In Praise of the Medical Spouse
Someone once told me that the purpose of dating in medical school is to find someone who likes you enough to commit to you before they find out what they're getting into. At the time, I thought that was a bit cynical. Now, I'm thanking God that I managed to find just such a person.
As those of you who know me in person are aware, I'm engaged to be married. He and I had known each other as 'friends of friends' for a few years, and started dating at the end of my third year. Well, it wasn't that abrupt. He gradually looked away from my breasts, and I gradually looked away from his ass. Then we realized that we actually liked each other. He passed my five rules of dating.
- No guys who smoke
- No guys who live with their parents
- No guys who wear electronic equipment in holsters on their belts
- No guys who wear jeans that I can't fit into
- No guys in medicine
Some of these may sound odd, but they're all grounded in solid fact and past experience. Trust me on this one.Now although not being medical himself, he was not a stranger to the medical profession. His family was full of nurses, and his ex was an aspiring medical student with a physican for a mother. That being said, when we moved in together about six months later I don't think he was entirely prepared for the life of a medical spouse.
At any get together where there is more than one medical student or doctor, the conversation invariably turns to medicine. It doesn't matter how much we try to stop it. It's the thread that binds us together, and even when we see ourselves falling into that trap it's nearly impossible to avoid. That often leaves various spouses milling around trying to find things in common with other medical spouses other than the fact that they have the misfortune of being committed to someone in medicine. It leads to a lot of awkward silences and some embarassing social situations. Like the one when one medical spouse (possibly mine, but I'm not telling) who was obviously dreading another evening of stilted conversation with complete strangers, managed to down half a bottle of Absolute by himself before the evening even started and proceded to spend the night wrapped around the toilet of a lovely spanish restaurant.
But at the risk of gushing, I have to give credit where credit is due. I could not have asked for a better partner when it comes to surviving residency. This boy has the patience of a saint. He does almost all of the cleaning around the house, including almost daily vacuuming thanks to our dog, the shedding machine. He does the dishes, since our current place doesn't have a dishwasher. He does the laundry, which thankfully isn't much of an issue since I rarely wear anything but hospital greens. Although I usually do the cooking, since starting surgery I'm rarely home early enough to consider doing that either. He's no chef, but he manages to pull together something edible more often than not. He walks the dog everyday, and on the days when I'm home and awake enough do it he comes along.
He never complains, either. Not about the hours, the amount of work I don't do around the house, or the fact that when I am home I'm often too tired to be any fun at all. He's recently gone back to school to become a paramedic. Even with a full courseload and studying to do at home, he still manages to keep my life going. My bills would never get paid if he didn't open my mail. He didn't start to do that until recently, when he got tired to looking at the ever-expanding pile of unopened mail on the table next to the front door.
I don't know what the heck I did in a past life to deserve such an amazing, supportive guy. But I'm very glad I did. And yes, I tell him how much I appreciate him on a daily basis.
So here's a word of advice to any medical students out there. Find a really good partner while you still have the time to show them what a friendly, fun, interesting person you are. Because once you start residency, it's a lot easier when you've got someone along for the ride.
Now if only I could find the time to plan my own damn wedding.