Praised be Jesus and Mary!
Although we are same age, he is already doing his residency, while I am still in med school. We have plenty of stories ranging from our differences in schedule to our differences in position. I shall share in a series of blog posts our first hand experiences in overcoming these differences.
#1 Let Him Sleep
Day 1 = Pre-duty: 7:30 am – 7:30 pm
Day 2 = Duty: 7:30 am – 7:30am
Day 3 = Post-duty: 7:30am – 7:30pm
…and then the cycle repeats from Day 1/pre-duty to duty to post-duty. In some rotations, he needs to be there as early as 5 am?!!!
Notice that Day 2 is 24 working hours, which means that it is connected to Day 3’s 12 hours. In other words, they work a 36-hour duty, sleep, work a 12-hour, before working for 36 hours straight again.
A Sunday-off-day comes only when pre-duty falls on a Sunday, which only happens every three weeks.
On days when some of their colleagues are on-leave, they could become on-duty every 2 days. Crazy, right? But, they have to. That seldom happens, though.
The point is: Even with the usual duty every three days, THEY ARE ALWAYS SLEEP-DEPRIVED.
Once, he told me, “I’m very hungry, but I want sleep more than I want food.”
Note that they can fall asleep immediately whenever there’s opportunity ANYWHERE!
There was one time when we were on the train and I noticed that he looked very tired. I told him, “It’s okay. You can sleep.” We stopped talking and a few seconds (yes, seconds!!) later, he got knocked out.
Sometimes it gets sad and frustrating. Even if you have spent what seemed like forever looking forward to meeting him once again, and no matter how much he misses you, too, it doesn’t change the fact that their bodies are craving for sleep. Be kind and understanding. They are really tired… really sleep-deprived.
But, on the positive side, I see his effort. I know… I can feel that he wants to talk and spend time with me, too. He does everything within his power for us to have time during special occasions. Whenever it’s not possible, we would celebrate the next soonest time he’s available. No matter how busy he is at the hospital, he’d send “i love you” messages. He loves me. He cares about me so much.
No matter how tired he is, he never lets me feel unloved. I may sometimes crave for more time or attention, but I know very well that he’d give it to me whenever he can. But, on days when he cannot, I have to be understanding. Afterall, I love him, too!! His dreams are now part of my dreams as well.
Last time when we were in different cities and we could only meet around once a month on the average, I experienced longing for him too much to the point that it hurts. There was one time when he called me on a post-duty to say “I love you” and “I’m tired”. His voice was too weak and I responded with “Go rest now. Good night. I love you.” …but there was no response. I had no intention of depriving him of sleeping time, but he got knocked out immediately. I was not even sure if he heard my reply. I was confused about how I should feel. Should I feel pity, sad, or hurt for him or for myself? It was sad for me because I knew that I had to spend another 36-hours before I could talk to him for a few minutes/seconds again. But, I feel more sad that he seemed sooo exhausted and overworked. 😥
The amazing part is when we could finally meet again. All those sadness would disappear instantly as if we were never apart. It’s like magic. It’s beautiful.
He moved to do his residency at the training hospital of my med school. Even though he is still sleep deprived, it is easier for us to meet now. It is easier for me to take care of him. Also, he likes eating breakfast (before pre-duty) and dinner (after pre- and post-duties) together whenever possible. Often times, I will hangout and study at the restaurant across the hospital. He’ll come over sometimes to take his break there. We’ll greet each other, and then he’ll take a nap.
He doesn’t drink coffee, but now it can’t be helped. While he’s doing his best, I also want to do my best. I won’t let coffee be the only thing that keeps him on his toes. I will always do my best to support him. I will fight alongside him.
It is no joke to choose this profession. It is also no joke to be a resident’s lover. (Ay, mahirap. Ay, mahirap talaga. Nakakaiyak.) But, although it may be difficult, I believe that we can do this!! This is a challenge which requires understanding and, of course, LOVE. I love him and he loves me, too. With God’s help, guidance and blessings, love will surely conquer everything.
I have more to say. I want to share other challenges we are facing and how we cope with it. Wait for Part 2. 😉 For now, I want to close with this statement: I am proud of him. I love him!
Kristine G. Veneracion