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Lives of Doctor Wives: July 2012

Friday, July 6, 2012

Survivor Stories: Answers to the Absent Parent

When my husband started residency, I thought we would see more of him. After all, he was done with exams, lectures, and all the other intense school work. That didn't turn out to be the case. I held my breath until his first day of practice, and guess what... his hours didn't change. He was off to do rounds, followed by patients, then hospital meetings, more rounds, occasional training or CME, and sometimes call. I wondered when it would end. It never has. Even as a hospital administrator, and eventually a national healthcare consultant, Mark is always gone.

What has changed however, is what technology is available to help us bring our families together in these situations. Google+ hangouts has become a regular communication tool for Mark to virtually attend one of our boy's activities. With the development of the phone app, We are both able to start or join video hangouts from our phones. I can "take" Mark with me to the school concert or track meet, and he can tell our boys how proud he is while he relives the moments he witnessed from a distance. Hangouts work for bigger groups too, like family gatherings or birthday parties.

And then there is Google Voice -- a tool we use to leave each other messages that are converted to texts that can be read beneath a table at a board meeting, if need be.

While these new technologies don't replace my husband's role as a dad, they do help us maintain a sense of presence when one of us can't physically be there. If you haven't jumped on the technology bandwagon, consider these tools a means to a better end. If you need help getting started, just let me know by sending me a message at browneknows.com. Now I must go and tuck my husband in for the night with a hangout. He is back home and I am on the road.