Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Anger Be Gone

I wish there were a magic pill to make certain feelings go away. The closest thing I have found is this blog. I briefly thought about removing my last post in it's entirety. That act seemed akin to ripping out a page of a journal, and I can't do that. What I felt and wrote were real and honest. It is what it is, and I don't want to pretend my feelings were perfect.

Having said that, I am coming to terms with my part in this arrangement. I shoulder much of the blame. Call it a strength or a weakness, I am an independent person. I like paving my own way, doing things on my own terms, and taking care of myself and my family. I feel immense pride in making hard decisions, doing without, and doing whatever it takes to make it work with minimal impact to others. My point of view sees that as the right way to do things. If you can't find a way to get it yourself, maybe you don't really need it. Self-reliance and independence could very well be my motto. I understand not everyone has the same view of the world and how life should be lead. I shouldn't judge others for not seeing the world as I see it. I happen to see everything in black and white, wrong and right (by my own definitions of course).

I love my in-laws. In some ways I prefer their visits to my own parents. They are good conversationalists and I have enjoyed their company immensely. When they visit I realize how little adult conversation I have during the week.  They are generous and kind. I know they love us and their grandchildren. If they ever were to discover my thoughts about this situation I would be embarrassed and ashamed to have felt them. As I have thought about why, the only reason I can think of is that it would destroy this image I have created for myself. How would they think of me after that?

To be fair, they have offered to help us in the past, but I have been so determined to do it on our own that we have turned down those offers. When we were getting ready to purchase our home (big mistake I often refer to) my father-in-law offered to help with our down payment. While that would have been nice I couldn't in good conscience agree to that. If we needed help maybe we shouldn't be buying a house or maybe we needed to reconsider the house we were buying. After all they had done in letting us live rent free in their second home accepting further help was out of the question. We had finished medical school it was time to start living like adults and being responsible.

They offered to help a second time when shortly after purchasing our home we needed a new roof. Again, accepting that help would have been convenient - but my prevailing thoughts were we need to do whatever it takes to make this work on our own, we can't be running every time life gets hard. I went to work part-time from home. We made the hard choices, and put on a new roof.

Perhaps my in-laws have grown weary of offering help when we have refused it in the past. Maybe they are so generous and so willing to help that they will give it to anyone, and my sister-in-law is the only one who is asking and pleading her case. I still don't agree with much about that situation, but it isn't my concern, I need to learn to let it go.

I've mentioned my tendency to take on the role of the martyr. Occasionally, it would be nice for someone to acknowledge the sacrifices we've made, the things we have done without, and offer to relieve some of our burden. To take the weight that we've been carrying for five years, and will carry for at least one more, and tell us we've done a good job, and make it go away for a while. The crux of the matter is I am not willing to ask. My pride won't let me. We have come so far. That is also part of the problem. I am growing weary of always doing without. I can see the light at the end of the tunnel, it is coming to an end, but I don't know if I have the strength and discipline to endure.

Even if I could somehow swallow my pride and ask for help, I wouldn't be able to accept it without a promise of repayment. That is just who I am. So in the end I am jealous because some people are perfectly willing to ask for help, accept help, receive it as that and move on. I won't ask and they won't offer. I can't blame anyone but myself.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Squeaky Wheels

I am a spoiled brat, but what I am not is a squeaky wheel. While I am spoiled, I don't actually get any of the spoils because I don't squeak.

For the last week I've heard about all the things my in-laws do for their daughter and her children. They talk about their two other grandchildren as if they are their own children. I don't envy my sister-in-laws life, I really don't. What I do envy is the attention she gets. It's not enough that she gets all of their time, but now their resources as well. I would love to scream.... we are struggling here! Genuinely struggling. And not because we took too many vacations, or didn't go to work this week, or refuse to take our kids out of expensive programs. We are doing without instead of squeaking! We are making the hard choices! But that would be squeaking, and I don't do that. It's not in my nature. What is in my nature is to be the silent martyr, secretly begrudging the one who receives and the ones that cannot see our needs because they are so consumed by the needs of another. Once again, this is why this blog exists: to say all the things I would never make vocal to any living, breathing person. Get it out of my system and move on.

I've already ranted about how expensive our life has been as of late. Between tax hikes, commuter travel, fellowship interviews, student loans coming due, a million dollar baby, etc we are running on empty. And even though we've expressed all of that in a casual way, it doesn't seem to generate the type of sympathy that someone else saying it would. What makes things worse is that we have upcoming expenses that mean we will be doing without for a long while still.

My daughter won't be taking ballet lessons this year. Lessons that she loves, and enjoys, and wants to take. Lessons that her grandparents pay for their other grandchildren.

My children won't be going to summer camp, or day camp, or any type of paid anything. They never have, because we've never had the money to do that. But the grandparents help with their other grand-children's "tuition" for preschool and after school care in addition to being their childcare providers a couple times a week.

Our house payments continue to rise because of property taxes. They just bought a house for their daughter to live in a few miles from their own home. She'll pay rent, but with their generous down-payment and mortgage terms it is significantly less than our mortgage payment by about $400. Having parents as a landlord isn't really the same as making payments to a bank. I have a feeling they'll be more forgiving.

We're getting so "cost-conscious" that I'm even using cloth diapers for our baby. If that doesn't say things are getting bad around here, I don't know what does! Although, now that I've been using them I really like them and the money we'll be saving.

When we are out shopping, they are always keeping their eye out for things their other grandchildren need. One year while visiting, my mother-in-law bought all her grand-daughters school uniforms for the year. My kids are outgrowing their shoes. Another time around christmas, she was looking specifically for a bath robe one of the girls wanted. I know we don't get that same kind of thought, mostly because they don't spend enough time with our kids to know what they want or like.

Maybe spoiled isn't really the word to describe what I am feeling. Maybe jealous would be more appropriate. And while I hate to admit it, I am. I've never met anyone in my entire life who seemed to get whatever she wants and do whatever she wants, seemingly without consequence. Who wouldn't want that? She is in Los Angeles today getting her eye-lash extensions touched up! Yes, I am jealous!

These aren't even my parents, (my parents wouldn't do this for any of their kids). Why am I so concerned? Because I've always viewed my husband and I as the responsible ones. We save, we don't go into debt, we do without, we plan ahead and yet we don't ever really get ahead. She spends, files bankruptcy, does whatever she wants and always seems to come out on top. It's one of those situations where the good guy always finishes last. One of these days I'd like to finish first. And maybe that is ultimately the problem. The people in our lives already see us as finishing first. I mean my husband is a doctor (I hate that rationale)! In a few short years (it feels short for them) he will be drawing a nice paycheck and all that we've done without will be made right. I don't know if that is what they really think, but maybe it is. I'm certainly not going to ask.

And then I try to remind myself that they have spoiled us. They let us live in their second home for 2 years rent-free while my husband finished medical school and I stayed home with our baby. They purchased a van for us when our family was expanding. They visit twice a year and buy us groceries and take us out to eat and fix things around the house. Why can't I be more grateful for what they have done?  Because I keep score. What they do for their other grandchildren outweighs anything they have done or will do for our children. Keeping score is never a good idea, especially when dealing with family, but as hard as I try I can't help it. I wish my children had access to their grandparents to the same extent that their cousins do. I wish they knew my children the same way, and thought about them as often. I wish they knew what our life was really like, what our bank account looked like, and how my heart breaks every time they compare my children with theirs (I mean their grandchildren). And yet, I would be mortified if they ever found out how I felt. What a mess I have made for myself.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

In Praise of Motherhood

Recently I read a blog post about feelings of inadequacy that got me thinking about some of my own insecurities. One of which hinges on the fact that I haven't completed my senior year of college (yet) and I haven't been a student since 1998. I have 36 credit hours left to finish. I have thought about going back on and off for years but the timing hasn't been right. Two years ago I even reapplied and was going to take my final classes online. Then I got the tuition payment and couldn't go through with it. I've come to the realization that my season will come, and when it does I will have the money and time to do it and get it done.

I don't usually think much about it, but there are those occasions when I feel like a complete and utter failure. It doesn't last long, but it happens. There are two questions on most surveys that really get me. One is your age range... I've just moved into another bracket, depending on the survey design. The other is highest level of education completed. I always have to mark some. I try to remind myself that what I am doing right now is what I have always wanted to do, but I still feel like I have left something important undone and that the person reading the survey is shaking their head at my incompetence. I am married to a doctor for heavens sake, shouldn't I have some credentials to make me worthy of being with him? Ridiculous thought, I know.

A few years ago I read a wonderful book by Jane Clayson Johnson, formerly a national television anchor, who left her job when she became a mother. The title was "I Am A Mother".  In it she talks about hearing women describe who they are as "I used to be such and such, but now I am just a mother". Her point is that there is nothing "just" about being a mother. That the role of a mother is suffering from negative perceptions by the very people who are engaged in that life-long occupation.

I find myself doing the same thing. I used to be an Operations Manager for a national bank making more than my doctor husband does right now. (That part I do find ironic). I used to have a paycheck with benefits and vacation time. Why does what I did over 6 years ago make any difference now? What am I trying to prove to anyone or myself? I know that what I am doing right now does make a difference. That even though there is no monetary compensation, no benefits, no expense account, no paid time off, I wouldn't trade my responsibilities now for any of that. It was my choice to stop working when we had children.

Do I have regrets? YES. I wish that I would have buckled down and finished school during the season that was allotted to me more than a decade ago. Instead I made a few wrong turns along the way, got sidetracked, was blinded by a good job, other responsibilities and experiences that helped shape my character and my desires. I don't regret starting a family the same year we were married. I don't  regret giving up a paycheck when we didn't have one. I don't regret having the number of children that we do as close together as we do. There isn't anything about the way my life has turned out that I regret. Not ever.

I may be a mother, but I will never be "just" a mother to anyone. To my husband and children I am engaged in the most important work that they, and I, will ever benefit from. I am proud of what I do. I think I do my job well (most days). I know my family will be blessed by my commitment to motherhood. And I also believe that one day I will finish my education and then some if I want. Because a mother can do anything. She is the closest thing to a superhero the world has ever known.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Good with the Bad

It's time for a little gratitude and some reality, too.

I have been blessed with good parents and in-laws. My mother was here for 23 days and my father for 10 days entertaining my three children so I could take care of our newborn and my own recovery. We are three weeks out and I am feeling much better. My in-laws came in on Friday and will be here for another two weeks. Their visits are always a blessing to us.

Perhaps I am more grateful because we don't see them very often. I wonder if my sisters and sister-in-law, who have constant interactions with their parents, realize how good they have it. Probably not. The only way to appreciate what you have is to live with it's absence. Not just for a weekend, but for months and years. We really appreciate them!

I am particularly grateful because they are here for me, even if they think they are here for the grandkids. It has been 8 days since I last left the house and probably that long since I last put on make-up or blow-dried/styled my hair! It's not pretty, but it is clean. Their first day here my father-in-law asked for a grocery list and took my son to Sam's club and came back with copious amounts of delicious foods. We will not be running out of corn dogs any time soon!

Today is Sunday and they took the kids to church, yeah! The baby is napping and I've been able to catch up on some phone calls, and of course this blog. As we were getting ready I was already thinking ahead to two weeks from now when the responsibility of getting 4 kids and myself ready for church is mine alone. How is that going to happen? It's a good thing we have afternoon church at 1 pm, if it were any earlier I doubt we would make it before it was over.

This weekend has been a rough one for the doctor in our house. He was/is on call this weekend and he has been busy. He worked all day Friday and then had one of the junior residents take his call for a few hours so he could pick up his parents at the airport. On the way back from the airport he was called in. He took his parents to the ER while he evaluated a patient. They got home at 10:30 pm. He was home that night for an hour before being called back out. I think he slept maybe 5 hours that night.

First thing Saturday he was back at the hospital at 6 am, had two cases, and didn't get home until 7:00 pm. He had dinner with us, and then was called back to the hospital. He didn't get home until 12:30 am. I think he slept maybe 4 hours that night. Early this morning he had a call from the hospital about the patient he saw the previous night. He left at 5:30 am and we haven't seen him since.

I was worried about him about 10:30 this morning and called his cel phone only to get his nurse who confirmed that he would be in surgery for another hour. I have a feeling things haven't gone well. It is several hours later and still we haven't heard from him. I think he has seen his parents for a total of 4 hours (and that may even be too generous an estimate) over the last 48 hours.

I am still worried for him. He hasn't slept, he is exhausted. At the same time, I am so glad that his parents are here to keep me company, entertain my kids, help with the house and the grocery shopping. And I'm also glad that they get to see what our life is. People have a tendency to forget when they can't see what it looks like, what it feels like. It isn't always this way, but it is often enough that it has become normal for us. I am also glad they are here because I don't know how I would manage the demands of a newborn and my three kids alone right now. I am worried/terrified about how I am going to do it when they leave in two weeks.

But today I am trying my hardest to just be grateful that they are here and not worry so much about what will happen when they are gone.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Million Dollar Baby

Our baby girl may not actually cost us a million dollars, but what is the difference between a million and some other amount when you don't have it!

If you missed the post about the baby we had, she was born three weeks ago tomorrow. She is perfect in every way. Thank heavens! Yesterday was not perfect, however. My parents (live in childcare providers/entertainers for the last 3 weeks) left the Midwest for their home in the Southwest and I received the first of many bills that are coming my way. Double whammy!

As some background, the hospital we are "employees" of merged with another larger hospital last year and introduced a new health plan - only one option: take it or leave it. I would have thought with a bigger pool of covered employees, all forced into the same plan, there would be some improvements over the last plan. Wrong. They disguised an awful plan with beautiful brochures and advertisements. They should have saved that money and put more into their plan!

This isn't the first baby we've had mind you. We now have four, all by c-section. The first was born during a year off of medical school between 3rd and 4th year and we had insurance from the University my husband was doing research at. That birth was FREE, covered 100%, no deductible, no co-pay, nada! Our next two were born during residency under the hospitals previous insurance plan and each cost us about $2,500 out of pocket. I thought that was bad... turns out that was nothing compared to the bad news we just got.

Tuesday we received an information sheet from Blue Cross Blue Shield. You know the one that says This is Not A Bill - but is a foreshadowing of what is going to come. It showed what was billed and what they covered with an "amount you may owe provider". I showed it to my husband and about passed out. He responded optimistically with "that may not be the actual amount we owe". I said "we'll see". And we did... yesterday. Our first bill from the OB/GYN for obstetric care only showed the amount we owed, after insurance did their part, was $2,682.59. Do we really have insurance? That is more than we paid total for our other births. And that doesn't include the other bills that are coming: the anesthesiologist, the pediatrician, the hospital stay, etc.

When we found out we were expecting we immediately started saving for this particular expense. I wanted to have the money for the baby saved before she was born so we wouldn't have that particular stress to deal with. I thought we were being responsible, and we were. So the day we walked into the hospital I had $2,500 saved to cover what I thought (hoped) would be our expenses. After seeing this first bill it is obvious we won't have near enough.

I immediately sent the doctor/husband a text with a picture of the bill. He called when he could and I was still crying. I asked him, when he had a moment, to make a visit to the HR department and find out exactly how bad this is going to be. It's going to be bad. Let me explain how this plan works.

After our annual deductible for our family of $3,200 is met, we pay 10% (and that is the discounted rate for using this hospital instead of another) until we hit the magic number of $4,000 out of pocket expenses for the year. After which, all further expenses are covered at 100% for the year. That means our contribution to this is a maximum of $7,200 each year that we require services. And then they do something rather clever, or sneaky, depending on how you look at it. They give each family a Deductible Reimbursement Account and contribute $1,200 to it automatically. Why not just reduce our deductible? Then you can subject yourself to health screenings and get another $600 upon completion. Currently, my husband has been screened and is having phone counseling sessions to get this money. We just found out I can be screened as well and hopefully get another $600 for our DRA. So the math now changes to $7,200 minus the $1,200 they automatically give, minus the $600 for each of us, assuming we pass the screenings and undergo necessary counseling/coaching sessions, bringing our out of pocket totals to $4,800! I am pretty certain we'll meet that number, or at least close to it. With just one bill we are already more than half way there. Oh, and our annual premiums are another $4,000.

I am MAD! After complaining to HR about the situation they retorted that he should talk to housekeeping. Sarcasm, that's helpful. Meaning that they make less than he does and have the same coverage. I'd like to slap them. Housekeeping staff may have the same insurance but they can't compare the two! They suggested he could ask the doctors for professional discounts. That's a great idea, but why should I ask the doctors to reduce their fee? It isn't their fault the insurance the hospital provides is awful. And someday my husband will actually be the beneficiary of his own billing. The doctor isn't to blame.

I will have no problem whatsoever asking the hospital to reduce their portion of the bill for us, and this is why: They have taken our father/husband from us for the past 5 years. He works upwards of 80 hours a week without adequate compensation for his time. The don't allow him to moonlight as a way to increase his earnings so we can pay for our out of pocket health care expenses. Is that the same for housekeeping? I don't think so! They get overtime, shift differentials, and can have another job if they want. Last I checked we didn't have that same luxury. It is insulting!

I was already pregnant when they switched insurance plans, there wasn't much I could do. And maybe that is my real issue. I believe maternity care should be treated differently than other medical procedures. Maybe that is influenced by my pro-life stance. A pregnancy isn't a disease. Or maybe by my belief that a baby who provides joy to a family shouldn't come with a price-tag that requires financing. And I don't believe that the number of babies that would be born by members of this plan would be so great that covering those expenses in their entirety would bankrupt the insurance company or the hospital. I'm tired of giving all my money and my husband to the hospital. What is left for us?

I told my husband something needs to be done! What? I don't know. I'd like to give the hospital administration, and the program director a piece of my mind - and maybe I will. If nothing else I feel like this program should be obligated to disclose their horrible insurance plan to residents contemplating this program before the match. Or they should compensate their residents proportionately with the annual out of pocket maximums. It's not enough that we live in a state with one of the highest tax rates (both personal and property) that eat away at our income, now this. I can't wait to get out of here! 11 months and 15 days.

So today my husband is removing two brain tumors. All the while he is worrying about his wife and how we are going to come up with the extra money to pay for this beautiful baby. Doesn't seem fair for the patient, the doctor, or his family. Yes, he is a doctor and we have the worst medical insurance I have ever heard of - what is wrong with this picture?

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

You Are Drunk... Thanks

One of the things that I hate most about call from home is having our husband/father taken away from us because someone had too much to drink and fallen down a flight of stairs, or had an auto accident while intoxicated, or jumped off a balcony because they thought they could fly. Those are all real reasons why the doctor has been called into the ER in the middle of the night for a head/neck/back consult. I hear the stories all the time, which leads me to believe that 2 out of 3 calls he takes are due to alcohol consumption.

I would love to tell these people how I really feel. Do they have any idea how their actions affect others? I know they don't care and they will never see the situation from my point of view, but darn it don't we count. Is it fair that their actions may mean that my husband will get less sleep, see less of his family, and be out on the road with all the other drunks in the middle of the night? Ok, that might be a little over board.

If they must drink to excess and harm themselves can't they do it during the day instead of at night? Is that too much to ask? Probably, yes. So we'll continue to sacrifice sleep and time with family so they can freely consume without regard for the doctors wife. Selfish of me, isn't it.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Strangely Suited

After my post yesterday I realized that my personality is strangely suited for the life of a residents wife.

I've had a lot of time to think about myself. Not in the selfish sense, but I've had a lot of opportunities for self-reflection and discovery of who I am over the years. If I know one thing it is that I am a rock. I am the solid foundation in my families life. A source of consistency and regularity. The glue that keeps our family running on schedule and on time, bills paid and food on the table. I am no-nonsense, practical, and efficient.

I like being in charge and running the show, which is a good thing because those responsibilities would fall to me whether I like it or not. I enjoy silence, stillness, and peace. The family is at church, the baby is asleep, and I have complete silence. It is wonderful. More specifically though, I am thinking about all the nights I've had when the doctor has been working and the kids have been in bed, and I am alone. Sure it would be nice to be with the husband too, but a nice quiet evening to myself is often better. It doesn't matter what I am doing, if it is quiet and there is no one around to interrupt me I am in heaven. Silence is my drug of choice, and I'm addicted. It is in rare supply and doesn't come around as often as I would like with four kids - but when I am lucky enough to get it, I remember why I like it so much.

My husband also has made the connection between my need for less stimulation and is quick to provide relief when he can. A happy mom and wife makes a happy family. Occasionally, that means we forfeit our limited time together, but I need it.

While I might complain about the life of a residents wife (and family), I realize that this lifestyle is perfectly suited for me. It makes the best use of my strengths while giving me time to work on those weaknesses that only I can see. My husband thinks I am perfect. It's a good thing he doesn't work from home, that illusion might be dispelled!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Happy Day

Technically it is happy birthday to me and while I should be celebrating I am feeling guilty. Why? Because my idea of celebrating is complete silence, alone time, and a clean house. So I just sent my husband, our three kids, and my parents out for the afternoon without me.

I complain because we don't get to see our family (or husband) often enough, and now that they are here today all I really want is to be alone. Same thing for Mother's Day, Valentines Day, Christmas. Any holiday that usually comes with gifts or favors. Probably because true alone time, just me myself and I, is in short supply around here. That and because I am used to just having me and the kids around all day when more people are in the house I start getting a little claustrophobic and need to breathe.

My house hasn't been cleaned in two weeks and trying to clean with a house full of people is nearly impossible. So for my birthday I am putting our new baby to bed with a prayer that she will sleep and I am going to clean this house and enjoy a few hours of peace and quiet before they all come home and chaos ensues once again.

While anxiously anticipating this silence I still feel like a big party pooper - I hope that feeling doesn't last for too long because I made chocolate chip cookies last night and they might disappear fast if I don't snap out of it. Time to start working in silence!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

One Step Forward, Two Steps Back

I feel bad for my husband. The week after our baby was born he had a gift of 6 days off before starting his chief year. But, the life of a busy doctor means that even when there is time to be had that isn't at the hospital there is all the catching up stuff that eats away at that time. Towards the end of the week I could tell he was getting particularly stressed and there wasn't anything that I could do. There wasn't anything he could do either.

He had agreed to write a book chapter for his attending, and it would be one more publication to his name. He needed to work on that. There were the phone calls that needed to be made to Sallie Mae because they messed up yet again. There were new white coats to order. There was always something to keep him occupied. He lamented that one of these days he'd like to have a day to just do whatever he wants to instead of all the things he has to do. I don't know when that day will come, or if it will every come. When you work 80 hours a week when do you find time to do anything else?

I know how stressful it is to be the wife of a resident, but this was the first time I got to see how stressful it is to be the resident and not have enough hours in the day, even on your day off, to take care of the things that back-up because you are at work and can't get to them. There is only so much I can do for him.

I'll try to remember how little he gets to do for himself the next time I start beginning to feel like I need a break. The poor guy doesn't get one and is always playing catch up.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

It's All Coming Back Now

For the past six months my husband was doing an internal complex spine fellowship in a neighboring city. The best part of that experience was NO CALL! That's right, for six months he was not carrying a pager. It was heaven. The worst part was that because there was a commute involved he was still gone all the time, and it happened at the same time as gas prices spiked - for the household finance manager, not a good six months.

But back to my reason for bringing this up. While being a chief resident is spectacular (I just checked out his call schedule, which he made, and he is only officially on call for 6 days this month - that has never happened) I can tell it is also going to be rough. The flip-side of this light scheduled call is that as chief he is really on call every day. At least one attending doesn't want a junior resident calling until they have cleared everything with the chief. So, being chief is also much like being a baby-sitter.

Yesterday the husband and I ran an errand. Not a long one. We left the house with our new baby to spend some alone time at Sam's club (our version of a hot afternoon date). As we are getting ready to check out he gets the call. Remember, he isn't on call (but he is). So after loading up the car we swing by the ER so he can evaluate the patient with the resident who is uncertain. He always says it will take 10 minutes, but it is nearly always two or three times longer. The patient is admitted and scheduled for surgery. Between the calls and texts with the resident and attending, a good portion of "our time" was taken up with "doctor time". I could have been upset or put out, but it rarely makes anything better. Honestly, those emotions weren't even a temptation. It is what it is, and maybe that's a sign that I've gotten used to it.

This scenario has been played hundreds of time during our residency. I should also add that the residents here are able to take call from home - that piece of information is important. Without fail, any time we planned to do something together, as a family, with friends, regardless of how big or how small - it seemed that the patient population of this town knew he was on call and immediately needed to go to the ER. Or at least that is how it seemed.

I had completely forgotten and now it is all coming back to me. But that's OK. We somehow managed before and we will again. I wouldn't change a thing - we are almost done! Only 360 days left as a resident, but who is counting?

I am:-)

Saturday, July 2, 2011

House Calls

Being married to a doctor does come with certain benefits that no other profession can claim, namely the house call. Being that the doctor resides in the same home as the patient it is rather convenient.

I had a baby last week. I know! She is lovely and wonderful in every way. I also had a c-section which means recovery from major abdominal surgery. Not so great. While I couldn't get my dear husband to get me stronger pain medication, what I did receive was priceless.

My discharge orders after leaving the hospital were 1) see the pediatrician this week and 2) have the staples removed at the OBGYN office. The good little patient I was I called both offices on Monday morning and made my appointments. Wednesday (the first day I put on clothes) was the pediatrician visit. Friday was going to be the OBGYN visit. But, I had forgotten that Friday was also dear husbands first day as Chief Resident so he wouldn't be available to help carry the baby. Its back to the real world for both of us.

My mother is here and I suppose all 6 of us could have gone to the appointment, but that didn't sound like fun. I can't carry the baby and stuff by myself, I can't drive yet, and basically I can't do a whole lot. As I was trying to figure out what to do my husband said "why don't you just let me remove your staples". What a great idea! I cancelled my appointment, he came home Friday night with the staple remover and some steri-strips and what would have been an ordeal was a complete dream. I didn't have to get dressed or leave the house and in 5 minutes it was done. I am feeling better already.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Hail To The Chief!

Let me begin by saying that today is the day I have been waiting for! The last 5 years have been leading up to this moment, and I couldn't be happier that it is here. From Intern, to Resident, and finally Chief!

What is so great about being the Chief Resident? Let me tell you why "the Chief's" wife thinks it is so awesome: The chief is responsible for making the call schedule. Ergo, the chief's wife gets to have some input. This month it means no call for our daughters birthday, the 4th of July weekend, no call on my birthday, no call on his birthday. Finally, our family schedule is consulted before his work schedule! After five years of being at the whim of another residents scheduling preferences, it is our turn.

Of course being Chief also comes with it's own headaches. Like being responsible for junior residents and medical students, and being the "man" who is on the receiving end of the attendings fury. I'm OK with that. A small price to pay.

So today I am going to bask in the glow that is our final year of residency and I'll try not to think about the upcoming fellowship. 365 days and residency will be a thing of the past. I made it!