married to the residency

I was recently discussing my use of fancy medical terms and how I always feel I need to justify it.  But only some.  For example, I have many years in a psych PhD program.  I therefore feel that this gives me “legitimate” claim to use the term “autonomic dysfunction” without getting into my life’s story.  But if I start throwing around terms like “NPO” and “orthostatic vitals” and the like, I feel as if I need to justify.  Otherwise, I figure docs and the like will assume I’m just some cooky broad who is obsessed with medical crap (and whose current health complaints are to be disregarded as a form of groupie-ism).  In the short version of the relevant history, I say “I was raised by nurses, I worked inpatient as a secretary for years, and I was married to a residency program”.  My (current) husband stopped me last night when I was reciting this and said “ha, you just said you were married to a residency program…not a resident.” I said “yeah…I was married to a residency program.  If you’re married to a resident, you’re married to a residency program.  It’s not the same as saying ‘I was married to a doctor’ because a doctor could be a 50 year old who has friends and interests outside of medicine.  A resident does not.  A resident has his or her residency.  All their friends are residents, fellows, and later, attendings.  All they do is hang out with each other.  And when they get together, all they talk about is medicine.”

My ex even stuck around for an extra year as chief resident, so I got the full residency treatment, right down to the fun and games of making rotation schedules.  Good times.

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  1. I don’t think we should have to justify using doctor talk as I call it. In my opinion, if the doctor doesn’t like it, and I’ve dealt with those types, than they have just created some sort of hierarchy where anything I say from there on out will be dismissed. The doctors who appreciate the doctor talk seem to be more willing to keep talking with me and discussing things on a deeper level than I suspect the average patient gets. The odd thing is that I’ve had older docs who’ve appreciated it and younger docs who were not impressed by it, which seems to break the stereotype. So, back to firing and hiring on my end. Besides, how are you (or I) going to get anywhere in this system if we don’t stay on top of things, which requires knowing doctor talk? I wish I didn’t have to play doctor so much, but as this is the system that we’re stuck in, I see no other way until I get a one-way flight out of the US! Keep talking…

    • I like your approach and wish I were more comfortable with it for myself. I am not. I think I am concerned with being abandoned, you know? Like how sometimes, you’re just stuck with the jerk, and the jerk is between you and, say, treatment. Like in the ER when you just need fluids and Toradol for a migraine.

      • Well, the ER is a whole different can of worms and I rarely end up there. I forgot that you do a lot–sorry! I’ve had so-so luck in the ER, but it’s never been for anything super major (like the sewage and Drano in the lungs/eye trip–the 1st doc I had was such an a-hole and no doc talk, I could hardly breathe!!!). I would think with so many docs/specialists where you are that you can easily do the fire/hire thing for your regular healthcare. It’s such slim pickings out here. I seriously just go through the online reviews, see where they went to med school, etc., and then check them out on the board due to all the malpractice out here.

        Maybe the ER docs are always rushed, but then wouldn’t an informed patient make things easier? They’d probably prefer you were in a coma. I think they’re the types that need to be in charge 24 freakin’ 7. Who knows? I just wouldn’t dumb yourself down as I think you’d feel even worse when you are so smart and that’s on them!

      • ER = adrenaline junkie. Or (sometimes put upon) moonlighter. My impression, from having been married to an ER residency and spent a bit of time in ERs is that it is not adaptive for them to develop and practice empathy skills. To do their jobs, they have to be either exceptionally well grounded people or, and this I think is more likely, a little uncaring. Hard to do a spinal tap on a very sick baby or try to resuscitate a young parent thrown from a car in an accident otherwise.

        As with all things, there’s a distribution for intelligence. I believe it’s skewed high, but there will still be the ones in the short low end who overly rely on heuristics and cognitive shortcuts….like “middle aged woman who is walking and talking and using medical lingo is exaggerating her symptoms and not worth my time and attention”.

      • “middle aged woman who is walking and talking and using medical lingo is exaggerating her symptoms and not worth my time and attention”.

        Booooooooooo! I hate that. 😦

      • Yeah, but you know that’s what some of them think.

      • Completely. That’s what I dealt with in this city with the fibro misdiagnosis and then just chronically being dismissed when all the new symptoms emerged. As my primary issue is just horrid pain and I have the EDS Dx now, it’s gone and such a relief. I’m worried about future ANS issues as I already have some too and no one knows about EDS in detail as you know. You must feel like the fibro patients. They call it the Lazy Housewife Syndrome in this town. Wtf? Reminds me of your Ghetto Booty post. No one said that to me (not lazy or a housewife here), but others told me that in support groups and whatnot.

        Speaking of the doc talk, I’m now doing this w/MM’s oncologist, not that he minds, but I felt like I was overtalking him w/all the new facts and stats I’ve gleaned in the past 2.5 weeks. I even gave exact days (median) until recurrence and he reiterated the same number. Why am I doing this??? I should just be able to trust him and be a patient (caretaker of patient I guess), but I’m so stuck in Dr. Dumbass Land that I can’t stop! It’s like these crap doctors have created a vicious cycle for us. The only odd thing is that he was prescribing 10 mg (lowest dose) of the new drug to Moush and it goes by their weight in kgs. I asked if that was too high as she’s about 5.5 lbs and then he said, “Oh, good thought. I think we’ll have to see if we can get it compounded–that is too high of a dose.” Well, good thing I DID do all that research and calculated what her dose would be. Jesus! Was he having an off day? That drug can cause toxicity at even the appropriate dose! Now I’m even less confident and I had total faith in him. Wouldn’t it be nice if we didn’t have to do all this?
        Sighhhhhhhhhh. Hang in there.

      • I’m glad Moush has an informed mommy. That is a little bit of a “?” moment, isn’t it. I’m glad you caught it. I was thinking that they (docs for people and pets) don’t always think of weight but she’s so small, you’d think he would have noticed that maybe she’s under the normal “minimum”. And yeah, they should kind of think of weight when prescribing. But that’s not how meds are marketed to them I think. They get the “standard dose” marketing/education and I guess it must supersede their mg/kg prescribing training. :/

        The fibro thing sure would piss me off. That’s awful. There’s so much sexism tied up in this stuff too.

      • Yes, having fibro appears worse, but it seems less debilitating from the few support groups I went to where everyone could sit comfortably for hrs and people actually went out and did things (gasp), but then no one believes you so not sure. Idk, I just want less pain so I can have some semblance of a life!

        The oncologist thing was really weird. He deals with chemo all the time and it’s all by weight and this drug is no different. He would know that per his specialty. Too much can be very bad as you know (or just the drug itself). MM’s drug is in 3 strengths and they are usually giving a lot as it’s used w/dogs–lots of HUGE dogs at that place, and then would dose down a tad accordingly, but they do compound meds, just hadn’t with this one yet. Something was really weird in that room and I still can’t put my finger on it. So freaking nervous! :S

      • :/ that sucks. I hate that feeling. I hope he was just having gas or something. Seriously.

      • Lol! Let’s hope he has IBS so my anxiety will go back down. :/ You get up w-a-y too early, btw. I so wish I didn’t have this ANS issue. I’m trying to go to bed earlier (by 6 am–what?) and I wake up at the oddest hours and am WIDE awake. I did the cold turkey, force-yourself-up-at-9 thing 4 yrs ago for a month and nada. HATE IT! This came on in ’06 I think and has never left. Sigh…

      • Ha, I was thinking “what the hell is she doing up?!” and it’s more like 3 AM your time right now, isn’t it? Read my current post for why I’m up so early. This is NOT my usual rise and shine time of day. Not by a long shot.

        Yes, let’s pray the doc has IBS.

      • Oh, you know I can’t reveal my timezone silly goose! I’m sure you have me figured out–it’s the docs I’m afraid are going to sue me so mum’s the word, especially with my face on my blog now. 😮 Off to read your post…

      • crap, sorry. I just think of pretty much the rest of the U.S. (starting somewhere around Hartford CT) as “way out west” and subject to strange time zoning. It took me an embarrassingly long time to realize that Michigan was NOT central time but that Chicago was. Like my brain just lumped Chicago in with Big Historic Northeastern Cities and was like “yeah, Eastern…but Michigan? That’s tornado and cheese country – must have their own timezone.” To hell with your standard geography I say!

      • No worries. I’m fairly good with time zones, but I think they all need to go away as I can’t get up early enough to call eastern time (so I just stay awake)! Even if my blog were totally anonymous like yours, there are too many specifics and I get so many people from the search engines (both diseases but loads on KC and CXL surgery since it’s new) and it makes me nervous. It’s just the one doc I bash that I’m worried about. I mean, what does he have on me that isn’t true, but people can put 2 and 2 together as the whole SW has a lower population than NYC and few sub-specialists. I do feel bad at times as a woman hit me up about who I saw for surgery in LA as her son needs it, but I wouldn’t give the name and explained why. They’re all connected and there’s a shady doc in LA who does an ineffective version of CXL who seriously has a PR team working for him online. Probably will read this or was that woman. Christ.

  2. Using long medical terminology..kinky!


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