The Pediatrician’s Wife or MD+MD=OMG-He’s-Dying

I often get one of two responses when an acquaintance finds out that my husband is a pediatrician:

  1. That must be SO wonderful. Aren’t you lucky!
  2. [insert medical question]

Now I don’t mind the medical questions at all. I feel useful, and if I have to consult my husband, he is always willing. The medical question often brings up the awkward realization that I, too, am an MD and was going into pediatrics until I decided to stay home with my children. Which leads to:

  1. [insert another medical question]
  2. Are you going to go to practice medicine again?

But this post isn’t about me.  (Well, sorta.)  It’s about YOU.  And everything you’ve wanted to know about being married to a PEDIATRICIAN.  So here it is folks! Full-disclosure on the luckiness and craziness and sheer intrigue of being the pediatrician’s wife:

  1. We never have to double-check dosages of Motrin, Tylenol or any other over-the-counter (OTC) medication. (Although we don’t use any other OTC because they DONT WORK.)
  2. Our children have each only taken antibiotics once. I HATE giving my kids medication, and with the ample evidence that antibiotics are taken WAY TOO MUCH, I don’t have to!
  3. We have STRONG OPINIONS on our children’s care. (See 1 & 2) But we don’t have strong opinions on YOUR child’s care.
  4. We support patient-centered care. Because we are the worst patients. We listen patiently to our doctors and read the medical journals. Then decide what’s best for OUR family.
  5. We thought E had cancer for about a week. (Our doctor did not EVER think E had cancer. I think that he may have said: It’s just a big lymph node, you stress-cases.) We also thought our children were developmentally-delayed in fine motor, verbal, gross motor, social and did I forget a category? Because that one, too. (Stop calling me you stress-cases.)
  6. No. My husband is not our children’s pediatrician because you either believe #5 or NOTHING IS WRONG. Objective care is nearly impossible. And I’m married to him and know how often he actually showers so it’s hard to take my hubby seriously. (Even though I am jealous of his patients because he IS the best doctor on the planet.)
  7. I have many theories on children and illness. And each year, one of them is proven by a research team or finally accepted by the AAP. Making me very pleased. Or psychic.
  8. Yes. I call my husband to ask for advice on our children and my friend’s children (if they want). Yes. He calls me to ask for advice on breast-feeding, not-giving medications, children puking, and childhood mental illness while maintaining anonymity. Remember that I have a good record with my theories. (But he never substitutes my knowledge for his own AWESOME doctor instincts.)
  9. We write notes to each other in doctor-shorthand and use fancy words like ecchymosis. (It means bruises. But I refuse to disclose any more words. Or the secret handshake.)
  10. Yes. We give our children vaccines. Except for ones that are not required by the state.  Unless it would help protect children who CAN’T get vaccines but are very susceptible to childhood diseases. For example, children with leukemia or HIV.  And usually only three at a time. NOT because of overwhelming their immune systems (because I don’t believe that and remember I’M PSYCHIC), but because shots HURT.

So there you have it. The highs. The lows. The TMIs.

And I wouldn’t want to be married to anyone else because, hey, we don’t have to make a doctor appointment EVER. I just show up with lunch and the doctor will see us.

Alex Iwashyna

Alex Iwashyna went from a B.A. in philosophy to an M.D. to a SAHM, poet and writer by 30. She spends most of her writing time on LateEnough.com, a humor blog (except when it's serious) about her husband fighting zombies, awkward attempts at friendship, and dancing like everyone is watching. She also has a soft spot for culture, politics, and rude Southern people who offend her Yankee sensibilities. She parents 2 elementary-aged children, 1 foster baby, 3 cats, and 1 puppy, who are all Southern but not rude. Yet.

13 thoughts to “The Pediatrician’s Wife or MD+MD=OMG-He’s-Dying”

  1. I can attest to the fact that your husband is an excellent doctor. He’s so patient and seems to really care about the kids. And the fact that he calls my kid “Doodle” is pretty great – even though he probably calls them all that.

  2. Hi! I found your blog through Chara. Very cute post. It made me laugh. My husband is an MD, and I can totally relate. #5… I have totally been there, and since I am non-medical had to walk him off the ledge, more than once. 🙂 Great writing!

  3. Love this. We have “doodles” that see your hubby, as well. So grateful that he chose to practice medicine and that he has you to support him! (and teach him how to properly use facebook.) Thanks for sharing this point of view. 🙂

  4. Very entertaining! I’m already a fan of your husband’s as my little ones see him (can’t call them doodles — we have labradoodles, so that just gets confusing & I think we’re talking about vets).

    Now, courtesy of his shameless promoting via the West End Pediatrics fan facebook page, 😉 I’m a fan of your writing too! Particularly loved your earlier entry on opting out of the residency torture program. Thanks for sharing…

    1. I’m so glad that you’ve check me out Tracey — I knew that WEPs fan page would pay off (for me ;)!
      And I passed on your complements to Scott — thanks Tracey, Erin and Valerie!
      Oh, any friend of Chara’s is a friend of mine, Sarah. And I didn’t even ask for the shameless promotions from Chara! (Scott doesn’t have as much of a choice.)

  5. I've heard very good things about your husband. That's high praise in my parents obsessed with finding the RIGHT ped world.

    The best part to me is how lucky we are to have choices. People, like my children, forget that having a choice is a privilege.

    Love the post!

  6. Too funny! I’m kinda set too although not as well as you. My best friend is a nurse (and mommy to 4 so she gets my paranoia as well) and one of my hubby’s good friends is an ER doc. So if we’re in a worried state (like do we take our 2 year old to the ER after I pinched his finger in the hinge of the car door and dug a big gouge out of it?) we call him and he tells us if it’s worth a trip or not. In that case no, because it wasn’t bleeding too bad and his finger most likely was not hard enough to be broken yet.

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