Today our family begins arriving for the big graduation weekend. I honestly am at a loss for words that this is finally here. Some time I will have to share the entire journey through the past 4 years, but for now I am going to sit back and allow my husband to soak in every single minute.
I have a good number of guest posts scheduled for the next week or so, but I will be back off and on to check in! Thank you for bearing with me during this time of change!
I have an awesome guest post coming to you today. I thought this was very fitting seeing as we are just about to embark on the residency journey ourselves. Please join me in welcoming Susie!
Good day to all of Sara’s lovely readers! For the uninitiated, I am Susie, and I run, write, and eat my way through life over at Suzlyfe.com. I jumped at the chance to help out Sara as she and Wes move and get established before he starts residency. And, as my husband and I celebrate our first year of marriage and his first year as a doctor, I thought I might take the opportunity to share some tidbits that I have learned over the past year of being, as Bravo so delicately puts it, “Married to Medicine.”
10 Considerations for Surviving Residency (For the Doctor and Significant other)!
1. Expect the unexpected.
I can’t tell you the number of times that I have gotten to a café in the middle of the afternoon to do work and gotten a random call from Alex-“Hey, I’m off!” On the other hand, I generally add about 30 mins even up to an hour on to whatever time he tells me he expects he’ll be out.
2. Get to know the people that your significant other spends their days with.
They are your (and his/her) new family. Make the effort to go out with them and their spouses (if applicable) when possible. Go to breweries, go on picnics (when your days off line up). Go to a wine and painting class!
3. Send your resident off with a bit of love.
Like a mom, help them pack their snacks, it will give you a moment of connection in the midst of their busy day.
4. (For the resident) Get enough sleep.
Eat a good breakfast. You are going to meet a lot of people that don’t sleep, only drink coffee, and eat pastries. Eat a solid (but quick) breakfast, bring snacks, and take care of yourself. Also–Invest in good snacks and Tupperware that you can easily transport, but know that if you don’t put your name and the date on it, it will get thrown out!
5. Don’t worry.
You (the resident) will still have time for the things (and people) that you love; some weeks more than others, but just work to make time for the things that matter to you. For my husband, that is me, working out, and sports. He still is able to play basketball on the hospital intermural teams and lift, though some nights he comes home and has to go straight to the gym, come back and eat, hang out for 30 minutes, and go to bed. But, it keeps him going.
6. Date nights are sacred.
Find a way to spend a few hours focused only on one another, like a happy hour that fades into dinner, or a bike or running ritual. Or competitive Jenga and SORRY!
7. Residents and spouses/friends—Don’t lose yourself.
Continue to pursue your passions. Not only will this keep you sane, but it will help them as well—they are working towards their future, you should as well. Being a martyr will get you nowhere. Just make sure to discuss your plans with them, help them to feel included!
8. They will bring their work home.
There are going to be times when your resident will end up bringing their work home with them, as much as they try to keep it separate. Encourage them to acknowledge their feels and to let you know when they just need time to decompress. It is totally natural to feel overwhelmed and distracted at times, and hurt feelings generally result when you try to deny that you need space.
Oh, I cannot emphasize this enough. When you have little face time together, you only have so many words. If you are feeling disconnected, let them know. If you are having money worries, express these concerns as you deal with them. The worst, absolute worst way that you can undermine your relationship is to avoid discussions because they might be “upsetting.” Believe me, a 5 minute conversation where you discuss a few issues is far better than a 30 minute crying fest after holding things in for too long. Guys, don’t be afraid to be vulnerable. Women, don’t over mother. You all are PARTNERS.
10. Realize this too shall pass.
Lastly, know that the unfortunate aspects of residency soon shall pass, and that meanwhile, residency truly is a gift to both of you. I am so, so proud of my husband and his work ethic, how much he is able to take on and work through, and the incredible care he gives his patients. We have met incredible people, both with regards to academics as well with regards to character.
Be creative, innovative, and prepared.
And know that pancakes/waffles are the cure for the night shift blues!
For more information on our story, and how we deal with the rises and falls of married and medical life, I hope that you will visit the Suzlyfe and check out posts such as “Absentee Spouse.” I can’t wait to continue our discussion!
Anyone else out there “married to medicine”?
What other pieces of advice would you contribute?