Today I'm linking up with some of my own "kind" on Medical Mondays. They're not all doctor's wives, but many are and it's nice to know that there are other ladies out there who understand this situation that I am in as a doctor's wife :)
In browsing some of the other blogs I found a great little questionnaire review and decided to insert my own views on the last 6 months of Rob's first year of optho residency. Yes, he's PGY-2, but intern year in Wilmington was his first, this is his second year of residency but first for ophthalmology. So if you popped over from the link up, hi. For the rest of my loyal readers, happy medical Monday - here's a little glimpse on what I think about this residency business:
For those of you not in this road we call becoming a doctor, you may not care about this post and can move on. But if you have a slight interest in residency and/or my life, you may continue.
Today at the library, I overheard their conversation with their kids. It went something like this: Dad "We have to go. I have to go back in by 6." Mom answering kid's question: "He'll be home after you're asleep." My sarcastic (probably unappreciated response): "So that's my future life when we have kids." Confused parents, as I'm currently engaged with two kids, say it's really not that bad, normally not a Friday evening, etc. I explain that I'm also a resident's wife and understand, just never really thought it through with explaining to a 5 year old (fortunately Rob will not be in residency if/when we have a 5 year old.) **End terrible story**
Getting on with it - I saw these questions on another medicine spouse's blog, and thought I would reflect on the last 6 months (well plus a year) as a resident's wife. It's way different than a medical student's wife, sometimes for better, sometimes for worse. But really, overall, I don't think it's that bad. Just read & see.
What were your expectations before residency began?
I had very low expectations going into residency. I thought Rob would never be around, we'd be so poor we wouldn't be able to do anything fun, and I would have to deal with everything. There is some truth to these thoughts, but in reality only about 5% of the time is it true. He's around a lot more than not (though a chunk of the time he is around he is either on-call at home or studying, but he is around). We aren't dirt poor, though we're not living a life of luxury; we're comfortable, but probably wouldn't be if I wasn't working. And while I deal with most things (finances, groceries, etc.) we divided tasks the way that works best for us, and he gets his done; plus, I'm kind of a control freak and recognize it's just easier for me to do it :)
What has been the BIGGEST challenge?
For us, the biggest challenge has been balance of time. Not with each other necessarily because I know what to expect (see above), but with friends or family. Rob's free time is limited (not as much as some specialties, but still), and then is spread between time together (traveling, enjoying the town we live, etc.), time relaxing, time enjoying hobbies, time with our friends, time with his friends, time with his family, time with family, time studying ... etc. So it is a balancing act of his time with everyone else's - no one else's lives stop just because he is working, nor do most really understand the doctor's schedule unless you actually live it day-to-day.
What sacrifices have you had to make that you did not expect?
We've been pretty fortunate to carry out normalcy as we know it. I've missed out on some trips here and there, I've spent less time at the beach at times, and I may not get to go on shopping sprees as often as I'd like, but honestly it's not as bad as it could be. I have given up my time with friends to hang out with Rob when he has less busy call schedule, but slowly I think they're starting to get it (I mean most of them are doctor's wives too).
What is the best advice you would give someone whose spouse/SO is just beginning? What has helped you adjust?
Create your own life outside of your spouse. Seriously, I love spending time at home alone, but every so often I still need my friends when Rob is on call. I need to get out and do things. Sitting around waiting for him to get off work isn't going to bring him home any faster (and on that note - if you do make plans, he will get off earlier than you thought, and it is okay for him to chill out by himself for an hour so you can finish that glass of wine with a friend ... he probably has studying to do any way).
How do you continually support your spouse/SO without burning yourself out?
You have to come up with a balance that works for the two of you. That balances allows me to support him and him to provide support for me - this residency business is hard on both of us at times, so two way street support is necessary!
What is the most frustrating part?
If you ever meet me in person, there isn't much that frustrates/stresses me easily on a day-to-day basis. I try in general to be a positive person. So to me overall residency isn't that bad. I think of other wives: military, investment banker, lawyers, farmers, teachers, etc. .. I mean life isn't easy for any of us so I just try not to get frustrated. But the one thing that gets frustrating is explaining the medical profession to those not exposed to it. That (most) doctors don't make millions, that we have to plan vacations nearly a year before we take them, that we rely on a match system to determine where we live, that even though I'm a light sleeper I have learned to sleep through that pager. Just trying to explain to people that being a doctor (or a doctor's wife) isn't glamorous like many portray. But at the end of the day, that's part of my responsibility to explain that and it's really not that frustrating :)
It's been a great 7 months so far this year, and I get through it knowing that Rob is enjoying what he does. That's what matters, and that his hard work and dedication is making a positive impact of people's vision - I mean, he can make (nearly) blind people see & that's pretty awesome!
(Oh and if you have any insight on visiting Chicago see my plea below!)