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Lives of Doctor Wives: The road we're on....

Friday, September 13, 2013

The road we're on....

                 The road we’re on
by: Alison Buckley

I met my husband in high school; I was a freshman and he was a senior. After swapping bad dating stories for a year as friends, we began dating the summer after his high school graduation. He left our small farm town for a nearby university and a few years later, I did the same. Fulfilling a lifelong dream, he was admitted to Michigan State University College of Osteopathic Medicine and was eager to begin. Neither of us could have predicted the blessings, growth, sadness and fear that was about to enter our lives.

We were married during his third year of medical school and for the first time, we lived in the same zip code together in a one bedroom apartment with our two dogs, Sugar and Spice. I graduated from college a few months later and started my first full-time job in the corporate world. A couple of months into my young professional career, I found out I was pregnant with our first child. We were excited, but knew we needed to move somewhere with more room, so we upgraded to a nice three-bedroom duplex a few miles from our apartment.

Our sweet daughter was born that September. We lived close to our loving family, which made a big difference while his work hours continued to increase. He had an hour commute to his base hospital, while I drove 30 minutes north to work and cared for our new baby. Life was busy, but good.

Near the end of his fourth year at MSUCOM, DrH began interviewing for Family Medicine residency positions – all in Michigan. While moving away sounded exciting, we wanted to stay near family. Match Day arrived and our world was turned upside down. All plans were out the window and we found ourselves making life-altering decisions in a matter of hours.

DrH called me at work that morning to let me know he didn’t match and would be making the one-hour commute home to begin calling programs across the country. After hanging up, I began calling my manager, who happened to be on vacation at the time, to find out if I would be able to keep my job. He told me odds were good I could keep my job as long as we lived near one of the company’s sites in the United States. Seems simple enough, right? Wrong. All programs were strategically placed about four hours from our sites, until we found out that one of my company’s sites was located in North Carolina, but only about an hour and a half from the residency program in Virginia.

After a quick telephone interview, DrH was offered the position that evening and received a contract that had to be signed by the end of the next day to move forward. That evening was difficult for us. We were excited and scared all at the same time, but knew this is what was meant to be. He signed the contract, sent it in the next day. A few months later, he graduated from medical school, we moved out of our duplex, and lived at our parents with two dogs and a baby for about a month until our move.

In June 2011, we left the only place we had called home, along with close friends and family, to embark on a new journey in a place we knew very little about and with people we had never met. After arriving, we were told there was a mix up with our closing date by the mortgage company and we were forced to stay in a hotel for four days with DrH’s parents, my mom, our nine month old baby and two dogs. During our stay, my father-in-law’s truck was broken into and expensive tools were stolen. Needless to say, our first impression of the new city was not very bright.

After settling in for a few days, DrH drove 45 minutes north, while I commuted 30 minutes south to daycare and work. Those first few months, I relied as heavily on our GPS as I did memories from back home. In the first six months of DrH’s new residency, we drove 13 hours home twice (once was an emergency), lost a baby from miscarriage and celebrated our daughter’s first birthday. My husband worked his first Christmas, while my daughter and I ate lunch at iHop; and he lived out-of-state for a month during an away rotation. We were both exhausted and now I know it was because we were growing – individually, together, personally and professionally.

Since the start of his residency two years ago, I have worked full-time, part-time, stayed at home with our children, and am now preparing to go back to school to complete my master’s degree while working as a teaching assistant.

DrH is now starting his third and final year of residency. If someone would have told me at the beginning how many dinners he would miss, I wouldn’t have believed them. I also wouldn’t have been able to imagine what it would be like to move away, have two beautiful daughters and lose a job. But, that’s what’s great about this ride. We can’t imagine – until we go through it. If there’s one thing I’ve learned along the way, it’s not that residency is easy or always fun, but neither is life. I’m learning to accept and enjoy change, because that is the only constant in our lives right now, and most days, it’s what keeps us going.

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