Think I have made it pretty clear at this point, there are pros and cons to being the wife of a doctor. At this point in the journey, we are experiencing a lot of the cons and a lot of the pros probably won’t come around until much later on. But there is one part for me right now that is twofold. It is an immediate conversation starter when I meet someone new. This is exciting because most people suddenly seem really interested in our life when I tell them I am married to a doctor. Instantly awkward conversation moments are avoided and we can dive right in to discussion. There are always a lot of questions that follow. People usually jump to the conclusion that we are a rich NYC couple who have a second house in the Hamptons with a personal driver and an endless supply of Dom Perignon. In my dreams people. I always tell people that by the time we reap the benefits of this doctor life I will be old and wrinkled and won’t buy anything other than Botox to help me feel better anyway. Ha. I really hope that is not the case as I still keep an eye out on the latest Range Rover models (one day I hope to have one sitting in a driveway).
Anyway…occasionally one of the questions asked is, “Has he ever seen someone die?” Sigh. What was a fun conversation just turned slightly morbid. There are only a couple professions out there that deem this question appropriate. Unfortunately for us, it’s a fair question for Mr. Dr. and I guess his wife. No one likes talking about death and that doesn’t change just because someone has an M.D. after their name. It doesn’t make it any easier. But experiencing a patient death is a reality that probably every doctor experiences at one point or another in their career. It’s dreaded but it happens. Part of the appeal of Ortho for Mr. Dr. is that typically the surgeries are not life or death outcomes. But yes he has witnessed the death of a patient. It’s not easy being in residency and its not easy to have a job where you are responsible for people’s lives day in and day out. There is a lot of pressure put on residents, attendings and the like in medicine.
As a doctor matures in their career I have to believe that although an experience like that doesn’t get easier and may be out of their control, one inevitably has to learn how to better manage it. Understood that it comes with the territory of the career choice but it is still an aspect of the job that is unwelcomed. I admire doctors for being able to get past those hard times and move forward. It also makes me grateful for doctors that go into fields like oncology where most of their time is spent dealing with sick patients who could be enduring too fatal of an undeserved life outcome. It takes such a strong person to dive into this type of medicine but thank goodness for them because these are the people that find us cures and treatment plans that can save a life. So yes, patient deaths are a huge con in choosing to be a doctor. And being a doctor’s wife? Well just add this to the list of cons for us too because it is something that no wife wants to hear about when you ask, “How was your day dear?”
At the end of the day, I hope the patient deaths that Mr. Dr. witnesses throughout his career are few and far between. I hope that he is able to learn from them and not lose sight of the fact that he is helping people every day. I hope this for every passionate doctor out there. And for those who share such a dedication to helping others with a heart as big as Mr. Dr.’s – I hope they never forget how many lives they touch in such a positive way each and every day.