Ok. I’m going to be honest here.

Ever since Carina decided to become a doctor about eight years ago, I’ve always sorta felt sorry for FM docs. I mean, they go to all that stress, time and effort to plow through medical school, and then they never got to do any of the really cool doctor stuff, like see the insides of people’s bodies, or send probes into blood vessels, or insert gigantic needles into spinal columns, or even intubate emergency patients in the ER. They just sit in a clinic, see endless cases of runny noses, acne, and skin rashes, hand out prescriptions, and refer away anything remotely interesting to the specialists. Read the rest of this entry »

David Kenneally and his family -- fellow AUC'ers! (...and readers of our family blog)

David Kenneally and his family — fellow AUC’ers! (…and readers of our family blog)

Recently, I received a private message on Facebook from an AUC med student, David Kenneally, who is about two years behind Carina. I have yet to meet him in person, but he found this blog back when we (the Crookstons and Michelle) were all on the island, and apparently Carina’s journey helped convince him to not give up on his medical school dreams. He is a non-traditional student, and has older kids like us.

We’ve kept in touch as he and his family have been on the island. And now that his time there is wrapping up, he politely requested more blog posts about life as an AUC student after-the-island.

He made the comment, “It’s interesting: most blogs leave off after the island. You’ll get a few posts afterwards, but the world of clinicals is very opaque.”

And to be honest, I recall thinking the exact same thing when we were there. What happens next was this big giant mystery.

Read the rest of this entry »

Our new home

Our new home

This last Christmas, our family experienced what we considered to be a miracle, and I thought I’d share it here on our blog, if for no other reason, so that we would have a record of it.  It’s a pretty special family story that we will always treasure! Read the rest of this entry »

8 Comments, Written on March 2nd, 2016 , Michigan

(This was originally a post I made on Facebook on November 30th, 2015.  I’m adding it to the blog to help preserve it, and to make it more available for those who are not FB friends…)

Carina all dressed up for her first residency interview

Carina all dressed up for her first residency interview

Every now and then, life (or God, or Fate, which ever you chose to believe) has a way of throwing you a curve ball.  Recently, in our family’s journey of Carina becoming an M.D., we had one of these curve balls thrown our way, and it has significantly altered our future path.

Those of you who know Carina personally may recall that it has always been her goal to help people who are fighting cancer.  In fact, this desire has been the most singular driving force behind her decision to go into medicine and become a physician, and is rooted in the experiences of her younger sister Amy, who died of cancer when they were both children.

At the end of November, 2015, Carina finished medical school. Phew!  What an accomplishment!  It’s been a long, adventurous, challenging four years!  Andi, Tanner, Piper and I are all proud of her!  After medical school comes residency, a three to four year training program that all physicians must complete in their chosen area of expertise.

Finding a residency, however, is not an easy process.  It used to be that there were more residency spots than med school graduates who wanted them.  But that isn’t the case anymore.  There are now more young, budding M.D.’s who are looking for a residency then there are positions to accept them all. As a result, it’s not uncommon for graduates to apply to a LOT of residency programs all over the country in multiple areas of expertise.  Some of Carina’s preceding class mates applied to more than 100 residency positions. Read the rest of this entry »

Its official, I have ten weeks of my electives done. There are a total of 30 weeks of elective rotations that I am required to take.  And, in these precious ten weeks I have loved each day. I can close my eyes and imagine myself as a family practice doctor. I can also close my eyes and imagine that I’m a radiologist.

I may need nine lives so I can change directions a few times. How will I ever choose?

No More (long) Family Separations:

When Casey and I were on the island we had called the St. Cloud hospital (University of Minnesota family medicine program) to ask if I could do a family medicine rotation in my home town, after my boards and, before the kids would be out of school. The alternative is that I would need to go to New York, California, or Florida, by myself, to do a few electives before my core program in Michigan would begin in July. They told us very kindly that it would not be possible. They said that because SCH (St Cloud Hospital) doesn’t have an affiliation with my medical school it wouldn’t work. I felt calm and knew I wouldn’t give up that easily. Read the rest of this entry »

outside0“The Winter of Our Discontent” is both a novel by one of my favorite authors, John Steinbeck, and the first line of the play Richard III, by Shakespeare:

“Now is the winter of our discontent
Made glorious summer by this sun of York…”

And with the “Dis” crossed out in Discontent, it also describes this mighty winter which has, at long last, come to an end.  While it has been the most brutal, cold, snowy winter that any living human can remember, it’s also been filled with great activities and memories… some planned, some, not so much.

Let’s start last autumn.  And I’ll let the photos do most of the talking.

Read the rest of this entry »

4 Comments, Written on May 16th, 2014 , Everything Else

Riverside Park in St. Cloud, MN

The summer of 2013 will go down in our family history of one of the most unusual to date. We have closed out a major chapter in our lives, and we’re now in a sort of limbo for a few months before the next one begins.

The kids are in school. Even Piper. Putting her youngest, at the age of three, in an all-day preschool was a heart wrenching decision for Carina. We didn’t have much of a choice. Dad works all day. Mom needs to study full time for the big test. Michelle has moved on with her life and is doing bigger and better things than being our nanny. (For the record, Piper and Michelle miss each other like crazy.)

Life has returned to an eerily familiar, but yet still different form of what it was before we went to the island. We’ve all changed and grown, and although we are back in our same house, same town, same schools, same church… it feels different in a way that’s hard to put words around. Read the rest of this entry »

5 Comments, Written on September 19th, 2013 , Everything Else

Reunion at the airport

Reunion at the airport

Piper tried hard to stay awake for mom, but by 12:30am, this was all she had left.

Piper tried hard to stay awake for mom, but by 12:30am, this was all she had left.

Late on Monday evening, the 19th of August, Tanner, Andi, Piper and I drove to the airport to pickup Carina from her final return flight from St. Martin.  Andi came home last June (two months ago), and Piper and Michelle came home almost a month ago.  After a period of more than a year of our family being sporadically spread across the Northern Hemisphere, we are at last all together again.

And it’s wonderful. Read the rest of this entry »

Leave A Comment, Written on August 30th, 2013 , Everything Else
Seaside Dinner

Seaside Dinner

Well, it’s over.  At least for Andi, Tanner and I.

And compared to how it all started on December 31st of 2011 with our grand entrance, our exodus form the island (which is taking place in stages), is feeling a bit anticlimactic.

But let’s not dwell on that!  I just enjoyed a fantastic eight days on the island with the girls, and I want to focus on that instead.

On Sunday, June 16th, I flew down to St. Martin for what would be my last and final trip to the island (at least as a semi-resident).  Andi had finished school at Learning Unlimited and was ready to come back home, but she didn’t want to fly internationally alone.  She’d done that once already for a medical trips, and did NOT want to do it again.  I don’t blame her.

I was there for 8 days, and to maximize the time with the girls, I took vacation days from work so we could play, relax and enjoy each other’s company.

Tanner opted out of this trip. In his own words, “I’m done with the island.”  Plus, it was right smack in the middle of little league season, and he would have missed six games had he come with.  MANY thanks to the Anderson’s, the Beard’s and Coach Todd for all the help while I was gone.

The trip was a splendid success in every way possible way.  But instead of boring you with lots of talk, I’ll let the photos do most of the sharing. Read the rest of this entry »

Cari's mom, her mom's two sisters, and her mom's mom

Cari’s mom (in the middle), her mom’s two sisters (Dianne on the left and Sue on the right), and her mom’s mom, Grandma May.

What with being a solo dad and all, I have fallen woefully behind in keeping this blog up to date.  So, for this post, I’m going to keep typing to a minimum and pictures to a maximum.

A few months back, the girls down on the island received a visit from four fantastic ladies: Cari’s mom, two aunts, and grandma.  From what I hear, it was a wild, crazy and fun visit filled with good times and laughter.

All of these photos are “borrowed” from Michelle’s blog, and if you’d like to learn more about the awesome visit from Grandma, aunts, and Great Grandma, feel free to surf on over and check it out!

Read the rest of this entry »

Leave A Comment, Written on July 8th, 2013 , Everything Else

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