Diary of a Doctors Wife: Riddikulus
My husband embarked on a rather interesting topic of conversation the other night: whether he should apply for a tropical medicine course in Peru for six weeks, or in London—-at OXFORD—the Hogwarts of the muggle world—for an entire year. Are we really having this conversation? There’s no contest.
I’m currently imagining him as a giant tropical spider on eight wee roller skates.
In all seriousness though, I think that the work my husband is doing and the plans that he is making are tremendous. He’s passionate, and driven, and dedicated to making a change, while exercising every option to travel and explore and find adventure. Currently, he is torn between several different fellowships ranging from Toxicology to Wilderness Medicine to now…Tropical Medicine. You know. The kind that involves large flying bugs, venomous snakes, and little air conditioning if his cards are played really well.
Back in medical school, his drive to work in the outdoors and summit the highest peaks led to me joking that some wives end up in palatial houses, while I’m going to end up living in a tent. When Nick and I first met, there was not a day that went by where I wasn’t dressed up and in heels. Now, I find myself typing at a restaurant by a lake wearing REI khaki cargo pants, a t-shirt, and running shoes. Granted, my hair and makeup are done, but really? Khaki REI pants? And the worst part is—I now fucking love these pants. They are my go-to travel pants on any trip. What has this man done to me?
What little semblance of my old self is left, I would like to preserve her and try to pretend that she exists below the layers of Deet, Keens, and Osprey backpacks. Living in the rural jungles or islands of the Amazon, Asia, India, or other vowel-inspired areas of the world might strip that part of me away, as it did in Thailand on our last international visit. There were so many bugs and terrifying toilet scenarios that to go back, I imagine myself cringing, rocking back and forth on my heels, flapping my hands and wailing in terror at the giant roaches that surround our future home, or the cicadas that try to burrow and kamikaze dive into our mosquito netting. Am I really built for Tropical Medicine? Am I built for Wilderness or Mountain medicine—camping at elevation in a tent? Cooking over a JetBoil. Before I met Nick, I didn’t know what in the hell a JetBoil was. Now we own three. Am I ready for this adventurous life he is mapping out? Realistically? Probably not. I am built for a year in London where bugs can be annihilated with sprays and pest control instead of large tennis rackets. Where I can walk around with my caucasian husband and not feel like a prostitute or mail-order bride. Where heels would not be out of place, and where I can catch a show or visit a museum and reflect on a beautiful countryside, a bowl of fruit, or a naked lounging woman. These things I can easily and happily see myself doing. Playing bocce ball with critters, slathered in sunscreen and bug juice, and purifying all of my water on the daily is not something that I can actually imagine. At least not without nervously laughing.
But in truth, I would follow my husband to the ends of the earth. I may not always be happy about the destination, but the experiences that we face, alone, are always worth the moments of grimace or food poisoning. I think that’s one of the greatest and hardest things about being a doctor’s spouse. Every marriage has its own struggles and compromises, but being married to a doctor leaves a lot of unknowns out on the table. A lot of moves. A lot of debt. A lot of friends come and gone. A lot of jobs that may never earn tenure.
But they also bring a lot of possibility. And I’m banking on that gambit even more.