Friday, October 10, 2014

Remaining Romantic in Residency

My name is Celeste Holbrook.  I'm a sexual health educator and consultant, and I am married to a PGY4 Emergency Medicine resident.  I talk to a lot of doctor's wives in my practice as it is so very difficult to continue to remain sexually intimate with a partner who has such a grueling and emotionally taxing schedule.

I recently wrote an article for my own blog that takes a humorous approach to foreplay with a physician.

Celeste Holbrook, Ph.D.
Sexual Health Consultant and Educator

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

More husband than doctor

I didn't want a doctor when my world fell apart. I'd already consulted Dr. Google and knew the differences between melanoma in situ (please, please let it be in situ) and stages one, two, three and four, which I read through tears so thick my four year old started spinning around me and singing, "let's be HAPPY!  No more being sad!"

Which is a lot easier when my mom, my too-young-for-this, healthy-as-can-be mom, hasn't just been diagnosed with cancer, staging undetermined.

I didn't want a doctor. I wanted my husband to come home and forget everything he knows about cancer and mortality rates and treatments, about pathology and incisions and turnaround times and make me feel better.

He did.

He held me and I cried. He took the boys outside to play so I could cry some more. He made dinner. He bathed our kids and got them ready for bed, and then he went back to work.

Between patients, he called me. "I have a fracture coming in soon, but I wanted to know how you're doing," he'd say. "I love you. Your mom will be fine. Try to sleep, and you'll feel better in the morning."

And in the morning, when things were a little better, a text: "I'm headed to clinic, but I love you. Your mom will be fine. Try to keep your mind off it. We'll know more soon."

And in the afternoon, when I was doing a lot better: "I'm studying now. Call me if you need me and I'll come home."

And a few hours later when, suddenly, I wasn't: "Leaving now. I'll be home soon."

Residency doesn't allow time off to comfort your wife while she's waiting for pathology to call, and while he was able to sneak away the first day, he was Q2 for the next week. But when he couldn't hold my hand, he held my heart together with prayers and sweet words, and day by day we got through it. And when we found out that she was just a a single surgery and an awful, beautiful scar away from being cancer free, he comforted me again while I shook with relief and disbelief, because how can I be so lucky that my mom, who for a week I was sure would miss my sons' first days of school, their baptisms, their high school graduations, their weddings, was just at stage one and was going to be okay. And my husband. My husband.

He's a great resident. On his way to becoming an exceptional surgeon.

He is an even better husband.

Friday, September 26, 2014

I guess you could say I had it pretty easy growing up

I guess you could say I had it pretty easy growing up. Besides living out of state for the first couple years of my life (which I obviously don’t remember) my family moved once. I was 13 years old and it was a mile up the road. Neither my schools nor friends were affected.  While I couldn’t admit it then, my teenage years were easy and carefree. I lived with both of my parents and my 3 siblings and we had what we needed. My biggest challenges were AP tests and upcoming swim meets and water polo matches.  Oh, and boyfriends.  Life was just fine and change was a term I probably didn’t even understand the exact definition of. In fact, since we are only OMSIII, I still probably don’t…

Imagine my reaction when I found out we were moving out of state for medical school. Out of state?! What a swear word! People in MY family don’t do that. I had been married for almost 4 years and would have my second child by the time we moved. It was the end of the world, clearly. I guess I should mention that we moved one whole state away, which turned out to be about 11 hours driving. Knowing what I know now, I should be embarrassed for my “Drama Queenery.” But then, this was HUGE. I didn’t even know what to expect. We would be moving from Salt Lake City, UT, a place where I felt extremely comfortable and protected, to Phoenix, AZ. All I knew about Phoenix was that it had cactuses, scorpions, and it was one hundred and a billion degrees in the summer time. None of those things have proved to be wrong, but I’ve found so much more.

I grew up on the east benches of Salt Lake City. When I looked out my front room window I would have a majestic view of the towering Mt. Olympus. Whether is was Spring, Summer, Fall or Winter that peak had all sorts of secrets to offer my eyes when I peaked through the blinds. It is beyond beautiful.  When we wanted to roast marshmallows, we drove 5 minutes to the mouth of the canyon and were immediately buried in towering trees and 100 foot cliffs and our ears were inundated with the sounds of rushing water. The parks around my home had the softest, greenest grass and everyone in the neighborhood had lush gardens full of colorful flowers. When we wanted to cool off from the “hot” summer we sped up Parley’s Canyon to the legendary Park City, and just a little further to beautiful lakes and rivers.  It really was a dream. Even the dreaded winters were beautiful (when blankets of haze weren’t covering the valley). So the biggest problem I had with Arizona? It’s beauty, or lack thereof.

We had just driven through Las Vegas and I’m not sure what I was expecting to see but I wasn’t seeing much. There was a pile of rocks there and a bigger pile of rocks over there. Then there were cactuses. Those entranced me for two miles and then I realized something: there were no mountains (at least what I consider a mountain) and none of the “trees” had leaves on them. Wait, were there any trees? Then we finally got to our destination and I opened the car door. You know that feeling when you open your oven door when it’s 400 degrees inside? I felt like I was walking into a 400 degree oven.  I had come to a conclusion. Arizona was ugly. Ugly. Ugly. Ugly.

We had gotten settled and I hadn’t really changed my mind about what I thought about the physical appearance of my new home. That was until we experienced our first monsoon. It was the beginning of August and the wind was blowing dust like mad.  I was receiving warnings on my phone about a massive dust storm, the “mythical” haboob. They DID exist! Once the dust died down, nature performed the most awesome light show I had experienced in my life and then it started to pour. Like buckets. And guess what? It was BEAUTIFUL! That night I turned a new leaf (hahah, leaf, those rarely exist in AZ). I was going to find all the beautiful things Arizona had that Utah didn’t. Now don’t get me wrong, I still laughed when people told me I was lucky to be living so close to the mountains that I could go hiking everyday. Sorry, but those “mountains” you speak of are literally the size of the sledding hill at the local park back home. And those “hikes”? Those were more like a walk around the block. But on a more positive note, here are some of Arizona’s beauties I discovered with my change of attitude:

-Sunset: The myriad of colors those things produce on a nightly basis are breathtaking. And there are no mountains to get in the way of those. Nothing but a wide-open spectacular of the sun retiring for the day.

-Cactuses: While there are countless numbers of these pokey creatures ALL OVER the state, did you know they bloom? Yes, those painful plants actually produce a flower. And not just a simple flower, they are gorgeous.

-Bunnies: Everywhere. But cool nonetheless. There isn’t a lot of wildlife back home that come out at night to eat your grass. I mean, they’re a lot better than raccoons and skunks, but unfortunately cause just as many stains in the road as one another. I may or may not be a culprit.

-Coyotes:  Beautiful? No. But completely awesome and different? YES! Just a few months ago I was on a morning jog and was greeted by a coyote that thought it was being sneaky by running along side me concealed by the brush.

-Road Runners: Beep Beep. Enough said

-Lightning: I know I already mentioned this before, but it’s definitely worth mentioning twice. When it storms here, it is lightning non-stop. I could just stand outside and stare. But I don’t, that would be dangerous…

And much, much more.

This experience on finding the physical beauty in Arizona has been so refreshing to me, and the farther along my family moves in our medical journey, I’m realizing how metaphorical it is. There will be so many times where we are let down and things don’t go the way we planned or hoped them to go. But there is always beauty. Beauty exists everywhere. Sometimes we just don’t see it at first because we haven’t experienced that type of beauty before. Whether it’s finding the beauty of being alone, or changing jobs or specialties, I believe beauty can exist in every situation, we just have to open our eyes and hearts to see it.

And for those of you still dwelling on the fact that you have no idea what a haboob is or if it is an actual word, it is. They say it on the news, so it’s real. Now watch this:

Don’t you just want to go stand in that? I do. But husband says I can’t. I’ll get something called Cocci. Whatever THAT is.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Things Our First Month In Have Taught Us...

We are three weeks in. Really? Only three weeks?! Truly, it seems like months at least. Everyone has told us about how quickly this goes by, and I am sure eventually we will look back and say that it did, however, that is not today!

These are the lessons that we and I have learned so far…

      We are different. Out of the class of 125, there are less than 15 that are married. There are less than 10 that attend religious services of any kind regularly. I myself am 6 years older than the average student in his class. We don’t really have a whole lot in common with many of the students. Orientation parties that start around the time we usually both get in bed with our books till we get sleepy made that very clear. Our books and pillows were far more enjoyable in our eyes, and probably their sore, red eyes the next morning. 

     My outlook on this process is different than his family's. Let's be frank, family are bystanders, and we are in the thick of it. At White Coat Ceremony, parents were beaming, his own parents were crying tears of pride. I cried, but it was later, one tear, because of something that was said to me by one of his family members, whom I love very much. His Dean is a very nice lady who was the wife of a med student before she was a med student herself, and said that being the wife was harder than being the student. As a wife, you are waiting a lot, having your life thrown upside down with no control and just trying to hold it all together. I was expressing by relief to hear that one of the Deans understood and how it was refreshing, and this family member told me that my attitude would cause a divorce. I was going to cause a divorce simply because I said it was going to be hard at times. I let one tear go, and avoided her the rest of the evening. It was still a fun day, and exciting to see him get his coat, but let's face it, family will support you, but they are not going into this the same way a spouse is. They can't know or ever really understand what I am going to go through as a spouse anymore than they can understand what he will go through as a student. It's easier to empathize with the student you are so proud of though at times than it is the spouse at home doing the dishes, and making the paycheck to make it all so. For parents and family, White Coat is about pride and reminiscing. For the student and spouse, it is some of that, but also the closing of a chapter of life and their marriage and a total change. They won't get it, and you have to get that.

      Studying for medical school is a different animal altogether.  8-10 hours a day, 7 days a week.  I think as he gets more acclimated, it will get better, but is has been a bit of an adjustment for both of us.  The days of him studying while watching football all day are gone, so at least there is that. 

      We are a special kind of broke. I say we are a special kind, cause there isn’t a whole lot of ways to improve our situation and we know it won’t change for a very long time. In fact, if it does, it will probably get tighter. We cut corners where we can, but still have to live. Prioritizing is key. I’ve decided we should stop eating. Considering I am very hypoglycemic, that should last about 3.5 hours. Dangit, I am hungry.

Sex is important. Ooooo that’s right, I said it. I have always been a little insatiable according to my husband.  We both waited a loooooong time, (just shy of 29 years for me) so we have not been ones to take that area of marriage for granted. However, now it has become a way to feel far more connected to him when he has been so busy. That time in the bedroom is more bonding than twice that watching TV.  Don’t deny yourselves or them, ladies. It will keep you closer, more secure feeling and can you think of a better stress reliever? Remember, just like prioritizing money, it is about prioritizing your time and each other. Besides, talk about cheap entertainment... 

       I am apparently THAT mom. We don’t have kids yet, but I am already THAT mom. I took him to school the other day wearing my PJs, hair a mess and hadn’t brushed my teeth. A construction worker pulled out in front of me at the school and nearly caused us to crash. I wanted to go to the foreman I saw and complain. I was asked by DH to please not embarrass him. See, I am THAT mom.  No children required.

All-in-all, it isn’t too terrible. Do I miss him sometimes? Absolutely. Does hearing him explain the details of all the horrible ways you can die based on what he learned that day become a bit overwhelming at times, and make me doubt my meal, having children, or leaving the house? Oh yeah. Do I wish I didn’t have to ration money to buy seeds to plant in the garden and look for the perfect intersection where Pinterest and what’s in the house meet for possible DIY Christmas gifts? You betcha.

That all being said, some cool stuff has happened too. We are more excited for time together. We really think about what matters to us (and for DH it is the more expensive bread at the store instead of a movie). We learn to sacrifice more for each other, whether it’s me keeping everything going so he can study, or he deciding that the extra hour of studying won’t probably make a huge difference on that test, but may make a huge difference in my day.

Our marriage doesn’t look like it did a month ago, but in a lot of ways it looks better.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Being poor was expected and scary

by: Christie from Kansas City
This summer a miraculous thing happened. My husband had two blissful months off for summer vacation. The first year of medical school splatted me flat like a cartoon character being crushed by a falling piano. It was something we had worked and dreamed about for years; and then it was finally here and it was as if someone had gifted me a big flaming bag of poo. I did not expect my part of this journey to be so hard.

Being poor was expected and scary.  However, it was the doing everything solo that killed me. Being ripped away from lifelong friends and family, leaving my career, having a new baby in an unknown place, never seeing my husband; it was a lot of life changes all at once. I flailed and faltered and tried my best to gain my footing. I did whatever I could to cope and make our lives better here, but it was hard.

Then summer finally arrived and I could feel the ease and joy of life creeping back into my heart. Its amazing what having an extra set of hands to help carry the groceries up the stairs can do for a girl. For the first time in a year I feel relaxed and happy and I am so scared to let this go. So while my head is on straight, I'm going to write down the most important things that helped me survive the first year as a medical school family matriarch. That way when my husband is studying for boards and the baby is teething and the house is a mess, I won't just survive - I will thrive.

Tips for thriving as a wife/mother during medical school:

1. Accept that you will be alone, a lot. Remember that you will feel lonely, but you are not alone.  Technically I was with my toddler 100% of the time, so I was never literally alone - but that is another blog post entirely. Remember there are thousands of medical wives going on this journey with you, and we are all in it alone together! Also even if you are physically alone in caring for your kids, household, yourself etc; you still have a partner in your spouse! Sure, he doesn't help with the midnight feedings, he doesn't take a turn scrubbing the toilets, he may not even have time to eat dinner with you; but you are still on this journey together! 

2. Friends matter. I didn't realize what a huge role friends would play in my new medical life. Without a husband to help you, your medical "sister wives" will help pick up the slack. See if your husbands school has a spouse or partner group you can socialize with. Join the "lives of doctor wives" group on Facebook for virtual support. Make friends at church, the library, playgrounds. Hell make friends at the McDonalds play place if you have to. Just make friends. They can distract you from your loneliness, swap free babysitting, and more importantly give you someone to talk about "The Bachelor" with. When your husband is going on a study bender, you will need the moral support. 

3. Embrace adventures in your new city. I moved to a supposed non descript mid west town. I was not excited, but I have been blown away with what I've found! Museums, parks, markets, restaurants, attractions. Every city has them, it's your job to go find them and make fun memories in them. Life doesn't stop for you just because your spouse is studying. Distract yourself with adventures sightseeing. It's a lot of fun. 

4. Become a frugal guru. Medical students are poor, it comes with the territory. Find confidence and even a hobby through being budget savy. Learn how to coupon, find sites that share free activities in your area, start thrifting. It's fun and often necessary. Every month I get free magazine subscriptions, free photo prints, free samples, and more all from just from a little looking around online. There are so many little tricks, fun rewards apps, it's addicting and a real tangible way to give back to your family's bottom line. 

5. Accept charity. This one can be hard, but you will need peoples help. I have been given great hand me down toys and clothes for my son, extra vegetables from neighbors gardens, leftovers from church dinners. People understand medical school is difficult on young families and they want to help. It can be hard, but let them. You can pay it forward when life gets better. 

6. Remain positive for your spouse. It can be easy to misplace all of our resentment towards the hard process of medical school onto our husbands. If you are having a pity party all the time, it will effect your sweet husbands outlook and ultimately it will effect both of your futures. Plaster positive quotes around the house, go on dates after tests, say lots of prayers. Make goal charts, send him encouraging texts, leave love notes in his books. Whatever you can do to stay positive, do it. If you focus on what you can do to make him and your kids happy, its truly works that in turn you will be happy.

7. Have an outlet. Journal, learn a language, do yoga, watch trashy tv, host a book swap with friends. Do something just for yourself that you love, it will do wonders. 

8. Reset often. You will be tired and make mistakes.  You will skip play dates with your best friend. You will nag your husband before you catch yourself. You'll buy something you can't afford at Anthropologie. It's ok, be kind to yourself. Give yourself a pep talk and start over. Medicine is a marathon, not a sprint. 

We can do hard things. We will be better for it. My heart is with you all

Monday, September 8, 2014

Survivor Stories: It All Comes Down to 10 Seconds

I may hate a lot about this medical lifestyle.  The long hours, the physical drain (on both husband and wife), the financial debt to get here.  The list goes on and on.
But this is a Survivor Story and the best story I have is when my husband’s 4 years of college, 2 years of graduate school, 4 years of medical school, and 3 years of residency all came down to the most important 10 seconds of my life.

Most physician wives, and especially emergency physician wives, will tell you that you better have a knife sticking out of your chest to get any sympathy and attention for your medical “problem.”  If it’s not life threatening, it isn’t a problem. I have heard the statement “Don’t worry about it, it’s no big deal,” so many times that I began to think that nothing medical was ever a big deal to my husband. 

Until the day our daughter stopped breathing.

It was early December and our “Christmas baby” ended-up being a Thanksgiving baby.  Despite being almost 6 weeks early, she came home from the hospital with me and was doing great on day 10.  The rest of the family was fighting a cold.

Shortly after breastfeeding, I was holding my 10-day-old daughter swaddled in my arms, just sitting on the couch watching my 15-month-old play.  I was about to lay her in her bassinet for a nap when DrH walked by.
The conversation went like this:
DrH: “How long has she been doing that?”
Me: “Doing what?
DrH: “Her color change.  How long has she been dusky?”
Me: “She’s not dusky, it’s just the lighting in here.” (says the tired mom with little sleep)
DrH: “Bring her over here.”
(I went over to the kitchen where the lighting was better.)
DrH:  “Quickly pack a bag and get everyone loaded in the car.”

Normally, I’m fairly obstinate and I don’t like being bossed around.  So, most days I probably would have replied with some snappy remark.  But I could tell he was very serious and that meant something was wrong.

We then drove from our house to the children’s hospital in the next state.  DrH assured me our local hospital would just airlift our daughter to that children’s hospital anyway.  We had my father-in-law (also an EM physician) on speakerphone confirming each hospital we would drive by in case we had to urgently stop.  I sat in the back seat tickling my baby’s toes and lightly pinching her to keep her alert and awake – as instructed by my husband.

We arrived at Children’s with a bright, alert, pink baby who was hungry for a feeding.  The staff probably wouldn’t have even brought us back to a room right away if DrH hadn’t explained his job and what he had witnessed.  I fed our baby and she fell asleep.  I thought maybe we had overreacted.

Then, her respirations started spreading out….3 seconds apart, 5 seconds apart, 10 seconds apart.  Fortunately, we had the attending, resident and ER nurse watching her respiratory changes inside the room.  Once she hit 20-second gaps between breaths they decided to intubate.  The room very quickly became packed with hospital staff and multiple pieces of machinery. My husband asked if I wanted to be out of the room and I said yes.  We sat together in a waiting room and he explained to me what happens with an intubation while I cried on his shoulder. 

It was the first time I truly understood his job.

Our preemie daughter was on a vent in the ICU for three days, released from the hospital in 6 days, and was able to go off from continuous oxygen at 4 months.  I know, had I been home alone that day (as I often am), I would have put our baby to sleep for a nap and she wouldn’t have awakened.  My husband’s training, his experience, and his keen eye for a spiraling patient had saved our daughter’s life.

So no matter how frustrated I get with another holiday when my husband works, or the student loan debt that feels like will never go away, I remember the time that my husband saved our daughter’s life and I know that had he chosen any other career this story would have ended very differently.

So hug your kids tonight, and let you physician husband know how proud you are of him and how grateful you are for what he does.  And take comfort in knowing you have that amazing knowledge right in your home.  Perhaps that is the greatest benefit of this medical life.

I am a stay-at-home mom to two healthy girls, now 3-years and 20-months. My husband practices emergency medicine in Colorado.  We have been married for 8 years and together since graduate school.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

The Sweet Life

Have you guys heard of the marshmallow experiment? It's the one thing from my freshman-year-of-college child development class that stuck with me, instead of, for example, something useful like how to navigate the way-harder-than-two-which-wasn't-actually-terrible-at-all threenager year, or what the appropriate response is when your child asks how his baby brother got in your tummy in the first place and this immature mother's first reaction was to blush and change the subject to anything else, literally anything.

I digress. The marshmallow experiment was created at Stanford about forty years ago. Children from ages three to six were offered a marshmallow, and then were left alone in a room with a promise that if they didn't eat the marshmallow until the test administrator returned, they would receive a second marshmallow. The test examined delayed gratification, and follow-up studies indicated that the kids who were able to hold out for that second marshmallow did better in life later on. Look it up. It's cool stuff.

I tried to go off sugar for a week a while back, and I lasted about six hours. I confessed my failure to my husband, Michael, who suggested we try it together. And do you know what? We did it. When I thought I HAD to have chocolate chips, he talked me into eating a banana. When he was craving soda, I encouraged him to drink milk. And we both, somehow, gave up late-night bowls of ice cream.

I'm not sure if Michael and I would have passed or failed the marshmallow test as children. Despite my near-crippling weakness for sugar, our life outcomes are good, so we might have done ok. But as his class is getting ready for their halfway party this winter (two-point-five years done! And...two-point-five years to go.  Not including fellowship), I've been thinking a lot about that lesson in child development 101: delayed gratification pays off, eventually. Someday, these years and years of studying and supporting and debt and stress and anxiety will result in a better prize than a marshmallow, that's for sure.  

And based on our own little sugary experiment, Michael and I are stronger together. When he's craving a shorter residency and better hours, I'll encourage him to remember what he loves about his field. When I see my friends flying out to vacation in Cabo, he'll remind me that we'll get there, and in the meantime, we can drive out to Kansas City for golden weekend if we want. And together, we'll get through it.  

(I'll confess, though, that we're back on sugar now, and I'm suddenly craving s'mores. With extra marshmallows.)

Friday, August 29, 2014

It's all about perspective

Contributed by Angela Hummel

I sit here on a Saturday morning alone with cancelled breakfast plans...again. This has been a difficult week, made even worse by the lack of support from my husband. It's not that he doesn't want to be by my side, it's that he can't be by my side. Demanding schedules and demanding patients win yet again.

Last week I had miscarriage number three, alone, in our bathroom while I'll let my husband sleep through my nightmare. I had to let him sleep, his surgery schedule was overbooked for the next day and I couldn't rationalize waking him so he could sit on the cold bathroom floor and wait. It was only 2 in the morning and I had no idea how long I'd be dealing with this. As much as I wanted to be selfish and have him by my side, I didn't want to take the chance of putting someone else's life at risk or putting my husbands career in jeopardy.  I had done this before, I could do it again. And honestly, I was glad that at least he was home.

Two and a half hours later, I am no longer able to go from the bed to the bathroom. As I'm sitting there waiting for the most recent contraction to pass, I beg God to please make this end and decide it's time to wake my sleeping husband. At that moment, God answered my prayer and I knew it was time to "page the doctor".

I'm not sure if God chose to pair me with an OB/GYN because I was going to have multiple miscarriages but I feel blessed to have my own personal, loving, tender expert during the hardest times of my life.  We have been blessed and pregnancy number three resulted in an active, beautiful, strong-willed little girl. My husband didn't want to play doctor during my labor but instead wanted to take a step back and be at my side. A decision that pleased me. However, labor didn't go as planned and as the senior resident at the time he step in and helped make decisions that resulted in a quick vaginal birth instead of a c-section. And honestly I believed that after that delivery, miscarriages were a thing of the past.

The rest of the day was hard, to go through an ultrasound alone, without even having that tiny heartbeat inside me to give me comfort. Even though I knew many of the staff personally, I wanted my husband by my side. The next afternoon I was fortunate enough that he was able to take the afternoon off and accompany me while I had lab work done, picked up prescriptions and headed to labor and delivery for a rhogam injection.   He was there as we stood at the nurses station checking in and the nurse asked "When is your due date?" And I just stared at her for a brief moment without being able to answer. Everyone in the nurses station turned to look at us and as I said "It was January 13, 2015".

"What do you mean?" She said with a confused look that I still don't understand to this day. I mean, come on, she's a L&D nurse, right?

My husband took the reigns and said "She had a miscarriage and she needs the rhogam injection". I may have sobbed right then and there if he hadn't been the rock by my side.

A few days later, 6:30 am, I wake up in an empty bed with stomach pain and gurgling bowels and I quickly realized that I have just a matter of seconds to move. A half hour later, my busy bundle of joy is ready to conquer the day while I lay helpless on the living room floor. Since I've had her this has been the hardest day of my life. A temperature of 101, a headache that is splitting my head in two, a trip to the bathroom every thirty minutes, emotions on high and a teething tot is enough to make me want to crawl in a hole.

And again it's a surgery day. He's already warned me that we probably wouldn't see him today. I manage to make it through the day laying miserably on the floor, staring at the TV, doing my best to care for my child and counting down until bedtime.

At 7:15 I crawl into bed, text my husband "I can't make you dinner tonight, I'm sorry. Get something on your way home. Love you" hoping to get a response and hoping he'd be coming to hold me, nurse me back to health, or just simply to be sitting in the house either watching TV or studying. Somewhere around 11 o'clock he crawls into bed, exhausted and hungry.

The next morning, I peel open my eyes, do a quick mental assessment of how I'm feeling and realize that I don't need to run to the bathroom. I turn over to see that my husband is already gone for the day but quickly realize that it's Friday! Half day in the office for him!  I need to spend time with him, I'm ready to talk about our miscarriage and discuss how I'm feeling to get some of this weigh off my chest. So many emotions rolling through me like a devastating thunderstorm that doesn't have enough pressure behind it to move it along. This is the first time we've decided to go on birth control after a miscarriage. Maybe we won't have another child but I'm not sure if that thought is adding to the storm or helping it pass.  I need to get out. Into a different environment. Away from the floor I laid on yesterday. I am hopeful that we can go to lunch, go for a walk or run some errands.

The day in the life of a doctor's wife never goes as 3 o'clock he sends a text.

"Do you mind if I go with Craig for a drink?" Thankfully he texted instead of calling because I truly would have blown my top on him. But I quickly think, "He's had a tough week too. He lost this baby just like I did. And he rarely spends time with friends outside of work."

"Go ahead, then we will go out to dinner tonight." I respond. "Are you sure?" He asks. "Yes, the baby is napping and I'm doing some work."

I want to be so very selfish right now. I want to tell him "Are you kidding me!?!" But he always passes up the chance to spend an hour or two with friends to be home with us, he turns down invitations to stay home and study and he has been through as much as I have this week. Plus, I can give up two more hours of his time to have him for the rest weekend.

"Meet me at Chipolte at 6" he texts me "It needs to be quick, fill you in when I get there". This isn't sounding good. A big sigh escapes me and I get things ready to go. Surprise, surprise he needs to go. back. in. on. a. friday. night. for. a. surgery.  At this point I am so desperate to get out of the house, talk to an adult, feel normalcy and escape the last week. Desperate isn't even the right word. I usually make a few trips to the gym, get groceries, run errands and attend a play group during the week but I've been restricted from exercise for the week, leaking clots, and then too sick to even leave the house.

A patient with placenta accerta is going to need an emergent hysterectomy tonight because of uncontrolled bleeding as soon as she gets out of interventional radiology. Her life is more important than having my husband at the dinner table with us. He finishes half his burrito when the page comes through. "Don't forget we have to take your car to the shop in the morning and then we have that fundraiser breakfast" I remind him as he bends to kiss the little one and then me. "Got it. Can't wait to spend some time with you" he says.

The next morning after dropping his car off we are finally all together to do something as a family. I am blabbing about a new project I've started, really making small talk and sharing some positive insight into the last few days. "I got paged, that girl we did surgery on last night isn't doing well, so I to skip breakfast. Her heart rate is really high and she may have a pulmonary embolism." I could not believe I was hearing this again! Not again, not now! I need my husband and I've been pushing it off and pushing it off. I was so excited to actually have time with him today that I was up at 6:30, showered, dress in a cute skirt and summery top.

"That is it. I am sorry but I need to tell you this." I say through welling up tears.  "I hate your job this week. I know your patients need you but I need you. This has been one of the hardest weeks of my life and I have shared you with everyone else. You have been gone all day and most nights you have been in bed hours after me. We have no family here and I've been dealing with everything by myself." 

"I'm sorry, this has been tough week. This patient is really sick and I need to go in." He says as he reaches over to caress my knee. "I am sorry to do this to you again."

So here we stand watching him pull away in the only vehicle we have, stuck once again at the house without him. The fact that he does what he does to help others and save lives is very important to me and during these hard times I have to remind myself much more frequently that this life isn't just about me. Keeping my perspective positive and not allowing selfish thoughts to take over does keep me from becoming bitter. These things that have happened could easily make me hateful and full of self-pity but living in a dark place is so unappealing to me that I focus only on the positive.

I know my husband's heart. It always shows through. He's always there when he needs to be. Maybe not when I want him to be but when it matters most God works things out to make sure I'm not alone.