Skype sessions when he needed encouragement. It was our victory, and we twirled into the honeymoon phase of our future solidified, not even considering that this would test our relationship. The web was full of doomsday articles. Medical students hardly have enough time to learn how to not kill people, let alone maintain a healthy relationship.
Nevertheless, we were optimistic. I was experienced in the doctor-family dynamic after all. My father had been a surgeon, and he was no stranger to missing family photos, milestones and engagements.
Why would this be any different from what I was already used to? Now as Medical-Boyfriend chugs his way through his first year of school, I can honestly say that no amount of research prepared me for the bizarreness of dating a med student.
They tell you the last thing a student should worry about is money. Well, you should have budgeted better. But you budgeted with the numbers we gave you? How about a private loan? Yes, you can do that with a steady income.
Oh, yeah, our bad! How about you ask your parents for money? Did we mention your parents? A week into class, Medical-Boyfriend was already forgetting materials at school. We were once headed to the store when he cursed and made a sharp turn at the light. An ominous-looking wooden box with a sliding top, and inside is a human skeleton, the bones slightly yellowed from age and handling.
But now the bones are in the bed. Clearly this is the work of poltergeists -- they are trying to possess a skeleton and kill us in our sleep. I went to our blackboard and wrote: Reach in, and come out with a shirt reeking of formaldehyde and a few chunks of human tissue fall to the floor.
We entered the lab in scrubs. Medical-Boyfriend pulled on his latex gloves, threw open the tank doors and beckoned me forward. The body rested on a suspended platform. The smell of formaldehyde coated my mouth and nasal passages -- the bottom of the tank contained a pool of embalming fluid.
Medical-Boyfriend moved around the tank -- he pushed down the levers, cranking the body up, up, until it was propped at examining height. It used to be a man. Inside the gray-shaded meat and tissue is a cleanly exposed piece of spine. The line between a homicidal maniac and a med student is quite blurry. He started on my shoulders then fingered his way down my back. He was counting, mumbling to himself. I heard pages ruffling from a book.
How does it feel when I do this? Not to mention his doctoring equipment, used at leisure if I stand still long enough.
Like the time he charged at me with his tuning fork while I read or the time he assaulted me with a reflex hammer while I spoke on the phone. Once he checked my heart and looked almost disappointed that there was no murmur for him to experience.
Also, that ophthalmoscope he keeps shinning in my eyes, and his otoscope? I fear he might poke out an eardrum, the way he goes poking around. How the eff do you pronounce Cauda equina? Last time he stuck that ophthalmoscope in my eye I smacked his hand away. We have terrible fights, but no time to draw them out since he has to go study. We attend his weird med school parties and are both frightened that the tequila-chugging something throwing up in the hot tub wants to be an ER doctor.
On Sunday, if we have free time, we catch up on "True Blood," the skeleton on one side of us, Cody on the other. A photo was removed at the author's request.