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Lives of Doctor Wives: Med School Madness

Monday, August 26, 2013

Med School Madness

 The Q and A. Part 2.
A long time ago, in what feels like a galaxy far away, before yet another move and other things on the way, I wrote a little blog post about the lives of several Student Dr. Wives.  It was great fun to ask the LDW girls a few questions and more fun still to read their well thought out responses.  If you are interested in reading that post, you can find it here (http://doctorwives.blogspot.com/2013/06/med-school-madness-theq-and-part-1.html).  That was part one; today I am finishing up that conversation.  In the first post, we talked about some of the shared realities of medical school and what it’s like to be the partner of those who attend medical schools all over the US.  We talked about adjusting to MS, finances, study time and such.  Today, I’d like to finish by posting about some of the emotional matters of being the partner of a medical student.  Again, I’d like to thank Jessie, Tabatha, Jennifer, Rachel, Amanda, Mia and Margaret whose answers made these posts much better than anything I could have done on my own.  I wish you could read all their responses. These ladies are far more gifted as story tellers and writers than I can ever be.  They should tell their own stories and I hope they can guest post  but until that time comes, thank you ladies for allowing me to share your answers.  Thank you!

Now then, let’s get started.

First question, I can’t be the only worrier.  What worries you now about your Student Dr?

Jessie- Getting through Step 1 and away rotations. His first rotation, starting July 1, will take him about 90 minutes away for three months. It’s going to be tough.

Tabatha- My hubby has already begun to worry about the dreaded "L" word. Lawsuit. He does not handle rejection or failure well. I worry about how he is already concerned about this in ways he shouldn't be (stressed out, losing sleep, etc)

Margaret- I’m definitely concerned about how residency will impact our fledgling marriage. Quality time is important to both of us and I think it will be hard to start our marriage in a new city at the same time DrH starts residency. I think we will both learn a lot about flexibility and generosity in these first few years!

Rachel- Time management and the hectic scheduling of fourth year. I feel like there's so many things he will be juggling at once, away rotations during applying for residency, traveling again for step 2, traveling for interviews. He is not a person who "stops" when there's something else he can do. He just keeps going and going until there is nothing left on his to-do list. That has worked thus far and got him a long ways during the lecture years, but now he is going to have to learn how to sleep when things are left undone until tomorrow.

As you look back, is there one thing you wish you had done differently? AND/OR what are some things you got right?

Tabatha- I know a lot of couples have kids before or during medical school but I am so glad we decided to wait to have kids. I feel like it took a huge stress off us. It was a hard decision to make (we both REALLY want kids) but I'm glad we decided to wait to start a family.

Margaret- Being flexible and making the most of the time we did have together, even when our schedules conflicted and limited that time.

Amanda- I have become a much more flexible person and learned a lot about myself.  I also made some of the best friends of my life with the Spouses Organization.  

Jessie- I am SO glad I went to law school. It is definitely possible to go back to school after kids are grown, but it seems like a much harder road than getting all the education you want and getting some experience under your belt before starting a family. I only wish both of us could have gone straight through; a year off between college and law school for me and three years off for my husband before medical school have delayed the possibility of starting a family.

Rachel- I wish we would have moved into a smaller place after we got married. I also think the sooner you can look at the true picture of finances in the many years to come, the better. I think waiting to start a family (was the right decision), even though that wasn't our original plan. It is a highly personal decision but going into a surgical specialty after medical school, we have eight years at a minimum until DrH will be out of training

As you look forward, what are some of your goals personally and as a couple who belong to the medical community?

Tabatha-My goals personally are to find a job that will allow me to be home more. As a couple we hope to just keep up what we're doing and make it through this crazy journey. Eventually, (after residency) we hope to end up back in Oregon where hubby can practice for a few years and then return to his school as faculty.

Margaret-We are hoping to start our family soon, so we will be striving to nurture our young marriage and cultivate a strong, loving home environment for our children while juggling the stresses of medical training.  As a couple, we feel very strongly that it is important to develop relationships within our community and to support doctors and medical couples who are younger in their training.  We hope to be a light to our community just as others have been lights to us.

Amanda-Our goals are to get a residency in our home state, with the full knowledge that we may end up a million miles away.  We’d like to have kids, a house and may be more cats. The future is exciting!

Rachel- To stay involved and be humble and stay anonymous. We want to give to the causes we choose and make an impact through volunteering, and then go on our merry way and enjoy the little time we have with our family together.
Jessie-I’d like for us to be more than just a doctor and his wife. That is, I don’t want my husband defined only by his job title, and I certainly don’t want to be defined as only an extension of him and his job title. That’ll be tough in our society, which is dragging its knuckles on the path to gender equality, and particularly in my religious community, where I am often asked first what my husband does, rather than what I do. If, at some point, I am a stay-at-home mom, I intend to wear that badge with honor, and I hope to contribute even the tiniest bit to an increase in society’s respect for the work mothers do. I can’t contribute that way if I allow myself to be defined as a “doctor’s wife.” I guess, essentially, I want both of us to preserve and proclaim our individual identities rather than being content to nestle into the boxes people will no doubt try to shove us into.   
Secondly, I hope we can hang onto our material perspective. I grew up in extreme poverty (extreme for the United States, that is), and my husband comes from simple means as well. I hear a lot of my colleagues and a lot of doctors’ families lament how little money they make and how hard it is to stretch their six-figure incomes (talking about after residency, clearly), and I fear falling into the same jaded mindset. No idea how we’ll instill the right perspective in offspring who, when asked, will have to answer that their parents are a doctor and a lawyer. Any advice there would be greatly appreciated.
Lastly, since our purpose at LDW is to support the medical spouse, I asked the girls share about a person who has encouraged them through the medical journey aside from their spouse. 

The unanimous response was that other medical wives get it.  They make a huge difference.  All those who answered stated that another MS girl has been just what the doctor ordered.  GO US! Jessie did bring up her puppy.  For her, her pup was a gift during the lonely times and Rachel had this to say:
“I have met many other significant others and spouses of medical students, but it wasn't until I found the right one who became a great friend almost instantly as soon as we started hanging out, that I found someone that could travel the road through medical training with me. Having someone to talk to who understand without judgment is HUGE. No one else will outside of this, nor should we expect them to. As we will never understand truly what someone else's spouse goes through in their field. It's great to have someone to call on those long days DrH is in surgery or on call, who is newly married with the time constraints our spouses have, who can share their insight on setting up housing for away rotations or finding the best deals for flights for interviews. If you meet someone who can truly go through this experience with you, it will be hard not to come out on the other side friends for life.”

Thank you all for reading and checking out our blog. I learned a ton from doing this post.  I was reminded how import support is during the medical school years and how fast the time truly goes by.  This journey is temporary, it’s best to remember whatever trouble you see today will soon pass away.  If you don’t have a medical friend yet, hang in there and come visit our FB group, many of us are getting the encouragement and the advice we need in there.  Until next time!

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