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

Usually fourth year of my husband’s neurosurgery residency program is devoted to a full year of research. This would mean more face time because he can do most of this work at home. This also would mean no crazy late nights wondering when he’d be home. But it didn’t quite work out that way.

During 3rd year, my husband should’ve completed 6 months of Endovascular Neurosurgery and 6 months of Ortho-Spine. Unfortunately, the neurosurgery program was down a resident. Instead of 7 residents, they had 6 so he had to stay on service with neurosurgery. Endovascular Neurosurgery was pushed to 4th year which cut into his research time. He completed 3 months with Ortho-Spine during 3rd year, but with COVID, elective non-urgent cases were canceled. The hospital was preparing for a surge of COVID patients and needed beds to remain empty and available just in case.

So the first 6 months of fourth year were spent on Endovascular Neurosurgery during the day and research projects in the evening. We definitely had more time together which was nice and a HUGE change. He also then spent 3 more months on Ortho-spine.

In December, I luckily received my first dose of the COVID vaccine. Hallelujah!!! I was done with my 2nd dose on January 11th. So thankful for this.

Christmas 2020 in Vermont

From January to March, he was busy with board preparations. He took them this year and passed!

About 2 weeks after boards, he lined up a fellowship interview with Rhode Island Hospital AKA Brown University. He kept going on and on about a Dr. Gokaslan. He honestly sounds amazing. I saw his CV (curriculum vitae/resume) and it is literally 60-something pages including 400 articles published! Also, he literally cut a person in half (horizontally) to save them from cancer. Imagine those magicians who pretend to do that…this surgeon did it for real! Lol….ouch.

Within 24 hours of his interview, hubby found out he got in.

Now ask me when I found out….

I found out 2 weeks later.

Was I mad?


Why did he do this? Well, he wanted to surprise me and the rest of our family with the news while we were altogether. COVID restrictions were clearing at this point so we finally could go home to Massachusetts.

Pretty much all his attendings and co-residents in neurosurgery and orthopedic surgery knew before I did. He told them to keep it on the downlow so I wouldn’t find out. After I found out, they asked how I reacted. When Raj told them I was pissed, they just laughed at him.

Lesson #1 of Marriage: Do not hide things from your partner.

He had also put up a very good front. He kept saying to me “ I still haven’t heard back from Brown.” And then I’d console him but in the back of my head I was like “He totalllllly didn’t get it because it’s now almost 2 weeks later.” He was applying during 4th year when people tend to apply 5th year so I just assumed they might tell him to reapply the following year. But naw, this kid just was just straight up lying to my face!!! I didn’t even bring it up most days and he’d be like “Aw man!!!!”

He wrote me a card to thank me for always supporting him but also said “LOL sorry I didn’t tell you.”

Celebration dinner just the two of us.
I don’t know which item in this image is the dessert.

In May, we went to Martha’s Vineyard. That trip deserves its own blog post. We loved our time there. We went a week before Memorial Day before the busy season. I’d say 75% of the places/things we wanted to visit were open. We ate a lot of good food!

Our favorite restaurant Lookout Tavern on Martha’s Vineyard

In June, we wrapped up things in Vermont by having a BBQ before we drove (and by “we” I mean just Raj because he doesn’t trust me with his car) to Utah for one year.

Stay tuned for Year Five in this series along with all the highlights of our (almost) cross-country drive!

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

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I’m a little late on writing this post as we’re now about to start 5th year in a few days. I did draft it back in August of 2020 so the perspective is a bit different. Here it is:

During the first two year’s of my husband’s residency, I definitely nagged him quite a bit for his lack of presence or assistance around the house. It was a lot of work for one person. My mom literally did almost everything for me before marriage. I know, “what a spoiled brat!” By third year, I became accustomed to my role in our household and it was understood he would always help when he could; he never would take advantage of me. When we were dating and engaged, he was self-sufficient. But with the lack of free time during residency, I had to step in to help. I never felt with him that because I am the woman, I must do these things. If anything, he is a lot better at managing the house than I am.

BUT during third year, I received a lot of on-and-off help because he had more “free” time. More free time also meant more traveling and time we could spend together.

Although this residency life series has been more so about the lack of time with my husband, I think I am now finally satisfied with the quantity and quality of time we have together. I no longer dwell or take up issue with his busyness. I’ve built my own life here in Vermont finally and am busier than ever with family and friends so I don’t feel as lonely.

During the first half of the year, I enjoyed traveling all over the world. I feel grateful for those times especially with the COVID era now upon us.

In July 2019, the husband and I attended our first “non-rushed” wedding together in about 4 years. By “non-rushed” I mean we didn’t have to miss half of the reception to drive back home because of work the next morning.

Also in July, I attended my husband’s cousin’s wedding without him because July is not a month residents can easily take time off. I wanted to get to know his side of the family better since I didn’t get the chance during our own wedding week. I flew to England with my SIL, MIL & FIL. It was an amazing trip despite the heat wave that arrived with us. The wedding was so much fun and I really enjoyed my time with my husband’s cousins. The last night of the trip we went to a bar with a live 80’s band. I absolutely love 80’s music, movies and fashion and feel I should’ve had my teen years during this period of time. I now understand why the older generation thought 90’s music was complete junk.

The amazing 80’s cover band covered songs by Queen that I didn’t even know Queen originally sang. On my return flight, I watched Bohemian Rhapsody which began my obsession with Queen. I have been listening to them nonstop for the last year.

In August 2019, hubs and I hosted a barbecue that was a ton of fun. We invited our coworkers and friends. Food was bomb if I must say so myself.

In September, hubs and I went to Maui, Hawaii and stayed at Andaz. It’s really far from Vermont…and we flew out from Montreal. I highly recommend Andaz if you are going to Maui. We actually walked around all the neighboring hotels and agreed Andaz was the best. I think it was nice to experience the Hawaiian culture (sup Moana!?) and I even got to take a little Hawaiian dance class at our resort while Raj slept in. Yes, he still sleeps a lot during vacations. I think Hawaii is a little overrated for the price of things. I mean a cocktail at our resort was $19. During happy hour, it was $13, but it’s not full-service. Like, come on.

Hawaiian Luau at Andaaz

In November, I went to Tulum with my best friend. This trip was beyond memorable. We didn’t stay at the resorts but we did go to the resort area several times. The resorts are literally on the beach. Between rooms and buildings is sand. It’s amazing. Imagine naturally exfoliating your dry heels! More to come on this because it was a great trip and I definitely recommend going to Tulum over Hawaii any day. I want to go back with my husband once this COVID stuff is over.

Well, with third year of residency came our first Thanksgiving at home during residency ever!!! We were pretty excited about it. Because of our ever expanding family with the engagements of all my husband’s siblings, we decided to host Thanksgiving at home in MA for our clan of 13 people and a few close friends.

We cooked an insane amount of food. Raj cooked whole turkey for the first time in his life and that was an intense project. I put sugar in the stuffing instead of salt so that was fun. Thanks to my future BIL for catching this haha, we were able to undo my error with actual salt but not without those added calories from sugar! We definitely had leftovers for days and probably weeks. Lesson learned on how to cook for a large group.

It’s become our tradition to stay in Vermont for Christmas the last few years so we took a few days off and enjoyed some eggnog and some one-on-one time.

January brought wedding bells for my BIL who was getting married in India. In a 9 day break, Raj crammed a trip to India when the travel time alone each way is about 20 hours. We flew out the morning Raj was post-call from Montreal and almost as soon as we landed in India, the wedding festivities began. We had a great time with family and it’s probably the best wedding I’ve ever attended. I’m not biased, I swear. Just watch their amazing wedding video!

I stuck around in India an additional week after husband left and got my outfits made for the next two weddings in the family.

Oh! And during the winter, two of the resident’s wives and I got together on a weekly basis to host Bachelor viewings and participate in a Bachelor Fantasy League. One of the girls even won from a group of 30 participants. So this kept me busy which was really nice to get through those long and cold Vermont winters. And it really forced myself to not be so clingy to the husband just because he was home on Bachelor’s night. Byeeee boyyyy (as Beyoncé says).

So “The Bachelor” and Fantasy league wrapped up and at the end of the week is when Vermont decided to shut everything down because of COVID.

And now the COVID Era. We have kept our sanity first of all. We are healthy and happy. Vermont *knock on wood* has not been badly hit by COVID. I’m grateful that it started to warm up soon after so if we couldn’t go to the mall, at least we could step out for a walk.

Because the hospital canceled all elective non-urgent cases, there were fewer patients. Usually we hover around 500 patients but during the peak of the pandemic, we probably had 300 patients in house.

Because there were fewer elective cases, Raj was home a lot more often but he used much of this time to read and prepare for his board exam in May that originally was scheduled in March. He took it from home which was an interesting scenario.

I have been working from home remotely on and off depending on my daily assignment. It has been nice but I’ve been pretty busy throughout. Because of the few COVID cases in Vermont and our hospital not being overly burdened, the non-urgent surgical cases resumed and things are back to “normal” but with many precautions and changes in place.

Work is strict about traveling and we can’t visit our favorite spot of Montreal because the Canadians think we have handled the situation poorly, which we obviously have. We also cannot go home to MA until the number of cases is less than 400 per million people.

We have only been spending time with our coworkers as we all are under the same restrictions. We met with two recently at a restaurant with a live one man band and delicious food. I’m glad Vermont is doing so well with COVID but I don’t think things will settle down soon in the USA or Worldwide.

Overall, I think this doctor’s spouse’s third year was pretty good. Hubby is happy and well-fed. He’s not that complicated for a brain surgeon. I still take care of the house but he has more time and has been able to help out a lot more which is such a nice break for me. Our moms cook food for us that freezes well so that has been helpful throughout the year as always.

Let’s see how fourth year unravels itself. We’re one month in and I’m a little afraid because he is home A LOT…Like A LOT, A LOT. Like too much, guys.

Stay tuned for a year 4 post!