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Lives of Doctor Wives: What You Wish You Knew...

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

What You Wish You Knew...

I'm hoping to speak at some medical gatherings in the future, addressing topics physician spouses would find useful. I would love to know what topics you would find helpful. Do you worry about infidelity in the workplace? Do you wonder how common drug abuse is among doctors? Do you just want to know which fork to use at the Medical Alliance dinner party? Would love to have your input (and some suggestions may also result in blog posts here).

You can email me your thoughts/concerns at kathi@wingspouse.com or list your ideas as a comment here.



Blogger Married to a med student - Marissa Nicole said...

What rules of etiquette does my husband need to know for his away rotation? What are the important ones that they will look at while he is there? Will they watch how he eats or how he ties his knots in surgery? Other than working hard and never sitting down or taking a break (unless the attending are taking a break) what will they be looking at when he visits?


July 21, 2009 at 2:42 PM  
Blogger Kathi Browne said...

Nicole... your comment took me by surprise. I hadn't thought about what wives might need to pass on to their spouse residents (A+, girlfriend!).

Do any of you worry about what YOU need to know (etiquette wise) if you attend an event?

Keep the ideas coming. Love it!

July 21, 2009 at 3:58 PM  
Blogger Married to a med student - Marissa Nicole said...

I am more worried about my husbands etiquette simply because he will be around them more, but yes I definitely worry about myself as well... all I know about eating etiquette is that the silverware use goes from outside to in! Thanks Kathi!

July 21, 2009 at 5:59 PM  
Blogger Tasha said...

I second the questions by Marissa Nicole! I have always wondered if at those events the spouse should be a 'shadow' to the husband doctor, meeting all of his colleagues and such or if they're allowed the liberty to move around, etc. Plus what do you talk about/do when the conversation turns medical (when you're the only one left out or there's another doctor's wife there)?

July 21, 2009 at 7:00 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

I went to my DH's first residency event recently (cocktails & dinner), and I was very nervous about making a good impression, to say the least. I found that being introduced as his wife made me feel sort of invisible in the conversation, though I tried to look interested by making eye contact, laughing along and trying to understand everything. Eventually I wandered off and struck up a conversation with another Dr wife, and after the usual exchange of vitals (what year, what specialty), we were able to find common ground and talk about other things entirely. I found that I was happier doing a bit of wandering on my own, not shadowing him except when he called me over to meet someone. Incidentally, I was having a conversation with an attending's wife about local real estate, but as soon as a tall young resident joined us, it was like I didn't exist! She addressed all her comments to him and seemed to take his opinions as the final word. I guess the point of this rambling story is that I would like to learn how to better be myself at these events, not shrink into the background like an accessory.

July 22, 2009 at 8:47 AM  
Blogger Melisa said...

I always get so nervous attending those events. I kind of like being invisible though, so I don't really venture off on my own.

It makes me a little crazy trying to remember all the eating rules (rip off pieces of bread because you should'nt put back down something you bit into? put the butter on your plate and not directly on the bread? don't cut all your meat at once, only cut what you are going to chew?) ahhhhh! There is too much!

One thing I keep doing over and over again is that my hand gets cold and wet from holding my ice water, and it freaks people out when I shake their hand. :o) I have to remember to hold my drink in my left hand. There's a tip for ya'll! ;o)

July 22, 2009 at 10:31 AM  
Blogger Kathi Browne said...

So many good comments. Thanks and keep them coming!

Some quick answers (until I get some posts written:

Yes, you should move around the room because sometimes docs want to speak confidentially. Know a bit about the people ahead of time so you can make small chat.

Etiquette is definitely noticed during an interview or charity event. Most people at a medical event don't care (but their wives sometimes point out mistakes). This is definitely a good topic for the future.

July 23, 2009 at 8:24 AM  
Blogger RadWife said...

Here are a few thoughts that have been swirling around my head:

Since a lot of us end up moving around. I often find it difficult to put yourself out there to meet people. What's the best way to get to know others at the program? For example, would it be acceptable for my husband and I to host dinner at our place? Could we invite docs and spouses from years above him in training or stick to his level? We don't have kids yet, but others in his program do, should we invite the children over as well? What if we only live in an apartment, would that be bad taste to have people over? What are other good ways to network and get to know people?

My husband just started his intern year and I work a busy full-time job. In med school we were really good about splitting up the household chores, but now I'm wondering if that dynamic needs to change. Is it acceptable to tell your husband who's been saving lives all day that he still needs to take out the trash and help fold the laundry?

I've been the sole breadwinner for the last 4 years and will still be the primary for the next 5 of residency. Personally, I feel like I've served a very vital role in our relationship, but now I feel like others look at us and view him as the big fancy important doctor. As the spouse who's supported him through all of this, how do you take that hit to your ego?

Where/when are you planning on speaking? I would enjoy attending the event.

July 23, 2009 at 2:56 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

Gosh, RadWife, those are excellent questions, and I identify with every one. I would also really like to know how others handle household duties once residency starts. Some days I feel like it's unfair for me to do the lion's share of chores (I work full time, too), but other days I feel like a tyrant for tacking on more work to his already exhausting schedule.

July 24, 2009 at 8:00 AM  
Blogger Kathi Browne said...

Laura, I have to laugh because now that I can afford a housecleaner, I find myself firing them because they don't clean to my satisfaction. I know three ladies who rotate among their homes, cleaning together and having fun. I never stayed anywhere long enough to do something like that, but it sure sounded like fun!

Radwife, I'll get a post together about your topic (excellent questions). For now, I'll tell you that I was most impressed by a MD's wife who moved to town and immediately asked if she could use my pool to throw a pool party for her daughters to meet people. I just loved her spunk. We became great friends and she used my pool frequently after that. Not everyone can pull that off, but more later...

Thank you, all! Keep'em coming.

July 24, 2009 at 10:09 AM  

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