Friday, November 16, 2012

As a Doctor's Wife

I have hesitated to update this blog as my last post has received thousands of hits over the past 9 days.


On this side of it, I first emailed the last blog to Beth to make sure I did not sound like a crazy loon. She said it was safe to post, so I did. And I am really glad that I did- putting words to paper (fingers to keys, keys to words, words to the screen) helps me think and clears my head, as it does for many people.

Have I ever told you that I am a doctor's wife? I should say that Husband is a Doctor, but it is much more fun to have the catty title of Doctor's Wife. Especially when we get paid so little and pay so much in rent. Something about champagne tastes and a beer budget comes to mind. We are currently in his last year of training. This has been a journey of fourteen years. Four years of college, four years of medical school, three years of residency, and finally- three years of fellowship. At the end of this, Dr. Cagle will take his second set of boards and, upon passing, will be double board certified as a Pediatric ICU doctor.

He will care for the sickest of the sick, as he does now. You will never want your child to meet Dr. Cagle, but should the unfortunate opportunity happen that your child needs to be in an ICU, you will want no one but Dr. Cagle by your side.

My husband is amazing. He is humble, he is smart, he thinks well on his feet, and I really think he hung the moon.

He recently has had a very hard case. For the past 72 hours, he has rarely left the hospital. While there, he has barely left one family's side. I know very little as HIPAA is a law that he takes very seriously, but he came home three days ago with a little more weight on his shoulders and held LMC a little longer. After he tucked her in, taking a few extra minutes in the dark and stillness of her room, he climbed into bed next to me. All he said was, "It's hard when you look at families and know that they could be your friends. Or, you find something in them that reminds you of a friend. But, when they can be you... it compounds the pain you know that they are feeling. This hurts."

Their infant baby died today, surrounded by parents, grandparents, and absolute love. Their doctor, my husband, felt he needed to be with them until the end. He has been traveling, he has been working, he has been on call, and sleeping, and in general -- not here, not home -- and it is one of those things about being a Doctor's Wife that no one understands. No one "gets." As a Doctor's Wife, many nights are spent alone and trust is placed in the abyss that he is doing what is best. Calls cannot necessarily be returned. Words of "good night" have to be passed between hearts rather than ears. The family probably did not give a second thought about his presence, but they would have missed it if he had left after his thirty hour shift. He stayed by their side and held their hands and told them when it was time.

That's who my husband is. He spent an extra day doing no more than being with them. Sometimes, I miss him. I miss him so much it hurts. Especially being pregnant and uncomfortable and these damn hormones rearing their ugly head as I break into another hot flash. I call my mom and I cry that I miss him. That's only happened once or twice.

I know where he wants to be.
I know where he needs to be.

Sometimes, those two places do not necessarily overlap. And sometimes, I have to be both parents and remind our daughter that what he does is valuable, that he is doing it for us, and that he is doing it for people like us- families that love each other. He is certainly not putting the hospital in first place, rather he sees what he would want as a father in his child's doctor and tries to emulate that man in the white coat caring for both the child and the family. As a PICU doctor, he understands there is more in the room than just the child in the bed.

That's my husband. And I love him for who he is- and so much more.


Teresa Quarles said...

Very well said. I remember those days and nights of raising small children and my husband at the hospital....them needing their needing my husband. Yet, making me so proud that he was where he should be consoling, caring, tending to his patients. It takes a strong, independent woman and wife to get through those days. But, you will look back and be stronger for it. It brings you closer to your husband because he knows you understand what he has been called to do.

Family Snodgrass said...

Sweet friend. What a contribution you make, too.

Wanting What I Have said...

Loved reading this-seeing your heart and love for your man...and his love for his family and for fulfilling the call, the gifts he's been given. Y'all are precious and amazing. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Only Love Can Mend It...How blessed is the Family to have the Doctor who cares, your Children to have both parents example of selflessness and the Hubby to have a Wife with a heart! Am seriously sobbing with love, debb