I opened my wife's (a PGY2 ortho resident) refrig. Last night and was stunned to see its Spartan contents. There on the top shelf neatly were six cans of diet coke ordered like soldiers, two by two, on parade. To the far right side was a Brita water pitcher with a thimble full of water. On the bottom shelf also neatly ordered were a packet of children's juice drinks, and to its side were the most interesting items of all, two plastic containers of fruit. The first was an unremarkable box of blueberries. The next container however was a work in progress. In the see through container was a magnificent mountain of mold that surrounded the strawberries and reminded me of the snow-jagged peaks of Zermat, Switzerland. That over rippened fruit had to have been sitting there for a month or longer. I closed the door and stood for a few moments struck by the deeper meaning of my wife's mold. The word TIME lit up boldly like a Times Square neon sign in the front of my brain. Residents just don't have any time for anything other than survival. Residency is in conflict with all else including cleaning a refrigerator out. Being a spouse of a PGY2 I sometimes have a chance to talk with others like me. Most are women and most have similar stories and complaints.
"He comes home, eats and goes to sleep."
"Once I found him sleeping on the stairs in his scrubs on the way up to our bedroom."
"Sex? What sex. It's residency interuptus. How can you have sex when your wife comes home after call and falls asleep? I'm not into sex with a corpse."
So I stood in my boxers in front of the frig contemplating my strawberries, both literal and figurative. I sighed and knew what I had to do for I couldn't change the system. I tried twice before and failed miserably. So I shuffled back into bed with my comatose wife. When I awoke at 6:30 in the morning she was gone and had been for several hours. I got up changed and wrote a brief note sticking it on the front of the fridge before going off to buy her some grocery's to be delivered. It read:
"Dearest: have taken the mold covered strawberries and submitted them to the CDC for further study. I have replaced your experiment with pre cooked steaks, chicken, ready to eat salads, and assorted veggies and fruit. Try not to culture the above." I walked out of the apartment door hearing it slam behind me knowing that this gesture wouldn't make any difference and sighed.