One month into my freshman year of college, I met W, a very tall, very handsome, very quiet senior. (Interestingly enough, I had seen him on Facebook a month before school started and had been stalking him ever since. I was so intrigued. Creepy, right?) He and I became friends, sharing long meals in the caf (he likes to chew and chew and chew his food). Facts I knew: he was a biology major; he wanted to be a doctor. Cool.
Skip ahead 10 months, and we were dating. (Interestingly enough, throughout those 10 months I often referred to him as my future husband. When you know, you know! Creepier though, right?) W was beginning his super senior semester, and I was entering my sophomore year. He still wanted to be a doctor. I still wanted to skip Spanish to get a sunburn on the beach. Priorities were fully intact. After that semester, W took a job at a local hospital.
At this point, what were my thoughts on a future with this man who wanted to be a doctor? Hmm... honestly? I never really thought about it. I like to live in the now. And right then, the beach, America's Next Top Model, and Moe's Southwest Grill (oh, and W's strong arms) were the only things I ever really thought about.
Skip ahead three years, W is proposing to me in the back of his SUV as our Valentine's Day picnic had been relocated due to torrential downpours. I said yes, of course. Wedding planning commenced.
This is probably the first time in our relationship that I really thought about medical school. W was then interviewing at schools. We wanted to get married before the end of summer in case he was accepted somewhere for the fall. He was wait-listed at his first choice.
Skip to July 25, 2009, we were married on the front porch of a plantation house in my hometown. We honeymooned and hoped to come back to the good news that a spot had opened up for him. We lived two weeks in his mother's basement, waiting.
No spots. But, one thing became set in stone. W would be starting medical school next fall. His place was guaranteed. We set up house in Columbia, SC, temporarily. W continued to work at a local hospital. He and I moved to West Virginia the following June where he started school in August.
Throughout all of this, what were my thoughts on medical school?
Did I consider the long and lonely hours I would endure as W forfeited his soul for excellent grades and a top standing in his class? Nope.
Did I ponder the mountain of debt we would accrue in the next four years? Absolutely not.
What were my thoughts?
Do you think it will snow a lot? Because I have only seen snow like four times. The heaviest coat I own is a rain shell. Will that be enough worn over a hoodie?
I hope we can find a cute place to live!!
I need a JOB there. There's a museum in town. Maybe if I continue to show up and volunteer, they will offer me a part-time job.
Is there a Chick-fil-a? A Moe's?
Will I find friends?
Should I be worried about meeting people with three eyes or tails?
What is a "holler"?
Do you think they have boiled peanuts there? I hope so.
You see, I am one of those people that the worry gene skipped over. This is not to say I don't have my moments. But mine tend to come once or twice a year, last for a few hours--heart racing, head cracking in two, dry mouth, trembles, moments of thinking the next second would be my last. I'm wild eyed and panting. "We have no money!!" "Can you feed us, W, because I can't!!" "There's nooooo moneeeeeeyy!!" And then, its over.
And, I'm like, "Let's go for ice cream, and maybe, I can get that skirt I saw last week!"
I swear I am not bipolar.
What I am, however, through and through is painfully practical. I believe--naively, I know--that good actions are rewarded with equally pleasant reactions. I would edit Newton's third law to say, "For every action there is an equal
There is also this other minor thing called DEATH. Yeah, that seems to keep most things in perspective for me. If you are going to sleep when you're dead, well, I am going to worry.
Skip ahead to the present. Two years of medical school are under his belt. I am still (incredibly) making it work in this foreign state. Things are just--dare I say it--great.
You must now be thinking that I am a complete fraud.
Why then, Bri, are you writing a blog about how to not murder your husband when it seems that everything is just GREAT and you have absolutely no issue with him or his life choices?
You see, I don't want to murder W because he is in medical school and wants to be a doctor. No way. But, I do oftentimes want to off him because of what medical school does to him.
The months preceding Step 1 board exams (he took both of them--DO & MD), there was this strange alien life form inhabiting W's body. This form hardly bothered himself with trying to imitate his victim and fool me into believing he was actually my husband. He was mostly mute; ate mechanically and without the robust appetite typical of W. The chewing rate was however normal. (FREAKY.) I often caught the form, looking at me oddly, suspiciously, like I might possibly be the alien being. I'm not entirely sure the form knew my name or even cared to know it for that matter. The form had this nasty habit of staring blankly at the space above my left ear when I spoke to him not hearing most of what I said. Grunting became an appropriate means of communication. This form had the worst memory I have ever encountered. This form was certainly not W. In short, I could have murdered him.
As I am sobbing through a segment of the Today Show (this is a very common scene in our house), I ask W to explain to me how someone could get leukemia.
"I mean, how can that just happen to someone?" SOBBING. "What does it actually do to you?" SOB.
(Asking a med student to explain anything medical is always a BIG MISTAKE, by the way.)
(Because:) W starts to explain leukemia to me, the least scientific person you've ever met, who hates hospitals, and still holds out hope that storks deliver babies.
"Leukemia" (this is the part where he stands up a little taller and assumes his calmest voice) "from the Greek leukos" (Suddenly, my tears have vanished. Cue eye roll.) "is a type of cancer in the hematopoietic" (huh) "compartment of bone marrow characterized by an abnormal increase of blasts..."
"Blasts?" I interject loudly, to bring him back from the God-I-am-SO-much-smarter-than-you doctorosphere of EW.
"Yes, mmhmm, blasts." This is where he would straighten his tie and pull at his white coat lapels if he were so clothed.
"Yeah, W, that was a question mark at the end of that word."
At this point, his eyes are focused on a point on the ceiling, as his mind retreats to doctorosphere, where he is still defining leukemia. He is even nodding his head in agreement, as he mentally converses with himself. But, startled from his mental decathlon by my snark, he responds, "What, babe?"
The heat is rising up my neck.
"BLASTS. WHAT ARE BLASTS. YOU DO REALIZE THAT I AM A NORMAL PERSON AND THAT NORMAL PEOPLE ARE THE ONES YOU WILL BE DIAGNOSING ONE DAY AND THEY DO NOT SPEAK MEDICAL-ESE EITHER. YOU NEED TO USE REAL WORDS. SMALL WORDS. FORGET IT. DON'T TALK TO ME. I DON'T EVEN CARE ANYMORE. SCREW LEUKEMIA. WHATEVER IT IS, IT SUCKS BALLS."
"Blasts are immature blood cells."
It is at moments like these that W should be very thankful that I do not leave sharp implements or heavy blunt objects lying around the house.