A Doctor’s Spouse’s Life: Residency Year One

I wrote this post because I’ve searched the internet far and wide for others who may be going through what I’m going through but it just really doesn’t exist since there aren’t that many surgeon’s spouses writing about it. All I find is people worrying about their significant other going into a surgical residency and not having enough time for them. I’m way past that. I knew it was going to be hard, but I wanted to know what it would be like exactly. Would it get better?

So it goes without saying that being married to a doctor who is essentially married to his work is tough. It’s especially harder when he is a resident…in surgery…in neurosurgery. It is for a fact the hardest and most demanding specialty. But not only is it hard on him, it’s hard on me too. It takes someone incredibly independent to marry someone who isn’t around so much. But, even independent people have their breaking points.

With social media, it doesn’t get easier. I see my friends with their significant others going on trips like every other month or going on weekend getaways. Long weekends aren’t a thing because currently, my husband works every weekend. Attending weddings together are nearly impossible. Attending an entire wedding reception together has happened 2 out of 4 times, not counting our own. The FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) is real, guys.

I don’t think there’s a single person I know that really understands all this except for those married to a surgical resident. No one can really grasp the hours put in. We have to be their entire support system when their patients die or they feel like they aren’t good enough. It’s a disaster if he’s had a rough day and I’m just grouchy. All the laundry, cooking, cleaning, groceries are on me and we don’t even have kids. And sometimes I just don’t want to do any of those things. There’s no way I could ask someone to really help out after working a 18 hour day but he still will load the dishwasher when he can. Poor guy.

We only live a 3 hr drive from our parents but going home together means going home for only 24 hrs because he gets one weekday off per week and that’s it. He hasn’t seen his family in 4 months while I saw my own plus his 2 months ago. He barely has time to talk to them.

But I know it will get better. There is a light at the end of the tunnel. His second year of residency, he will start getting two weekends off each month. We will be able to explore Vermont and Montreal more. We will be able to see our families more often.

I’m looking forward to it. And in 6 more years, hopefully all our sacrifices will have paid off.

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