Three years of undergrad. Four years of medical school. Six years of neurosurgery residency. One year of a spine fellowship. Fourteen years later all comes down to this.
We have been together for 7 years and I have only known my husband as a medical student, resident and fellow. To say I know him at all may be a bit of an overstatement. This funny thing called an 80-100 hour work week happens. And happen it did. Residency means moving away from your family, friends, support system, familiarity. It means being thrown into a world where the man you married becomes jaded, overworked, stressed and neither of you escape without a few battle wounds.
We put a lot on hold during this time. Kids. My career. Vacations. Buying a house. Buying really anything. Our marriage. Its shocking how little residents are paid when you break it down by the hour. Add in a high cost of living and you have a tough situation for many years. And the whole dealing with life and death thing tends to cloud even the most rose colored glasses.
On the one hand I have been forced to become fiercely independent from spending so much time alone. I put myself through grad school to keep busy and give me something to do besides waiting for my husband to come home from work. Some of the bonds I made with the other physicians wives will be something I take with me forever. Being 500 miles away from the nearest family member will tend to make family out of the most unsuspecting people.
Residency can be likened to a fraternity and sorority that only can be appreciated on the day you graduate from college. I can’t sit here and say everything about medicine is negative. Yes the training is absolutely brutal no denying that. Yet we are blessed that he has job security, financial stability and a very bright future. Trust me I have complained enough about his training to last a lifetime and now try to focus on the positive parts of his career and our life.
Now I can say we survived residency (and a very long one at that) and for those going through it I promise you life will get better. All of the things we put on hold are now able to be checked off slowly but surely. Still no kids yet (sorry mom) and the house hunting has just begun.
I’ll try to keep up with medical Mondays and focus on a different topic of medicine and being a doctors wife each week. Please feel free to ask any questions or suggest topics. After all I am officially an attendings wife now 😉