(Residency Year One post is here: A Doctor’s Spouse’s Life: Residency Year One)
I know my blog is called Relatable Roni and that’s because I enjoy finding common ground with others. At most times, I feel like the average person, but this topic is probably only relatable to a few.
In most other medical and surgical residencies, intern year (first year) of residency is the most difficult. In neurosurgery, it’s year two and seven (yes, neurosurgery is a 7 year-long residency). During first year, my husband and I went to the movies with two of his co-residents. They said, “He will be the busiest person in the whole hospital next year.” I just smiled. Later, I said to him, “What did they mean?” I didn’t know it could get worse! And I didn’t believe it could get worse until it actually happened *gasp*.
Intern year (first year) I did at least see him because I was unemployed and he was consistently off on Tuesdays. Each of the neurosurgical residents have 4 days off per month compared to the 8 days off “normal” people have. Now that I’m actually employed and his schedule is inconsistent and even worse, I’ve counted the hours we’ve seen each other in a particular week: 14 hours. Spouses tend to see each other for 14 hours in a single day on the weekend. This was our total for a whole week including any days off. It doesn’t help that in my field, I work varying shifts including on the weekends. There are days when I am leaving the house at 7am and he is leaving work to come home at 7am. There are days when he comes home at 12:30 pm and I have to leave for work at 1:30pm. He showers and we eat lunch and that’s it. If he has an extended amount of free time, it is well spent catching up on some much-needed sleep (See examples below).
If we don’t communicate effectively or even have the time to communicate, I’ve neglected to request weekends off so they may coincide with one another. Communication has been so difficult I’ve resorted to emailing my husband to finish conversations we’ve started. And of course, I’m always the one that has to work around his schedule since his is inflexible. But you know what feels great?! Seeing him understand what I’ve been dealing with.
What do I mean by “dealing with?” Well, I spend a lot of time at home by myself waiting for him to come home. I’m essentially waiting for no reason. Eventually and hopefully, I decide to stop waiting, get off the couch, and fill those hours with cleaning, cooking, grocery shopping, workouts, gaining a social life and just being productive. So this past weekend, I ended up working and he was off. In other words, the roles were reversed, and he finally experienced being the one home alone for a whole weekend. What did he think about it? He was bummed, just as I can get at times. We want to spend our free time together, not apart. Residency life is hard and it’s no one’s fault. It’s the nature of the field.
Because of our lack of time with one another, we are looking forward to a nice and quiet Christmas break at our home in Vermont. No packing. No traveling. No rushing around. Just going to take it all in (TWSS) and try to enjoy each other’s company. Let’s hope we still like each other by the end of it.
^ What I do when he’s asleep by 7pm. I can’t believe that dinosaur walking all over him didn’t wake him up!