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Attempting Aloha: Jan 8, 2012

Sunday, January 8, 2012

It's been a rough week -- Doctor's Wife Poem {The Resident's Wife}

It's been a rough week. I know not all of you know my husband is in residency, but I know some of you have taken the time to read my "About Me" page and noticed that that's where we are in life. And I've been surprised at how many have emailed me saying their husband is in medical school or residency, and they connect with what I have to say.

So, if you're just here for the tutorials, please feel free to skip this one. But if you happen to know a doctor's wife, resident's wife, or med student's wife (or someone who likes to complain about their doctors), they might be grateful if you pass this along.

And if you're one of the ones who have emailed me and are in our same boat, perhaps you can appreciate it on weeks like I've had this week.





The Resident’s Wife

I miss you.
My companion. Love. Friend.
You’re never here.
But then you are, but not you.
Hollow. Lights dimmed.
Stress.
Fatigue.
Exhaustion.
Physically, mentally, and emotionally drained.
Then pieces of you shine through,
And I have renewed hope.
Then you’re gone again.
The sign above our bed taunts me daily,
“P.S. I love your laughter,
And I love the way you make me laugh.”
We did laugh once, right?
I miss you.

My life seems busy. But not.
I fill it with things to help me feel busy.
It pales in comparison to your daily dread.
Fighting, disobedient kids.
Dinner to cook.
Laundry. Groceries. Bills.
A house to clean.
Schedules to keep.

Monotonous? Yes.
Dull? Possibly.
Frustrating? Sometimes.

But there’s no one looking over my shoulder,
Watching my moves and critiquing my care.
No one waiting for me to make a mistake
And ready to sue.
Or criticize at my first falter.
No one competing with me to impress.
Well, maybe a few.
But only rarely do I have the fear that
I might mess up and truly ruin a life.
For a doctor, that fear is omnipresent.
Babies to deliver. Watching new life. And first breaths.
But also seeing death.
Suffering and grief.
Pain. And sorrow. And Fear.

Isolation.

Wounds to treat. Patients to heal.
Paperwork.
Paperwork.
Paperwork.
Notes.
Notes.
Notes.

You’re tired, so I’m tired.
If you’re miserable, I must be miserable, too.
Why should I be happy when my other half appears ruined?
“Just a few more weeks. Then a new rotation.”
“Just a few more years, then residency will be over.”
Will it be better?
Worth it?
At what cost?
The kids have stopped asking if you’ll be home for dinner.
I miss you.

You’re jealous of me. I get to have a hobby. And exercise.
Does it make you love me less?
Are you angry when the house isn’t clean?
When you wake at 3:50 am,
Do you stand over me lovingly?
Or do you resent that my alarm will be silent for another 3 hours?
I resent it for you.

Four days off per month is criminal.
80 hours? Ha.
Paperwork not included.

Holidays have no meaning.
Just another time to be reminded that other families are together.
Like weekends.
I only look for 4 chairs at church.
Remember church?
But you and I, we are still faithful at saying our prayers.
Do they count if you fall asleep during them?
And when you’re away, our prayers here always include,
“Please let daddy have a good day at work.
Please help him be a good doctor and to be happy.”
And I silently beg and plead that you will not fall asleep while driving.
The kids include, “Please let him come home early.”
And, “We miss him.”
They know.
I miss you.

No days off this week.
But we will savor those minutes from 7:15 to 8:15 pm
That the children have to jump on you and love you.
And I will try again to make you laugh.
And then watch you sleep.
And pray again that somehow He will make 6 hours
Of rest be sufficient for your tired body.

It will get better.
It will be worth it. It has to be.
I’m so proud of you.
Do I tell you enough? Do you believe me?
I know other people need you.
They need your naturally skilled hands.
They need the knowledge you’ve worked years to acquire.
They need your comfortable, easy attitude and manner.
They love you, too.
I will share.
But I miss you.

*                            *                              *                             *                       *                      *


Now, don't get me wrong and think that our house is just a big, black pit of despair. That's not the point I'm trying to get across. If you're a regular blog reader, you know humor is a big part of me and my house. But there are dark moments that outsiders may have a hard time seeing. My husband is on a demanding rotation and was on call (30+ hours at the hospital with no sleep) numerous times during the holidays, and has two more no-bueno rotations coming up back-to-back. So it's been a rough week, and the outlook for the next couple months seems dismal for spending quality time together.

I'm also not trying to say that doctors' (or residents' or medical students') families are the only ones to experience this. It may touch some whose husbands are deployed or maybe who have other high-stress jobs with excruciating working hours. But I can only tell my story.

Thanks for reading. And thanks for sharing.

Aloha,
Charlie