Friday, September 24, 2010

Wife, M.D.

I am so glad the hubby is off cards rotation. He's now on NICU, which is still long hours (7AM-7PM) but at least it's shift work, as the hubby calls it. Cardiology was a rough rotation--his first real one since orientation/family medicine lead-in. Cardiology was good in the sense that it reaffirmed the blessing of the hubby not matching to internal medicine (the Scramble was Hell, but turned out for the best!). He also received some nice compliments from a few of his patients, including one saying she finally understood what was going on after he talked with her.

However, the Q4 overnight call schedule really stunk. It put the hubby out of commission for two nights (on-call absence and post-call zombie) and made him a volatile cocktail of groggy and stressed. He fell asleep at the dining room table more times than I could count, and there still is a handprint on our bathroom mirror where he fell asleep standing up and then caught himself on the mirror so he wouldn't fall forward.

If I didn't have so much trouble getting Sprout to sleep and my own self in bed, I would've worked harder at ensuring the hubby made it to bed--taking him by the hand and leading him to the bedroom so he wouldn't pass out in the kitchen. The problem was that he would try to do one more thing at his computer before heading to bed at the same time as me, and then he would fall asleep at his keyboard. I would be passed out from my own exhaustion so couldn't shepard him to the bedroom. I'm hopeful that the NICU schedule will be kinder to both of us and get the hubby on a better sleep schedule. His circadian rhythms can't be more screwed up than they are right now.

Finally, I wonder if other medical spouses struggle as much as I do with addressing their doctor husband's physical health. As I've described above, his work schedule is just going to royally mess up his sleep schedule; that's almost a given. Anxiety and high-stress are also part of the normal status of the medical intern. However, I'm really starting to worry about my husband's weight. He's always struggled with his weight growing up, but med school and my pregnancy (husbands mirror some of the preggo weight gain, it's true) and starting residency have not been kind to him. It's amazing and sad looking back at the healthy, fresh-faced guy he was when we first started dating, only five years ago. He's gained over 70 lbs since then.

True, I'm four months postpartum and who am I to call the kettle black (hello, 20 lbs I need to still lose!)? Being body-focused on myself also makes me more sensitive to others' weight struggles. However, when is my hubby going to reach that pre-contemplation to contemplation stage of change readiness? What is it going to take? He's already on meds for cholesterol. Diabetes runs in his family. He guzzles diet Mountain Dew and other diet sodas, which pisses me off since I don't want Sprout drinking that crap. He owns 3x as many clothes as I do to fit the various sizes he's been at, and our closet can't hold any more clothes. He knows all the health implications of being overweight and tells patients to "not be like him" when he prescribes healthy behavior, but that knowledge/modeling isn't enough.

Stress sources have only increased over time, which is what life tends to do--more responsibilities, more challenges. I think a big problem is that he's doing most of his eating at the hospital, and he's eating to stay awake. I cook healthy food at home and purchase healthy snacks (lots of fruit), but he doesn't eat them or pack them. I can't force him to eat the food I make, and I don't have time to pack his meals when I'm struggling to pack my own and get Sprout's supplies ready each night.

So, what is it going to take? Do others struggle with their medical spouse's weight? What can be done, when he's pressed for time and is chronically sleep-deprived and is stuck at the hospital? I want a healthy husband back!

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