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There was an emergency on board, but the crew was professional and, for most, the event didn’t register. As we left the jetway, I asked what had happened.“She’ll be O. He had more to tell, but he was waiting until we were out of earshot of other passengers.
We passed through the curtains to where the seats were leather and leaned all the way back. That night, we sat on the battered futon my husband has owned since college.
As his responsibilities grew, so did my frustration. The other volunteer, a nurse, offered her assistance, but only my husband and the flight attendant walked up the aisle, vanishing behind the curtains that separated us from first class. I had felt giddy about love but ambivalent about becoming a wife.
I wanted to support him as he pursued his dream career, but I couldn’t help feeling that his work and I were in competition. A few rows in front of us, a woman pressed her call button. I rarely saw him in action; patient privacy laws prevent doctors from taking visitors on their rounds. The word itself seemed like an erasure, privileging domesticity over desire, association over achievement.
After we announced our engagement, my fear seemed justified when friends started commenting with knowing smiles that I was going to be a doctor’s wife, whatever that implied. ”“I’ve never heard the phrase ‘doctor’s wife’ so much in my life,” I said. ”Just before the plane’s descent, the flight attendant came and told me to gather my things. I envisioned my husband exhausted from performing chest compressions or birthing a baby. crew escorted the sick woman to a waiting stretcher.
As soon as we reached cruising altitude, his head tilted forward in sleep.His soggy medical license was drying on the coffee table; the flight attendant had set it down on the ice bin in the galley.He told me that when he saw the woman in the suit slumped against the wall, he worried she was dead.These recent layoffs ignited a fire under him to go back to night school to get his RN.Nurse Charlie is taking vitals, giving medications, responding to 10/10 pain, calling doctors for orders, and of course, charting, and charting, and more charting.
A few hours later, he’d wake and go back to work.“I’m trying to survive,” he told me when I complained about how work consumed him.