The dawn of a new era.

For once, instead of opening a can of baked beans to feed Amanda and myself, I have to boil rice and cook three other dishes since His Royal Highness will be dining with us. No longer is it fine to stay out at other people’s homes until the police come searching for us because he’ll be home much earlier than he used to. In the past, I’d be happy if I saw my husband once every third day but post FRACS exams, the landscape of our marriage and family life has changed altogether.

Not that I am complaining. For the past decade I have been His Royal Highness’ staunchest supporter and number one ally. I’ve advocated on his behalf, carried the parental load for the both of us, picked him up when he was down and nudged him to move when he had inertia. I’ve defended him against ignorantly unsympathetic people, friend and foe alike. Wouldn’t you say it’s about high time I had some company? No doubt this amount of togetherness will take some getting used to.



Pigs flew then they came to my party.

Two days ago, after ten and a half years of belly-crawling uphill, His Royal Highness and I arrived at what is the apex of his surgical career: his passing the notoriously tough exams for Fellowship to the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons, recognition by his peers that he is up to the job of performing surgery. To appreciate the magnitude of the event for us personally, here is a couple of paragraphs I shared with friends on facebook, thanking them for their congratulations and best wishes.

For those of you who know us well, or HRH from back when he was just a boy, this has been a very long and winding, not to mention difficult road. I don’t think he’d be pleased with me talking so publicly about his struggles, but I feel I must since this is the story of our lives together.

HRH did his 6th year medical exam twice, when almost everyone did it once, because his mother died while he was doing it the first time. Then after passing and moving to ADL, the local emergency director tried to stop him from getting into training. He moved to Victoria where he got into training and after a year, was told he needed to be a citizen or PR in order to proceed. He was neither, so we moved to NZ and back. In the meantime, he passed his first part but was threatened with expulsion if he should fail to get into advance training.

By some miracle, the law changed and we were granted PR. HRH applied to advanced training and just as he was about to resign himself to waiting another year AND being the longest serving resident ever, he was posted to Darwin and from there Cairns, then Townsville and finally Brisbane. Along the way, he had every brick and bat thrown at him from people who mistake his gentle, quiet demeanour, borne of a traditional Chinese education, as being unconfident and incompetent. Here, the talk is half the show and if you can’t talk, then everyone is going to overlook you in favour of someone who can.

This was HRH’s 4th attempt at the FRACS and everyone’s necks, including his bosses who supported his quest, were on the chopping block. I won’t pretend and say that I enjoyed spending the last 4 to 5 years ALONE but yesterday made it all worthwhile.

As an aside, I’ll add that the passing rate for FRACS exams this time around was 55% and that HRH was examined by the incoming chief examination officer, among others.

HRH choked with emotion at reading his FRACS exam results.

Men at home on a working weekday.

I know this title is bound to get under the skin of some househusbands, or wives of househusbands. But trust me, it has nothing to with people of either gender staying home to cook, clean and care for their family all day. It is about husbands who ordinarily go to work between the hours of nine and five, from Monday to Friday, staying home.

They may be sick, or in need of a day off, or like mine, about to sit for the Fellowship exam of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons  for the fourth time, but the one thing they have in common is that they expect you to put your day on hold, just because they are around. If unwell, they’ll whine like they are the first persons in the history of the world to ever have a cough, cold or a mild temperature. Fair enough if they have cancer, but the average husband who chucks a sickie doesn’t have that.

Sometimes they just feel like staying home. I’m all for spending time on the couch and holding hands but when they want to do it from drop off until pick up from school? Sometimes they don’t even want to hold hands. They just want you to drop everything, and I mean everything, to hear them whine about life, their hairline, their waistline, their work, while you wonder who’s going to pick up the bread and milk and put the trash out. I get that they want to connect and communicate like I’m doing now, but can we do this after I’ve had a chance to at least use the toilet?

For my part, inspiration for this entry came about when His Royal Highness asked me to look at him while he was speaking. In other words, give him my undivided attention. Mind you, I had woken at the usual time of seven, walked our daughter to school and walked myself home in the drizzling rain, opened my laptop expecting to do some writing when his insistent voice came from our couch.

“What’s more important than your husband?” is his favourite phrase. He’s a Leo. This morning it was, “What’s three more days?”

Nothing, if you have been spending weekdays and weekends by your self for the last five years! “Just concentrate on your exams,” said I, hoping he’d leave me alone.

“Come over here and let’s talk.”

“Why don’t you just, just, just … ” What was a good phrase for asking your spouse to get lost without hurting his feelings? “Just try and centre yourself. Meditate.”

“Come over here.”

“Look, I don’t want to get into an argument with you before the exam. If you keep insisting, I am going to get cross and we will have one.” Perhaps I was edgy because I had heard from his colleagues that he is as good an operator as those who passed on the first go, and if not for being continually picked on for his less than impressive command of English, would have long passed.

“Fine. Wake me up at eleven. My exam is at twelve.”

And with that good people of the world, peace was restored in the palace. His Royal Highness had his nap and I managed to get some work done.