I am a doctor’s wife. Sometimes–okay, most of the time–that still sounds funny to me, I’m not sure why.
It occurred to me recently that I haven’t talked much about Dave’s work or being married to a doctor here on my blog, so maybe I should. It is a big part of who I am, and honestly–I have received so many repeated questions/assumptions from people over time, that I would love the chance to address them!
First, I will share just a little background, then I will have some fun tackling…
THE FIVE MOST COMMON ASSUMPTIONS I hear about being married to a doctor!
Background: When I met and fell in love with Dave, he was not a doctor at all, but was a soccer coach, and a church youth director. He was considering medical school, but had not applied or been accepted, and he wasn’t even sure it was what he really wanted to do.
MY point: I didn’t fall in love with a doctor, nor was I looking to.
I fell in love with Dave’s character, his spiritual convictions, and with his fascinating breadth of gifts and talents.
(He also was pretty adorable, plus he played guitar and sang, which was pretty much irresistible paired with all the rest.)
And yes, a year after we got married, he was accepted into medical school, and he (WE) then survived four years of medical school in Portland Oregon, and then three years of residency here in Hawaii. He finished residency and got a job as a Hospitalist nine years ago. (*update: now 11 years ago.)
Now I am very proud of what my husband does for a living. As a Hospitalist, he provides medical care for patients from the emergency room throughout their hospital stay. His job allows him to put his greatest gifts into action: It requires his uber-smart brain, and his compassionate heart. It proves his ability to remember ever piece of information that he has ever learned, and to keep a level head in the midst of serious emergencies. (It may not enable him to find his missing wallet or car keys, but let’s not get nit-picky, right?)
Being a doctor puts the very best parts of my husband into service for other people. And I love that.
But Dave is still just the Dave that I met eighteen (now twenty!) years ago. He loves to surf. He plays with his boys, and he is petting our kitty cat on his lap even as I type. He gets tired. And occasionally grumpy. He loves to farm and drive his tractor, and he will admit that if he could, he might just trade in his doctor job for a tractor job.
Dave is also very humble. He will know someone for years and avoid bringing up the topic of his profession. He doesn’t want people to assume things, or be awkward in any way. He just thinks of himself as a normal guy. Or as a farmer.
But I do find it funny how often people have admitted to me their assumptions about doctors, or what it is like to be married to one. There are a few consistent questions people ask me about what it’s like to be a doctor’s wife. And some of them make me laugh.
Now, obviously, I can’t speak for everyone. Some doctor’s wives may have very different experiences, so I can only speak for myself. (And I personally do know a few other women who will agree with what I’m saying!)
THE FIVE MOST COMMON ASSUMPTIONS about being a doctor’s wife:
1. We never have to go to a doctor’s office, because we have our own doctor at home!
Not true. We see doctors, just like everyone else. For one, my kids and I see doctors because my husband does not specialize in everything, and does not want to misdiagnose say, an ear infection which requires special instruments to examine. Secondly, we see doctors because my husband tends to NOT BE HOME at the times when we most need a doctor! It never fails, if a kid is going to break an arm, cut open his face, or come down with a weird rash–their dad will be…(you guessed it,) working at the hospital. So I usually call him, and sometimes send him iPhone photos, and it never fails, he says to go to the doctor.
IT IS TRUE that there are times that Dave is home at just the right time, and we have skipped many a trip to the ER because he could rule out infection, cancer (that’s me–I think everything is cancer,) and so on. He has superglued a few cuts, and he even (warning–this one is “personal”—) one time performed OB checks on ME to see how far dilated my cervix was while I was laboring with one of my kids…BECAUSE…(this is true)…it was middle of the night, and he did NOT want to go to the hospital and miss HIS sleep if he didn’t have to.
(I had almost forgotten that whole story until now.)
(Was that too much information?)
2. He can prescribe us medicine anytime we want/need it.
I only wish!
The law says no, and Dave is the law-abiding type. If I need a prescription–even for the little stuff of life, I do like everyone else and call my doctor. Sorry if that is oh-so disappointing.
IT IS TRUE that Dave often has a good idea what we need, and can make educated recommendations to our individual doctors, which is nice. Knowing that a husband/father can do their own medical research and be involved in our medical treatment offers peace of mind. It just doesn’t always save me a trip to the doctor’s office. Hmph.
3. I go shopping all of the time, and we hang out at country clubs.
(OR–We’re all RICH.)
I do wish I could go shopping all of the time. But no. And Country Clubs? Dave would rather do just about anything else.
IT IS TRUE that a good doctor does have JOB SECURITY. Meaning, this world will always need doctors. In fact, I encourage any young person who is interested in the medical/health care field to go for it. We will always need doctors, nurses, technicians, and so on, so I think it is a great career choice for those that enjoy that kind of work. Don’t do it to get rich though. I’m pretty sure there are easier ways to get rich. (like blogging. haha. Joke.)
4. Because I am married to a doctor, you can ASK ME just about any medical question, and I should be able to help you.
hahahah. This is funny, but it really does happen ALL. THE. TIME. I actually kind of enjoy it–and I love to pretend I know what the heck I’m talking about! But truth is—We wives don’t learn medicine by osmosis, and I don’t have 5% of my husbands brains. Do yourself a favor and call a real doctor.
IT IS TRUE that I studied Sports Medicine in College, and that I helped Dave study in medical school by reading his medical texts OUT LOUD while he drove us all over the state of Oregon (which put me to sleep every single time,) so I might have picked up a thing or two. But probably just enough to be wickedly dangerous.
5. I never see my husband because he is working constantly, and just doesn’t have time for the family.
I’m SO thankful that this is another NO–NOT TRUE AT ALL! Once again, this is a serious issue with many medical specialties (thinking surgeons especially,) but not for us. Dave considered many factors (family, sleep, surfing,sleep,) when he choose his specialty, and I am forever grateful. His particular schedule provides him a LOT of family time actually.
(And if I do complain about not seeing him, it’s usually because he is out on his tractor moving dirt. Again.)
IT IS TRUE that Dave works many holidays and does have at least one all night shift a month. But in light of all of his time off, I cannot complain. (although I still occasionally do. Like when he has to work on my birthday. Because the world should probably stop for my birthday. Including sick people.)
IT IS ALSO TRUE that residency sucked. And medical school too. I was alone a lot. He was not making much of an income at all. I raised my first three kids for a few years mostly as a single mom. I almost died. Ok, that’s a bit dramatic, but it kind of felt like it more than a few times.
I am pretty sure a few fellow Doctor’s wives read this blog, so I hope you’ll pitch in your ten cents.
IF I did NOT address any of your thoughts/questions, feel free to throw those out there as well!
Aloha to you all!
Interested in other marriage-related posts? This one about what happened when we heard our kids describe our marriage. One on the 7 attitudes that impact your marriage. AND…Help for when there is distance in your marriage! Also a reader favorite: A letter to my husband during this busy season of parenting!
Hope you enjoy, and you can always hop to my home page to see what I’m blogging about now! 🙂