Sincerely Your Doctor’s Wife: Priscilla’s Story
Priscilla and I met back in undergrad of college! Way way before dating our future husbands. I remember not really understanding any of the terms she used except the word “school” when she first shared with me that her boyfriend will be going to medical school and then after that there is something called residency and possibly something else called fellowship. Priscilla was literally the first person I thought of when I met Dr. J. By then she was already happily married and had lots of great advice to share with me.
Q. Please introduce yourself and how you met your husband. Can you please share where he is in his journey ( school, residency, fellowship, working) and his specialty.
Priscilla: Hi! My name is Priscilla and my husband and I actually met at church when we were in elementary school, I was in 4th grade and he was in 5th (sounds cheesy, I know. Don’t worry, our love story didn’t start that early – we weren’t friends until high school.). He recently just finished up his residency in Internal Medicine. Next he will be starting his fellowship in Hematology/Oncology, which is another 3 years of training.
Q. Where were you in your lives when he started his medical professional journey?
Priscilla: We started dating the month before he started medical school, which sounds like the worst timing ever I know, but in some ways it was a blessing because the only relationship we knew was long distance and because of that we didn’t have to go through a transition of seeing each other all the time to long distance. We dated while he was in medical school and while I was in graduate school (occupational therapy), got engaged the summer before both of our last year, graduated the same day, and got married two weeks later. Sometimes I think we are insane for doing that, but that’s just a testament to God’s grace and His provision! After we got married, he started residency and I was still completing my clinical rotations, which I put off because of the timing of finding out Daniel’s match for residency.
Q. What are some blessings you have experienced from being married to a medical professional?
Priscilla: Oh, there are so many. I have been blessed to see my husband care for strangers and sacrifice so much of himself to literally save lives, and I don’t think I can even put into words how much I respect him for that. There have been many times where he makes a call to a patient or colleague for whatever reason (making sure they got their prescription, reminding them to come back for a follow up visit, calling a pharmacist to clarify about medications, calling his co-residents to check up on a patient after reading their chart at home, the list goes on..) and I hear this “doctor voice” and giggle because it sounds so professional, but then I listen and hear so much more. I hear compassion. I hear selflessness. I hear empathy. I hear teamwork. I hear patience. I hear passion. After three years of walking alongside my husband in this very involved and long journey called residency, I have come to see that being a doctor is much more complex and multi-faceted than I once thought. You never “leave work” when you’re a doctor, and I have been blessed to see my husband’s dedication to his patients and that even though this profession requires so much investment (time, financial, emotional, mental, spiritual), he continually strives to do his best for his patients because he cares for them.
Little things and big things. I feel blessed when I see him go all “doctor mode” when someone is hurt or unwell in public and he steps in to help because I love seeing his care for the little things, like wound care or sprained ankles. I feel blessed when he tells me stories of breaking the news of stage 4 cancer and family discussions about end of life care, and how in these emotional times he is present and supportive. I am reminded by God that this life is so fragile and that when He gives you health, it is His grace.
Q. What are some of the challenges? How did you personally cope with them?
Priscilla: Since his work schedule is so demanding (one time I counted up his hours on a particularly crazy week… 96 hours!), I end up spending a lot of time alone, which was lonely when it was just the two of us. I am a chronic and obsessive hobby aquirer, so I spent a lot of time making random crafts and sold crocheted items in my Etsy shop which was a fun way to pass the time. I also went out to spend time with friends on weekends when I was alone and spent time with my mom. There were times where I would fill my time with people, or times where I would busy myself with making things, and then other times where I just enjoyed the solitude. Oh, how I miss that peace and quiet! Now that we have a daughter (9 months old), I miss those days where I was just hanging out by myself because now it’s the challenge of entertaining and caring for the baby and counting down until bedtime if Daddy doesn’t make it home in time. Thankfully, there are changes to the schedule and some months are better than others so I have much to be thankful for. Recently, he had a few months with both Saturdays and Sundays off, plus he came home before 7 most days, and it was such a treat to have him home.
Q. Any advice or tips you can give to other doctor’s wives or wives married to husbands with demanding work schedules?
Priscilla: I would say that flexibility is your best friend. Knowing that your husband is exhausted after work, may be staying late (high probability of this!), still has work to do at home, is stressed out about board exams, etc helps me remember that making our home a place of rest and comfort is how I can serve him and my family. Things that we hope to do together may not always pan out, and that’s okay. Also, sometimes it feels like you are doing a lot around the house by yourself and that the list of things you need to do seem never ending, but remember that you are not alone. Not only are many other women in your shoes, and some have it even harder (How do army wives do this while their husbands are deployed? Really, how??), the Lord is with you. Ask Him for help. Peace, the right heart, and joy from the Lord have been a constant need in my life.
Q. Are there any stereotypes or misconceptions about being a doctor’s wife that you would like to dispel and clear up?
Priscilla: Many people think that because my husband is a doctor, we live a glamorous life and that we can afford a luxurious lifestyle. We are normal people just trying to make a living and we still have bills to pay just like everyone else. I drive my dinged up Honda Civic and we live in a 2-bedroom apartment, which is probably not what you envision when you think of a doctor’s life. 😛 Everyone has to start somewhere, right?