“I am going to medical school: will I ever find love or will I always be seen as a Meal Ticket?”
“Are female doctors less likely to get married than women in other careers?“
You’ve heard of love and marriage, but what about love and medicine? Is it possible? Are the two entities mutually exclusive? Finding love while pursuing one’s career can be challenging (to say the least). The median age for first marriage is 28.2 years for males and 26.1 for females. Considering that future physicians, dentists, pharmacists, and other health-care professionals usually find their noses stuck in a book from 22 – 26; and beyond, for those who will pursue residency, wondering when you’ll find time for love is a legitimate concern.
This month, in a nod to Valentine’s Day, we’ll feature several couples who managed to start and maintain happy healthy relationships despite the rigors of pursuing a professional degree.
Abdelle L. Ferdinand Cheres hails from the beautiful twin Caribbean islands of Trinidad and Tobago. She is a 2005 graduate of Oakwood College, where she majored in Biochemistry. After doing internship in Trinidad, she went on to do medical oncology. She will be starting her internal medicine residency in Cleveland, OH in June. In her spare time she likes to play the clarinet and piano, do all sorts of puzzles, read John Grisham books, play tennis and watch football (EAGLES!).
Christ-Roi Cheres is from Haiti. After completing residency in Brooklyn, NY, he moved on to work as a hospitalist in Alliance, OH. In his spare time he likes to play soccer, play various games on the Wii, watch the news, read, take long walks, teach Abdelle Creole and have fun with his wife.
HealthOU: So, how did you two meet?
Abdelle: Christ-Roi and I officially met on the fourth floor of Coney Island hospital in Brooklyn, NY. I was a third year medical student and he was a first year resident.
HealthOU: Was it love at first sight 🙂 ?
Abdelle: I was not attracted to him right away. At the time I was just focused on finishing and doing well in medical school. It took me a really long time to finally figure out who he was trying to be. Dating men was the FURTHEST thing from my mind.
Christ-Roi: I think Abdelle was attracted to me right away. For months she would stare at me in the elevator and in the cafeteria. She was too shy to say hello though. As for me, I cannot say that I was immediately attracted to her because she was in a “short coat”
HealthOU: Did the fact that he was the intern and you were the medical student affect your feelings for each other or how you two interacted with each other?
Abdelle: As I stated previously, I honestly did not have feelings for Christ-Roi until WAY after we met. I had no interest in dating. Our interactions remained casual – talking in hallways, talking at the bus stop, etc. Eventually we started going to church together. Our interactions were not at all hindered because he was an intern.
Christ-Roi – Yes, I had to maintain my professionalism even though I liked her a little. The more we interacted, the more she opened up. She was always smiling at me and I got to know who she was. She was a smart, eloquent, bright, beautiful, charming woman. She had a magnetic personality that drew me closer and closer.
HealthOU: Did you wait until after you were no longer on service together to start dating?
Abdelle: We started dating after I completed my internal medicine rotation and started surgery. We were never together during internal medicine and we were never on the same team. We worked on the same floor of the hospital but different teams for a month. In ICU, he worked at night and I worked during the day.
HealthOU: How long were you guys long distance?
Christ-Roi: We were long distance for 2 years.
HealthOU: How did you handle the challenges of being long distance on top of busy schedules of two residents?
Abdelle: Those years were difficult. Thanks to God, MagicJack, Skype, expensive phone bills, and high tech phones, we were able to maintain and grow our relationship. Fortunately, my schedule allowed me to have a week off every three months so I would frequently fly to NY to visit him. He would also fly to Trinidad during his vacations. Sometimes it got frustrating, especially given the time change, because when I’m on call, he’s not. When I’m post call and tired, he’s now about to go to work. However, the sacrifices were well worth it. Even when we were both tired, the desire was always there to communicate. I remember falling asleep on the phone many times J
HealthOU: What are some of the benefits / challenges to dating or marrying someone in the medical profession?
Abdelle: I never wanted to marry another doctor because I always felt that we would talk about medicine all day. However, since he was always a few years ahead of me, he challenges me daily to know and study more. Also, because he has been where I have been, he’s a great support system and there is never a short fuse when I’m just too tired to do anything.
Christ-Roi: Because we are in the same field, we always have something to talk about. In addition, we further each other’s knowledge and keep the other sharp. I also think that having a wife who knows the demands of the profession is a bonus especially when issues could easily arise regarding working hours.
HealthOU: Thank you both so much for sharing your story. Blessings to you in the upcoming year!
*A big thanks to Dr. and Dr. Cheres for sharing their story with us, look out for more stories of love and medicine this week. *
Happy Valentine’s Day !