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Lives of Doctor Wives: In need of a pep talk

Friday, August 28, 2009

In need of a pep talk

Hi girls!

I am having one of those rough nights where I need a little perspective. My husband is a 2nd year orthopedic resident. He is working 100 hour weeks and when he is home, he is either working on a presentation for work, reading for work or sleeping. He only gets 1 weekend off a month, which means that we don't even have the weekends to reconnect. I just feel so lonely and sad. We don't live near any family and I am alone a lot. I try to keep busy but the reality of the situation is that I miss my husband. He is the person I want to share my life with, and that is just not really an option right now. I try to be so supportive b/c I know he is going through a very tough program, but I feel lost. Who is supportive of me and the tough things I am going through? I have been with him for 10 years (married for 3) and I know that in theory, I knew what I was getting into. Honestly though, I never imagined it would be this hard. Please tell me I am not the only one who sometimes feels this way!! Also, please tell me what you do to feel better when you start to feel sorry for yourself like I am doing now :-).


Blogger Stephanie said...

I, too, am married to a PGY2 Ortho Resident... and I think that you and I must have had parallel weeks. My week sucked too... my husband was CRANKY and I felt so alone. In fact, I read the first 5 sentences in your post and thought "woah, did i post this??"

When I feel that way, I read the Survivor Saturday post that Kathi wrote on Surviving Residency and Dealing with Bitterness... and it always seems to help. Beyond that, I told my husband and myself, that I can't wait until I get my real husband back, the one I fell in love with. This is just a really ugly time. I wish I had a good answer of what I do to feel better... because I don't. I do try not to dwell too much on it, because when I do, I just become more bitter... and then that makes it worse! you know?

I am interested to see what kind of pep talk you get... because I need one too! Thanks for posting.

August 28, 2009 at 11:32 PM  
Blogger daphne said...

so sorry!!! i am right there with you. my hubby is PGY5 ortho. i guess the one thing positive is that 2nd year was the worst...absolute worst. so it does get better :) i have to take it one rotation at a time...often times one day at a time. it is incredibly hard not to get bitter and resent his work at times, but i know that if he had a choice he would rather be spending time with me and my girls.
i too feel very lonely sometimes. do you have other wives in the program you could get together with like once a week. i did this for awhile and it really helped to have a little girl time with ladies who completely understood my situation.
go treat yourself this weekend :) you deserve it!

August 29, 2009 at 12:27 AM  
Blogger Rachel said...

Pretty much any surgery residency sucks. My husband did a urology residency and is now in his second year of fellowship. I can't recall him ever working less than 90 hours/week. He is now working 100+ hours per week (4 days a week in the O.R. and one in clinic). On top of all that, he works a couple moonlighting shifts a month to supplement our income. It sucks. Every time I start to feel sorry for myself, I just think how much more it sucks for him. He is not only emotionally drained, but physically. As for my loneliness, its still there. I haven't met many friends here but I joined a meetup.com playgroup to keep our toddler (and myself) busy during the week. If you don't have kids, you can join/start a book club on that website. If that isn't for you, take yoga classes or something. Get yourself out there an meet people. I think the key is just to keep yourself busy.

August 29, 2009 at 1:19 AM  
Blogger JumpingJane said...

I really don't have much to add, but since I am pretty much in the same boat as you, I just wanted to throw in my support. My J is pgy2 gen surg and when he is cranky and tired (most of the time) I miss my J. In order to keep the loneliness away I have started volunteering and joining meet up groups. It helps sometime, but the nights when its just lonely... Well I haven't figured out exactly how to solve that problem. Good luck. :)

August 29, 2009 at 8:59 AM  
Blogger Carol said...

Sorry! I understand the loneliness and I agree with previous posters - try not to dwell on the bitter thoughts too much and instead focus on all the things you have to be thankful for (there has be something!). meetup.com is great - I'm part of a dog playdate group. For me, I need to know that he knows that I'm suffering. Even if we can't spend time together, it makes a world a difference if in a spare moment he verbalizes "I'm sorry we can't spend time together" etc. It's the worst when you feel like you're alone and he's too busy to even notice. Try and make the most of the little time that you do have together. Hope you feel better today!

August 29, 2009 at 8:59 AM  
Blogger Beth Hollenbeck said...

I know it is such a bummer! My husband is also a PGY2 in ortho. I feel like we have been in 2nd year for MONTHS, then realize it has only been weeks. I don't feel lonely as often because I have two young children. However, evenings and nights are hard when I eat dinner alone and go to bed alone feeling completely wiped and bitter from not having any help. I feel the same about missing the connection and losing touch with my husband. Honestly, I am still searching for a solution. It seems there is never time (or money) for a babysitter to enjoy a night out and he is often reading or doing presentations. The one thing we do make an effort to do is to share a glass of wine or something on the evenings he isn't at the hospital for call. Sometimes it is an hour, others 10 minutes. But, we sit at the table alone and talk. It has helped me remove myself from that constant feeling of resentment and it's nice to talk again about "stuff" (NOT residency) like we used to. It's also a great place to just communicate about how you are feeling, and to then have some validation.

The biggest thing for me are the other wives! We are a part of an AMAZING program with very active wives who are extremely supportive and available. Almost all of us have children, which is unique. I talk to one or more them daily, and we have something planned 1-2 times per week. It is such a great place to vent, talk, listen, gripe, whatever. THEY understand, where the "normal" population does not. I keep hearing 2nd year is the worst, so hang in there and know it is better from here. Some weeks are more difficult than others...like right now I feel positive because we had an easy one. I felt like you do last week and just wanted to scream. It's a rollercoaster ride, for sure, but if we lean on one another we'll get through it smiling.

August 29, 2009 at 11:39 AM  
Blogger jrobo215 said...

Thank all of you so much for your support and advice! I woke up this morning feeling so much better! After I wrote my post last night, I kind of regretted doing it. Now that I know that you all have those days and feel the same way, I am so glad that I did write it. It is important to have a place to go to admit that this road is not only tough for our husbands but for us as well. I can't really tell anyone else about my sadness and lonliness b/c everyone I know thinks I live on "easy street." All I hear is how lucky I am to have a husband who is a doctor. I am lucky to be married to such a wonderful man, but must admit, I think a lot about how much easier our life would be if he wasn't a doctor. Anyways, thanks again for your comments. It meant so much to me and was just what I needed to get out of my little "pity party"!! :-)

August 29, 2009 at 12:49 PM  
Blogger Made in Taiwan said...

My husband is a PGY3 ortho and second year was the WORST!! I seriously debated packing the kids up and going back home. 3rd year has been so much better. Hang in there.

August 29, 2009 at 1:00 PM  
Blogger Melisa said...

Awww. I love how so many ortho girls got together for support. Way to go, ladies!

When Brad was living out of state for 7 months, it got really lonely. I went to the gym every single morning and sometimes at night too. I was able to socialize and workouts always make ya feel better. And the free childcare is a bonus. :o)

August 29, 2009 at 5:09 PM  
Blogger Doc's Girl said...

Jason's a 5th year resident--I SOOO promise that it gets better...SOOOOOOOO much better. :)

In fact, the last couple of weeks, he has been home early quite often (and not as exhausted as he was 2nd year)...and I even got teary eyed (tears of joy, of course) at one point and told him how nice it was to have him home so much. :-D It's a world of difference from second year...

I agree with the earlier comment that 2nd year was the worst--it was HORRIBLE! Ironically, it was the year that we began dating so I have a feeling that I dealt with everything okay only because I was still in the phase of a "new relationship" at that point in time. I look back on 2nd year...and I remember so many horrible moments...but I can look back and feel a sense of peace because I know that it definitely made us closer...and...as much as I hate to admit it, it made me a stronger person... Of course, I wasn't able to make that realization until afterwards...but, ya know...;-)

I take things one rotation at a time, too, Daphne! :) :) :)

I don't think that you should ever feel guilty for admitting that you're in a tough place... This is your safe place to vent and get virtual hugs from the ortho crew. :)

Ya'll are in my thoughts! :)

~~my virtual hugs to everyone~~

August 29, 2009 at 10:03 PM  
Blogger Doc's Girl said...

I forgot to mention that Jason is ortho, too. :)

August 29, 2009 at 10:03 PM  
Blogger JLee said...

Ah! This makes me want to tell my hubby to find another specialty he would like!

August 30, 2009 at 1:15 AM  
Blogger CC said...

Hello, When I read your post I felt like I could have written it myself. In fact I forwarded it to my friend who does not follow this site because we have had this conversation about our husbands time and time again. I wish I had some magic words for you, but I don't. I've had so many days where I felt just like you did. It was that one day every few weeks or maybe even that one day that month that we got to spend together and reconnect that has gotten me through. We have a baby now so I am really busy with her and that helps me because I am just as preoccupied and tired as he is! All I can say is hang in there, try and wait patiently for the next time you can spend quality time together, and there is a light at the end of the tunnel. It's just a really long tunnel and very hard to see through sometimes.

August 30, 2009 at 3:42 PM  
Blogger jrobo215 said...

I just wanted to say "thank you" again for all of your wonderful comments and advice. You girls are amazing!!! :-)

August 30, 2009 at 11:44 PM  
Blogger Married to a med student - Marissa Nicole said...

I just wanted to add that you may want to look into an AMA alliance group near you - it is specifically for spouses. Also right now I am reading "Surviving Residency" by Kris Math and am enjoying it. It contains a good description of residency and gives some good ideas of how to cope (things that we know but may need to read and reflect on to truly realize).

August 31, 2009 at 10:30 AM  
Blogger EthidiumBromide said...

Find some kind of hobby to do to keep your mind off of things. My husband and I are in a long distance marriage, so we really don't get to see each other, and honestly the transition has been a piece of cake for me, because I work typically 80 hours per week myself. If you keep yourself busy, then it takes the focus off of feeling lonely and left behind at home. Take a photography class or a pottery class from a community center. Take a cooking class (and your husband will reap the benefits on the rare nights when he is home!). Join a local community sports league. Anything you can do to meet people and have actual FUN doing some sort of activity will do wonders to improve your own mood and make you feel stronger to cope with the lack of time you get to spend with your husband.

August 31, 2009 at 4:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm so glad I found this blog! I'm feeling the same way this evening. I thought my 2nd yr neurosurgery hubby would be home tonight and we would be able to hangout before he has to go oncall tomorrow. Looks like thats now a no go and I may not see him until Sun, if he decides to get up from his sleep LOL. We have been together nine years and have been married over 4. I hope that my little girl that's due in Oct will help with these lonely nights. I typically try to go hang out with friends or family on nigts like these but tonight I just want to see my hubby : (

September 4, 2009 at 8:13 PM  
Blogger jess said...

first time commenter. i just came across this blog recently, and oh how thankful i am. ha. hub is a PGY3 ortho, and currently is on a 3 mo away rotation, he was also away for 3 mos during his 2yr. I have no perspective yet if PGY3 is any better then PGY2 b/c hub has been away since it started, but it seems based on the call schedule for the coming months, things will be much better when he gets back. but 3mos on my own in another state has been tough. i too struggle with bitterness and resentment, but i try to remember all the reasons i married the man i did, none of which had anything to do with him being a doctor. but the reason he became a doctor has everything to do with all the reasons i love him. if that makes any sense. in any event, i'm thankful to find a place where i can relate. there are so many people who have such a skewed perception of what being a doctors wife really means - its refreshing to hear from those who actually know. :)

September 16, 2009 at 10:05 PM  

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