I am hardly a wonder woman, but occasionally I have had a patient or a friend ask me “how do you do it?”. I was asked this question most often when my twins were babies and toddlers. I was a small town doc who continued to “do it all” while raising twin babies. As if that wasn’t enough work, when the girls were 18months old, I decided that would be a good time to move my family across the country, before winter had passed no less, in order to put roots down closer to my family. When people asked me how I managed it all with two rambunctious toddlers, I could easily and honestly answer: “I have a great husband”.
My husband is also a full time physician. We met in residency. I was drawn to his quiet intelligence and untiring work ethic. When other interns were having trouble keeping up with their overwhelming patient panels, he would step in to help. To this day, he is the true workhorse of our family. Currently, we have no nearby family and all of the help we had previously hired to make our lives go smoothly has evaporated with the emergence of COVID-19.
An already busy work schedule has amped up for Keith as his medical director duties have him doing more and more policy oversight and administrative meetings to address COVID. Suddenly we are juggling two physician jobs, twins, a 14month old, and a house with more surfaces that need cleaning than a Frank Gehry building. We are doing this without our beloved teachers, without our beloved daycare, without our housekeeper (I think I may miss her the most!), and without our household assistant who used to grocery shop and prep meals for us.
I know so many families out there are in similar situations (or far worse) than we are right now, so I am absolutely not complaining. I know how lucky I am to have my health, my job and a socially minded community that is doing what it can to keep COVID circulation low. What I am doing is thanking my lucky stars EVERY SINGLE DAY that I have the love and support of THIS guy.
Today, as happens so much in this line of work, my morning hospital rounds went long: an ultrasound ordered Friday came back today showing a newly diagnosed tumor — the patient needed to be contacted and a biopsy arranged. Questions popped up from patients and nurses. Conversations were had (let’s be honest, I love this part of the job and love the break from chaos that is my house right now, so I wasn’t exactly hurrying through these conversations). Suddenly it became apparent that there was no way I was going to make it home in time for my husband to make it to his 8:30am meeting. My husband, though, is nearly unflappable. I texted him to see if he could do his meeting from home, and he could. When I arrived an hour later, I found him managing the meeting from his AirPods while cleaning the kitchen. Our adorable toddler was happily, well, toddling at his feet. Yes. This guy. I love this guy.
If I haven’t convinced you so far, read on… When I came home from work one day a few months ago and told my husband that I was going to quit my well paying, stable job and start my own clinic, he met me with immediate support: “I think that’s a great idea”. He then went to work THAT NIGHT starting to write an electronic health record (EHR) for me. I mean who does that? Who takes on the massive project of writing a complex system that would take most people months or years of full time work to complete and do it in his “spare time”? Now, it is true that the EHR project has been pushed to the side because COVID is sucking up all of our life forces, but Keith remains instrumental in his support in this venture. He is behind the scenes creating my website, offering me support when I express the idea that maybe this isn’t the BEST time to start a small business?, and making sure that every technical aspect of my patients’ care is secure by the highest standards (“Everything needs two factor identification”).
I have so much to be thankful for right now, but today, in this crazy and scary time, what I am so incredibly thankful for is THIS GUY.