‘There’s a real section of society that, when they realise you’re married to a Doctor, immediately think your life is all kinds of amazing…’
People can be extremely offensive, often without intent, because of their ill-thought out and, quite frankly, antiquated ideas about how people live.
A few comments I’ve received over the past 5 years have stayed with me. Some have mildly annoyed me, some have mildly amused me and others have left me fuming.
With this in mind, should you ever find yourself conversing with the other half of a Doctor, first of all, make sure they have wine (red, please. Large glass…) and then NEVER say any of the following things…
‘OOOOH, you’re married to a Doctor!?’
Ooh indeed. Yes, I am. And it’s great, but not in any of the ways you’re currently thinking. My marriage is great because my husband is great. This has very little to do with his profession and I’m frequently at a loss to work out what is that everyone thinks is so amazing about being a Doctor’s wife.
In general, people have zero concept of the many plans that get broken because my husband is dealing with an emergency at work; the birthday celebrations he’s missed because he’s had to identify a body that’s been fished out of the sea, and the meals that have gone cold because he’s been held up.
Then there’s the low moods he brings home because he’s spent his day certifying dead bodies, being dragged into fights by feuding families, being verbally (and occasionally racially) abused, or being instructed about treatments from someone who Googled their symptoms and now thinks they’re a world authority on ingrown toenails.
That ain’t fun, folks.
‘Lucky you! I bet *you* don’t have to wait 3 weeks for an appointment like the rest of us!’
Wrong. Being married to a Dr. doesn’t make them your GP. Well, not unless you live in the catchment area for their surgery and choose them, of course. I personally don’t know of any spouses who do this. I don’t know many spouses that choose to even attend the same surgery their partners work in, to be honest.
There are many reasons for this; not least that you really really don’t want to be scheduled in for an internal exam with a GP partner you might end up spending time with socially. I can’t even imagine how that dinner conversation would go.
Anyway, as a Doctor’s wife/husband/whatever, you will do exactly what every other NHS patient does: phone your surgery for an appointment. We don’t get special treatment from other GPs and we don’t expect it. This is because we know that every other GP is as short staffed and underfunded as our other half.
I mean, sure, you can try to show that swollen ankle to your husband, but don’t expect them to say anything but: ‘Oooh, you should probably see the Doctor about that…’. Unless you’re actually in danger of dying, the last thing a Doctor wants to do when he gets home is deal with another medical issue. I don’t want to discuss the benefits system when I get home from work, so why would he be any different?
‘It must be great to get any prescription you want!’
Again, no. Doctors have medical licenses and they work pretty damn hard to get them. Having you (or someone else) ask them for a prescription puts them in a somewhat awkward position.
Firstly, unless they have your full medical history; they’re putting themselves in a situation they were trained NOT to get themselves in to. Secondly, they’re not there to hand out pills because you’ve forgotten to get them. It’s a tenuous position to put someone in and it also interferes with your own Doctor’s treatment. If a Dr gives you an ad hoc appointment and something happens to you, who do you think gets dragged across the coals and loses their livelihood? It’s unlikely to be you.
‘It must be great not to worry about money/have to work…’
This has actually been said to me on more than one occasion. Apparently, some people think marrying a Doctor means you cease to exist in your own right and life, as you previously knew it, is over.
Just because you’ve studied through University and worked all your life doesn’t mean that you don’t instantly want to give that up when you get a ring on that finger, no?? NO.
I don’t want to stay at home and I WANT to earn my own money. I’m offended that, if you know a single thing about me, you would think that I suddenly have no money worries. Do you think when you sign the marriage certificate that all your troubles just melt away? Well, they don’t.
I don’t have many money worries, but this has nothing to do with my husband and everything to do with the fact that I work, I have no kids, I save my pennies and I’m very careful. My lack of money worries is solely down to the way I’ve lived my life and nothing more.
‘I wish I was married to a Doctor…’
This was recently said to me in response to me posting a photo on facebook of my husband and I on holiday in Croatia. I never get this comment when I post photos of rainy days in Wales. The only reason it happens when I’m abroad is because people assume being married to a GP means I travel the world on his salary.
This is the single most offensive comment I get. And the reasoning behind it couldn’t be further from the truth. I pay for half of ALL my travels. We’re a team and we split everything. I travelled for many years with my ex-husband, who wasn’t a Doctor, and didn’t attract this comment a single time in 12 years.
I have a full time job and also work on a self employed basis. I can afford to pay £60 for a Ryanair flight to Croatia and don’t need financial assistance from my husband, thanks very much.
I’ve travelled all over the world in the past 25 years. I’m 40 years old and I’ve been married to a Doctor for less than 2 of those. I didn’t need support before and I don’t need it now.
‘Do you think I should go to the Doctor with this? *lifts trouser leg*’
WTF?? I’m married to a Doctor, I’m not actually one myself. When you get hitched, you don’t suddenly take on your husband’s medical knowledge (although how good would that be?).
I’m a Civil Servant. If you have a question about Universal Credit, then come chat to me. If you have a nasty rash; keep it to yourself.
I’ve been asked this question twice in my life and both times I responded with a stare of complete bewilderment. A lady in the street in the middle of town once lifted up her skirt and asked me if she though she should make an emergency appointment at the surgery.
How does being the wife of a Doctor make me any more qualified that some random person on the street? Answer: it doesn’t. Anyway, I told her to go home, take a few pills and she’d be all better in a few days.
I haven’t seen her round town since then. I often wonder what became of her….