Physician and Nurse Burn-out – Part XI. Our beloved Spouse

“On ne devient pas un fou si on ne le veut pas » Jacques Lacan

(We do not become crazy if we do not want to)

-“Mario is very special…Not any girl can become his girlfriend and companion.”

You know how girls love to meet and speak of us, innocent men, behind our backs. A few months before our graduating as physicians in La Plata, Argentina in 1981, a large group of girls convened a meeting in a restaurant to “rate us all for good.” Yes, naïve men out there , we are being scrutinized by these girls at all times.

Rarely did they ever allowed a boy in their meetings but my lifelong buddy Jorge, with whom we shared all the up and downs of the Medical School studies and is the godfather of our son Gian Luca, happened to stop by that resto and was let in. Most likely because he had the reputation of being the “super-nerd” of our class and he was deemed harmless enough to sit in the midst of all that feminine cacophony.

-“The first half , they rated each and every one of us,” he told me when he returned to our shared dorm. “And the other half ?” I dared ask. “About you and only you.” He was amazed that each one of our feminine colleagues took turns to, besides extolling my brilliant mind and savoir faire with the ladies (false modesty apart), they would opinionatedly select which one of them could be my fit Life Companion.

Note. This reproduction of a US Navy Recruitment poster was taken from Wikimedia Commons.

The Selection of Your Spouse is the single most important personal decision that a practicing physician must decisively make in his/her/ihr life. The very critical one. The aspiring candidates must all carefully be vetted with a hawk’s eye. No less.

So, fair damsel of catwalk looks, will you be expecting your hubby to arrive every day at 5 PM to share hors d’oeuvres and cocktails? No good. Get yourself a banker.

So, fabulous stud with those big muscles, will you be expecting your wife from the hospital to do the laundry, fix dinner and make love? No good. Go back to Mommy.

So, great fun of all parties, will you be expecting your exhausted wife to put a friendly face when you parade her in your yard gathering? No good. Join the clergy (any)

So, inflexible enforcer of Feminism, will you be expecting your man to drop  the CPR team busy in the ICU to listen to your harangue? No good. Join the Communists.

These are only a few examples of the hard scenarios that physicians and nurses must ponder before making that critical decision. AND ONLY YOU CAN MAKE IT.

You must be aware that when your spouse waves goodbye every morning to you, he/she/sie is in fact slowly lowering a high tensile steel cable of your harness to lay you in PURE HELL. She will then tie the cable to the strongest oak of the park. Loyally, she and the children will show up at a re-arranged hour to pull you back up. And do not commit the silly mistake of lingering around for a drink or chat, as you mind will be slowly eroded until you end up mad ( we saw several of these cases)  When your family rings the bell above, skedaddle out of that dark hole to preserve your sanity.

Down in the entrails of Sickness and Frailties, you and your colleagues will be fiercely battling all kind of demons and monsters, including some of your own making. Whomever gets distracted for a single second, runs the risk of being eaten. One of the most silly and dangerous mistakes of us, male physicians, is to get a Trophy Wife to brag to all our colleagues, patients, family. There is only a problem. As the knucklehead is more interested in finishing her bridge game with the girls at the country club, you arrive at an impossibly cold and chaotic house with no dinner.

What do most of us, stupid men, do? When the cute OR assistant gives us a wink in the middle of surgery, we arrange for a discreet date, to avoid our horrible hearth. So goes the cutie Med student, then the cutie in Admissions, then the cutie….Until one day you find yourself in the doghouse in the middle of a terribly cold night, madly trying to make Fido share his blanket. Fat chance. Fido knows you are a Sorry Loser.

Forty years ago I had to make that terribly decision and I think I made the right one. Now I am standing at that critical junction of my career path for a second time before deciding which one.

Will I be so lucky as to win the Lottery twice? Stay tuned. More to come soon. 

Stay distant. Stay safe. Stay beautiful.

What do you think? Please tell us.

Don’t leave me alone.