I am in a particularly good and yet sappy mood today. Good because I have now survived four days of surgical ambulatory clinics without having to do one procedure. And, I have a surgical oncology clinic scheduled for tomorrow! Sappy because I was doing my prep for a study that my small group is starting tonight and the video portion included a husband dying. So, today, I am going to talk about the wonderfulness (I know, “wonderfulness” not really a word)… I mean blessing it is to be married in medical school.
Perhaps you are saying, “What!?!? There is something good to being married whilst pursuing medical education?” Well, of course there is. I also believe there are things that are just plain good about being married and things about just plain being in medical school. The combination, however, is my experience.
I became engaged in med school month number three. Three days before my second Anatomy exam. Hello, distraction! Thus started the questions of “did you set the date?” We waited until after Christmas to make it official (the date, that is) though we knew the whole time. The thing was, despite all the people asking, a fair portion thought us quite nuts. One… Why get married in the first place? Two… Why not live together or at least in the same place for a while first (context- we had been in a state of perpetual long distance, despite being from the same city… Patrick did an internship in Montreal for a year and a half, now I am away at school)? Three… What about school/work/money? And Four… You must be pregnant! Four is less of a question and more of an assumption that goes with people in their early twenties getting married. Our explanation to these included: One… We love each other, feel God calling us to marriage, the Bible tells us so and well, we were tired of being in different places. Two… We believe living together is wrong (hello, black sheep of my family) and that financially (and otherwise) him moving here without being married is not a wise decision. Three… Well, I wasn’t planning on dropping out of school anytime soon and he would be as trapped on the substitute teaching list here as there and well, the money thing… it freaked us out too, but God taught us some lessons there. Four… NO BABIES! So, in the end we got married. Small (though larger than I hoped wedding). We had a week of honeymoon, a week of moving and off to Med 2 I went. We survived and grew and learned.
Enough of that tangent. Back to the awesomeness (again, not a word)… Er joys of being married in medical school:
1. You are MARRIED! Isn’t that awesome enough!
2. People get distracted by finding out you are married long enough that they focus on you being “too young” for marriage instead of “too young” to be almost a doctor.
3. Someone to help you spend your professional student line of credit (I wish that one wasn’t so true, but sometimes it is fun).
4. The student loans people stop including your parents income and take you seriously as the poor student you are.
5. Your spouse keeps you connected to “normal people.”
6. Your spouse keeps you updated on local/global news, pop culture, sports and sometimes even the weather.
7. You always have someone to be nonjudgemental and uninvolved to rant to about grades, class politics, rotation schedules and crazy attendings.
8. They bring you home coffee when they come home from work and wake you from your post call nap.
9. They bring you coffee when you are studying until your eyes bleed.
10. They bring you coffee when you are on call and trapped in the case room despite their irrational fear of hospitals.
11. They bring you coffee despite their dislike for coffee and while telling you that it is bad for you and that you should cut back.
12. Sometimes, when you come home the house is a mess and you know that you haven’t been there in over 30 hours it reminds you that there is someone else in your life.
13. Sometimes, you come home and the house was a mess but it is miraculously less of a mess.
14. Food. They encourage you to eat it. Sometimes they buy it or cook it. Sometimes they make sure that you feel compelled to cook it because they are there.
15. Someone to go to McDonald’s and stress eat with after a bad exam, before a bad exam or when post-call.
16. “Good night” calls on nights when you don’t know if you will sleep.
17. Shoveling out the car and heating it up, so you don’t have to get up 20 minutes earlier.
18. Making you laugh when they get grossed out by your homework.
19. Having someone close enough to you to point out that you smell like brains and need to take a shower.
20. Someone to make sure that you study.
21. Someone to make sure that you don’t study too much and that you do “normal people” things like movies.
22. Someone to call when you get yelled at for “being too nice.” And to call them “Doctor Stupidface” for the next month.
23. Hugs. The concept of touching someone you actually want to touch is an interesting thing after examining a bunch of strangers, one of which had a self-amputating foot.
24. Reminders to call home or email a friend or do something for yourself.
25. Someone to fund a portion of your education (sad, but true).
26. No matter how ridiculously holed up I get in studying, no matter how tired or cranky or cynical I become… He will still love me.
28. Accountability. Things in medicine, school and this world can get a little grey by times. It is good to have someone who can hold you accountable for your actions and decisions.
29. Surprise fleece sheets, plants and emails.
30. Ministering together in outside ways and supporting each other in our own ventures.
31. Time. Marriage offers a time advantage over dating and true long distance (though we still get stuck with long distance with electives and such). We see each other more… We go to bed together… Or at least I get tucked in… We wake up together (well, I wake up and drag him when I need to leave). We share more meals. It’s the simple things like having him there when I am studying.
32. Listening to them try to pronounce medical terms or even better, define them (has become a little game of ours).
33. Knowing that surviving these years will strengthen our relationship in the future.
34. Shared chores and errands.
35. Did I mention food and coffee and oh yes, YOU’RE MARRIED?
Well, this is getting excessive. Yet, it feels good to be thankful (a month-and-a-half late in Canada, but who is counting?). Any others I should add?