Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Hello & Emotional Vomit

Hi! My name is Camille and my husband, Adam, is a first year ER resident. We just moved back closer to home (we were 1,300 miles away during medical school) and we have two little boys. During medical school, I had a group of amazing girlfriends who were also married to students and I miss that open camaraderie and support of women in the same season.

Here's what has been on my mind lately:

Ok, so my husband just began residency but when Adam began medical school, I remember having a discussion with my new-found friends, other wives of medical students. We all discussed the negative comments that were made to us when people (often, strangers!) found out that we were married to someone beginning medical school. They went something like this:

Oh, a doctor, eh? You'll never see him!


Oh, my sister married a guy and after he went to medical school then he graduated and cheated on her with a nurse and left her!

and the like. (These comments are best said in an old-lady, scratchy voice for the full effect.)


So, we all discussed these comments and were intrigued at peoples' perceptions and ideas of helpfulness towards us.

It was fine.

Now, that I'm beginning a new phase (residency), I'm experiencing a lot of the same conversations that I took a part in, four years ago.

Some are helpful. Like, an older, married doctor who was advising Adam on how to establish appropriate boundaries with employees of the opposite sex at the hospital.

Some only create fear. Like, people telling me that I need to show up (with homemade cookies, of course) at the hospital all the time because, only then, the nurses won't try to jump my husband.

Adam and I have had to sit down and have several discussions about these situations and conversations. I was suddenly plagued with insecurity and fear and a general pit in my stomach. I wanted to push Adam away. I wanted him to know that I am desirable too. I wanted to gain three hundred pounds. I wanted to be a tiny stepford wife. I wanted to have a job with muchos men just to show him how it might feel.

But here's the thing:
I have no reason not to trust Adam.
And honestly, every nurse that I am friends with is a woman of integrity and most of them are married.

Nevertheless, we (both of us) do have to be on guard and establish appropriate boundaries with anyone that could threaten our marriage. Our marriage does have a real enemy (and it ain't a nurse), who wishes to steal, kill & destroy. Therefore, communication is key. Accountability is crucial.

I don't need to know that my husband loves me and is more attracted to me than anyone else in the world, although that is nice. I need to know that he is committed to defending and protecting our marriage and my heart. I need to know that he has a plan in place, boundaries set up, accountability in place. I need to know that the fear of the Lord is in his heart and he is aware of the temptations and pitfalls in the world and workplace.

I want my husband to love his job. I want him to enjoy the people at work. But I want our marriage, and our family, to win.

(I also posted this tonight for my med school wife friends over at this site):


  1. YAY! Welcome Camille! I have some of these same insecurities stemming from past experiences with not-so-trustworthy men, and I tend to be a little Stepford wifish myself sometimes to over-compensate. Really these issues are mine and have nothing to do with Ben or any hot nurse, but of course, I project them onto him. Ben and I have been married for 7 years now, and I have always been able to trust him completely because I know he is a loyal and honest man, and he puts the Lord first, even above me. I like what you said about your marriage having an enemy, and it isn't a nurse. I think if our marriages are partnerships with each other and the Lord, we will be much more likely to "win," no matter what obstacles or hot nurses that come into our lives.

    Welcome again! See you soon, I hope!

  2. "I want my husband to love his job. I want him to enjoy the people at work. But I want our marriage, and our family, to win."

    Yes ma'am! I agree 100% I hear so many people argue about how a doctor should put his patients before his own family, I just want to scream! Lawyers don't put their clients first, contractors don't care about their crews, and teachers don't love their students more than their own kids. Doctors are real people with real lives outside their workplace, just like at any other job.

    "Our marriage does have a real enemy (and it ain't a nurse)"

    Just to add my two cents on that issue--it doesn't matter what your husband does, or what you look like, even if you make yummy cookies, if he is going to cheat, it is because of something wrong with HIM, not you. I mean come on, even Sandra Bullock got cheated on.

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  4. Welcome Camille! So many, many truths...

    Ok, I was recently told by the [real] doc wives org women that if we didn't have regular date nights each week during residency our marriage would crash and burn.
    Perhaps so, but I still don't have an extra $40 just to pay the babysitter, much less additional money for a date. fantastic.

    Ladies, ladies! Don't be hatin' on the cookies, yo! Internship year was the worst for us. I felt like an outsider. He felt totally disconnected with the family. It was misery.
    I started a tradition with our 3 children of baking cookies on every call night and delivering them to him at the hospital with the kids. He loves it, the kids love it, and the nurses (he shares) love it so much they baked me a cookie cake and sent it home with him.

    Back before I found a way connect with him and his career, he was getting asked out by nurses and whatnot. Not anymore, thank goodness.

    I'm not saying that cookies save marriages. But it can make him feel loved on a long busy call night.

    It's not about the cookies, more the thought and effort. It can be starbucks, Chinese take-out, fresh socks and toothbrush with a note.

    I am glad ya'll don't fear the hot nurse. I DO! Welcome to my nightmares!

  5. @Stacie

    I do understand the rationale behind making cookies. My mom did the same thing once my dad stared practicing (she made samosas + tandoori chicken!) Looking back, it was probably a wise move because she immediately had an "in" with the female doctors and it made my dad really popular. I'm just saying a cheater will cheat, a loyal man will stay loyal, regardless of baked goods. And from what I'm gathering, we're all fabulous ladies who lucked out in the male loyalty department :)

  6. You know you are a middle-aged housewife with too many kids when this worry, the cheating,is the last thing on your mind. Lol. I worry more about my hubby driving into something due to sleep deprivation. Or having someone die on the table and his feelings of responsibility. I worry more about whether we will know each other at the end of this long long separation (emotional not physical) and whether actual practice will be better.

  7. Haha! I can't even remember all the times I've heard people say things about docs and how they all cheat and leave thier wives. I think this is a myth because I've read that physicians have around a 30% divorce rate which would be lower than the average right? I wish I could find some of the sources I read in the past...although they were internet so I'm not totally sure of the accuracy. I did find this thread about it on SDN http://forums.studentdoctor.net/archive/index.php/t-4004.html that had some interesting info and comments. But, I have to agree with all of you that marriage is what you make of it. So, let's not become like a lot of these doctors wives I've seen on threads that are just so dissilusioned and bitter. My goal at the start of residency is to focus on my husbands best qualites and the reasons I fell in love with him in the first place. I mignt also try the cookie call tradition...that sounds like fun.

  8. Ack! I just read further down on that long "divorce rate" thread on SDN and now some people say the current rate for physicians is more like 60%....oh, well if we lived by statistics no one would get married in the first place, right?

  9. @ mrsogg - I just went and read some of the post. Seems kinds silly that the only reason anyone can propose the marriage won't work is that we ladies just are incapable of understanding what these poor doctors go through. My guess is that all us women are absolutely supportive and empathetic.