Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Hello friends,
It's been a while since I posted.  I see we have so many new followers, so I will reintroduce myself.  My name is Colleen, my DrH, Ben, is an intern in Emergency Medicine at the local county hospital.  I am a 32-year-old SAHM of 2 boys, ages 4.5 and 3, and we also added a baby girl to our family in October.  We got pregnant (purposefully) and had our oldest, the first month of the first year of med school (which we completed here in Fort Worth, and didn't have to move for residency), so we have done the young family thing the entire med school/residency journey. 

For the last 3 years of residency, I also ran a Texas licensed in-home preschool.  However, we closed it in May when Ben started bringing in a salary, having saved up enough money from my income and student loans to live for 18 months at the same standard of living until Ben could start moonlighting in October/November 2012.  For a little extra money, I do still keep one child.  He is kinda part of our family now; I have had him for 3 years, and he and my oldest are only months apart in age.  To close my self-summary, we now have less than 2.5 years until we are done.  No fellowships or additional specialties.  Just Emergency Medicine.  Fine.by.me.  :)

As I have been following everyone else's posts, I have to say that while we certainly have our challenging moments, ER is a cake walk compared to what a lot of you have been going through.  This is part of the reason I haven't posted for a bit.  I feel bad posting my trials, when for the most part, I feel pretty blessed and am no more stressed than any other stay-at-home mom with a working husband (although sometimes my working husband does have crazy hours and works a little more than most).

This week (and for many weeks now), Ben is studying for his first benchmark of the Emergency Medicine Board Exam.  He takes it tomorrow.  From what I understand, other specialties take this exam at the beginning of their intern year, but since ER residents can moonlight (and we have planned on Ben doing so), they take this exam later in the first year.  This exam is looked upon as a way to gauge that the resident has a minimum level of understanding of Emergency Medicine - enough that his Academic Advisor would recommend him to be eligible to moonlight.  (Sidenote:  That is another bonus to ER:  By the time we are done with residency, we can have a nice chunk paid toward student loans AND our schedule easily allows him to moonlight a few extra shifts a month.  For the 31 days of March, for example, Ben only works 20 10-hour or less shifts, and 2 12-hour shifts, leaving him 9 days off.  There are 9 weekend days in the month of March, so this month he essentially gets the same amount of  time off as any other Mon-Fri job.)

My point is that he is home a lot more than many other resident husbands.  And it drives me crazy.  Is that horrible?

The boys and I have a daily and a weekly routine going on that we kinda live by.  Now I must confess that I can be a little obsessive-compulsive about routines.  They give structure to a day that could very easily all mush together into a point where I become a bon-bon eating, soap watching, lazy bum.  I don't want to become that person.  And it's a slippery slope, people.  Especially with a still fairly young infant.  I'm tired.  A lot.

But I have never been one to sit around and be lazy; I just get this guilt complex and all the things I need to be doing loom over my mind in threatening thought-bubbles until I can't take the pressure any more.  I have to get up and be productive.

So while I am buzzing around the house washing dishes, folding laundry, mopping floors, feeding babies, hosting preschool playgroup, refereeing screaming 4-year-old arguments, giving potty assistance, trying to work out, teaching one son to read and the other to learn his letters and sounds, or whatever else I find to keep busy, it royally annoys me to watch Ben sit on the couch FOR HOURS playing a rated M War game that is both mesmerizing and highly inappropriate for the impressionable youngsters running around.  Not to mention that it is 50 decibels too loud and so my whole normally peaceful house feels like a war zone.  And I can't take it.  I hate it.  Especially because if any of those above-mentioned activites interrupt or infringe upon Ben's inherent right to enjoy his game, he gets irritated.  With Me.  Whaaaa...?

Of course, I have suggested that we move his system into his office, out of the main area of the house - the room you have to walk through to get to the kitchen or the dining room or to go in the backyard.  His response?  "Well, I want to be with you guys..."  Uhhhhhh....anyone else see the faulty logic in that statement?  I could walk in front of him in nothing but red stiletttos when he is playing XBox 360 and I doubt I would get his attention.  Apparently, our definition of quality time is starkly different.  In mine, a grunt in my general direction when I ask what he would prefer for dinner, does not suffice.

His love for playing this game for hours and watching TV at deafening levels in the living room to take breaks from studying or decompress after work has created friction with me for more than just the obvious reasons.  In spite of his claim that he wants to "be with us," his attitude about coming home has turned into what seems like a feeling of entitlement on his part.  As in, "Ben the Provider is home (insert chest-beating here).  All my minions must now make themselves quiet or scarce, and do my bidding as I holler at you from my chair to bring me something beckon you."  (We actually just had to have it out about him turning off the TV and eating dinner at the table with us.  That bad habit has stopped, thankfully.)  This X Box example is just the biggest example of an attitude that SOMETIMES, yet MORE AND MORE FREQUENTLY rears its ugly head.  (It should be noted that Dr. Ben isn't ALWAYS like this.  Most of the time he is very enjoyable and does spend time with all of us.)

We have long since agreed that when he is out of residency and working, he will have a man-cave, preferably a basement, where he can sleep when he has worked nights and play his games and decompress or whatever he needs to do, without infriging on the peace and quiet of the rest of the house. So here's the point of my rant:

1)  Has anyone else noticed your husband's personality changing as he gets closer and closer to completing residency? As if your desires or daily needs are not as significant as his?  As if when he gets home, all activites are subject to his desires and he should not have to be inconvenienced in any way?

2)  Is this something Dr. Wives just have to learn to deal with and combat?  If so, does anyone have any tricks?


  1. I am so used to being with Doc H that when he's home, my schedule just goes out the window. We spend so much time apart and I like running the house on my own!
    Doc H is very good about us being equal and our needs being equal. Maybe that's a 2nd husband thing? I don't know, but I know we both have a great appreciation for what the offers and does for each other.
    Here's how I deal with being home and "working" 24/7. I have "off" hours. They are from the minute I finish school drop offs in the morning to 1pm when I start running errands or cooking. That is my time! :)
    Great to hear from you!

  2. Hi Colleen! Saw your blog listed on the LDW facebook group. My husband is a PGY4 Ortho resident at LSU. Our house was broken into last year and his xbox was stolen- sad for him, not for me :) I recently started a blog myself: thewittylife.blogspot.com


  3. By the time he finished residency he was just done with the program and ready to move on. He moved on to fellowship in the same program. Even though he knew it would suck he did it because the program is good. Now that he has just a few weeks left of fellowship he is disillusioned and bitter. It's sad. He's also terrified about moving into the position of being the attending and the one to make the final read. Because of this, yes, absolutely nothing but nothing is nearly as important as his work or his time to study.
    I'd like to set all of his textbooks on fire. I refrain simply because it would cost a fortune to replace them and we are flat broke.