So, I’m married to a doctor. This knowledge does not get much play in my life or on this blog. I don’t see myself as a doctor’s wife. In fact, you will note that doctor’s wife isn’t even listed in my tagline. It isn’t that I am not proud of The Hubs–I am! It is just not how I want myself or our family defined. Here’s a big reason why:
I say “Doctor,” you hear “cha-ching.”
Money. The root of all ugliness is usually the first thing that people ask about when they find out that The Hubs is a doctor. In our last neighborhood, the guy on the corner actually sent his 11-year-old son over to our house to ask us how much money The Hubs made. True story. We (and yes, I will be using the word WE here) had just begun residency, so the term “working for peanuts” definitely was applicable. (Uh, still is.)
I feel a bit like Forrest Gump here when it comes to talk of money:
Man on Bench: It was a bullet wasn’t it?
Forrest: A bullet?
Man on Bench: That jumped up and bit ya?
Forrest: Oh, yes sir, bit me directly in the buttocks. They said it was a million dollar wound, but the army must keep that money ’cause I ain’t seen a nickel of that million dollars.”
Years of school, residency, and now fellowship have me feeling like my buttocks and bank account have been chewed on. Repeatedly. Forgive me if I’m a bit tender when it comes to talk of money. Not counting undergrad and grad school, this has been a ten-year process. Ten very lean years. The hospital must keep all that money because I haven’t seen a nickel of it. 😉 Trust me when I say, no sane person does this for the money. There isn’t enough money in the world to make this process worth it, especially for someone like The Hubs who isn’t money motivated anyway. If you are lucky enough to have Dr. Hubs as your physician, rest assured you are getting a brilliant, dedicated doctor with 110% of his heart in the right place. He is the real deal. He does this to help people.
The next reason I don’t really mention it is because I don’t know how to mention it. When people ask what my husband does, I usually say he works at a hospital and pray that they don’t ask any more about it. I used to say that he is an ENT, but almost always people would reply, “Oh, so he works in an ambulance?” No, Ear-Nose-Throat. But, that doesn’t really describe what he does either. My father-in-law proudly says, “My son is a Head and Neck Surgeon.” The Hubs just calls himself a “red-neck surgeon” in his usual, funny, self-depreciating way. (He is a country boy, through and through!) I could just call him an otolaryngologist, but try saying that word three times fast–it just doesn’t roll off the tongue so well. And, well, that term feels so fussy.
The Hubs is not fussy. Down to earth. Genuine. Kind. Humble, in the best of ways. He had trouble with his ears as a child, and his has dedicated his professional life to helping children through similar, and often much worse, difficulties.
I took the kids back home for a visit recently, and I stopped by our old high school and spoke with our old principal. We had a great conversation at first. He is also working on his doctorate at the same school as I, just on a different track. Then the conversation turned to The Hubs. Often when we run into old acquaintances, I get the feeling that they think he sold out. They throw out terms like “private practice” and “big bucks.” This conversation went along similar lines. I can honestly say, this is not TH’s reality. Recently he applied for a position in an inner city hospital where more than 80% of his patients would be on Medicaid. He wanted to go there to help. To make a difference. Not to make money. This is what stings–the automatic assumption that this is all money driven, that he couldn’t possibly be motivated by anything else. But he is. What a wonderful weirdo! 🙂