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Diary of a Doctor's Wife, Episode 001

Posted Apr 09 2009 7:16pm
Thursday morning was my husband’s first day as a medical intern. I was telling the story of my morning to one of the post-docs (complete with gestures, voices, and full-on action reenactments) and once she stopped laughing hysterically and wiped the tears away from her eyes, she told me I had to start a diary of all my experiences of being a WOD (Wife of Doctor). So, without further ado, I present to you (slightly delayed), episode one…

Let’s get one thing clear from the beginning. My husband’s family thinks that my husband is the greatest human to ever walk the earth. And then, he graduated from medical school. Every sentence out of my mother-in-law’s mouth for the rest of her life will begin with “My son, the doctor, says…”. Look. I get it. It’s a huge accomplishment, especially since he was the first in his family to go to college. But I really resent how they feel like I am so incredibly lucky not to have just found a husband in general, but to be married to a doctor.

I’m not trying to be stereotypical here, but I’m Jewish. I’ve seen first-hand the number of Jewish girls who are primed to marry doctors (and if all else fails, a lawyer). That’s not me. Heck, my mother tried to talk me out of marrying him BECAUSE he is a doctor (he’ll never be home, he won’t have time for me, he’ll never be around for the kids, the divorce rate is so high, marry a nice stable engineer like your father, yadda yadda). But, what happened, happened, and obviously I wasn’t going to not marry him just because two years after we started dating he went to medical school, and then four years after that, he graduated. You can’t always pick these little details.

That said, I didn’t marry him looking for this wife of a doctor lifestyle my in-law family seems to think is waiting for me. They have an extremely hard time grasping what I do – they have said multiple times that it must be so hard sitting at home nights and weekends waiting for him to come home. When I point out that often, I’m the one working longer hours, they look at me in shock – someone once had the nerve to say “You must waste a lot of time during the day, how long does it take to mix a couple of chemicals together and wait for some reaction?” So, as the wife of a doctor, I’m sure they imagine my day goes something like this:
Go into the lab for three to four hours. Weigh a few chemicals, mix, make a few pretty colors. Write down observations. Head to the spa for a massage and a facial. Swing by Barneys on the way home to exchange the dress I picked up last week, and buy a new tie for my husband. Come home and prepare dinner so it is ready just as he walks in the door. Iron his white coat while he watches the news, have a glass of wine before bed, discuss names of future children, and repeat in the morning.
Obviously, it’s wonderful and relaxing and just delightful being the wife of a doctor, I have no responsibilities, and when he works so hard, I sit around pining for him and so sad that he is away so much.

Welcome to reality.

1:30am: Finally finish analyzing data for lab. Try to climb in bed. Husband moans in sleep and pushes me out. Try to get back in bed. Mumbles something about trying to get good night’s sleep before starting and pushes me out again. Give up and sleep on couch.
4:15am: Husband pokes me awake on couch. Asks me to take his picture as he heads to the hospital for his first day as a real doctor. Take picture. Return to bed.
4:20am: Phone rings. Run to living room. Stub toe on door. Swear loudly. Husband asks me to buy pen light today. Swear at husband that he could have called at 7am to make same request. Back to bed.
4:35am: Phone rings again. Husband asks if I have seen pager. Resist urge for smart ass response that all I have seen is inside of eyelids. Locate pager on coffee table. Husband asks me to run said pager to hospital. Fine, I offer to get dressed for the day and bring it. No, need pager STAT. Run pager, IN PAJAMAS, to hospital, at 4:35am. IN PAJAMAS. RUNNING. WITH PAGER. 4:35AM. UP UNTIL 1:30 ANALYZING DATA.
4:45am: Get yelled at for not bringing papers sitting under pager. Not told to bring papers sitting under pager. Should have intuitively known. Count down days until husband moves away to Philadelphia for rest of residency.

Life of luxury my ass. Yeah, it’s real freaking fabulous being married to a doctor, let me tell you.
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