Monday, December 05, 2011

RMED Update

Sometimes I just have to laugh and then cry then laugh again in the wonder that God is going to work out something amazing, I just don't know what or when or how.

If you read our blog post about things that we were thankful for you may have noticed that Glenn and I both mentioned about moving to Montour Falls in the spring and the fact that they are going to provide housing and a scholarship for us there.

Figuring out RMED (Rural Medical Education Program) has been a bit of a roller coaster ride. The RMED program was one of the things that attracted us to Upstate. Glenn is really excited about doing both his family practice and surgery rotations with a specific physician in an internship type relationship where he can get more one on one, apprentice type, experience instead of working with a team of medical professionals and only seeing surgery (in particular) from afar.

There are several RMED sites all over New York and many of them have been suggested to us as options by the director of the program who kind of match-makes the students and the attending physicians/ locations. Last spring the two sites that were most highly recommended to us were Batavia (largely because of the furnished 3 bedroom house that was provided) and Watkins Glen. After prayer and discussion I recommended to Glenn that we go to Watkins because we'd been told that the preceptor in Batavia was a grandmother when she went to medical school while the preceptor at Watkins was a dad of 7 that homeschooled their family. I thought that he would have a lot to offer Glenn in giving an example of how to balance being a physician and having a family.

We were pursuing Watkins Glen when we got news that the surgeon that has always been the surgical preceptor for the RMED students died suddenly. That put an axe to the idea of Watkins for a while and Potsdam, Oneonta, Lowville, and Ithaca (and maybe others??) were thrown on the table as possible sites. I was sad because I liked the idea of Watkins Glen. It's pretty down there and it's still only an hour from Waterloo so we could continue our monthly visits to see my grandparents (who celebrated their 66th anniversary last week!!). With many of the new sites that were suggested that would not be as easy.

A while later we received news that there was another surgeon in Watkins Glen that was very excited about the idea of having a student come down and train under him and all of a sudden we were heading to Watkins Glen again. When the kids and I returned from our two week train trip with Glenn's parents we had them at our place for a couple of days and decided to take them down to Watkins Glen for Glenn's day off to check out the RMED site and hike the gorge. Things didn't go exactly as planned that day. We still hiked the gorge but didn't check out the RMED site. Glenn was really busy with his clinical rotations so there really wasn't time to go back and check it out during business hours until the day of his internal medicine shelf. We threw some stuff in the car and drove down to Watkins Glen that day (the office and hospital are actually in Montour Falls) after his exam and Glenn was able to meet the doctor there and see some patients with him. The kids and I wandered the town, checked out the library and the huge waterfall. After office hours were over we were invited over to the doctor's house for dinner and got to meet his wife and all but 2 of his kids. We had a great time visiting and getting to know each other over pizza and Glenn even got to go and see a circumcision of a newborn that had just been delivered the night before. We got to see their love for God, their family and their community and were excited about the prospect of getting to know them more and working with them.

There were a few catches: the local hospital was no longer going to deliver babies after November so Glenn wouldn't have any OB experience during his family practice experience which is something that he does want. When we got home and talked to the head of the RMED program we found out that, at first discussion with the local hospital, they were not interested in providing either housing or the scholarship for Glenn. We talked and prayed and decided that none of those things were deal breakers. In our plan God was going to provide for us through the housing and scholarship but we knew that He doesn't always go with our plan and He has always faithfully provided for us so we decided to trust Him and continue to head towards Montour Falls because we felt that it would be a priceless opportunity to train under this godly doctor even if it resulted in a few thousand dollars more debt. Then, a couple of weeks ago, we had a dinner with the other people doing RMED and found out there that the hospital was going to offer both the housing and the scholarship. We were very surprised and very grateful! We weren't sure what housing was going to look like but we were excited that they were going to provide it. It felt like a hug from God.

Then, last Monday, I got a call from Glenn while he was at the schospital. He said, "Guess where we aren't moving? Montour Falls." Then he asked if I was ok. I laughed. What else can you do? Laugh and then cry a little then laugh again in wonder at what our crazy amazing God is going to do this time. The surgeon is leaving or something like that so, though the family doctor down there really would love for Glenn to come, there is no surgeon to work with so Montour Falls is, once again, no longer an option. My first thought was, "I wonder what God has up His sleeve this time. I am so thankful that He is in control and I can trust Him." I am sad. Again. More so than the first time that Watkins was taken off the table but I know that our good God is in control and that I can trust Him.

Now what? We don't know where we are going. It's kind of late in the game to be looking for RMED sites (it starts the beginning of April) and the only site I have heard mentioned this time is Lowville. I am glad to know that God has a perfect plan and I can trust Him. We have re-started Training Hearts Teaching Minds again and were on week 7 last week which says, "What are the decrees of God?" "The decrees of God are His eternal plan, based on the purpose of His will, by which, for His own glory, He has foreordained everything that happens." It has been neat to go over the devotionals and read the scriptures as a family and talk about again how God is in control and go through our history again. I really need to write a Psalm detailing our history of the awesome things that God has done for us throughout our lives. He has been so faithful to us and I know that He will be again. It's so faith bolstering to go over again the things that He has done. It is no wonder that over and over again throughout the Bible the various writers do just that.

So... we still haven't put in our notice with our landlord. We had told him that we would probably be here through the end of March 2012 when we moved in but I am not sure if he remembers that or not. I'm hesitant to put in our notice not knowing what rural location we are moving to. I still do need to start thinking about packing even if I don't know where we're moving (it's hard for me to pack without the view of a future home in place).

I am sure that getting RMED locations aren't usually this confusing. I know that God is teaching us through this things that we would have never learned otherwise. He is good. He is faithful. We can trust Him and on the other side we may or may not be able to look back and say, "Oh, that is what You were doing" and either way it is OK as long as He gets the glory.

Tonight, finishing up week 7, we read from Isaiah 46:9-10, "Remember the things I have done in the past. For I alone am God! I am God, and there is none like me. Only I can tell you the future before it even happens. Everything I plan will come to pass, for I do whatever I wish." I'm glad He's in control!

Like normal (if you've followed our family long), this story is to be continued. We don't know what's on the next page but we know and love and trust the Author who does.


  1. Great to see what God is doing in your lives. You show true patience in waiting and trusting for what He has in store for you.

    Maybe if you move rural you could move our direction ;-) I don't know what hospitals qualify or what the area is. I know that Warsaw (Wyoming County Community) is a good hospital - that's where I had my little girl.

    Thanks for keeping us up to date on your lives!

  2. Sonja-
    I'm so grateful for this blog because I'm such a bad friend and this is how I keep up with you. I hadn't read your blog in a while and had no idea what was going on. One thing is for sure. God is keeping you wholly dependent on Him. Thanks for being such a Godly example to our family. We miss you and would love the internship here in Rochester but I have a feeling God has something bigger planned for your lives. We love and miss you. We will be praying for God to reveal His perfect will to you (sooner rather than later)! Love you- Nan


Thanks for reading my blog and commenting!