Thursday, March 29, 2012

What Our Life is REALLY Like

I've decided to start a series of posts on the REAL us.  I feel like so much of this blog has become superficial.  And while that might be more fun for others to read, the truth of the matter is I'm describing 5% of what goes on in our lives.  The other 95% has finally decided to have a voice.

I started this yesterday and couldn't quite form the words.  I would start it and keep hitting delete over and over again.  I want to write about what I honestly feel inside.  Some people might not like it but the thing is?  I'm writing this for ME. It's cathartic to help me deal with the very stressful way we have been living since July. If it helps someone else going through similar situations, that's gravy baby.

SO ... what I originally thought would be one post will be a series of posts about the real us and how we've managed this year.  This is all about what it's like to be a resident (more specifically a surgery resident) and what it's like to be the spouse of a resident.

I don't know why I haven't written about it.  I think I didn't want to sound like a complainer because I realize we are so blessed Evan received a Urology residency spot when there are literally hundreds of medical students each year that don't match to Urology at all, much less get their first choice.  I also don't want to sound weak.  It's a hard adjustment for me but I feel horrible complaining when I know there are military families out there that don't see their spouses for a year.

But I just had to write about it.  This is the real us.  This is what life is like for us on a daily basis and while writing about my belly or a mobile in the corner of a room is definitely more fun to write about, it isn't the real stuff. 

I've learned some things in these 10 months of him being a resident.  I have not at all mastered the things I have learned, but I am adjusting.  I think I'll be adjusting until he finishes residency and then we'll adjust to the new norm. 

The first thing I had to learn:

You will HAVE to let some things go.

One thing that is VERY frustrating about Evan's residency is the lack of normalcy in our lives.  On any given day, I have NO absolute idea what time he'll be headed home.  For instance, it sure is hard to plan dinners when I don't even know if he'll be home at all.  If people invite us out to dinner on any given day, I NEVER promise he'll attend b/c 90% of the time, he wouldn't be able to make it.  Sure I would love to have my husband's company and to feel like a family, but I know it just isn't the reality. 

Let's look at this week for instance: on Monday night, he got home late (around 8 pm after working a 14.5 hour day) but was on call.  He got a call at 9 pm and had to head back to the hospital.  He didn't return until about 1 am.  He got another call at 2 am and returned by 3 am this time.  He got yet ANOTHER call at 4 am and since he had to be back at 6 am anyway, he knew he wouldn't be coming back home.  Therefore, I didn't see him that day.  When he kissed me goodbye at 4 am after having been gone all night I would be lying if I didn't say I had some tears in my eyes.  I try not to show him how sad I am.  I try to act like Liliana and I are strong, but we do have our moments of weakness.  We do miss him tremendously.  I cry less often than I used to.  That's for sure.  I've grown accustomed to eating dinner on my own with Liliana.  As she grows it has gotten easier because she truly keeps me company now.  And even though I have made GREAT friends here, there is nothing like the company of your best friend to get you through the days and nights.

Tuesday during the day, he was BEAT because he had to work all day and I was dead tired too!  Having him come in to bed to just get a loud page less than an hour later gets tiring.  Tuesday, he was home at 6 pm, only worked 12 hours, and we had a lovely evening together ... well, except for the fact that we fell asleep nearly immediately after putting Liliana to sleep because we were so sleepy!  That's the thing.  When you finally are off, you just want to sleep.  Last night, he got home at 8 pm again and was on call.  He didn't have to leave this time!  HOORAY!  Having the last two nights to cuddle in bed and sleep together was glorious.  He did get paged a few times and that's always a damper on watching the new airing of Psych (one of our favorites) but I will gladly take the kind of night that we had on Wednesday versus Monday.  So that's how this week went.  As you can see, completely and totally unpredictable.  It changes DAY by DAY. 

And being a spouse through it all?

I'm obviously the one that always takes Liliana to and from daycare.  Our daycare obviously isn't open 24 hours a day and plus, I would miss her too much if I relied on Evan to get her.  I get Liliana ready every morning and never have help with that.  I'm not trying to sound like a complainer, and I'm sorry that this post does sound like that.  I'm just saying it does get tiring.  Sure everynow and then, I would love to just head to work.  To not have to think about getting breakfast ready everyday.  To just have no responsibility other than heading to work.  Or just to have somebody else wake her up (even though that is one of my favorite moments of the day because she's adorable when you wake her up).  After dropping her off, I head to work and inevitably every day at work I have some personal business that has to get done.  I hate admitting that, but for instance, this week it's taxes.  I filed our federal taxes over spring break but have to submit our state taxes by paper and that takes more time.  It takes phone calls in to the IRS etc.  I can't call when I get home from work because they're closed!  Getting stuff done is difficult when you work full-time so I have to fit it in somehow while still working.  Usually this means I stay later at work to get everything accomplished and that's ok.  Just, like I've said, gets tiring.

I can't rely on Evan to do these things because the boy doesn't even have time to use the restroom during the day.  He rarely gets to eat lunch.  And plus, why would I have him call anyway?  He's in Surgery often or seeing patients constantly so if somebody did have to call him back, he couldn't answer. He tries his HARDEST to help when he can.  When he worked nights, our house had SO much work done to it because he wanted to do his part.  He always mentions that.  I know he's doing what he can and I'm frankly amazed at what he does get accomplished.  I tell him all the time that I don't have his strength and that he is inspiring getting it all done, still being an excellent father, a resident, and a husband.  It's incredible really. That being said, this has been a HUGE adjustment for me.  Evan and I have been a 50/50 couple since day 1 with parenting and household decisions.  It is HARD being the full-time everything: work, Mom, and stay-at-home responsibilities.  It has been hard to do this ...


That's what I've had to do.  Our laundry always gets done, but the laundry often sits in the dryer overnight without being folded (as it is right now) because I'm simply too damn tired to fold it.  I wanted to get all taxes DONE and in the mail on Monday.  I still haven't had Evan sign them.  This is just the way of things.  It gets done eventually.  Maybe not as quickly or as effectively as I'd like, but this is the new norm and will be for 4 more years (yes he chose a 5 year residency! DARN him. j/k).  I'm LEARNING to let these things happen.  It's not easy. 

I'm not going to lie.  I get frustrated with the situation often.  I feel like his career is what dictates our lives while mine is just kinda sitting there.  I work full-time and Evan ALWAYS asks how my day was, but on a VERY rare occassion does my career truly affect our lives.  If I have a late meeting, I know I can't rely on him to get Liliana.  I know it's up to me to figure something out.  This does get old and I know it's not his fault.  I know that this training is ESSENTIAL to his being an excellent doctor.  And he is.  And I am so proud of him.

For now, the way I think about it is: I don't let it run my life as much.  I used to sit around at home waiting for him to give me an ETA.  Now, I just go do things that need to get done.  If he gets out early, Liliana and I run home to spend time with him.  This rarely happens however.  We like to joke that when i do finally leave to head to the gym, he's home 45 minutes later.  If I wouldn't head to the gym, he would be stuck at the hospital until midnight.  So when he calls and I'm on the treadmill, I boost up that speed, finish my workout earlier, and go give him a sweaty hug.  It's the way it has to be.  And it's the REAL us.


  1. You're not being a complainer at all. I have many friends with children where one, the other, or both are still in residency or just starting as staff. It is brutal, and the worse part is the erratic schedule and not knowing. Even with a husband who is done I can tell you the frustration rears its head once in a while. I cannot imagine how you do it, but you are and I applaud you!

  2. Oh girl, you are not complaining AT ALL!!! My hubby works in law enforcement and while it is nothing close to what you're going through he does have odd hours/random overtime sometimes and it is hard. I can't imagine his hours being like Evans! I think you'll be glad you wrote this in the years to come! It will be great to look back and see all of the things you managed on your own. It truly is impressive!

  3. It's not complaining, it's being honest!

    This is your space and you should write what you feel. It's therapeutic and might help you when you get upset.

    Also, gettin upset? It's NORMAL to want a break and need help. I sometimes feel like I do everything with little man because I stay at home all day. I can't imagine doing it all while I was working too.

    I'm looking forward to reading more "real" stuff! Hope y'all have a good weekend.

  4. Bless you! Venting is normal and good. Again I envy you and the amazing mom and wife you are. Keep your head up and know its all worth it.

  5. Oh My... I felt bad that you kept emphasizing that you weren't complaining... It sounds tough on top of frustrating, and as a recent follower of your blog , and a fellow 23 week pregnant mom, I am amazed every week at how you can post all that you get done. Like I said, I am 23 weeks along WITH MY FIRST, and I don't have a fraction of the energy you do... It's evident you are a great mom and awesome wife... Do like the rest of us, and remind your self the things most worth it in life never are easy! :-)

  6. As one of those military spouses, I don't discount any person's time they must spend away from their spouse. Whether it's a year or repeated nights alone, it's tough doing the daybest to dayu by yourself. Sharing your feelings is therapeutic. Hang in there. You are a strong woman, and are setting a wonderful example for your daughters!

  7. We were pretty lucky in that UTMB does 6 months of Urology and then only 6 months of Surgery. It was like jumping into an icy lake when Dan made that transition. Urology is so much better so you just have to hold out until July. I totally get what you are saying though, when Dan was on transplant in Jan, he went a whole week, 7 days, without seeing Ginny as he left too early got home too late and worked the weekend. You can always email me to commiserate!

  8. Why not complain!? You are, by the way, not complaining but venting and letting go of the angst which is positive. At this time you are a sinlg emom-much to your hubby's chagrin and I am certain he feels awful that he can not be there more. Ride the wave and the nourshing water will replenish your entire family 10 fold! You may gulp a few times but, in the end, you will both feel that much prouder. I commend you for your "rant" (should I say that because you were so apologetic about your feelings) of the week and will enjoy more of your writings. Every person is entitled to discuss their frustrations, let noone make you feel guilt over your own feelings-not worth it! have a fab weekend!!

  9. I know how you feel from a certain perspective... My mom did her anesthesia residency at UAMS and I experienced it as her high school kid. It was awful, long hours and she was hardly home. I began to hate the word "on call," her missing Christmas, Thanksgiving and all other holidays. And when she was home, all she wanted was some uninterrupted sleep. I'm glad at least your husband comes home during call, my mom would stay at the hospital because she knew she'd get called in soon anyway.
    Although missing your husband is totally different than your mom, I know, but I know the helpless feeling. Also being pregnant and doing it is no cake walk. So as others have said, I applaud you. It's tough, but you'll make it through! I think residents get 6 wks of maternity leave and I wonder if they get paternity leave, too? Hopefully, he'll be home when the baby comes... When he becomes staff (even in private practice) things will get better!