I'm married to an emergency physician, and we met via eHarmony (yes, seriously) during his intern year. We dated during his residency and have been married now for six years. This is a second marriage for both of us, so we have his, my, and our children. Being married to a doctor is not the only thing that defines me, but it's certainly a big part of my life.
Being the spouse of a physician comes with a bevy of peaks, pits, perks, and drama. There is the perception of who society thinks I am, who my extended and immediate family thinks I am, who my husband thinks I am, and, lastly, who I think I am. Sometimes it's rainbows, unicorns, and trips to Disneyland. But it's also darkness, solitude, sleeping alone, too much wine, and downright fear — things that any first responder spouse can relate to.
For the sake of brevity, let's just explore the societal stereotypes of being married to medicine. Gold digger and lucky: I've been called both. I've been told, “You only married him because he's a doctor.” Not only is that an insult to my character, but it insults my husband as well, suggesting he's a schmuck and only his medical degree makes him worthy. I've heard, “You're so lucky to have married a doctor. You must be rich.” Rich is subjective, and paying the monthly student loan payment is enough to make Warren Buffett have an MI.
What someone who's married to medicine won't tell you are some of the following daily dealings: The shared insomnia that comes with reliving cases gone bad. The stories of the abused children that make one question humanity. Or the eleventeen thousand pages of paperwork I've filled out so my husband can recover from his sixth shift in a row. I'm now a glorified secretary (credentialing, anyone?!).
Or the cesspool of gossip that impregnates the ED. I swear it's worse than high school, and I went to an all-girls school! Or the lack of reaction in a (perceived) crisis: “No, it's not going to be OK that Trader Joe's is out of my favorite chardonnay!” I appreciate that being calm in chaos is a necessity in the ED, but throw me a bone, won't ya? I swear, we need our own support group.
Don't get me wrong. Being hitched to a doctor is a whole jar of awesome sauce, even when the jar occasionally breaks. Because the peaks, pits, perks, and even the drama are all part of being married to medicine.
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