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Lives of Doctor Wives: Oh. He’s in medical school? He’s going to be a doctor? GOOD LUCK

Friday, June 21, 2013

Oh. He’s in medical school? He’s going to be a doctor? GOOD LUCK



Written by: Lauren Brooks 
written for:  a speech for residency graduation to honor the spouses 

When I first got engaged to Chris, I was told by a woman I didn’t know very well, “Oh. He’s in medical school? He’s going to be a doctor? GOOD LUCK.”

I was taken aback by this. What was that supposed to mean?!  I was excited and proud and thought Chris hung the moon. Why would she wish me good luck in such a biting and sarcastic manner?

As time went on I found comments like this one were not all that uncommon.  “Well, get used to being alone!” “Get ready to be a single parent!”  And the flat out, matter of fact, “You’re never going to see him.”

People made being married to a medical student, a resident, a physician sound… awful. That’s when they weren’t making it sound like we would be ROLLING IN ALLTHEMONIES, ALL THE TIME, which we all know now to be quite the embellishment, at least during residency.

When Chris was in medical school, these things were half true. He was gone for away rotations, but when he wasn’t, things were pretty normal. I can say that now because, well, turns out medical school was a breeze compared to residency.  You just don’t know what you don’t know, am I right?

Then residency came and you know? Almost everything everyone ever said turned out to be true in some way. They are gone a lot. They are paged in the middle of night for continuities, get up and leave and you don’t see them until 7pm the next night. They don’t see their kids for days at a time because they leave before the baby wakes up and get home after the baby has gone to bed. They aren’t the best at helping during those middle of the night feedings with a newborn because they’re so sleep deprived that when you ask them to just change the diaper before you get up to nurse the baby, you see them half asleep, walking out the bedroom door even though the baby is in the bassinet next to the bed (true story).  You get used to going to events alone- school events, BBQs, dinner with friends. People stop asking where your spouse is because they already know: they’re working.

I’m willing to bet that each of you 3rd year spouses have similar but different stories of your own.

Being married to a resident is hard work. It can be lonely work. Being married to a resident is not for the faint of heart.

But this isn’t meant to be woe is us kind of speech. This is a “Go us! Go YOU!” kind of thing. Because really? It takes a special kind of person to be married to a resident. You have to be tough as nails and strong and independent and problem solving and flexible and secure in yourself.  You discover strengths you never knew you had, and maybe you develop a few new ones along the way.  You become a pro at handling pretty much everything, and fixing things, and you learn that it’s okay to ask for help from family and friends when you just can’t, because sometimes we just can’t, and that’s okay too.  You make a family out of friends, because Lord knows all our actual families are too far away to step in and help with the daily ins and outs. We are proud of our spouses’ hard work and we stand by our spouses when they’re so beat down and just need a safe place to vent. We are cheerleaders, counselors, back rubbers, personal chefs, a shoulder to lean on… and then fall asleep on. We learn to laugh at this life, because if you don’t then you might cry, and that’s no way to be.  You also learn that it’s okay to cry every now and then because we can’t all be Superwoman or Superman all the time.

I could go on, but I won’t.  Suffice it to say, you are rockstars. And the best part is, all of these strengths you’ve found in yourself? All of these characteristics that can be summed up in one word, which is “resilient”? They all apply to military spouses as well. You are now passing from residency into the hands of the military. I believe that you guys are better prepared for the fundamental job of a military spouse for having been the spouse of a medical resident.

One of my new favorite authors and bloggers, Glennon Doyle Melton, who has NOTHING to do with medicine, has a lot of mantras. One of them is particularly appropriate in the life of a resident’s wife: “We can do hard things.”

We CAN do hard things. Being married to a resident counts as a hard thing. You have done a hard thing in seeing your resident through the past three years of their lives.

And so tonight, I want to say congratulations not just to these residents for completing such a worthy task, but also to the spouses. Congratulations, my friends., and thank you. You have completed a hard thing, and you have done it well.  I am honored to be amongst you guys.

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1 Comments:

Blogger laurenj said...

Hi!! It's the author, Lauren Brooks. This wasn't actually my husband's graduation. He will graduate next summer! This WAS for the graduation dinner, but as a 2nd year spouse it was my job to recognize and congratulate the graduating spouses. So sorry for the confusion!!

June 21, 2013 at 12:57 PM  

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