Confession from a young d-word

It is the first Monday of the month, so it is Medical Monday.  If you are medical or related in some way, it is a fabulous link up to meet others in the medical world.  Check out their posts for all kinds of interesting topics!

Confession:  I feel uncomfortable telling people what I do for a living.

Actually, I am fine with telling people I am a medical resident in radiation oncology.  I am fine with telling people I am a wife.  

Image from adventureandattitude.com.

I am not fine with telling people I am a doctor.  Because rightly or wrongly, I find it awkward.

Even though I talk about it on this blog all the time.  Because that is part of the purpose of me writing is to talk about adventures in medicine.

Maybe it is an internal inferiority complex (or superiority complex).   I am not old enough/smart enough/experienced enough.  But, I think it is more the pressure that comes from society.    

I just don’t want people to see me primarily as a doctor.  I just want to be Trisha, Patrick’s wife.  Or so and so’s friend.  Or my parents’ daughter. 

I am probably paranoid.

But, people ooh and ah at medical school.  And I get that it is something that a lot of people don’t get to do.  I get that it is a big deal.  But, for me… For us, it is normal.  I don’t want people to act like it is a big deal.  I don’t want them to ignore that it is tough, but I don’t need people to talk about it.

Most people don’t act differently around me.  Most people.   And why should they?  But, some then assume we have a ton of money, or that I can answer their health questions in the middle of the party, or that we can go anywhere we want to work.  And I get that some of it is just not knowing someone who has gone through it before or whatever.  And most of it is under the best of intentions.  But, some of it edges on rude or ignorant (strong words… yes, but that is what passes through my head sometimes when I get hammered with a ton of assumptions in weird places).  And those edges kill me a bit, so I prefer to avoid them.

I know my family is proud of me.  That my husband thinks it is cool to tell people his wife is a doctor.  That sometimes it is useful to mention.  That it is normal to talk about your job in a conversation.

So, I shouldn’t be quite so weird about it.

To me, a job is just a piece of a person.  It doesn’t define a person.  In medicine, it becomes a big chunk of a person because you invest so much in it.  But, that doesn’t make it extra special.

For some people, they think it does.  It makes me crazy when people define themselves by pointing out to everyone that they are in med school or that they are a doctor or a lawyer or a teacher to everyone they meet.

I feel like telling people I am a doctor is bragging.  That I am saying “Look at me, I have been in school for a million years and I am book smart.”  I don’t want to brag.

I avoid it like the plague.  I answer if I am directly asked.  But, a lot of the time, I find myself just saying I work at the hospital.  All of my credit cards still say Mrs.  I don’t throw a Dr. in front of my name except in desperate situations.  And I get mortified when other people do.

I shouldn’t be embarrassed about who I am.  But, I am embarrassed about how other people respond sometimes. 

I don’t want my husband to be a doctor’s husband.  I want him to be Patrick.  I want mail to be addressed to our married last name as a couple.  Not Dr. and Mr..  Sure, professional stuff is one thing.  But, otherwise, I am just Trisha.

I understand if you are proud or excited.  But, understand that for me, it is still weird and scary and I am happy being just me and not pointing out my job or accomplishments in everyday life.  Understand that it can make things weird for me sometimes.  Understand that it can make things weird for others sometimes.

What some people seem to see when I walk in a room.

I will hopefully get over it a bit more as I grow up in my job.

Plus, when I grow up a bit, maybe I can stop hauling out the doctor as a weapon to get people to listen to me late at night on call in the hospital when they think I am just a kid.

But, I hope that I never define myself solely by my job title.  I hope that I never lose that I am a wife and a daughter and a friend first.  And I hope that I never make people feel as awkward as I have at times (although I am sure I have already failed there before). 

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11 thoughts on “Confession from a young d-word

  1. Thanks for linking up with medical mondays. I can imagine it is more awkward for the doctor than the spouse. In our society I think being a doctor means something more than it really is (not that it isn’t awesome what you do) and that puts a lot of pressure on all of us (including the spouse). Everyone should be proud to admit what they do for a living that contributes to our society whether it is taking care of the pipes in our homes, or fixing bones and diseases in our bodies. But doctors are kind of like super-heros, so I get that too.

    • Thanks for hosting Medical Mondays and for stopping by!
      I agree, what everyone does contributes in some way, so I shouldn’t be ashamed to say what I do, but it is the whole superhero perception and expectation that freaks me out! And yes, it is indeed challenging for the spouses too! My husband gets that wholeheartedly, especially because he does not exactly fit the stereotype.

  2. Visiting you from the MM! Hi! 🙂 My SO intends to go into Rad. Onc… he graduates in May and then its off to first year! I can understand why you feel the way you do – even though you’re a Doctor, you still want to be treated like a human & liked for who you are outside of work! And I agree with Cathy… you are funny, which is never a bad thing 😀 I hope you have a great day!

    • Very exciting! Rad Onc is awesome! And even more awesome is the match is soon and then you will know where you are going (whoo!).
      I don’t think funny is a bad thing :D. I like being human and such… It is preferable.
      Thanks for stopping by!

  3. I so understand this!!!!! When my husband and I first married, I used to HATE it when people would ask us “what we do.” When they heard I was a veterinarian and my husband was a nurse, we always got the funniest looks. I can’t tell you how many times they would point to me and say, you mean, you are the nurse and your husband is the veterinarian. It infuriated me and I felt it was a sexist remark to make. Yet, we heard it all the time.

    And then there’s the question my husband always loves…. “How long have you been a male nurse?” Aaarrrggghhhh!!!!! You never hear people asking women how long they have been a FEMALE nurse!

    • That would have driven me crazy… Actually people make the same mistake sometimes with me and my teacher husband, although sometimes I argue that I teach too.
      Ah! The whole male nurse being a separate entity from being a nurse because clearly a nurse must be female! So ridiculous.

  4. Hey! I’m linking up to your blog from Medical Monday’s. I completely understand what you mean about telling people that you are a medical student or a doctor. When you say it you don’t want to come off as pompous or arrogant. However, it is unfortunate that we’d feel that way because it is something to be proud of, especially when you finally cross the finish line and become a doctor (I can’t wait for the day. Furthermore, we chose this career path for a reason, sacrificing portions of your life to serve other is admirable….or so I’d like to think lol.

    Also, my husband didn’t chose to go to medical school either and I’ll get jokes like…”so you’re going to take care of him, huh?” It’s upsetting but I just blow it off.

    I enjoyed your post!

    • You totally get it! It is unfortunate to feel that way about something to be proud of.
      We like to joke sometimes that my husband is a kept man (this after basically keeping us afloat throughout med school). We laugh about it, although sometimes I have to wonder if people think we are serious!
      Glad you liked the post! Thanks for stopping by!

  5. Trisha I have to agree with every word of this post and am so glad you wrote about this. Even though I’m still a student I feel like I encounter the same thing and avoid the M– S– term all the time. Nothing annoys me more than being introduced as “have you met Vivian? She’s going to be a doctor”. The only conversation that can ensue revolves around school.

    • I’m glad I’m not the only one in this boat!
      That is one of the worst conversation starters. You know where it is going and there is just nothing you can do to stop it.

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