Several months ago my wife, a PGY2 in Orthopedics, took me to a Black Tie affair for the graduating residence of her program. It was a pleasant and festive affair heady with relief of the departing residence, professors joking around, and the rest of the residence looking on in anticipation of the day when they too would be finished. Being an Investment Banker I have been to hundreds of such gatherings worldwide so I slid in besides my wife as she began to introduce me to others.
"High Doctor and Mrs. so-and-so. I would like to introduce my husband Brandon Knight." Christy would brighten. I would dutifully shake hands with an obligatory compliment on the program and the wonderful and fulfilling nature of medicine especially for my wife. To a person everyone smiled and agreed, why wouldn't they? However as the night wore on and the introductions thinned a small kernel of indefinable angst began to blossom within me. To be sure the program was wonderful and fulfilling I thought but to whom and at what price? As far as I could tell my two daughters and I had sacrificed and continued to do so about every aspect of our lives for my wife's career and medicine. Indeed I was spending so much time home to counter her absence that I was beginning to dream of going back to work with all its problems like others dream of vacationing in the Bahamas. I questioned between smiles and agreements with the wonderful life of medicine whether watching my wife, like all orthopedic residence nation wide, try to function after a week of calls if this was healthy not only for her but our life as a family and more personally my relationship as a husband. After all it's very hard to be amorous with a person who is comatose as soon as she hits the bed. Suddenly this party was a reminder to me that raising my children while my wife pursued her career was somehow out of balance to what I thought our life would be like. For despite the smiles and relief in the eyes of the departing residence there were dark puffy tired baggy lines underneath each and everyone's eyes. Somehow every morning as I shuffle the kids off to school I see residence shuffling off to pre-round and they don't look so excited. Somehow doing all the laundry and homework and shuttling the kids to after school events wasn't what I had envisioned these residence years to be like. By the end of the evening as the last introduction was made I shook the hand of some head of some department.
"High Doctor so-and-so let me introduce myself, I'm Christy's wife." Being married to a Doctor is difficult enough but being married to an orthopedic residence is like being married to the Marine core.
"The best...of the best...Of the best." To me its somewhere between that and a and thank you Medicine can I have another. Despite the darker side of medicine that I never see expressed anywhere, but after a couple glasses of wine with the spouses of the doctors that I have meet, men and women, seem to spill out the stories, I am here to relate that, as one married women's view put it, "that it is all worth it." Below I hope you enjoy a very personal journey of what I call the "other side of medicine." It is perhaps the most unpolished realistic view that I know of and incorporates many other people's views as well. All in all though we will muck our way through it.
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