A few years ago I read a quote that has stuck with me each time I realize how fortunate I am to have my husband:
“The most important career move you make is the partner you choose to spend your life with.”
When I first met Hassan neither one of us was thinking about spending our lives together. We were both young and our main focus in medical school was, quite frankly, to get through it. I didn’t realize at the time that his support and love would continue to propel me for the next several years.
During medical school Hassan and I would study together, spent time in small groups quizzing each other and motivated one another to go straight from class to the library day after day. This is nothing that all medical students weren’t doing, but to have someone to go through it with, to keep you on your toes, was incredibly valuable. We took each board exam in medical school together and the stress leading up to finding out our USMLE step scores was something we shared. Medical school is hard and having Hassan as my partner, my study buddy, my person to let steam off with, made it much more enjoyable.
Residency was another beast we tackled together. Burnout is real and many people during residency are not able to see family or friends. I was fortunate because my family was always, literally, right there for me. On days I had a long shift he would bring me dinner to the hospital. There were nights I left when the trains were running slow so he would call me an Uber. He would introduce me to all his favorite nurses and the love they had for him would translate to easier shifts for me. When my clinics ran late he waited in the back so we could get the time on the subway together. Times I couldn’t stop bawling because of a poor patient outcome, he held me and promised me that it was a good thing I cared so much. It’s important to have a strong support system and Hassan provided me with that.
Fast forward to today. The comments still come from certain people. Hassan’s been asked why he married a doctor, who cooks for him when I’m always working, doesn’t it annoy him that I’m always so busy, etc. etc. I’m sure it would bother a lot of men that there are days they go without seeing their wives. I’ve been blessed though, because to Hassan the most important thing is watching me accomplish my goals and pushing me to keep going when I want to stop.
As a woman in medicine there are circumstances that are unique to female physicians, but not only has Hassan always stood by my side, he’s encouraged me to take the lead too.
About the author:
After completing school and training in Buffalo, Grenada and Brooklyn, Dr. Nabeela Patail now works as a physician in New York City. She and her husband share a passion for Medicine, Travel, Health & Wellness and you can follow along at www.thedoctorspatail.com