Friday, October 4, 2013

The story of being a Medical Student's Wife

You know, when we signed up for medical school (signed up is a laid back term for, agreed thats what we are doing, and funny I should even say we, when I met Brad that was his plan, so I jumped on the plan willingly) everyone told us how hard it was, how their cousin's brother's wife left him while he was in school, or I even had a fellow co-worker say flat out to me, "Well you are signing up for a divorce." That bothered me, and in those comments and warnings, I prepared for the absolute worst. I prepared for utter hell to unleash the moment we started Medical School. I mean people just assured me how hard it was going to be, marriage was going to be rocky, never have a husband around, he will turn into somebody else, he is going to sleep with the nurses, fellow doctors, etc. Grey's Anatomy style, just utter chaos, adultery, and devastation and drama around every corner.

Even upon arriving we attended a Medical School Spouse Alliance meeting, mostly for the free pizza. Let's be honest-I was nine months pregnant and ravishing for food wherever I could get it. They had a wife from each year get up and talk about the year, what to expect, how to cope, etc. One delicate flower got up and told through her sobs and tears of how her marriage, and family had suffered greatly from her husband being in medical school. She told of how her son never saw his father, and their marriage was just a cracked window ready to shatter. My husband Brad and I looked at each other with a scared look on our face, and I leaned over and said, "Well it begins."

Then medical school started, Brad was in Anatomy. Not your regular school anatomy where you memorize the muscles or whatever, but you have to memorize pretty much a dictionary of the body. And remember it, and dissect a dead human using that knowledge. So its true-he was gone from sun up to sun down. Then when he got home, he was home, but not really home (thats our favorite saying as med school wives). Because our husbands go into their study cave and stay there until midnight or later, then they come out exhausted and just want to sleep. So our day was spent doing whatever wives do, then we literally have a husband, but we really don't ya know? So it was, it was dreadful. I couldn't do it. We moved here, I had no husband, I was 9 months pregnant, no job, no friends, no family, nothing to do all day, no money, and it was 107 degrees everyday, making it absolutely miserable.

Then I went a week overdue. And every day of that was agony as I watched friend after friend post on facebook of their newborn baby, born 2 weeks early, in the night, oh how joyous! So, we even discussed with the doctor to schedule my induction around Brad's tests. When I was in labor, he actually went to his labs, and class. He actually did my friends. (I delivered in the Texas Tech University Hospital and it was right on campus). But just the fact that he was putting class before me and our unborn son, told me, my life was changing right there.

And so the struggle began, my mom flew out the DAY I came home from the hospital. We dropped her off at the airport on our way home. Brad settled me on the couch, and put Miles in his little rocker right next to me. Kissed me on the head and said, "I'll be home tonight."

That is how day after day went in that first block of Anatomy. I look back and see how easy it was for me to fall deeper and deeper into this medical school wife figure. It was horrid, it was horrible, it was a disaster of drama. I was left to my own accord.

But actually Anatomy ended, and that's when I can say, our medical school life started together. They must put that first to really scare you to your absolute end. To really challenge your marriage, your life, your existence, because after that, anything is doable.

We have been through a lot, I have gone over every stereotype, scenario, and possible outcome in my head and with Brad, that tags along being in medical school, and residency and finally becoming a doctor. We have discussed thoroughly anything that has come up that could threaten our marriage. And yes, times are hard sometimes. Sometimes I don't see him, sometimes he is 'home but not really home', but I can say without a doubt, that this 'medical school' thing has been the greatest and most rewarding experience for us. We (mostly me) were worried about how hard it was going to be, we signed up for a complete disaster we (pretty much only me) were sure of it. But, in actuality, it has been an amazing adventure. And contrary to popular belief, I do see my husband, he is a supportive loving caring husband, and he is around for my son's life. Are there times where I feel like I am alone in this: YES! But who out there hasn't had a busy spouse, or a busy life. You know its not just med students that have it hard and may work around the clock, farmers, lawyers, teachers, janitors, restaurant owners to name a few. Don't tell me your husband didn't go to medical school because of the long hours, because that is not just connected to medical school. Don't feel pity for me because my husband is gone a lot, because that's not just med students, residents and doctors.

We signed up for this, and we really love it. And we are so glad we are here, and it is not tearing us apart, it is making us so much stronger than we were before. Sometimes Brad and I will laugh and I will say, "Man our first year of marriage if that would have happened, I would be so mad at you right now." But now, we understand each other, and that first year was rocky, not on our marriage, but on each of us, because we were going through different things all at once. I had a baby, I became a mother, I moved to a new place and left everything behind. He started what he had finally worked so hard for, he was being challenged in school to his limit, he was a new father, trying to help his depressed post pardum crazy wife, he was trying to balance everything God, Wife, School, Baby, and be good at it. And we still are working everyday to be the family we want to be. But, although we are challenged and tempted, and struggling, we are finding joy in every moment. And we are happy.

We have learned what is important in life, when we are alone and left with nothing to lean on, we have to lean on each other, and that has just been beautiful. We are united in this, and it feels good to say it. So, yes we have struggled being in medical school, but its not because of medical school specifically, but mostly because we are a family tackling the world, a new and adventurous challenging world. And I don't doubt that every other family out there has struggles just like we do.

We had a rough go at it, and if you would have talked to me a year ago, I would have just told you my woes, but now, talk to me again. Its good. I have adjusted, and I have grown up, and I have become an ever improving and working and sometimes failing supportive wife who will stand by her husband and son (and future children) 100%.

And just a few days ago, we had our usual talk where I am frustrated and jealous of Brad being able to do several activities all in one day, and go to school, and all the while I get a gym break of 1 hour, and we talked about how we can do better to help each other get through this, and we talked of what I needed to feel happy, and what he needed to feel rested and ready for his new task at hand, so we aren't ever going to be that perfect family, but just like any other family, we are working through this, but the best part is, we are doing it together.

1 comment:

Jessica Laitinen said...

Wow that does sound really hard! I'm glad he is doing his best to help you find some happiness too.