I like to joke that medicine is Vishnu’s mistress. A mistress that I’ve come to accept and befriend. Ha! She’s been a part of our lives since we starting dating almost 14 years ago. And she’ll be around until Vishnu retires. Who am I kidding? She’ll be around forever.
When it was just us, it was easier to work with and around Vishnu’s med school journey (studying, boards, residency application/matching process, etc.). Now that we have Kaiden, it’s a whole different ball game. But we’re learning to navigate this path just like we have all the others.
Before I share more, let me set some context…
When we had Kaiden, Vishnu had just started his 2nd year of Radiology residency (overall year 3 if you count intern year). He’s now in his 3rd year, and we have one more to go. After he finishes residency, he’ll complete one year of fellowship because he wants to specialize in a particular area of Radiology. Once he’s done with all of this training, he start working as an attending. Phew!
I’m not going to lie. From a significant other’s perspective, this journey has been exciting, challenging, frustrating, etc. I mean, I knew what I was getting into when we started dating and later married, but nothing can really prepare you for the ups and downs.
Vishnu wanted me to share that we do use bed sheets and a comforter. They were being washed at the time this picture was taken.
I will caveat this by saying I know we have it better than a lot of other people out there. My heart specifically goes out to the military families who deal with deployments, uncertainty, and long periods of time without seeing each other.
Something that often dictates how we schedule our time and how our days/evenings run is Vishnu’s schedule. And it changes by the month and every now and then even by the week. This means that sometimes he has to be at the hospital by 7:00 and sometimes not until 7:30. If it’s the latter, he’s able to drop Kaiden off at daycare. If not, it’s all me! I don’t mind the variances when they’re limited to daytime hours. Nights are something else altogether! When Vishnu’s on nights, he leaves the house at 6:30 pm and comes back the next morning around 8 am. His shifts run Sunday night through the following Saturday morning. The reason I truly dislike nights is because they eat up our weekends, since Vishnu needs to fit in rest at some point. Another game changer is call. For Vishnu’s hospital, these are the Saturday/Sunday shifts they do. Saturdays are usually 24 hour (7 am – 8 am) and Sundays are 12 hour (8 am – 7 pm). I hate 24 hour Saturdays. HATE! And I don’t think I need to explain why!
Other than the weekly/monthly variances, we also deal with holiday shifts. The past two years were rough, especially around the holidays. But oh well! What can you do? I’m hoping the final year of residency (next year) is as chill as they say it is. Fingers crossed!
Another aspect of all of this is the uncertainty that comes with the residency and fellowship matching process. It’s not a given that you’ll end up where you want to be in terms of city. For us, Kaiden wasn’t here when we matched in Chicago for residency. But now that we’re on to the fellowship process, he’s definitely something we’re taking into consideration, since he’ll be three at the start of it.
With all of this being said, we are always trying to be more aware of how we spend our time, especially on the weekends. In the past, we’ve always let med school/residency/etc. take precedence over all else. Now that we have Kaiden, we recognize that if we don’t bring intention to everything we do, these first few years of his life will fly by, and we’ll have big regrets later. For us, this looks like visiting the museum, going out to eat as a family, taking trips (definitely need to get better about this one!), etc. Vishnu’s committed not to let board studying (pretty much the first half of 2019) be his only priority. As is the case with everything, it’s a work in progress, but we’re trying!
The other side of all of this is accepting and acknowledging that this is all short term (although it doesn’t always feel like it). We’ll be settled somewhere in a few years, and I’m pretty sure we’ll miss pieces of the residency/fellowship journey.
Another aspect, for me at least, is accepting a few things and being ok with them (most of the time). For us, this means that I’m pretty much the primary parent. I’m also the one who schedules doctor’s appointments, activities, home stuff, etc. Some days I’m filled with gratitude and more than happy to take it all on, and some days…well, I’m not. Positive self-talk really does wonders. I have to remind myself that Vishnu’s not out having fun…he’s at work, studying, etc. And truth be told, Vishnu actually does a lot more than I would be able to do if the roles were reversed. He does a great job balancing everything, especially fatherhood and husbandhood. In fact, he’s the one who’s constantly thinking of new things for us to do and try, new places to take Kaiden, etc.
Many people think the doctor life is glamorous and easy, especially for the significant other, but I’m here to tell you it’s not. I have lots of friends who are doctors and/or are married to one, and glamor is so far from the reality of this journey. It takes a lot of dedication, compromise, resiliency, and faith to get to the end of training, and I imagine those same things continue to carry you forward well after.
So yeah, we’re 17 months in and pretty much agree that Kaiden should not go into medicine. HA! Jussssstttt kidddddinggggg! At least I am. Vishnu’s determined to guide him down a different path. We shall see!