I was sitting at the Greyhound station last week, waiting for my bus to board so I could go spend a week with my sisters and mother over the Christmas holiday. Dr. D was working a 24 hour in-house call shift Christmas day and wasn't going with me. So far, odd years of our four year residency mean we celebrate Christmas apart. Welcome to year three.
I was really excited to see Frances Southwick's Prognosis Poor: One Doctor's Personal Account of the Beauty and Perils of Modern Medical Training. As she mentions in the Physician Family article that alerted me to the book's existence, there is a section (actually one of the appendices) titled "How Jude and I Stayed Together."
I immediately (thanks to Greyhound's free wifi) purchased and downloaded the slim volume and started reading. South wick's personal reflection is far more handbook than personal journey; she sets out with a lofty goal--to create a new The House of God for the 21st century. While the book does give us a first person account of Southwick's depression and her grueling schedule, don't expect it to read like a novelization of her experience. Here are the strengths of the book which make it one that I will definitely continue to recommend to all entering residency (either as the resident or the significant other):
My wish-list includes more of Jude's voice. While I realize that the book was ultimately about Southwick's experience, I bought it because she indicated that the book was also about her relationship and that entire experience. Sadly, by the end I have no more clear sense of Jude's experience than I did at the start. If a second edition comes out, I'd love to see alternating chapters where Jude responds and shares her experience of each aspect and her reflection of those moments.
This blog is written from the perspective of an older medical spouse who happens to be childless by choice. I hope that husbands, older spouses, those childless by choice, and others will find this entertaining and occasionally useful.