I can remember a time when we were untouchable. We were excited for a challenge, excited to take on the medical world- him saving lives one illness at a time while I dominated the domestic home front with grace and power on my own. We refused to believe the warnings that medical school would be unimaginably difficult and become a hardened negative experience in the end- a mistake even. Well, we were wrong in one way. It WAS so hard. But we were right to be stubborn in our optimism, too. I couldn't have predicted the sickening feeling that would come when my husband drove home on a motorcycle at 11 o'clock in the morning after a 32-hour shift. The fear I would feel that his exhausted body would drift off in a moment of weakness and he would crash. I couldn’t have known the pain he would feel when a cancer patient turned friend would pass away. I didn’t imagine the weight of every temper tantrum, every dinner, every scraped knee, and every cry for help solely on my shoulders. I didn't predict the exhaustion. I predicted late nights and early mornings...and somehow not the exhaustion. I never knew how quickly those early mornings could come. And in the thick of those sacrifices, I didn’t expect the sting of comments from friends about doctors’ corrupt prescription writing and vaccinating. On the other hand, I could never have anticipated the invaluable lessons we would learn. We learned to make sure to never have Mike study for a thing on Sundays because it seemed to be his ticket to pass all kinds of tests he had no business passing. We learned that following the gospel and putting our family first was possible despite this unspoken rule in medicine that it is not only acceptable for doctors to put their families 3rd or 4th on the list of priorities, but that wives should step aside. We learned just what it meant when people told us that taking in the medical school curriculum was like trying to drink from a fire hose. We learned that playing the victim card took all of the pride and joy out of every huge hurdle we were crossing and that positivity brought fulfillment and bonded us to a support system of amazing friends. And last but not least (plus a bunch of other stuff I’m forgetting), we learned that having a baby right before graduation is obviously bad timing, but that we would do it all again and be just as stinking happy about it as we were the first time.
11 months ago