and found a small little radiator shop in a not-so-nice part of town but he was about $300 cheaper so we gave it a try. He asked that we bring the car in late the night before or early in the morning. Jason gets up at 4am and I wasn't about to get up that early to drop my car off at the shop, so we took my car after Jason got home from work this afternoon. This scenario might sound pretty close to perfect, but it throws a few wrenches in my daily routine. I have camp every morning and it's not too far from home but it's far enough to generate massive amounts either by walking or riding my bike.
I'm planning on riding my bike to work tomorrow and chaining it up to the nearest pole for the day. I hope the weather participates...I guess I'll be taking some deoderant and body spray in my backpack tomorrow. Looks like I'll be ECO-friendly for a few days. I guess it takes days like this to realize just how fortunate we truly are. I'm guessing that it won't take too long on my bike in the morning to realize just how fortunate I am to have a decent car with an AMAZING air conditioner. Wish me luck! Details of my ECO-friendly excursion to follow!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

A Sparkle Filled Weekend

This weekend has been perfect, wonderful, relaxing, exciting and filled with so much fun! All the fun and excitement started on Friday when Jason got off work early, and by early I mean 9:30 am. It was a total shock for the both of us that he was off early but we definitely weren't complaining. We grilled lunch together, went for a swim, napped and spent the evening watching all our favorite shows. I know how boring and unexciting our Friday must sound....but honestly it was wonderful! It made our weekend feel so long! Yippee for residents that want off early to go get ready for the 4th of July!
Saturday morning we met three other couples and drove up to the mountains for a rafting trip. We talked it up so much after our last trip that everyone seemed interested in giving the Kern River rapids a try. I'll post a separate post on our rafting trip after I get my underwater camera developed and scanned in! I'm not sure if we laughed or screamed more on our three hour rafting journey but it was so much fun! It was so nice to not have any other care in the world, well other than keeping my booty safely planted in the boat and not in the 40 degree water.

After rafting we were starving, so we made a quick run to the grocery store for some BBQ goodies and headed over to Laura and Steve's apartment. We weren't ready for the fun to end so we grilled and swam until we were completely waterlogged.

We ended our fun filled day with a stop to Dewar's for some famous 'black and white' icecream... it was the best ending possible for the day! Sunday, the 4th of July, we spent the day with the family. The in-laws drove up from the coast to spend the holiday in Bakersfield. I'm so thankful for all the men and women that gave a huge sacrifice for our freedom. Without them, then we would not be able to have a fun filled, sparkle filled, THANK YOU! We spent most of our 4th grilling and hanging out by the pool.Waiting for the sun to go down was the hard part! I was so ready to watch fireworks and set off a few of our own that we bought. We watched a few fireworks on TV before the firework show started in town...the boys wanted to join in on the festivities too!

Once we heard the fireworks shooting off outside, then we ran to the edge of our complex and watched the many different displays that were being shot off. We even tried to get a self-portrait with some fireworks in the background...this is the best we could do.

Finally after the fireworks ended, we decided it was time to shoot ours off. I bought a bundled package of fireworks from Wal-Mart last week and they've been tempting me ever since. I'm not sure I could have waited any longer to shoot them all off. I love seeing all the bright colors that come out of such little packages. We gathered all the ones that looked like fountains and we took them to the parking lot--we wanted to be far enough away from the buildings, just in case. Jason sat a few out and I got a safe distance away....

For some weird reason, we couldn't get them to light. We started evaluating each piece and realized that the fuses were not actually fuses, but instead they were strings. To make the story even crazier, the bundled firework package that I bought was not actually fireworks, but instead an assortment on confetti shooting poppers. UGH! How could this have happened? They looked like fountains but I'm almost certain that Wal-Mart is not allowed to sell explosive fireworks in their aisles. Why didn't I reason these thoughts out in my head before JULY 4TH!? So yes, I bought a large box of different size poppers. We weren't going to let that discourage us so we just shot off as many as we could-we weren't able to shoot off the huge box! Some of the pictures aren't the greatest quality...but you get the picture!

We had a great weekend! I still can't believe I got the wrong fireworks but oh well....we had a great time shooting confetti into the warm July air! Happy Birthday, America!