Monday, January 28, 2013

What is residency like?

Meredith at The Mitten Wife had a great idea -- she rounded up ten of her friends and gave them a set of questions to answer (anonymously) about residency. You should definitely check out their answers here - there's a lot of great (and true!) info.

Nobody asked me, but I love the questions she asked and thought I would answer them myself :)

What were your expectations before residency began?

That it would be awful. We would be poor and never see each other. In a way I'm glad that I was made to think this way, because I've been pleasantly surprised. 

What has been the BIGGEST challenge?

The thing that bothers me the most is the inconsistency of Y's schedule and feeling guilty for missing a single second of time together. I hate that a friend will ask me, want to grab dinner Thursday? and I have to say, Well, yes, but Y *might* be getting off early that day, and so if he does I'd like to be home because I haven't seen him in a few days. So let's plan for it, but do you promise not to hate me if I end up canceling? (I'm pretty sure everyone hates me at this point.)

What sacrifices have you had to make that you did not expect?

I feel lucky that I haven't had to make a lot of sacrifices. Y and I put together his rank list together, and we ended up where we both wanted to be. I think location is a lot of what makes people unhappy, so I'm glad we were proactive in that regard.

What is the best advice you would give someone whose spouse/SO is just beginning? What has helped you adjust?

Get a life. Seriously. Don't let your spouse/SO's career become your life. That's just sad. 

I know because it happened to me. When you accidentally start saying things like, "The people in our med school class are so annoying", you know you need to take a step back. Find a way to talk about something other than medicine. 

How do you continually support your spouse/SO without burning yourself out?

I just try to make our house a place that he'll be happy to come home to. Whether that's making sure there's dinner ready when he gets home (that rarely happens), being in an excellent mood when he gets home, or having the dog greet him at the front door wearing a sweater.

What is the most frustrating part?

This isn't a big deal, but something I find frustrating is that people that aren't in the medical field don't understand -- no matter how many times I tell them -- that Y can't just go up to his boss and say My wife's friend is having a party two Saturdays from now, can I get the night off?


  1. I remember reading her post a few weeks ago and loved it. It is a great idea for a post, and I never get tired of reading different people's take on the process.

  2. I loved her post and I love your responses, too. I'm glad to hear that residency isn't as miserable as you expected...but I"m going to keep telling myself it will be awful...then I will still be pleasantly surprised. Hopefully. :)

  3. Your #2. It's the best. I've been lucky enough here in Texas to make friends with a lot of other "medical wives". They are amazing people, but I say it's LUCKY because no one bats an eye if someone flakes out of any plans at the last minute because a husband gets off early, etc. I think someone married to a normal 9-5er would have issues with the flakiness, but we all get it. It's nice :)

  4. Getting your own hobbies and life separate from the medical school world is hard but definitely necessary. And I've been fortunate enough to become really great friends with a fellow resident spouse so making and then sometimes canceling dinners is somewhat our norm :) It makes it easier on both of us knowing that the other completely understands and that there are no hard feelings.

  5. So glad you answered these too! Loved reading your responses. I also really struggle with the guilt factor, even though the hubby doesn't see why I would. There's a strange balance between seeing them when they are home, not structuring your lives around their schedule 100%, and keeping plans that you make.

  6. I love this! We'll be starting residency this summer so I'll remember all your advice :)