The Doctor’s Wife

Jan 02

The Doctor’s Wife

This is a different kind of post for me, so click that exit button now if you are looking for a delicious sandwich or a thought provoking book review.

I was the token single girl.

When I first met my husband, just over five years ago, I had given up on looking for a “type” of guy. If I had stuck to my hard and fast rules of my teens and early twenties, I’d still be out there looking for the drummer from Poison’s doppelgänger. After decades of dating, my horizons widened. Quite a bit. No longer was there a “too old” or “too short” or “doesn’t speak English.” I was pretty much down to “not a felon” and “not married.” Other than that, I had gotten to the point where I’d basically let anyone buy me dinner, with the hopes of finding that miracle person that actually “got” me. My standards never waivered; I never settled. I just kept expanding that dating pool with the hopes of finding my one true love.

Too young?


I met my Spencer for the first time at the Tampa Museum of Art. There was an American Impressionism Exhibit; he had recently been to Europe and had visited the Gardens in Giverny. There was also a showing of obscure photographs; I cracked a few jokes, as I am wont to do when I am nervous. He tells me now he thought I was hilarious. He commented on a flower in my hair; I brushed it off, as is also my nature. He offered dinner. My leitmotif was to hug and run; but I was actually enjoying the intelligent, thoughtful conversation. So the museum turned into dinner, which then led to coffee and a bookstore, and my life finally began.


At the time, Spencer was getting ready to teach a self-created course at the Honor’s college at our local university. It was a class based on literature and medicine. I had actually read a few of the books on the syllabus, so I was intrigued from Jump Street. He had previously been in medical school, and decided to take a break. We spent a great deal of time together; there were never any games. He is incredibly kind, funny, wicked smart, crazy supportive, and the best friend I could ever ask for. We were engaged a little over a year later, and we began to plan for the future. After our wedding and much deliberation, Spencer decided to return to medical school.

As Ferris Bueller says, life moves pretty fast.


Medical school is a whirlwind of tests, classes, tests, lectures, tests, clinical work, and tests. He went back for his second year, which mostly consisted of classes…..and tests. We had the luxury of spending the bulk of the beginning of our marriage together, as he was able to study a great deal at home. Some students find that working in groups is beneficial; my husband always preferred to work on his own. Years three and four were mostly comprised of clinical work. There were a few rough months here and there (that surgical rotation was a nightmare on myriad levels) but he was usually home for dinner and we had most weekends to do as we pleased. I was, for a large part, fascinated; I strive to be a life-long learner, and the sheer amount and level of information he was bringing home on the daily was incredible. We were learning together; neither one of us had ever had a doctor in our families, and the nuances of the profession are constantly changing and surprising the both of us. If you don’t have a doctor in your family….you have no idea. Trust.


When he did get busy, I had my own teaching job, my blog, a small but solid group of friends, family, and the Tampa Bay area to keep me entertained. As Match Day and Graduation Day loomed closer, it first occurred to me that I would be married to a doctor.


Doctor’s wife. What exactly does that mean? I had a fleeting vision of hosting dinner parties with fine china for the other doctors and their wives. Was there a butler? Would I be in charge of raising money for the new pediatric wing? Would there be secret rendezvous like in ER? Would I always win the conversation entitled: What Does Your Husband Do? I panicked, as I often do, for about five minutes. That was my movie-watching and book-reading and, sadly, some friends’ perception. But here is the kicker: we’re not a “normal” couple, so I won’t be a typical doctor’s wife.

Let me take a look at that.

Guess when it is appropriate to ask/show my husband something in a social setting? The answer is….never! Guess when my husband can prescribe me medication? The answer, sadly, is also never. My dream of never going to the doctor again has died.


“There are years when nothing happens and years in which centuries happen.”

Carlos Fuentes

Match Day in March came with an astonishing quickness. My husband opened the envelope. He dropped the letter. He picked it up. He whispered a small expletive. He made a joke into the mic.


We were moving to Atlanta for Spencer’s Internal Medicine Residency. In less than 3 months.

Graduation, a celebratory trip to Chicago, packing, moving, and saying one thousand goodbyes happened in a blink. We made it to the ATL.


His very first month was night float. He came home in the morning, exhausted and exhilarated. Someone had coded, and he got in on the action. We looked at each other. “Holy Sh%t. You’re a doctor!”

I’m married to a doctor.

It is equal parts funny and annoying how convinced most people are that they know everything about medicine. Because, you know, they’ve been to a doctor.


I’m a resident’s wife.

Let me tell you what that means: The hours are completely insane. My sweet husband is perpetually exhausted. I am alone. We are in the middle of a crazy, huge city and it took me 6 months to find a Target that I like. We have no friends. We have no favorite places. It was hard for me to find a job; after being at the same school for 14 years it was difficult for me to sell myself. I lost any successes I had found with my blog. If Spencer works for 12 hours, we call that a “Short Day.”There are nights when The Doc gets home at 10:30, eats, works on the computer until 12:30, showers, sleeps for a few hours, then gets up at 4:15 and begins anew. That much younger husband? Can’t make it through a long movie…because he is running on fumes. We are homesick. We get lost. A lot. We pretend that we are on vacation every time he gets 5 minutes off. We eat out way too much, because we are both too tired to cook or come up with a decent meal plan. Spencer gets one day off a week. Some times his 4 magical days per month will even coincide with one of my days off. After an especially grueling December, he was granted a bonus day. I cried for a good 15 minutes; I have known no purer joy. I am embarrassed to admit that I fight against resentment; I had a million things in our hometown to occupy my time. Here, I’m a stranger in a strange land, sans any familiarity. I remind myself that I am lucky to miss him; our main goal every day is to just get back to each other. I spend my miniscule amount of free time cheering for the locals and working on that other blog.


I am a doctor’s wife.

The first time my husband got a page at home, and I was able to listen in on the actual doctoring, I was so proud I thought that my heart would burst. He quietly tells me of the positive feedback he is receiving from his peers. I brag about him after reading his evaluations, because he’d never boast about himself. Some patients are not at all kind, and one was downright mean. Some days I want to punch people in the neck. If this was easy, everyone would be a doctor, I chime in, maybe a bit too often, reassuring him as well as myself. He comes home with tales of residents with pregnant wives, and it is sadly comforting that there are other gals out there that are probably sailing in a sadder boat than mine. My mantra? “The schedule won’t always be like this.”

Perhaps I’ll be the kind of doctor’s wife that starts a book club. Or gives the other spouses restaurant tips. Or the kind of wife that actively avoids the hospital (those places freak me out).

I am a doctor’s wife, just like I never planned. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

I am Spencer’s wife, and that is going to be my life’s greatest accomplishment.





  1. He is doing such an important job, and you are as well!


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