A few weeks ago I showed this blog to my boyfriend. He was, um, indignant that he didn’t make it into many of the posts (as in: he threatened to make me walk the couple of hours’ journey home that day). I would like to use this moment to revise my earlier post Lifeline to say that, as well as my close friends, he was also instrumental to my recovery.
Here is a light-hearted post dedicated to my boyfriend (again, let us call him Chris). Medical students are funny creatures, and here are some things that you may want to know before you date one.
1. Prepare to be stood up for something eye-wateringly boring
Yep, I’ve rejected Chris for a dissertation before. Revision. A couple of relatively minor essays. I might have changed plans last minute because of a placement that was either scheduled at about 11:30 the previous evening or I’ve forgotten about. I might also have made him wake up at 6:30 to drive me to a hospital on the other side of town. Just the once.
Okay, it might feel like we’re rejecting you for the sake of Medicine, but truly it’s not personal. It’s not that we’re prioritising work over you, it’s just that sometimes schedules (especially teaching sessions with busy doctors) can be extremely inflexible.
2. Know when we’re being dicks
It’s one thing to sprint to unavoidable placements in lieu of a few hours with you, but it’s another to consider your own needs inferior to our own. There is a certain amount of prestige associated with studying Medicine, whether deserved or not. I must confess I fell into the trap of thinking that things that happen in medical school are more important than whatever is happening down your end. That is not okay. Call us out when we’re being dicks.
3. You will be our go-to Guinea pig
Chris has been poked, prodded, percussed, auscultated, squeezed, shined on, you name it. He has had his reflexes tested, his organs squished and his anatomy scrutinised (I was highly amused and Chris was highly bemused to find that he was missing a small muscle in the forearm called the palmaris longus). He has squirmed countless times from cold fingers and even colder stethoscopes. He has had an examination of most of his major systems and joints at least a few times a term. It is rather unavoidable.
On the plus side, we know his major organs are in the right places.
4. You will be nearly retired by the time we start earning
Like some of those people who come back to university again and again to do masters and doctorates, I’m going to be in university for a total of six years. Six. The normal medical degree in the UK is five years, then I’m taking the year out from September to do a degree in Human Behaviour. It’s a long road for us both.
5. No, we don’t know what that rash is
When a health problem unexpectedly hits you, never fear! As long as it’s Type I Diabetes, an ST-elevated myocardial infarction, or your bone is visibly sticking out of your body, we can diagnose you!
As for how you treat it, we will gladly call the emergency services on your behalf.
6. We care about you
Compassion is what drives most of us into medicine. We might not make the best partners, but know that we care about you. Even if we’re busy, overwhelmed, or caught in inescapable commitments, when you’re in a committed relationship with us you are one of the most important things in our lives. Thank you for your support. We really do appreciate it.