So y’all know I married this man who-when we met was a practicing double board certified in Nephrology and Internal medicine physician.. and then three years ago he decided he could no longer practice medicine. He didn’t have it in him- he felt suffocated, overwhelmed, anxious and ultimately found not even an iota of satisfaction in any of the tasks associated with it.
(Although I know his patients- based on the hand-written notes they gave him- did not share his feelings of disillusionment with medicine-rather they adored him and cherished his gentle bedside manner and honest affinity and care for them).
I know that part of his downfall as a doctor-is that he is from another generation. Okay yes he is 15 years older than me- so he is DEFINITELY from another generation, but in this regard I mean his manner- his slow, deliberate, methodical- take lots of time with each patient manner. Her’s not a get em in get em out– my patients are merely their medical charts. He got to know each one of them; their families, their likes, the intimate details of their lives. And in this day and age, where everything is about quantity versus quality- and the only way to make money is to increase your patient load- thereby cutting the amount of time and energy you can allot to each patient– well for my husband- I think it was all too much. He couldn’t cope=- even in our regular daily lives– he does not just spit out answers- to even the most simple of questions. He thinks everything through (sometimes to the point where I feel like squeezing the answer out of him) in a methodical, measured and analytical way. He is the very opposite of impulsive, do it fast, get her done. He just isn’t wired that way.
And so he is now, trying to find something else, his passion, his life’s work- a career that will fulfill him in a way that medicine never did. And I feel helpless– and so sad for him- that he did everything he truly believed he was supposed to and yet at 53 years old, feels like a failure….I keep telling him anyone who could get through medical school, internship, residencies, fellowships and 20 years practicing medicine is anything but a failure. Yet we live in a society of what are you doing right now, this very minute- we don’t rest on our laurels- we push forward we are judged often quite harshly on how we are living right this very minute- and his very minute is bleak- he is floundering and at a crossroads- stuck, paralyzed by fear, age- and having spent so much of his life, living with these doctor blinders on.
As his wife, I too am stuck and our marriage is being tested on every level.