My Better Half
(Every guy has one great love. A woman who sets his heart beating by her beauty, her wit, and her charm. She doesn’t have to be Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm but some combination of her looks and personality strikes you like a thunderbolt the first time you meet her. Unfortunately, not every guy marries this girl and many end up settling. I was lucky enough to trick the perfect girl into marrying me and I have never regretted or been unhappy for a single day in our marriage, probably because our relationship is built on a long friendship before we started dating. Not that I didn’t want to date her the first time I saw her, you understand, but I guess I had to grow on her.
Of love, that over-rated and poorly understood emotion, respect is the better part and without it love would be little more than thinly disguised contempt. Such a relationship would be an unhappy one if it even lasted. I am lucky, on the other hand, to have the respect of my wife and I work hard to justify it. I owe her a lot. Simply because I wanted to, she allowed us to trade a good career, financial security, and stability for the instability and poverty of medical school and residency. She has given up a lot. The last move was particularly hard as we had just unpacked, it seemed, when we began the long and arduous process of selling the house and moving again.
So I don’t ask for a lot of sympathy from my wife and she is confident enough in our love and our friendship to give it to me straight, especially when I am tempted, like most interns, to feel a little sorry for myself. Residency is hard but there are harder things, particularly the sacrifices of a stay-at-home mom taking care of four young children. Those of you who are married with kids need to keep this in mind as you slog through medical school and residency. It is a grind for your wife, too. My wife periodically had to set me back on track last year when, as you my faithful and tolerant readers know, we had suffered the setback of scrambling into a specialty and a hospital which I disliked intensely.
In this article, Mrs. Bear identifies one of the worst aspects of intern year as well. -PB)