Medical Mondays: The Doctor is In (The Hospital On Holidays)


Happy Turkey Day (with dinner served in a hospital cafeteria). Merry "missing" Christmas where daddy has a 24 hour shift. Happy "hospital" Hanukah that mommy has to work 7 out of the 8 days.  Hmm doesn't sound like a traditional holiday celebration does it? Definitely haven't seen those plots in any ABC Family movies lately.

But, alas, people get sick on Thanksgiving. People need operations on Christmas Day. People get hurt and need help on Halloween.

As a physician wife I can tell you that, yes, holidays are often the loneliest times I face. It is obviously compounded when you are living 500 miles away from your nearest family member. These times of year are all about love and family and those feelings are surely getting messed with when my husband is not around for them.

Many people see doctors material successes and dog on them or envy creeps up. But lots of those same people do not realize that those successes come at a huge cost-such as missing holiday time with family.

But instead of sulking and complaining and looking at what I am lacking this November and December I try to reframe it about what another family is getting. That family may be getting a second chance at a life due to a surgery he will perform. A child may be getting their once-active father back who faced paralysis. A mom will be able to love her child longer because he is making a decision that will prolong his life.

Holidays are supposed to be spent around a table or loved ones or a tree or presents. No one wants to spend them in a hospital (yeah the food is way better at home even when I attempt to cook ha). Patients don't want to be there and the nursing and physician staff certainly would enjoy being home much more. But it is because of these amazing professionals that we have a chance to fight for life, to get better, to heal any time of the year even smack dab in the middle of everyone else's day off.

I've taken the approach with my husband of assuming that he will not be home for any major holidays, and if he does it is simply a tremendous bonus. He has been in residency/fellowship for the past 7 years and I am pretty sure he has been off only one Christmas and one Thanksgiving the entire time. I think much of being a doctors wife is simply changing your expectations and thinking of others before oneself.

So thank you everyone who sacrifices holidays and birthdays and special events to take care of the sick and injured. Especially with Thanksgiving and Christmas approaching I always try to remember and say prayers for all of those sick and injured in the hospital as well as the entire hospital staff who work so hard for strangers they have never met.


  1. My husband is on call for Thanksgiving this year, but to my surprise has friday-sunday off. That's practically a miracle compared to what we were used to in residency! I always try to look at the bright side of things ;) Welcome to the blogging world!

    1. Thanks for stopping by! So you totally feel my holiday call pain (sigh). Yay for him being off those days. Hope you can do something fun to enjoy it!

  2. Hi Kelly,
    It's Merrie from Petite Career Girl! This is so weird...I've been thinking of adding stories to my blog and many of the ones I've written so far have been medical based...I was thinking of calling it "Merrie's Medical Misadventures"...LOL...when I saw your blog title, I was like ....oh my gosh...there is someone else that thinks like me! So, I'll have to spend some more time reading through your looks like a lot of fun and I'll shoot you a link when i publish my first story :)

  3. Not only am I a doctor's wife, I'm one myself & life was much simpler when we hadn't had our adorable little one(don't think it sounded right coz in a lot of ways life is much more normal & prettier now & we'd not change it for anything) coz we'd both be working just as hard. But since we make sure one of us is home after daycare hours to balance it right for him, one of us (which has been me the last 2 yrs)& to spend Christmas after Christmas taking your kid to a park or hospital cafeteria to share a meal with Dad coz we were missing him so much isn't what you'd see in a movie or family drama either, but having worked in these places I know there's so many people who are not at home celebrating but don't even get any recognition like we doctors do, like the telephone operator s or the ward assistants. .. life isn't a bed of roses for anyone & this is just our share of the sacrifice to be able to make a difference in our patients'z lives. I must admit it takes a lot of effort to get used to it though & never can u stop occasionally thinking to yourself what life would be like for ppl who have all weekends , Christmases & thanksgiving etc off.