Medicine Guilt

Medicine guilt.

You may be a victim of it.

It comes from being one trapped in the world of medicine for so long one feels guilty for being in it and out of it… All at the same time.

I had a brutal 1 in 2 cardio call week after Christmas, followed by a normal week of work.  And then, the light at the end of the tunnel… A whole weekend off.

We had high hopes for this weekend.  As any medicine person or family knows, this is a big deal, the weekend off.  Especially one that is off without impending exams or presentations. 

I had been feeling guilty… The house was neglected.   The husband was neglected.  The cat was crazy (okay, that is his baseline).

And honestly, I was exhausted and felt like I just needed some time to myself.

We made plans… Hockey game Friday night after work (okay, note to self, scheduling rambunctious activity after a draining 1.5 weeks is suboptimal), dinner and a movie date Saturday, church on Sunday and somewhere in there I was also going to clean the house watch the Community marathon on the Comedy channel, read my fun book and also finally do some of that reading around cardiology I had been procrastinating.  Nothing too big.

I loved the hockey game, despite being drowsy through most of it.  I slept in more than planned on Saturday, then got in a fight with Patrick over bacon.  On the bright side we had a delicious brunch with a more reasonable portion of bacon than I wanted to make (way to go Maple Leaf for making portioned packs… good for my cardiovascular health, sad for my tummy).  I failed to clean at all on Saturday but instead opted to catch up on blog reading, emails and all around laziness.  We went to see Parental Guidance where I laughed and cried like a fool (you NEED to see it) and then out for a delicious dinner (thanks to Christmas… Yay free stuff).  I was sleepy  by the time we got home again, but managed to snuggle in bed with the spouse for some reading of my fun book.  Church Sunday morning was followed by coffee with a friend from my childhood and finally house cleaning and a bit of that Community marathon.  I even called home.

Sounds productive, right?

And yet, despite doing all of that, I still felt dismayed.  I could have cleaned more.  Yes, I fixed our broken drawer (thank you Jeter for thinking it was his personal bed on the hunt for cat nip), but I haven’t managed to gather up our tax stuff or sort out the adventure that is my mail heap.  I did spend some good quality time with my husband, but was it really enough?  I saw that one random friend, but I haven’t talked to others in weeks.  And I definitely got nothing work related done.  I haven’t tried to get my call schedule rearranged for next month or read any cardio or touched physics in a dog’s age. 

Medicine eats your life. 

I priortize having a life just to spite it.

And yet, I have medicine guilt. 

I feel badly for the gaps in my personal life no matter how real or imagined they are.  I feel badly for the gaps in my professional life no matter how crazy my expectations are of myself.

I think the first step in fixing the problem is admitting I have a problem.

Patrick continues to reassure me that I would be unhappy if I wasn’t in medicine, even if I were better rested, spending more time with him and our apartment was perfect.

He is right.

I also know I would be unhappy if I did nothing but medicine.

Such is life as a resident, I suppose.

This post is a link-up with Medical Mondays, a once-a-month blog hop for people involved or associated with all things medical to share their experiences and stories.   Follow the link to the nifty button below to read posts from other nurses, med students, residents, nurse practitioners, medical spouses and the like.



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17 thoughts on “Medicine Guilt

  1. Great post. I agree about the guilt those in medicine feel… there is always so much to do for work and at home and never enough time. I am glad you had a nice weekend, and wish you many more. Thanks for linking up with medical mondays!

  2. I feel like this all the time, and I’m only a student! I’m always have a hard time finding and accepting a good balance between school and real life… I can only imagine it gets much worse as a resident/attending!

  3. Boy, can I relate to many of the things you shared in this one..I am not in the medical field, but have experienced some of the same tensions in life between ministry, work and family. It finally came to a head…couple of books God used to bring some balance and sanity into my world were “when I relax I feel guilty by Tim Hansel and Ordering your private world by Gordon McDonald. Watershed season in my life. I am probably 30 yrs ahead of you on the road of life.. I could write a book on this topic…Plus we had 4 young children in tow in the midst of the craziness. I really enjoy your heartfelt transparent postings. One last comment…if I could distill what God taught me from that season in my life into a single word…it would be “Margin”…g-nite. DM

  4. So happy to find you through Medical Monday! Just signed up for emails! Yay!
    I can totally relate. Medicine comes first in our household. It is awful. I wait and wait for my husband ALL THE TIME! It can be infuriating, but I know it’s upsetting to him, too. He misses out on A TON of stuff at home and with the kids. On the bright side, I know it is his passion and makes him happy. We are now living a blessed life. After many years of paying off loans, we are finally allowing ourselves to live the “GOOD” life. I just have to keep reminding myself of that. 🙂

    • I am glad to have found you through Medical Monday, as well!
      I look forward to reading more of your posts!
      It is so tough to miss out on stuff, but it is worth it to be happy. And there are some perks as time goes on. My husband agrees that the waiting and schedule rearranging is torture at times. But, it isn’t any more fun for us sometimes.

    • I think the patient experience is different in that it is often less voluntary than going into it as a career. Although getting stuck in the medical world is similar in some ways for all, being a patient presents its own substantial challenges beyond what I experience.

  5. Thanks for sharing! I know this time in your life is frustrating (been there done that with my hubby)! It does get better! There will come a time when you have more of a choice in your schedule…when that time comes, it is important to set priorities and not get lost in the work! But, I have a feeling you know that already! 😉 Hang in there! You are right where you are supposed to be in this journey!

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