FIVE MYTHS About Being a Doctor’s Wife.
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! 🙂
My husband and I met when he was in pre-med, and I was a student nurse. So yes, he went through it all, especially as an international grad. Not sure how I survived the stress of him applying for residency here in the US, having a baby, and pretty much raising our son like a single mom and working full time. After he graduated from residency, we had to adjust to the thought that we were spending more time together! Ha ha! Fast forward, our son will be graduating from med school next year and will get married after. At least his fiancee will have that support for what she will be going through as a doctor’s wife!
You are so relatable! Thanks for being so honest
I am a doctor. I loved this article and the way you wrote was hilarious monica.
Well thank you! 🙂 Feel free to add any thoughts of your own…. haha. Blessings to you in 2021~
I recently (yes, during the Pandemic) started dating an anesthesiologist. I’ve dated Dr.’s with other specialties in the past. This one though – wow. First of all, I admire how hard he works. I am a teacher with set hours and all kinds of “time off” (especially now) and he has been furloughed a tiny bit but working throughout. In the beginning when surgeries were slow, we had tons of communication and physical time together. For him, and the hospital, everything is “back to normal” – but not really, it’s been crazy busy. My question is, do I bring it up with him? I’m a very independent woman – been divorced and mostly single for 12 years. I normally keep myself very busy (certified yoga teacher, extra duties at the high school I teach at…) but the pandemic has stopped those things. Ok, Ok, Ok as I finally type this out, I’m getting my own answer….duh, he is busy, I am not. BUT I would still love any input you have – I don’t want mess this up – he’s quite an amazing human!:)
I loved reading you blog post about the myths. It is important to dispel some of these and to show how down to earth doctors can be!
Thank you Dana (Dr Corriel!) I loved hearing from you and will respond to your email soon. Your site is lovely also. You are a very well-rounded woman! Keep up the great work. Much aloha-
Being a law abiding *type* is defo not a good thing.
Wow! This is pretty spot on! My hubby practices family medicine. Family, surf (we are in San Diego), and sleep were key factors for him too and I am forever grateful! 😉
I love this post!
I am not a doctors wife yet but a second years wife and ALREADY I get treated this way!
I also met my husband when he was in undergrad and working at lowes part time BUT of course everyone else doesn’t know that & the rumors started as soon as they found out he was starting medical school (until then they payed no attention)
I’m from a really small town in Kentucky. The jobs people have there are ones that require no college or diploma so naturally everyone is going to gossip about people who do go to college (they didn’t just pick on my husband but me too when I moved to UK for school)
The first thing that happened was them saying that he was only marrying me because I was pregnant. Well that slapped them in the face because two years later, no kids (although now we have started trying! & though some may not see it as smart, we want a big family & now feels right for us so no ones else’s opinion matters lol)
The next thing was everyone sucking up to him and telling him and I all the wonderful things they wanted us to buy for them when he starts working. (Cars, paying off homes, furniture) yes not cheap gifts! & I don’t think they’re joking is the funny part. Plus they think we will give everyone in the county a job. Uh no. Everyone just assumes all doctors have a surgeons salary I guess and they magically forget about the minimum 4 years Undergrad, 4 years medical, 4 years residency they go through and the $400,000+ loan they have to pay off. Seriously we wont even be able to afford our own home until we’re 40 and still will have those school bills to pay. Thank god he got a full ride scholarship for undergrad and just owes medical. They also don’t realize how hard it is on wives during that 8 year journey! I know I will barely see him and it already breaks my heart and I hate it and I’ve still got a while.
The next thing that happened was people got jealous. No other explanation for acting crazy other than jealousy. Yep. My own aunt told my entire family that she doesn’t like him because he beats me, is gay and fake. HILARIOUS. End of story.
The next thing that happens is when people gossip and everyone knows you’re married to someone who’s going to be a doctor is they start comparing their children to your husband. “Oh my daughter is a doctor” and I’ll reply with “awesome. Where did she go to school at and where did she do residency?” And they will ALWAYS reply “what’s residency? She’s a nurse at the hospital there in barbourville” ………… Don’t get me even started. I have respect for nurses and their jobs but they DO NOT take the MCAT, go to medical school!!! Why can’t people get that?! There’s a world of difference.
The other gossip is of course the same as yours about how rich I’ll be (no), how we will sip tea in our huge garden with our Doctor friends (no)
Give a poor girl a break. I live 8 hours away now from my family and friends to support this journey and when I come home one of the 4 times a year I get to, I would just like to go into Walmart and not be asked a thousand questions or have people covering their hand over their mouth while they whisper into another’s ear while looking at me 🙁
Let me know if you had a similar experience to this also! I’m only two years in and I’m already killed from not medical school but the people outside of it. Also my husband got told today clinicals were 80 hours a week. Was this true for you all? I knew residency would be a nightmare but I thought clinicals were ok… Better than residency at least.
Oh Caitlin–You just cracked me up!! you DO have it bad!!! I’m so sorry, but I definitely see you have kept a good sense of humor through it and that will keep you sane! “he beat me, is gay, and fake…” hahaha So funny!! Hang in there my dear. Keep that relationship strong, and everything else will work out. Hopefully you’ll find yourselves in a town with people who have a little more common sense and understanding.
Keep me posted–I love to hear from you!
(and no, I didn’t exactly have the same experience, but related to much of your comment!) XO Aloha-
I am so happy to be reading this because the images that jump into peoples’ minds when I say my husband is a doctor are much more luxurious than reality.
First, I never set out to marry a doc. I went to an Ivy League university, I went to graduate school and, when I met my husband, I wasn’t even sure I wanted to get married or be involved in a relationship. I’m from Los Angeles, I had a great job, a great place to live and a new car. Life wasn’t wanting. Yeah, someone to cuddle up to would be nice, but a relationship didn’t define me. I met my husband on a trip to visit a friend doing her Phd in Glasgow, Scotland. He was Scottish and lived and worked in the Aberdeenshire area (about three hours north east of Glasgow).
When I moved to Scotland to be with my husband I expected to get a job, develop a social circle of my own and eventually blend in to the environment. That was over five years ago. The job scene here is beyond scarce, the same type of work I did in L.A. pays a fraction of what it did back home. To save my sense of identity, I took a job offered to me at the hospital. It paid nothing but it gave me a sense of independence and a bit of my own money. I don’t depend on others financially and never have.
The job was short lived due to many factors, like when our dog became diabetic and blind and my husband took a partnership outside of the city (something we both wanted was to live in the countryside). We have a very nice cottage, even a pond on the property. I had images of wearing smart, poshy type countryside wifey clothes and even bought a closet full (boredome I guess) but most days I’m in jeans and whatever top is comfy. If I couldn’t work, I’d have to keep busy, so I took up my old hobby, photography.
I loved your list, here’s a few tips of my own for those who marry docs abroad or docs in rural areas or docs that are quite committed to their jobs or for those times when the practice is under pressure and your doc hubby wants to kill his partner.
1) He will leave the house early in the morning, around 7am and you aren’t likely to hear from him during the day. Unike other types of careers, you can’t just phone the doctor hubby during the day for a quick chat, he’s seeing patients. LOTS of patients.
2) If you live in the UK where house visits are still the norm, your hubby might save these for the afternoon which means you won’t see him until long after you’ve eaten, put on your jammies and are watching TV or reading from bed. Why? Because as with my husband who is the palliative lead in his practice, he’s seeing people who are actually dying, every day, after work when he can fit them in. These patients are important to him, they are facing the hardest time of their lives, because their lives are coming to an end. Sometimes he’s faced with a living room full of family members all asking questions and he gets stuck in and the lights of his car coming up the driveway aren’t seen until around 10pm. He’s tired, he’s starving and he doesn’t want to talk about what you and the dog did all day, at least not then.
3) Very few docs will phone the wife and say how late they will be, they can’t because they don’t know. In a small countryside practice there is as much paperwork as there is patient work. And although my hubby is more interested in his patients, he still has to do the paperwork.
4) For those, like me, who are childless (due to medical reasons), find a hobby if not a job. I would LOVE to work but as said above, I’m a caretaker to a disabled pet.
5) Most of all, you will have to be able to forgive him/her for not being there when you need them. When they get stuck working later than expected and when they are very stressed because they are juggling more than we could possibly know. I think we, as doc’s wives, know more than the average public about the life of a doctor. But we still don’t know all of the little stressors they deal with minute by minute.
It’s not easy. As I said, I had a good job back in L.A. Now, at social events (for doctors), I’m the blonde who when asked “and what do you do?”, I have to say “I’m just a housewife now, we have a blind dog so he takes up a bit of my time, we go on walks and I’m a (hobbyist) photographer. And I get the blank stares, they don’t know what to say. Thing is I don’t really know either.
Cari–Thank you so much for the comment. Fascinating to hear about your life, and many of us probably think it has a dreamy side to it! I love your added points and believe they will help others. So glad you found photography as a hobby, and I’m sure it’s just the start! You’ve had to make huge adjustments in your life and it must take a lot of effort to keep your marriage strong and to stay positive and not complain about your husband’s hours and etc. Way to go, and all the best to your poor doggie! 🙂 Much Aloha and do keep in touch!
Two funny things we also have in common, my maiden name is Swanson and I was born in Hawaii.
Take care, and thanks for the great blog post. 😉
Thank you for articulating so well what this medical life is like. We are certainly blessed to be the ones called on to keep the home-fires burning, but there are certainly days when…well, we just feel more burdened than blessed. So thank you for saying it so well. I just wrote something similar on my blog http://www.thatdawnedonme.wordpress.com about how I understand the life of a doctor’s wife. As we encourage one another we can be better wives to these men who are called to heal. Blessings!
Nailed it. Seriously. I wouldn’t trade the life my husband and I have made, but man, it wasn’t and still isn’t easy. We were married two years before even starting medical school, so we’ve been together in this for long haul. He is 3.5 years out of training and life is better, more complicated, but better, but I really and truly wouldn’t trade the adventures we’ve been on throughout this journey for anything!
Thanks for sharing the blog post!! I just got married a few weeks ago and my husband is starting his second year of residency. I am learning to navigate the stigma’s and misconceptions of being a doctor’s wife and this was so helpful and also made me laugh! I love your blog!
Thank you!! You’ll do great–and you’re wise to do some work up front…You’ll be very well prepared I am sure! Aloha and thank you!
LOVED this (even though I have nothing to do with medicine).
Btw, sorry to hear about Luke being out in the finals today. Total bummer.
I love reading your blog posts.
I am a cancer surgeon’s wife and married him while he was doing surgical oncology back in other part of the world, then he decided to come to the US to do it all over again. Technically he still has 3 days left to finish his fellowship but I do see a light at the end of a 10- year long residency, fellowship tunnel. I don’t think life could have been any harder than this for an immigrant mom of two!
You have mentioned most of the points accurately and with good humor at times!
However in this country it seems to be a big deal to find a girl or a boy before they chose to become doctors than after, why is one better than the other? There are many more professions where people make more money than doctors and if girls or boys had to marry someone rich they don’t have to search only for doctors! To me finding the right person is much more than their profession and therefore there should not be a need to justify when one falls in love or marries a doctor!
Thank you so much for commenting (I got your other comment too and fixed the copy/typo :))
YOU have been through a lot-wow! I have great respect for your journey!!
I’m not sure if I have an answer for you about people in the US finding a doctor…I agree, there is much more to finding the right person than their profession. You take care and I do hope lighter days are ahead! aloha
you forgot you must be rich. yes we get by nicely but my husband doesn’t make the million dollars a year people seem to.think he does
Loved your points accept for #5
I AM a surgeons wife with 4 children (29, 28, 23, & 12 years old). My husband is on call 4 days a week and works 60-80 hours a week. 🙁
Dear Monica, it is very true about a doctor life and the doctor’s wife life. Their calling to be a doctor is not simple life, it is not like the other jobs ( but to me , it is a beautiful job ). You and Dr. Swanson is s perfect couple. Simple, humble, talent and spiritual which is more important than anything else. That is why I love and respect both of you very much.. Good model for kids and families out there.. God bless
I absolutely loved the bit about how you felt while raising your little ones nearly alone. We just had our first boy during my husband’s 2nd week of M1 year. It’s been a funnnnn year for sure. Glad to know I’m not completely nuts to feel like a single mom. Way to be an awesome mama to your children!
Thank you! This is great. I get the “it may be nice ” comments and gladly smile, knowing full well the cost paid and humility of my husband, a cardiologist, 3rd year as an attending. You are inspirational in your writing and I love your candid nature. Keep sharing…love it!
Such a fun and informative read! I love the way you added some truths too xo
Good Gosh, I love your honesty! Thanks for dispelling some of those doctor’s wives myths!
Late to the conversation, but I think it is perfect timing for me. My husband is at the end of his residency and will begin a 1-year fellowship this fall. It has been hard, especially this past year due to a lot of my family stress and his work stress. I feel like we are distant and our communication is lacking. He snapped at me the other day and the look he gave me was one I’ve never seen before. I even thought, “What has happened to us?” It makes me sad, and I’m feeling down. Would love some advice and prayers.
Julie–I thought i had replied to you before, but just came across your comment and now not seeing my response–sorry!
I am so sorry. One thing I know is that there are absolutely seasons in a marriage and that is normal and ok. I tend to freak out and conclude that everything is bad if we have a stressful day or week (or year?) Really, it can often shift and change as circumstances do. I would encourage you as I always do to TALK…make sure that you let your husband know that you are missing him, and without being emotional, reach out in love. Be available, but also be busy enough doing your things that he doesn’t feel like you are overly needy. Obviously I don’t know your exact situation, but I encourage you not to get too down and worried. Relax a little, make life together FUN when you can, and pray. Keep me posted, and thank you so much for commenting! aloha-
Hi Monica, thank you for your sweet and helpful response. A month has passed and things have calmed down. We are moving many states away in a few weeks for the 1-year fellowship. As the fellowship is quickly approaching, I find us both getting excited for the new journey. We explored our new city and searched for a house to rent. We had a blast together and had some great talks about marriage and medicine. And while I expect this next year to be intense, I am looking forward to something new. It is both scary and exciting, but I know we are in good hands 🙂
By the way, thank you for this post! Also, for the “Helping Our Physicians Live a Balanced Life” article on the Physician Family website. My husband is so focused and driven, and he has so many passions in life that residency has left him feeling empty. I found that article to be extremely encouraging and empowering, and plan on putting it to use starting now 🙂
The true message of this blog is spot on and beautiful. However as a single mom who is also a doctor (phd. In psychology, tenured professor) I want to say that you are not a “doctor’s wife”; you are a loving, beautiful, individual who is in fact a “wife” but to a wonderful man, you see, his being a doctor, his profession has nothing to do with your marital status. I noted that in your home page, in the description of YOURself, you list “doctors wife”. I’m going to go out on s limb here and say this is not part of your true identity. Why bring this up? Because thousands of women look up to you, that is a scary responsibility. I caution you to think of the implicit message sent when an identity or a marriage is defined in terms of the job of the other. Other than that I relate to the myths you write, I am a doctor and by no means rich at the spa.
Something I wanted to add, you and I may have very different tracts but we share that essential “God thing” ;-). We know that every hair on our head is counted, uniquely made. God saw to it that you and your husband, those two unique yet perfectly complementing spirits, came together so that the love would multiply. You know that union had nothing to do with jobs or status, you know that you two are forever joined, no matter what change in life circumstance. I think God sees you, his daughter, as the precious person you are, she who inspires women, that is a gift He has given YOU, and frankly, my sister in Christ, you have earned your own doctorate with your wisdom of child development.
my husband swore he was going into orthopedics to provide time and the financial backing to have a large family. ….. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH he’s a surgeon and our 3 sons barely know him. They can’t throw a ball and any manly traight they know they picked up from someone else’s dad or their sisters boyfriend… My advice to my daughter and all young women…. DO NOT DATE OR MARRY A DOCTOR! They will always have something MORE important than you and the children you thought you brought into the world as a team….
I’m still married to a doctor…. Like many a doctors wife, I’m jaded
Hi – just thought I’d add a comment from across the pond. It’s the same here. I am a doctors daughter – I knew the pitfalls and chose not to be a doctor myself and swore I’d never marry a doctor. I didn’t, I married a nurse, who was bored and decided to go back and train as a doctor. We’ve been married 10 years, he’s been a student with no income for 7 of those and now has massive debts. He’s a foundation doctor at the moment – our version of an intern. Currently in the ER. He goes for days without seeing our son, I get a cuddle when he gets into bed and then I get up and go to work quietly leaving him to sleep. I’m working because we need the second income and I need to see adults occasionally! My family don’t get that we can’t drive 200 mikes to spend 4 or 5 days with them at Christmas because he’ll be working. I’ll spend most of the festive period on my own because his job has taken us do far from our family. BUT I am so proud of him – this a route we chose. It should get easier as he gets more senior. But seriously- the glamor of being a doctors wife – a total myth!
oh you totally got me teary! Bless your heart. Thank you for sharing, and hang in there sister! It’ll be over with soon, and though the debts may not be gone, life will get better…I promise! Much aloha and thanks for the comment!
I, too, fell in love with a kind, confident, handsome guy in an ice cream suit (actually, it was Christmas Eve, 1979 and I worked in the file room in Radiology while in community college. He walked through the door, his first night at the hospital as an x-ray tech, studying business. Well, he had always had a desire to become a physician but was discouraged by counselors at school. To make a long story short, he went for it, got in RIGHT before the semester started and moved from the Chicago area to Milwaukee (this was 3 years later). He had a girlfriend but we both studied together constantly and just talked.
During medical school, his dad died of colon cancer at the age of 52 and left 5 children, the youngest 15. We were both from middle class families with lots of kids, so I totally am with you about the loans! We had our first child in medical school, living of my RN salary and he working construction in Chicago in the summers :/. By the end of his 5 year residency, we had four children (3 boys and a girl). The girl came 4 weeks early; I had lots of pregnancy horrors, too-meningitis, encephalitis, pericardial effusion, eclampsia with two, kidney stones-ugh) but we all survived :). It took us until our oldest was FINISHED with college to pay off those loans! We paid for our children’s college and had not paid his off yet, but he felt like he should be able to.
We lived out on five acres a few years after he started really working at his skill, but like you said, there were always bills, etc. They’re all grown now (28, 26, 24, 22) and we have a grandson, twin grandsons due any day, a wedding in 11 days, and another grandchild on the way as well.
Life is good; there were such difficult times and I remember going to a counselor during those years of residency and first years of working; they told us we needed 1 evening a week to just be together-ha! Well, I’m grateful to God we got through it all. Ken, to this day, remains humble, is friends with techs, doesn’t ever let anyone know he’s a physician who doesn’t already know, and is the most generous guy I know. He would build things, I think, or become a yard man. All the neighbors envy his lawn but that’s just how he his.
We live in the Outer Banks of North Carolina now; he does teleradiology and is 10 hours 7 days on then 7 days off. We are blessed and happy and I don’t think he ever wouldn’t do medicine. Unfortunately, though, medicine is radically changing; it is NOT about the patient anymore but production :(. I’m afraid for where we’re headed but that’s another blog ;)!
Take care and hang ten :)!
Another Sunday alone! In the 38 years we have been married, my doctor-husband has rarely been home all weekend. He is always busy on Saturdays and is rarely home on Sundays. He can usually arrange to be at home for most of Thanksgiving and Christmas day. Our children have been grown and away for many years, so I make weekend plans on my own. All future spouses of physicians- plan ahead for a life on your own with your own career after the children are grown and do what you need to do to maintain that separate life.
Wow Angelina! My heart goes out to you…and yes, good advice! When I imagine my kids grown and gone I do think how important it will be that I have “my own stuff” going on…Even though I don’t think my hubby’s work is as intense as yours’. What specialty is your husband in?
Hang in there—I guess you’re a pro at that by now. 😉
Aloha, and thank you so much for commenting!
I am the wife of a Med School Student, and in search to find some research about what my life may look/sound like in a few years, I landed upon your blog. I’m at the “I’m feeling quite lonely” stage. I’m curious to hear about the things one can do(wifey)to keep busy, uplifted and supportive, while going through the years Med School.
My advice is to make the best of the time you spend together, with low expectations. You can plan a Saturday of going out for breakfast, to the farmer’s market, a nice hike, visiting friends etc., but also do your best to be content with less extravagant plans. Focus on the quality vs quantity. As the med student, your husband will probably realize that he doesn’t need to study ALL the time. Studying is about quality of quantity also. Med school has more flexibility than most realize (except 3rd year) because it’s like hitting a brick wall after undergrad (drinking from a fire hose). I’ve found some classmates don’t realize they could allot time to other pursuits until they don’t have a choice – sickness, family emergencies – and suddenly it’s apparent that they can learn just as much and perform well without endless studying.
Having a supportive spouse during medical school is great. I’ve appreciated having someone on the “outside” to keep me grounded. Medical school can be really lonely for the student as well – very few people understand medical training, you spend a lot of time in quiet rooms, you’re surrounded by anxious type A people, and attending physicians are often so dissatisfied with the medical climate that you feel disheartened about the future you sacrifice so much for.
I think having your own things going on is super important. Today, I am on call and on day 6 of 19 consecutive workdays. My husband is off doing his own thing. This prevents him from being bored and prevents me from feeling guilty that I am not spending time with him. There are times when we don’t have a face-to-face conversation for a week, but I hear it’s all worth it.
Medical student, wife of non-medical student and foster parent (see, you can eventually learn how to find time & energy for other pursuits as well :))
Great blog, it is so true and also crazy how many people have this idea that is so off base lol. “Oh! You’re Dr Smithers’ wife? You hit the gold mine!” People don’t realize, being in our last year of residency, they probably make MORE then we do! Not to mention $300,000 of school debt and loans taken out to live on since it it nearly impossible for him to work while in med school. But he is doing this because it’s his vessel to minister and show God’s love and compassion … 🙂
thank you for commenting..and YOU hang in there through this season! I love hearing from other doctor’s wives who really do get what I’m saying! 🙂 Aloha!
I stumbled across this as I was looking for “wife” and “doctor” help…comfort…whatever. I am a wife, mother, and doctor. Although I feel like I’m not doing either of the first two well. Being a part of a doctor’s family, at least as far as we have come (4th year OBGYN resident), is not easy I am sure. Hoping and praying my poor husband and kiddos will be able to speak fondly of all of this some day. Hoping
Oh you sweet soul…Bless you, I cannot imagine much harder than doing what you are doing as a wife and momma. You hang in there–Your family understands and indeed, you’ll all look back on it with a much lighter heart one day. 🙂
I’ll keep you in my prayers!!
I relate to this! Feeling I’m not doing either well!
Is just wanted to offer prayer and encouragement for you. I think all moms struggle with plural roles. However, the more demanding the professional role, perhaps the more critical we are on ourselves.
I work at an academic medical center in compliance. Women in medicine have a very demanding set of roles, but are almost always the most critical of their role as wife/mother. The miraculous thing is that where we see weakness, God sees opportunity. I believe that God can do it better than even the most ‘ever present’ mom/wife could.
Can you address some thoughts about your story the other way around?. I mean when the wife is a doc, and husband is in a different employment.
How will it be…
If you have any questions I can help! Although basically everything that was addressed is still true for my husband. We had a baby my first year and he’s basically a single dad until I’m finished with residency. Life sucks sometimes and I’m not home much but we love each other and I love medicine. So we make sacrifices. It’s worth it.
Good for you Greta! And kudos to your man. Way to be a team! 🙂 Hope you finish strong and have an amazing career ahead!
Aloha! My immediate family lives in Hawaii Kai, HI so I feel like I can say that without sounding like a mainland person secretly trying to fit in as a local 🙂
First and foremost, thank you for this post. My husband and I were together a year before he was shipped off to med school so I can relate with you that I did not marry a physician. This was such a sweet read and I appreciate your point of view and can agree that sometimes you feel like a single mom (though we don’t have children yet) that I’m glad you made it so I’m sure I will make it, too.
Mahalo and wising you and your family a happy new year!
-A Texas physician’s wife
Loved coming across this post. I too am a Doctors wife but of a first year resident. I have been with him from the very first day of college all the way through medical school. Our journey has been long and we have made tons of sacrifices. Thank you for giving a great perspective of how it feels to be the spouse of a Doctor.
Very happy to find this post. I was just sitting here feeling a little guilty for being disappointed that for the second time in a row a potential (and rare) ‘free’ afternoon has been taken away again by a late starting case and other last minute hospital obligations. I actually worked in a hospital as a young adult and swore I would never marry a doctor. I saw them more than their wives did and couldn’t imagine a life like that. Then I married a surgeon.
My husband was also late to the medical scene and I do think that can make a difference in their desire to remain humble about their career. He shrinks back when somebody pronounces, loud and proud, that he is a doctor.
As his practice grows, it’s a wonderful thing with all the loans we have to pay off, but it’s bitter sweet. I miss him. I get so excited about an unusual afternoon off only to be disappointed when he calls to say he can’t come home. Then he hears how disappointed I am and I can hear the heartbreak in his voice. There’s nothing he can do and I knew through residency what this was going to be like, so I feel TERRIBLE for feeling so … needy? Most of the time I can take it, but there are days that I get overwhelmed. He does an amazing job of making me feel like I’m #1 in his life, but sometimes 2nd place just sucks.
Sorry for the long reply and rant, but I’m glad to know that there are others who think this is hard.
I’m so glad you posted this! I’ve been dating a doctor and he just started his residency 3 months ago, and its not easy!! It’s so hard. Time is not in our favor most of the time, and it gets lonely. I never dreamed I would date a doctor…but he somehow found me. It’s just so difficult. But I’m glad to see this posting. Hopefully people will realize that its not all what its cranked up to be.
Love this post! So many people have this angry misconception about what it’s like to be married to a doctor. It’s tough to commiserate with us doctors wives though until you’ve seen all those exhausted hours, missed holidys and sacrifices. Great blog!
If you’re on Facebook we have a group for doctors wives and
We’d love to have you: https://www.facebook.com/groups/doctorswivescafe keep it up 🙂
Thank you so much! Glad you found me, and i’ll head over the the facebook page for sure!! fun! ALoha 😉
Great reading your post! My husband just started clinicals this year and we had had a lil baby boy his first year in med school ( 2 years ago). We had to move to a new city away from friends and family and start brand new. SO hard! It’s still been really hard but I am SO thankful for my husband ( also named Dave) who does try to make time for us when he can. He’s interested in being a surgeon which scares me because then I feel we’ll never see each other and I feel like that already. Definitely feel like a single mom too- so hard! My hubby is also super humble and I actually met him at Bible college. He had mentioned after dating that he was thinking @ med school or being a dentist. Later on down the line we weren’t sure if he was going to be accepted and almost bought a coffeeshop to manage instead (which I LOVE coffee! Totally his idea on that one though, but I am happy with what ended up happening). Life is totally un-figured out right now and it seems it’ll have to be that way for some time ( like are we ever going to get to buy our own home and settle down, and if so where? Anyway, I’ve been rambling but mostly just needed to get this off my chest. It’s been super lonely but with God’s help, bearable. Thanks for listening and blessings to you and your family!
Sorry, rephrase that last point to read:
Doctors do NOT have the same personality. Doctor wives don’t either.
I say this because the personality of a doctor (or anyone) can range from the humble gentleman to the arrogant jerk. Likewise, there are doctor-wives who are down to earth (like you) and others who were actively looking to marry a doctor for financial security and social status. In fact, my husband’s colleague (not the greatest guy) just divorced his wife (married him for the money). Sad because they have a 2-yr old girl, but true.
Very entertaining and well written story 🙂 You wrote about myths that I hadn’t even thought of before (free scripts and exams).
My husband and I are 31 now and met when we were 16. We came from poor families, went to college for engineering (me) and math and physics (him), and he randomly got into that ONE med school he applied to (for fun). Now he does anesthesia, which makes me a “doctor’s wife” which, honestly, feels weird to say it due to the gold digging stigma 😉
Since you covered all the myths, I can only contribute some “truths” (along the lines of what you wrote already).
– Our monthly student loan payment is $2,000 for 30 years. (Total balance is $200,000)
– We have a ridiculous amount of insurance policies (life, disability, liability umbrella, home, auto).
– To avoid personal injury lawyers, we have to drive carefully on the streets and allow only reputable contractors to enter our property.
– Because of that, we generally avoid bringing too much attention to his profession unless we’re around people we trust.
– Spouses spend most holiday meals alone, as well as most lunches and dinners during residency.
– The doctor is sleeping half the time they’re home (from overnight call).
– We don’t ditch our old friends for rich doctor-friends.
– Yes, life is easier now, but it is up to US to keep it easy. Some are thankful and remain frugal, some are eager to spend their paychecks. We have money to buy whatever the heck we want, but we don’t.
– Doctor families won’t ever get enough credit for our ability to delay gratification.
– Not all doctors have the same personality. Not all doctor-wives do either 🙂
Well, thats all I can think of. Thanks for allowing me to vent on your blog 😉 Thanks again for the great article!
Such a great post! Loved reading your thoughts 🙂
GREAT post. Hilarious.
But seriously, when Dave gets home can you ask him a medical question for me? Or better yet, when you get back from a day at the Country Club/Shopping, can you call me. I have a medical question for you. Then maybe Dave can call in a RX for me over the phone. But wait…he’s not home. So oh well…maybe next time. (Just kidding….hahahaha…did I get all 5 myths into one conversation! lol…)
well done, Melissa! You did it! Miss you–let’s talk soon. Aloha
You are seriously so funny! I definitely laughed out loud at least twice during this post. It’s good to know that even though it is really unlikely that I will marry a doctor, at least I won’t be missing out on all the riches 😛 It sounds like your husband is a great guy and that you are a very lucky woman to have him, whether he were a doctor or not.
I enjoyed that, maybe now Dave should blog what its like being married to a great writer and a beautiful person . xxoo
I was going to put in a question, but I was your neighbor and I know your life and know Dave a little bit. Great post loved reading it.
You’re lucky you don’t have kids who complain about everything and anything. Imagine how hard it would be if they weren’t tough – every little cut or sore they got from, I don’t know, climbing 40 foot Bunyan trees or stepping on the reef on the way back in from a surf would turn into an argument with Dave saying ‘its nothing, get over it’ and them saying that it’s probably going to need amputation… Haha