Radiology Wife: Slinging Barium Birthday

August 29, 2011

But really, all this amounts to one big pile of negativity and I just don't want to wallow in it. Not on my birthday. Instead, I will let you glimpse the secret birthday rules. Make a copy; I have a feeling you'll need them later.

Happy birthday to me! Happy birthday to me! Happy birthday dear Elizabeth! Happy birthday to me! ???? Okay I'm done with my solo, but if you haven't guessed yet, today is my birthday. When I was younger this made me really excited but as I have gotten older this is no longer the case. Oh I get it, another woman that dreads growing older? Nope. Not really. Another woman married to a radiologist.

So what can I expect on my birthday? Nothing. I have even been requested to postpone the day until we have time to celebrate, which knowing how things go might be postponed until August 29th of next year. My husband is too busy "slinging barium" to make much of my special day. As a radiology resident he doesn't get a whole lot of time off for things such as birthdays, and as we speak he is driving home from a locums in another city. My babies are 1 and 3 so I am not looking for much celebratory action there. I might get a "happy birthday" out of the older daughter if I coach her enough.

But really, all this amounts to one big pile of negativity and I just don't want to wallow in it. Not on my birthday. Instead, I will let you glimpse the secret birthday rules. Make a copy; I have a feeling you'll need them later:

1. Get a present. I know this sounds like it goes without saying, but since there is no present waiting for me today I think this deserves to be Number One. You haven't thought to find out what she would like? You've been busy? I understand. Really I do. But get something. A card. Some candy. A token present with a note for her to go pick something out from you. Anything. It really is the thought that counts.

2. Be there for her, even if you are not. Sound confusing? I'll explain. If you cannot be home on your wife's birthday, arrange for something to be sent from you. Does she like a particular meal? Have it brought to her delivery! Does she like flowers? Have them sent! Does she want time alone? Arrange for a babysitter to arrive to watch the kids so she can go out. Show her that you are there for her even if you cannot be there.

3. Extend the celebration. I didn't say postpone. I said extend. If you cannot celebrate on the day (and you have already gotten a small gift and arranged for some fun to come to her) then offer to extend your wife's birthday to a whole weekend or week of celebration. Make a plan of what fun things you are going to do during that time so that she has something to look forward to.

Disclaimer for overworked barium slinging radiologists: Sir Humphrey Davy, the man responsible for bringing us barium, lost two fingers and an eye during his career. I assume that it was not due to incredible speed of his fluoroscopy procedures. Never the less, be careful radiologists. You have difficult, precise, and time consuming jobs. Even if you can't celebrate our birthdays we still love you fiercely (at least... I do). But please try to follow the birthday rules. We live in a society.

Elizabeth Goss, a.k.a. Radiology Wife, has a degree in writing, a radiologist husband, a radiologist father, two daughters, and a few things to tell you. As she puts it, “Both radiologists are Mayo Clinic trained so my osmotic-radiology is pretty hard core... as far as osmosis goes.”