Its Not Brain Surgery…Life as a Neurosurgeons Wife


Yep those are spines on my kitchen table
Sometimes I wake up and find a skull on my kitchen counter. My dining room table is covered with spines as we speak and graphic brain surgery pictures pop up as soon as I turn on our computer. What sounds like a horror movie plot to some is just a day in the life of this neurosurgery wife.

The only exposure many have to neurosurgery is what they see on Grey’s Anatomy and the infamous Dr. McDreamy. But I am here to tell you it is so far off from what Meredith Grey would like you to believe.

If real life was anything like that show then I am apparently missing out on a whole lot of drama.  Residency, private practice and overall stressful lifestyles are commonplace for any specialty, and my hat is off to every single medical professional and spouse who dedicate their lives to medicine. We are blessed to have you. However, surgery is another beast in it of itself.

One of the most difficult aspects of being married to a surgeon is simply the strict time demands it commands. My husband regularly puts in 80-100 hour workweeks and even when he is home or not on call will be found on the phone. Calls from residents and families following up on a patient flow in 24/7 even if that call comes right in the middle of date night or heck even in the middle of the night at 3am.

Another difficult aspect is the nature of the beast with neuro patients. They are usually very sick and near death by the time they need my husband. Brain bleeds, spinal fractures, babies with brain tumors are all something he can see in a single day. My husband is human and no one can possibly see that day in and day out without taking some of it home. I try to make sure that our home life is as calm and relaxing as possible so it is an escape from work for him.

It blows my mind that my husband even has enough energy to hold a conversation with me at the end of a week. Many times he doesn’t. We try to maximize the most of our days off together by doing something relaxing, energizing and as far away from the hospital physically and mentally we can get.

But despite the challenges I am in awe and so proud of the work he can do. A patient can take steps again after fracturing their spine, a girl can stand up straight after scoliosis had her hunched over for years. A grandmother can live longer after a brain tumor resection and see more grandchildren born.

Life as a doctor’s wife can be stressful, lonely and leave you questioning why you ever got yourself into this in the first place. But I step back and look at how far my husband has come and, likewise, his patients and it all becomes clear.


  1. Great post. How stressful it must be to be a doctor but how rewarding as well. He's making a difference in people's lives and that's amazing. My husband is in banking and his job gets stressful too and he has a long commute so I try to make it nice for him when he comes home too. Sure it gets hectic with three girls and the hours between 5-7 are the worst, but I've got a routine down as far as when messes need to be picked up and when to start dinner. He doesn't expect all this to be done, but I just like to do it....not too mention I can get a little OCD about things being neat and in their place.

  2. Hi Kelly! thanks for your comment on my blog! your blog is so funny! <3
    xoxo, Mango ❤
    MangoRabbitRabbit's Blog | Holiday Party: Nude Bandage Dress!

  3. Doctor's wife here, and yes, I spend more time alone than most spouses I know. And when work calls can come in at any moment, even while we're sleeping, our actual quality time being present and unburdened can be very little. Still, we are equal parts grateful for and dedicated to my husband's medical career. I would love to know how other doctor's spouses get through this.

    Thanks for commenting on my blog, btw.

    Tina @

  4. Checking out your blog, from the link you left on mine... wow it's pretty interesting to see that you are married to a doctor, because my dad is also a doctor (not a surgeon) but it's always pretty stressful for the entire family because they're always busy/stressed/and flooded with "work". But the plus side is, you get to learn a lot from them. Much respect to not just doctors, but doctors' family as well for dealing with having them not spend much time at home.

    xox Ingrid from Style Prosciutto

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  7. Neurosurgeon's wife of 14 years here...partner of 17 years. It is a very, very lonely existence, especially as I've had no family support in this country (Australia) and there are no children to fill the void. It is more alone than being alone because when you are alone you can be more "selfish" with your time. When married to a neurosurgeon you are the only person left to pick up the slack in all aspects of the other demands on your life. There is little time to be "selfish" in the truest sense of the word. If I'd known someone else's employment could impact my life as much as it has, I probably wouldn't have taken it on. Remaining friends, in retrospect, would have been the fairest choice for me.
    My husband does all aspects of neurosurgery, but his sub-specialty is inter-cranial work, so the really critical stuff- strokes, brain haemorrhages, tumors etc. That's why most of the younger neurosurgeons these days choose to do complex spinal work. Even though patients can be severely injured, there is not usually the immediately critical aspect that comes with head trauma, bleeds etc etc. The world is running out of specialists who are prepared to take on this work because of the comparatively poorer remuneration and the massive impact it has on their personal lives.
    That's been and remains my experience ladies and those few men who are spouses to female neurosurgeons.
    In no way does any of the above diminish the absolutely wonderful work my husband and those like him do. BUT very little is written about the enormous cost of choosing such a path in life.

  8. Hey,
    I've found your article very interesting and close to me. My father is also a doctor and when I was a little child I used to feel the same feelings. I remember him making pre residency fellowship neurosurgery and other medical things and even at home late at night he was busy and had no time at all.


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