Friday, June 3, 2011

A conversation with my husband

This is a conversation I had a bit ago with my husband, while I was still in residency (we're now both older than 30):

Me: "We're so OLD! We're going to be 30 in only a year! Can you believe that??"

Husband: "I guess."

Me: "Doesn't that seem OLD to you???"

Husband: "Yeah."

Me: "I can't believe my twenties are almost over! They went so fast. I feel like I wasted them. I spent my entire twenties doing medical training."

Husband: "What would you have rather done instead?"

Me: "Dunno, enjoyed myself?"

Husband: "So if you could be 20 again, what would you do differently?"

Me: "Not go to med school."

Husband: "What a surprise."

Me: "Well, it's not like anything would be different between us. I mean, it's not like I met you in med school and if I hadn't gone, we never would have met."

Husband: "So what if it was a choice between not going to med school and meeting me?"

Me: "I guess.... I would go to med school if meeting you depended on it."

Husband: "Aw."

Me: "But really, if my mind were like a blank slate and I had to do med school again, then... I think I would just have to kill myself instead."

Husband: "I think you should quit med school."

(Dedicated to oldmdgirl)


  1. Don't worry Fizzy, it's totally possible to not go to med school and still have a miserable 20s. Sometimes I think that doctors think they have the monopoly on hard work, self sacrifice, and misery (they don't).

    Anyway, weren't you bragging about how awesome PM&R residency was the other day? Just saying....

    Maybe I'll just start referring to you as grandma.

  2. OMDG: I didn't start PM&R residency till I was in my late twenties. And the first year of that was still kind of rough. I was telling my husband yesterday that I really should have been an engineer.


    (Pardon me if I don't have a lot of sympathy.)

  4. Heh, well, one rough year on top of 3 rough years of med school and another rough year of internship... put me at being pretty miserable from ages 22 through 28.

  5. I don't have much sympathy for 6 either. No offense.

  6. Well, it's not so much about measuring misery in years exactly. It's more spending a long period of time suffering through a grueling training without any certain feeling that you're working toward something you really want. It's fine for people who are excited about being a doctor and practicing medicine, but I don't think I was passionate enough and most of the time it just felt like pointless torture.

    If I had a regular job and I hated it, I don't know if it would have been as bad because I would have been able to quit without worrying about debt or ending a "career", and I could have at least looked at it as a way to pay the bills.

    That said, internship was the first year I actually got paid and it was definitely the worst year of my life. There wasn't a day that went by that I didn't either cry or spend most of the day feeling like crying. In retrospect, I think I was clinically depressed all year.

  7. Try having a job you hate, in a career you also hate, when you're worried about being laid off constantly and NOT being able to pay the bills, and you don't know what else you can do with your life because you figure it will probably make you miserable too. "Just finding another job" really isn't as easy as you think, in particular if you want one with any upward potential.

  8. Look Fizzy, it's not a contest. I'm sorry you were miserable during your training. It sucks to be depressed (trust me, I know). But sometimes you're really whiny about something that turned out rather well in the end, which you even admit yourself.

    I also spent my 20s doing things I wasn't sure about from a career standpoint, and those things did not turn out well for me in the end. Now I get to go through all those things that made you miserable in your 20s in my 30s, and I got to have a miserable early 20s as well. Granted, I'd hardly call myself miserable right now. I think the extra time made me more sure about my career path now, so the hours and the cramming and the hazing are easier to deal with. That helps a lot.

    The thing is, I think a lot of people are miserable during their 20s, even people who aren't in medical school. The lucky ones eventually find something to do that doesn't make them miserable. The unlucky ones stay miserable. You're one of the lucky ones.

  9. I agree with you... what you described sounds really awful.

    The thing is, I don't LOVE my job. I don't hate it, I'm not miserable, I don't get stressed much, the hours are reasonable, and I get paid well. So in that sense, it's good. But at the same time, I have a deep sense that I could be so much happier doing something else and it's just a shame I never explored that further. I'm not unhappy, but I'm not satisfied either. But at this point in my life, there's no way I would give up what I have to take a chance on something entirely new. But I think there are a lot of math/engineering jobs I could have gotten straight of school that I think I would have really liked, that would have suited me very well.

    The other issue is that the stress of med school and early residency resulted in a bunch of stress-related medical issues, some of which are still with me to this day and definitely reduce the quality of my life significantly. I don't talk about that much because it's private, but it's part of the reason I'm so resentful about my medical training for doing damage that I feel can't be undone.

  10. OMDG, you're pretty pissy and whiny on your own blog about how HARD it is to run your stats program and how OLD you will be when you're finally done and how AWFUL it is when your adviser won't talk to you. Compare that to some poor schlub working 60 hours a week at minimum wage. I don't have any sympathy for you, either.

    IMHO, Fizzy was commenting on how she doesn't feel that medicine was the best choice for her, but she felt obligated to go through with it due to the time and money already invested. I'm not sure why you need to crap all over her with your "boo hoo nobody cares" posts. Honestly? Nobody really cares that your statistician thinks blah blah blah.... YOU made the decision to change careers, enter an extremely demanding program, and you still have to complete your residency. I am fairly sure you'll have plenty of blog fodder to bitch about when you eventually get there.

    I spent my 20s and early 30s working jobs I didn't like, either. And I don't begrudge Fizzy her feelings. In none of my jobs did I have to work 100 hours a week while getting paid shit and being on call for days on end. Please find (or buy) some kindness in yourself before you hit the actual patients, k?

  11. My advisor is pretty tough to deal with at times, but aside from him, my life is pretty perfect right now. I'm sorry it annoys you that I complain my stats take forever to run. Feel free to stop reading.

  12. Also Fizzy, just let me say, I'm sorry that you feel like you wasted a good chunk of your life doing something that you hate. Maybe you would have been a fantastically happy engineer... I guess it's possible. As an intelligent, talented person, I'm sure there are many careers that you could have done, and been happy doing.

    I still say you're pretty fortunate to have found a career that is tolerable, that pays the bills, and gives you time outside of work. It sucks that medical training was such an awful way to get to that place. I wish it weren't.

    If you still feel dissatisfied, maybe you can use some of that time to pursue other passions, like it sounds like you already do. Sometimes it helps to try and look forward rather than back.

  13. I feel like my career is still in its embryo stages right now and I'm hoping eventually it will evolve into something that's more satisfying. It's so hard to say that Path X would have been better... who knows, maybe I would have done engineering and then always regretted not becoming a doctor. Maybe engineering would have ended up being just as stressful in its own way.

    I would definitely say that the amount I whine on my blog is way out of proportion to any unhappiness I feel right now. Mostly, I think it's fun to complain about stuff on blogs and I think it's fun to read whiny posts. Some people seem to be bothered by them, but to each their own. I doubt anyone who really hates whining would read a blog with a segment called "Weekly Whine" :)

  14. "The amount I whine on my blog is way out of proportion to any unhappiness I feel right now."

    Amen, sister. Plus as you've said before, who wants to read about sunshine and rainbows. BORING!!!