is a Reference Librarian at the Albin O. Kuhn Library &
Gallery, University of Maryland, Baltimore County, Baltimore, MD.
She is also the Administrative Editor of this journal and is
married to Stuart E. Mirvis, MD, FACR, the Editor-in-Chief of
These observations, for what they are worth, may strike a
familiar chord with radiologists in our readership, but this might
also be a piece you'd like to share with your spouses or
significant others. They could probably affirm the validity of some
of what follows and might also appreciate realizing they are not
alone in dealing with these issues. As is probably true in any
medical specialty, we, the spouses of radiologists, accept the long
and often unpredictable hours the job entails. We have also become
used to the colorful shoptalk we hear in social settings. Many of
us can probably claim a bit of a second-hand medical degree based
on our familiarity with anatomical lingo. But, for some of us, the
descriptions of X-rays of pencils sticking out of someone's eye
socket become tedious after a while.
Speaking of social settings, even without our spouses present,
we have learned to automatically clarify the profession. I'd like a
nickel for every time I've explained that a technician takes the
X-rays and a radiologist interprets the studies. I'm never fully
convinced my audience gets the point, however.
Being married to a radiologist can certainly have its perks.
There are often conferences in very nice places, and when we tag
along, these become great vacations. But really, who wants to visit
Chicago in late November? Ugh! So when we opt not to go to RSNA,
our spouses just have a great annual excuse to get out of leftover
turkey and the final days of relatives' visits.
You may not all experience this next tendency. When watching
television or a movie with your radiological significant other, are
X-ray films always hung backward or upside-down? I marvel at the
odds that none of them even inadvertently end up in the correct
Then there are those situations, such as on an airplane, when
the dreaded question is posed: "Is there a doctor on board?" Our
spouses face the age-old dilemma: Does a radiologist count? Should
they wait to see if a "clinical" physician steps forward before
they decide? Should they ask the flight attendant if there is a
multislice CT or state-of-the-art MR on board before they commit to
Radiologists seem to see the world in their own unique way. For
anyone who has ever navigated for a radiologist driving a car, you
know they can have a definite problem determining which way is
right versus left. Perhaps being accustomed to reading films in
reverse affects their view of reality from behind a steering wheel.
Radiologists can show impressive creativity in seeing familiar
shapes in things that the rest of us find shapeless. My husband
will sometimes point out animals and inanimate objects in clouds,
which just look like, well, clouds to me. He tells me that he often
sees animals, people, etc. in stomach and colon contents while
reading CT scans. This worries me.
Then there was the Scrabble problem. For years, he would always
get most of the
's, blanks, and high-scoring letters. That was when we turned the
tiles upside down in the box lid to select them. Now that we drop
them into a dark bag (not even lead-lined), the distribution works
out much more fairly. After years on the job, these people actually
acquire X-ray vision! By the way, I've stopped reaching for the
dictionary for all the obscure medical terms that show up on the
Finally, there is the issue (pun intended) of radiology journals
all over the house. Yes, even
American Journal of Roentgenology
in piles on coffee tables, countertops, and bathroom floors. That's
just one more hazard of being married to a radiologist. I imagine
other professions also have their share of unique concerns. All
things considered, radiologists are not so bad.