Agraphia Medical Tragicomedy


Anecdotes: OB/GYN

I loved OB/GYN while I was doing it, but after the fact, realized that I had completely given up my life. I hadn't folded my laundry in 6 weeks†, hadn't spent time with my family or friends, made my bed, etc. Which brings me to my story...

Obstetrics & Gynecology

Physicians often ask to be called in when a woman is dilated to 8 centimeters (delivery occurs at 10cm) so they can be present for the birth. Women who've had multiple births often deliver within minutes - or seconds - after hitting 8 though, so usually it's a moot point.

One night in particular I vividly remember calling a doctor about his patient at 3:15 AM, only to have her deliver 2 minutes later. I called him back, because I knew he lived half an hour away. He decided he may as well still come... just to shake her hand. He showed up at 4AM and drove back home a short time after. I'm sure he went to work at 7 as well, because he was a hospital doc.

I've told this story to a few classmates and a few non-meddies. Most people think it's an awesome, touching story. "What dedication!", they cry. "How he must care for his patients!" Personally, I just try to imagine what his wife and kids think. I don't know about everyone else out there, but I refuse to destroy my personal life. Maybe I'm too selfish... your thoughts?

†what else is new?

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  1. I’d tend to think that they like to be able to bill for the visit. But it does sound awfully nice that they show up.

  2. I think that if I were a woman who was by god expecting a certain doc, and he/she didn’t show up at ALL, I’d be more than a little ticked. Not a logical attitude, I know.

  3. This complete and utter destruction of one’s personal life is why I could never, ever be an obs/gyne. One of the male obs/gyne I knew of worked crazy long hours (read: 7am – 10pm, not including deliveries) and his happiest days were the ones when he could get home in time to… tuck his children into bed.

    Also, the miracle of birth – is messy.

  4. My thoughts…is that it can be the highest of the highs and the lowest of the lows… in the labor and delivery room. *sigh*

  5. I’m just never going to have children. And then I won’t have to think about this shit.

  6. Don’t do surgery. Sometimes the job demands it.
    I actually posted on a similar topic recently called toughen up.
    Different strokes for different folks.

  7. I divorced my husband during the third year of obstetric residency, which was a second residency. My daughter and I hardly missed him by then. He never made it to her school functions, recitals, science fairs, ever. But, I think that was just him. He found time for things he wanted, like on the phone and hanging out rehashing the political garbage of residency with his “family” of residents. He was rarely home when he was there. He was chronically exhausted, mean, and self-focused. He became obsessed with malpractice issues and how to keep everyone from getting his money. I started the first residency “with him” and my focus was appreciating him when he was there, not bitching like I heard so many wives. Our lives were on hold all of the time … at age fourteen his daughter doesn’t know him and doesn’t want to. Nothing is more sad or tragic. I know it would be that way either way. The system of training, indoctrination, and expectations beyond what is humane is the cause. Why do people go along with it … and lose their loved ones/families? It is so unnecessary .. it is about control of money and litigation. He went from being disturbed about the way women and babies were treated and wanting to get a journalist to cover it in his first year, to becoming shut-down and numb so he would become stuck in the financial obligations that keep them there.

    If the system would allow real midwifery, the load of the care needed could be divided between doctor, nurse, and midwife. A midwife is glad to be a woman’s primary caregiver and be there throughout, which is really important emotional support. Doctors have to be in the office doing monthly exams, available for surgery and births night and day. It’s crazy-making for everyone except the hospital coffers. If nurses and midwives helped play a part in the care of pregnant women, it would be acceptable for the doctor to just show up at the last minute, do the medical deeds and move on.

    Of what service is the current system to women? They are forced to accept only the care of an OB, that when all is said and done is so inadequate and minimal.

    The tragedy from my perspective is seeing a man turn into someone so nasty to women. Why do we expect them to be all to everyone … so that end up tragically giving such poor quality to all?

  8. Nothing wrong with asking for time to yourself.

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