Romford, my home for the next three months.

Romford, my home for the next three months.

So I’m finally here in Romford, and a week into my surgical training. Romford is a great place, with lots of shopping streets, malls, and markets, and of course, that marvelous British accent. Most of us AUC students live just down the street from the hospital, in fairly new accomodations, and within short walking distance from these lively commercial areas.  I also just signed up for a gym that’s right across the street. Despite all of these convenient amenities, comforts, and exciting new adventure possibilities of living in a new country, I haven’t been feeling all too excited this time around, and not enjoying it as much as I wished I could. One thing is missing… my wife.

Before we got married, Irene and I had done long distance for quite a long time. When I was in St. Maarten, she was in Miami. We would visit each other during the breaks, and sometimes even during the school year. We had Skype, and we were only an hour time difference from each other. Long distance relationships seemed so easy back then. However, once I left the island, we immediately got married, found a home for the two of us and meow meow, and moved in together. She is my best roommate, and I quickly grew to become so used to living with her everyday. It felt right. I eventually did most of my rotations in Miami (with a few short rotations elsewhere), and after a year and a few months of living together in our home in Miami, she graduated and I moved onto my current rotation in Romford. We moved out of our Miami home, our first home together as a married couple. Although I have a new temporary home now in Romford, I feel homeless without Irene here.

Perhaps its because I haven’t had as much chance to talk to my wife as she is studying to take her PA national certification exam (PANCE) next week. I’m worrying a lot for her. Perhaps it’s the time zone difference, culture shock, or cold, dry climate I’m not used to. Perhaps its the stress of adjusting to my new rotation and attending I’m working with. Or perhaps it’s because I have so many things on my mind, like my upcoming Step 2 CS exam, surgery shelf exam, elective rotations I’m trying to schedule myself, finding time to study, saving money amid an ever-accumulating debt, finding time to exercise and stay healthy, and worrying how Irene is going to pass the time while I’m at the hospital when she comes to visit next week.

I usually love exploring new places, but at the moment, I’m not really in the mood. In the meantime, I’ve been distracting myself from my homesickness by studying more, until I fall asleep, and staying at the hospital longer than usual. Last night (Friday), I chose to stay at the hospital to help out my resident until 8pm, and today I went into the hospital to scrub into some surgeries, even though it’s a weekend. Among all the things I’m not used to in this new place, seeing patients is the one thing I’m comfortable doing here so far, and it helps me connect with what I’m used to back home.

I can’t wait until Irene comes next weekend, after she finishes her big licensing exam. I hope she does well, and whatever the outcome is, I’m still really proud of her anyway. The alignment of our paths is uncertain for the next few months after this rotation. Perhaps we’ll be thrown into long distance again depending on where she finds a job, and where I eventually schedule the rest of my rotations. For the time being when she comes next week until we leave London together in April, we’ll have to hold onto our shared sense of home together while we still have a chance.

6 comments to Homesick

  • Allysha

    Hey Benji! Remind yourself that you are doing all the right things and that is all you can do during this tough period. You are remaining focused at the hospital as a good medical student should be, taking care of yourself, being a supportive husband to Irene and serving as a great role model for all of us AUC-ers. Just hang in there, it’ll all work out just fine! Hope you cheer up soon and good luck to Irene on her exam! 🙂


    • Benji

      Thank you Allysha! The second week in, I’m getting more used to this rotation and this place, and looking forward to Irene coming tomorrow! In terms of rotation, this week has been really cool… I got to scrub in and assist in an open abdominal aortic repair, extended hemicolectomy, transmetatarsal amputation, and many other surgeries. My attending even let me handle the laparoscopic tool for a little bit during a laparoscopic cholecystectomy… I used the tools to grab the newly resected gallbladder and insert it into this bag to be pulled out of the abdomen. It really wasn’t much, but it was the highlight of my week.

  • Inica Gungho

    So sweet <3 🙂 I cannot wait to be with you again, Benji!

  • Sunny

    Do you have to rent apartments when you go to different clinical rotations in different areas?

    • Benji

      Hi Sunny,
      Accommodation is not included in your clinical tuition so you must find housing yourself. Some hospitals may have student/staff housing but you’d have to pay for it.

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