PGY-3zy for Sheezy

Jan 11

PGY-3zy for Sheezy


My husband, Spencer, is close to completing his three-year Internal Medicine residency. The time has come for the last crazy loop on the roller coaster; we are moving at breakneck speed toward the finish line. The first year I was overwhelmed. The tears, they flowed freely. The second year, I was mostly pissed. The schedule and some of the staff were a complete nightmare, and I was trying to figure out a new normal after retiring from teaching.

But hold up a minute, friends. No one quite tells you about the magical goodness of the third year.


Spencer has become a confident, respected, thorough physician. With that comes the responsibility of teaching first-year interns. Also, it seems that the most difficult months are behind us. Or maybe we have just finally become acclimated to the crazy ebbs and flows of this specific career path. (He’s sleeping right now. He worked a night float shift on NYE. I assume that every year, for the rest of his working life, he will be working on holidays and birthdays. Those hits will forever come.)

He still has his moments of exhaustion, of course. He was working 28-hour shifts in the ICU during the epic season 7 of Game of Thrones; after an especially grueling night he came home in the morning wanting to watch the latest episode. Fast forward to him crashing later that day and talking wildly in his sleep; “afebrile” was coupled with, “I hope that dragon is okay.”

Those times are now broken up by months when he only had to work 8 days because he was on backup and didn’t get called in (times like these confirmed my decision to not work); or months when he is now the senior resident and he can therefore delegate many of the tasks to the interns.


What do we do with all of that free time, you may ask. A huge portion of it is spent studying for the board exams. For fun (I am such a geek), I am studying right along with him. I am happy to report that I do very well with most of the general internal medicine questions. I maybe even talk a little smack if I get a question right and he does not. Abbreviations like SOB now have an entirely new meaning in my own personal lexicon. Sadly, I would not survive (nor would my patients) in any of the subspecialties. Thankfully The Doc, who is crazy smart, will be just fine.

Annoying things that people say to us, an interlude:


Now you get to pay off those loans! (How about, “Congratulations! That is amazing!”)

Don’t you get sick of each other? (Heck no! Why get married if you need a break from that person?)

Can you answer this question about dermatology/gynecology/surgery … etc. (Nope. He is an internal medicine doctor.)

You’re moving where? Why? (The two of us can thrive, happily, anywhere as long as we’re together.)

One of the most interesting side effects of this ‘time out’ here in Atlanta is that we have become a World of We self-sustaining unit. We are truly and completely on our own here. While that is a fantastic thing for our marriage, I liken it to doing prison time.

Let me explain.

Time, distance, money, and the hectic nature of residency did not afford us the right to travel much. If people wanted to see us, they had to come here or they had to live within driving distance. Or, they at least had to make an effort to call or email. Three years is a long time; I felt like Spencer and I had been doing hard time and survived; the rest of the world, she forgot about us.

She moved on without us.

So, we leaned on each other. Hard. I thank the Good Lord every day that we enjoy each other’s company as much as we do. We have paid steep prices in myriad ways; no one will ever really know how difficult this time was for us, how rigorous those first two years actually were.  Shockingly, some people I thought would be there for us were not able to do so, for a variety of reasons.


We joked for one hot minute about going on House Hunters. We are addicted to that show. However, the reality is that we are uber-private and we get along way too well, which would make for some boring-ass TV. We have contacted a realtor and the Zillow app is working at a frenetic pace. We have promised our families that we will send links to our final three, after we see them in person. I always dreamed of being married, I never thought for one second about having an actual house.

My best advice to new med spouses:

Keep yourself busy. Perhaps you could read an insane amount of books. Cherish the time you have together. Take care of the day-to-day everything so that your significant other can focus on becoming a doctor. Embrace learning right along with them. Feel blessed that you married someone special; only certain kinds of people can survive all of the doctor hoops that a person has to jump through.

At this point, we have a major case of senioritis. Spencer is beyond ready to be a full-time hospitalist. So, we count down the days, we celebrate the ending of the weeks and months, and we look forward to our new start.








One comment

  1. Bye Felicia.

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