Doctor Wife Life – PGY2

Mar 22

Doctor Wife Life – PGY2

Ch Ch Ch Ch Changes

It is incredible to think that the last post I fully dedicated to this topic was over a year ago. My husband, Spencer, is over half way through his medical residency. Some days go by quickly, others last a mere eternity.

Some things have drastically changed, while others remain the same. One huge change for me is that I retired this past May after 20 years of teaching. There were so many factors that contributed to this decision. Mainly, I was getting a  little lot burned out.


My last year of teaching in Florida involved a majorly traumatic incident on my team; the year before that I had a student slap me; a year before that I was moved grade levels against my wishes. And so on. Last year, teaching in Georgia, I had the best students I have ever been blessed with and some truly extraordinary teammates…and zero materials. As in zero books for a classroom library. Zero guided reading materials. Zero academic centers. Nothing. Nada. Zip. Zilch. I am blessed with some generous folks from across this great nation; I was lucky enough to have many books and educational materials donated. It wasn’t nearly enough, but their efforts helped tremendously.  A neighboring teacher’s car was broken into on a Sunday, while she was mere feet away, working in her classroom. I found bullet holes in the side of my 3rd grade portable. In the middle of the year, a major crime spree occurred at the schoolhouse, and the thieves took my Promethean Board from my portable classroom. That board was a key anchor in my daily teaching. It was the last major, and turns out, final blow. All of this on top of, I’ll say it again, no materials. I actually became scared to go to work. The cherry on this shit sundae? I was barely seeing my husband. When I did see him, we were both exhausted. So, together, after several discussions, we decided it was a great time to tap out.


My retirement party had exactly one attendee.

I maybe cried a few happy tears when I realized that I could stay up late for all of the football games. And watch every bit of March Madness.

Now I am broke and I am no longer tired. Here is an excerpt from an email I sent to my brothers regarding my daily schedule.

The Real Housewife of Hotlanta

6:00-Wake up, pack a lunch, and hug the husband goodbye.

6:30-Back to sleepy, after I know he has safely arrived at the hospital.

 8:30 or 9-Wakey wakey. I check the social media whilst watching a show. I recently finished all of Six Feet Under. Michael C. Hall should be in every series ever.
10-Walk to the grocery store. Hunt for Pokemon. Play with various grocery store apps. See what is new in the hood.
 11-12:30 Gym. Guess which part I hate? Every part. I am going at least 5 days a week for at least an hour, usually more. I go Cardio/weights/cardio. I have started running a bit, which is hilarious, I am sure, thanks to those pigeon toes. The good thing: this is my pool, this is my gym. 4/5 days, I am the only one there.
12:30 Lunch
1-3 Write. I write blogs, and I don’t care who knows. (Bonus points if you get The Lonely Island reference. ) Also, I am writing short stories for a book. Spencer will most likely be the only one to ever read said book; he says I’m a genius, I’ll stick with that one review.
3-4 Read all of the books (In 2016 I  hit that 50 mark for the first time! As of March of 2017, I am pushing 30 books already) and Internal Medicine mags (I want to learn something about medicine every day. I pull out one or two articles for him, as he obviously has no time to read an entire mag.)
4-5 Shower, housework, bake of the cookies, tackle the NY Times crossword or piece together a puzzle.
Then later I cook up the dinner and wait for The Doc. Between Blue Apron and the football recipes, I think I’m getting this whole cooking thing down. I have time to plan (we did no booze/no desserts in January; I am exploring a whole food month, Pinterest is my new best friend.)
On Tuesdays I have been volunteering at the Ronald McDonald House. Spencer puts gas in my car every four months or so; I walk every where, and do the best I can to explore my new surroundings.
So, I keep myself busy. The days go by, and I have never been one to find myself bored. I am alone all of the time, but I remind myself that I basically trained my entire existence for this exact scenario. I tell myself that lesser gals would give up. I was pretty much alone my whole life until Spencer came along, which means I had ample time to create many self-entertaining interests. Plus, it seems like I always have something else I want to do or learn. But, there are those weeks (a notable 115 hours during an 8 day stint comes to mind) where it does get more than a little lonely.
The Doctor Will See You Now
My not working really has made a difference with Spencer’s schedule this year. In September, he did a full month of nights. He would leave here at 6:00 pm then get home anywhere between 9:00 am to noon. I would make him “brinner”, then we could hang out for a bit before he went to sleep for a few hours. If I had been working, I would have barely seen him that month. In January, every third day was a 28-hour shift. I was here to feed him when he rolled in at noon on day #2, and then we got to spend that one glorious off day together. Many times it was a weekday; those blissful moments would not have been possible if I were still working.
The big change for that guy this year? A major corner has been turned. Somewhere, around the start of the second year in July, things just clicked. I guess that is the fruits of all of those labors. He is now confident in his abilities to diagnose, treat, and to do procedures. After an especially grueling night with back to back code blues, his colleagues pulled him aside and told him that he did everything perfectly.
Be. Still. My. Heart.
Some days we are in the car when he takes a call and I can hear the self-assured way he handles his business. I am so proud that I can’t stand my own braggy self. Not one person who knows him is surprised; he is, and has always been, crazy smart. I of course always knew that he was more intelligent than most folks; but being smart and being a doctor are two completely different things. There are many smart people out there who are not good docs.
At all.
He passed his USMLE Step 3 and officially got his license. The man is on his way.
We celebrate at the end of every single month, because every month is indeed a milestone, getting us closer to the end of this part of our journey.
The big thing I hate about this year – there have been some ridiculous hours. From 28-hour shifts to an especially heinous 97 hour work week, my husband’s tired face breaks my heart. I have seen him, ordering labs late into the night, fingers on his laptop keyboard, dead asleep. The limit is supposed to be 80 hours, but some weeks, that is just not possible. His Fitbit sleep tracker is hilarious. One night, he literally fell asleep mid-sentence, sitting up on the couch.
Spencer is now in charge, from time to time, of first year residents. Nothing makes me prouder than the way he handles these relationships; there are some bad ass bullies out there who seem to glean enjoyment by power tripping on anyone with less seniority. My Doc is there to teach, help, and guide any way he can. His presentations have also all received stellar reviews. He never cuts corners; there are some patients he doesn’t necessarily care for, but he does everything in his power to help every single patient get better.
Christmas, Party of One
We have given up making any sort of specific plans or dates, unless it is part of one of his predetermined vacations. If we buy movie tickets ahead of time, he invariably works late. We no longer get any sort of reservations in advance, because his schedule is a crap shoot. His parents were nice enough to hold a Halloween party, on, you guessed it, November 4th, so that we could attend. If anyone wants to see us, they usually have to visit us here. We are lucky enough that a few of my friends and Spencer’s family has done just that; those visits really help to break up our time here. However, like the song says, it really is just the two of us. Randomly, the Yelp Community Manager here in Atlanta is engaged to a resident. At a recent function, he and I decided that there needs to be a support group for spouses of residents. You are uprooted to a new town, and bam you never get to see your significant other. Good luck!
The Doc worked for 12 hours on Christmas Eve and for 14 hours on Christmas Day. He had to work to do on the computer both days when he got home. This is the first Christmas I have spent completely alone, and not any kind of holiday fun whatsoever. It won’t always be like this, that is our current mantra. I usually love Christmas, this year I was so glad when it was over.
House Hunters
We dream big to get through the days. Some day, he will actually be compensated for the work he does. Until then, we have recently become addicted to real estate hunting. We decided we are exactly the kind of weirdos that should be on one of those HGTV shows. We want to live far away from schools! We need to live within walking distance of restaurants and bookstores! We need a built-in basketball hoop! We need an elevator, just because! We need silence (we have recently coined the term “aggressively quiet”) but we need to be close to the action! We need a man cave for two! The list goes on, folks.
We have also planned out several trips after residency. Most contracts for hospitalists offer a 7 day on/7 day off schedule, which will be magnificent for traveling the world.
The best thing about being in “time out” here in Atlanta? Our marriage is stronger and better every single day. This kind of seclusion can really make or break a couple; luckily, for us, we are closer than we have ever been. Our time together is precious. I am doing my best every day to wife it up and make it so he does not have to do any house related duties when he gets home. (Besides putting gas in my car and taking out the garbage; after almost five years of marriage, I have not had to do either of those tasks. The man made vows, and he is a man of his word!)
At this mid-way point, we can now fully be in countdown mode. We recently went to a job fair (notice all of the ‘we’ usage; that will continue because I truly feel like we have done this thing together) and the calls and emails are coming in daily for jobs starting in July of 2018. We are doing our best to stay organized and go through this process, all the while wishing one of us had a doctor in our family to help guide us along the way.
So, year two, in summation: a little older, a lot wiser, angry at times, isolated, and turning the corner to become a lot more hopeful.


No comments


  1. PGY-3zy for Sheezy - SandBookWich - […] speed toward the finish line. The first year I was overwhelmed. The tears, they flowed freely. The second year,…
Click on a tab to select how you'd like to leave your comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *