Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Feed Me

Over the last 7 years I have noticed some disparities between the food our family eats and the food the doctor eats. Ever since medical school he would go to these lavish dinner affairs where a pharmaceutical/device representative would pitch their goods and buy them fine foods. Then came the journal clubs held at nice restaurants, or guest speakers with formal dinners. While the DrH was eating prime rib his family was having hot dogs. He would be getting lobster fettuccine in cream sauce, we would be eating macaroni and cheese from a box. They would have sushi, we would have tuna from a can. What they were eating, and what the doctors family was eating were at two very different ends of the culinary spectrum.

My husband has always been aware of that fact, and would try to make amends for being away AND eating fine foods by bringing whatever he could home. He would order "too much" and bring me the left-overs. Or, after dinner would pack up what was left and take it to his starving family. I am sure the other residents thought he was 1) really hungry or 2) wasn't getting fed at home. And then I found out that he sometimes told people he was bringing food home for me. Probably to keep people from thinking that he was packing on the weight. That was mortifying. At one time, the office staff who were arranging the lunches/dinners would just put the left-overs in the fridge with his name on it. Embarrassing, but so good. I am positive they think I am a fatty because they never see me and my husband is always bringing me food. That and I am always sending baked goods with the DrH to work. Partly to keep me from eating them all, but I just make more!

Last night they had journal club at one of my favorite restaurants and he brought home some appetizers. Crab cakes, sweet potato tater tots (who knew - they are so good) and spinach/artichoke stuffed mushrooms. Yummy, but I had already eaten my bean burro for dinner.  I think they should invite the residents starving wife next time so I can enjoy it while it's hot:-)

Monday, August 29, 2011

Count On One Hand

From time to time I get asked how much my husband works. A LOT, doesn't really convey the magnitude. Honestly, I don't keep track anymore. When it comes down to it, I could try to count how many hours he is gone, but that has little meaning. Instead, I count the number of hours he is home when the kids are awake. The difference is needing both my hands and feet to count the one, versus one hand to count the other.

This week I decided I would keep track:

Sunday 2.5 hours 
Monday 0 hours
Tuesday 2 hours 
Wednesday 1.5 hours 
Thursday 0 hours
Friday 0 hours
Saturday 2 hours 

This week, he saw his children for a total of 8 hours. That averages one hour and ten minutes a day, but three of the days he didn't see them at all. The longest stretch of time between seeing the kids was 70 hours. And the time given for each day isn't time he is engaged with them, that is time is he home. Sadly, the time he does get really isn't the time when they are at their best. It's usually after dinner and time to get ready for bed.... that's not a fun time. The kids have had a long day, I've had a long day, and he's had a really long day.

He averages 6 hours of sleep a night. He was on call for three of these nights, although I don't remember him leaving in the middle of night for call, so a total of 42 hours was spent sleeping.

On the nights he did get home before 10:00 we had 2 hours after the kids went to bed that we were alone and could talk. A total of 8 hours that were just "us", but don't confuse that with time we really spent together. He is answering pages, sending texts to the junior residents, looking at images, preparing presentations, reading up on the cases he is going to do tomorrow. We probably had a total of 1 hour that we spent together doing nothing else but being together and talking, not multi-tasking.

10 hours with church and related meetings.

3 hours commuting (thankfully, we live close to the hospital)

2 hours at the gym (he could only go two days this past week).

85 hours physically in the hospital.

I don't know how he survives, or how he has survived this long. He is going on 5 years (I don't count his intern year) of this crazy schedule. Some weeks are better than others, some are worse. A normal day is 12 hours, and the long ones are usually 16-18. Now that we are moving closer to the time of year when the days are shorter, he will leave the house before the sun comes up and be home after it has gone down.

So how do we survive? I've already told you I eat cookies for dinner, that dirty secret is out. How he does it I will never know. I keep waiting for him to crash, but he never does. Little sleep, he's fine. Long hours, he's good. No time off, he's still kicking. He's superman. 

I'm glad he works hard. He needs to. I want him to be an excellent surgeon, not average. Excellent surgeons get excellent jobs. Hopefully, that excellent job will be in an excellent location. An excellent surgeon is happier than a bad one (I would assume). What's the point of doing all of this if you aren't going to be your best?

I had two ladies from church coming over Thursday night at 8:00 to visit me. I felt a little sinister for wanting my husband to be late particularly on that day so they would come and I would be all alone. Why? I think I do want some sympathy. If not sympathy, maybe I want people to realize that I have my hands full and to cut me some slack if I'm not everything they think I should be, whatever that is. I have noticed that most people who work other types of jobs just assume that there is "comp-time" for these late nights and weekends. Nope. Some weeks he will work all 7 days. I am sure they assume that if he is working on the weekends, he must have some days off during the week. Nope.  We aren't part of that world that boasts work/life balance. Sometimes it feels like we do live on a different planet. 

I am happy to do my part here at home, although there are many times when I haven't spoken to an adult in days and when I do I feel as though I've suffered a small stroke. I feel awkward and startled. The words in my head somehow aren't the same words that come out of my mouth. I'm forgetting things left and right and really wonder how I am functioning at all. Thank heavens I'm not the one doing brain surgery! Every time I leave the house I have to turn around and make sure I closed the garage door. My neighbors must think I am crazy. Yet, somehow we are all clean, dressed and fed. Tonight dinner was really pathetic: corn on the cob, Bing cherries, pancakes and brownies. Want to come over for dinner?

Thursday, August 25, 2011

$$ Giddy $$

I try to pretend that I don't care about the money, that I only want as much as I need (I just happen to need more than I have right now), but if I am going to be completely honest (like I promised) - I am a little giddy over the prospects of actually having money one day. Lots of money!

Last week after watching an episode of Design Star,  HGTV had a sneak preview of a new show it is launching (or is hoping to). Maybe you saw it? Donna Does/Decorates Dallas. It is an awful name, and her decorating taste isn't my taste but I had to allow a smile to pass my face and linger when the client she was working with was a Neurosurgeons wife. That got my attention. Their house was HUGE! I don't think I have ever seen a home that large. I think that was the first time it actually hit me that my husband was going to be a practicing Neurosurgeon in less than 2 years. Twenty-two months to be exact, but who is counting (that darn fellowship)! Is this what we really have to look forward to?

As luck would have it my DrH was home that evening and watching with me. Of course he had a text book in front of him so he wasn't technically watching. But, even he had to stop and take a look.  I know they were in Texas, and everything is bigger in Texas - or so I hear. Even if we had half the house that was on the show it would still be too big. I could probably get used to it though, or at least I would give it a good try.

The best part was the husband. After the designer comes in and tells them the plans he looks at his wife and says "I thought we were just getting a new blanket for the bed". Tens of thousands of dollars later they had a brand new master bedroom suite. Ah, to have a master suite.

As I got thinking more about the episode a few things occurred to me.

1. Her husband is an attending Neurosurgeon (not a resident/fellow anymore), and he didn't realize that she was just going for it? Forget a blanket, we need a whole room make-over! They still don't have enough time to talk about something as important as remodeling of their bedroom. Don't they talk? Why did they pick the bedroom? Are there problems there? Surely, if you never see your spouse there probably are. He was calm about the whole thing, but a little distant.

2. Is she crying out for help? She was beautiful and well dressed, but something I recognized in her eyes said she might be lonely. Maybe I was projecting some of my feelings onto her, but I almost got the impression that she was looking for a designer almost like looking for a friend. Someone to talk to, spend time with, go shopping with, something to do. She seemed happy on the outside (for the cameras) but sad on the inside. I wanted to hug her, to be her friend. Most of the time that is what I feel like I am doing. I put on the happy outer shell that signals I have everything together, I can handle anything, I am a strong and capable woman who has a wonderful life. And I do believe all those things, but a lot of the time I feel lonely and that everything is falling apart around me.

As exciting as it is to have some extra money lying around one day, I know money can't solve all problems.

I understand the show is being rebroadcast sometime in September. I am going to watch it again and ignore all the design and pay more attention to her, maybe I am wrong.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Jekyll and Hyde

I feel as though I have created multiple personalities for myself. That, or I have done a magnificent job in dividing myself into two entirely opposite spheres of reality. There is the happy, family-loving, picture-taking, memory-making, dinner-concocting, angel me and then there is the bitter, lonely, tired, blah, woe-is-me, me. I have even divided these personalities into two very distinct and opposite blogs. The one that I share with my family and friends, and then this blog where I rant and rave to the entire universe in complete anonymity. The twain shall never meet.

You've heard that most people save their best self for complete strangers and show their true colors to those they love. We'll I save the absolute best for those that I love, and show complete strangers the devil sitting on my shoulder. I am sure my family appreciates it (they think I'm perfect by the way), but I feel sorry for you - if you in fact read this. Rest assured the words you read are me at my absolute worst.

I've read blogs from other women who are on this journey, usually fresh out of medical school and newlyweds, and wonder if I was like that in the beginning. Full of hope, confidence and determination to take control of my life and not let life take control of me. I probably was, and rightfully so. Married for 2 years, husband clutching a doctorate degree, a young son sleeping in her arms and a daughter growing in her womb. A new city on the horizon, an adventure custom made just for us by the angels in heaven. I can almost hear the choir singing now.

What would I tell that younger version of myself as she embarks on this crazy wild ride? How could I explain to her that, try as she may, this journey doesn't come without a price. This isn't a joy ride and there are no free lunches. But there will be joy along the way and lunch will usually be PB&J. That the person she thinks she knows so well may not be the person she really is when it is over. That while graduation was an amazing achievement and the culmination of much hard work, the work is only just beginning and it will make medical school look like Kindergarten recess. That few people will understand what she is going through, and even fewer people will try. She will be alone most of the time. The next seven years will prove to be a refiners fire. Trials, heartaches, setbacks will all come one right after the other, barely giving you time to catch your breath. The bright side is you'll appreciate breathing all the more.There will be days when you will be tempted to turn back, don't. There will be nights when you cry yourself to sleep, that's OK.

And then I would look at my much younger self and deliver the best news of all: you will survive. It isn't all dark skies and thunder storms. Life will give you unexpected pleasant surprises too! Enjoy them. Remember them. Hold on to them. You will be weary from the travel, but the sun is coming out from behind the clouds and the worst of the journey is almost over. Just a few more hills and you will see what is waiting for you on the other side. In time you won't recall each and every boulder in your path or every muddy road you tread. You'll vividly recall the wild flowers growing and the tall grasses blowing that you failed to see with your eyes when you were there. Scars will heal and callouses will soften.

How can this not change a person? I hope when I look back on this time of my life I can see that these experiences have made me better. I could have done so many things differently, but in the end - this is where I am. I am still learning how to do this. Learning how to appreciate the here and now, to make the best of what I have, to love without condition, to serve with a happy heart, to give more of myself and be true to who I am, both Jekyll and Hyde:-)

I've considered telling my husband about this blog, but can't bring myself to do it just yet. I am not sure what I am waiting for. But, until then I'll probably always feel like I am two people living different parts of the same life, and it is a good life.

Monday, August 22, 2011


I am bored. It's 9:30 p.m. the kids are all sleeping, the doctor is doing that doctor thing he does at the hospital going on 16 hours now, and I'm bored. I don't have anything to say or write about in particular. Boredom is awful, especially when you have things you should be doing - like that pile of laundry sitting on the couch waiting to be folded, or the last of the dishes in the sink (remember I hate washing dishes by hand, so they will probably sit there until I can fit them in the dishwasher tomorrow), or the recycling I need to take to the garage, or the bookcases that need dusting, the basement that needs toys picked up. Oh, it hurts to much to think about how much needs to be done. I don't want to do any of it.

Technically I could just go to bed. The hour is right for it, but I'm not up to doing that either. I've already checked my email, Facebook, eBay, my favorite blogs, the weather - the usual suspects. Boredom is awful. I think this is the part of being married to a resident that is so difficult. I'd really just like to have a few minutes to talk to my husband. Not because I have anything earth shattering to say, as you've already discovered, but because it doesn't seem like a real day when I haven't seen him.

Some days I miss him more than others. Tonight I miss him.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Rookie Mistake

After 5 years and 2 months of residency you would think that a seasoned pro like myself would have the skills necessary to avoid rookie mistakes. You would be wrong, and so was I. I have the optimistic tendency to think that "this time will be different", when all past experiences are to the contrary.

I was warned last night that today had the potential for being one of those days. The long ones that seem to go on forever, and are particularly unwanted after a long week. But when I got the call that said the late afternoon case had been cancelled I was thrilled. Even more so because it also came with a social invitation complete with free babysitting. We had been invited to dinner with three other couples from our church, one of which had daughters of a babysitting age that they were volunteering. We just had to show up! Why is that the hardest part?

At the time of the phone call it was 2:30. DrH said he would call after his case but it would probably be close and I may have to meet him there. Dinner was set for 6:30. Can you guess what happened next? You are so smart. Smarter than I am. I made dinner for the kids, put on make-up (I wasted good make-up), and waited for the call. As it got closer to 6:00 I had a sneaky suspicion that it wasn't coming. And it didn't come until 8:00 pm. Good thing I didn't get dressed! See I wasn't that optimistic after all.

My rookie mistake was in telling the kids that they were going to go to this particular home and jump on the trampoline and play. They were disappointed. I hate doing that to them. I hate that this happens to us. I want to have a social life. I want to eat dinner with friends. I want to talk to adults. I want to put clothes on and leave the house. As you can tell, it wasn't just the kids that were disappointed. I was too. I tried to soothe their pain with offers to get ice cream (when the baby wakes up), to play outside (but they wanted to go to park - baby sleeping), watch a movie. They are growing weary of this, too.

I told them that their dad will do something fun with them tomorrow. He doesn't know that yet, but he will. I've been entertaining all week and just don't have it in me. I do have a haircut scheduled for tomorrow afternoon that may take all day, but probably won't because I have an 8 week old that needs me. (By the way, I think four kids may be my limit - we're done).

Instead of eating the pizza I made for the kids dinner, I looked around for the sweetest thing I could find. Nothing, I need to go grocery shopping something fierce. The pizza I made - pepperoni with Mexican cheese, that's all we had in the house! I made chocolate covered popcorn for my dinner. How do I not weight 300 lbs? I do turn to food when I am disappointed, overwhelmed, tired, hungry, lonely. You name it yummy food is my answer. I need to fix that. What I also need to fix is offering food to my children when they are disappointed. That is not healthy behavior, but is sure tastes good.

This mistake will probably be repeated again in the future. But, you never know, next time may be different.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

He Is A Big Boy

I am beginning to think I've done something wrong along the way. I was talking with my husband about his student loans, and how so many of the women I've virtually met, have been so involved with that part of their husbands training.

When we got married DrH was a MSIII. He had already applied for his student loans and I never saw any paper work, just the statements that would come as a reminder of what was waiting for us when we were done. I didn't know how the process worked, I assumed he did. (I now believe that no one knows exactly how they work, even the people who service the loans). We accepted what was previously set up without question. I think I did pose the question after I stopped working and our son was born. We were receiving the monthly equivalent of $1,800 and I couldn't believe that it couldn't be adjusted for his growing family. Did they really give a bachelor the same amount in student loans as a family of 4? Was this really what all medical school residents with families were living on in 2005? How where they doing it? I knew several of his friends were married with children, but I didn't know them well enough (and never saw them) to ask "how much do you get"?  I am convinced that we probably could have had a more comfortable medical school experience had I been in charge of the student loans. I left everything related to financing school to him, and I took charge of all our personal finances. And I'd say I did a bang up job, he would too!

It is a little late to worry about it, 5 years after the fact. But it would have been nice. I try to remind myself that even if we would have had more money, in the form of loans, we would probably be repaying on them like we are now. If I thought the $250/month we are paying on his private loans was bad, I can only imagine what they would be had we taken out more. In the end it is probably best my husband didn't acquire more loans. We were poor, but we were happy.

And then I read about wives who are doing the research on residency programs, fellowship and job opportunities. I've always assumed the person best qualified to do that is the doctor himself. Should I have been (be) doing more for him? I don't know how I could have. He knows where to look. He has the contacts. He knows what he wants to do. I can steer him to a particular geography but really he is the most qualified person to do it, and I let him. Of course, he consults me and I offer my suggestions and preferences. He isn't just a big boy, he is a doctor! If he can operate on a persons brain, surely he can figure out how to land his own job. He's proved his competency with choosing residency, and fellowship. I trust he'll find us a good job in a good location.

Truthfully, I'm excited hear the list of possible job opportunities and start the interview process just so I can start researching cities again. In the meantime, I'll stick to doing what I know and learning what I don't and leave the doctor stuff to him. I have my hands full.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Apology Accepted

I've said it before and I'll say it a thousand times more: I married a great guy. I have no idea how I convinced him to marry me:-)

I was mad, but my husband knows how to apologize and give me my space. When I was finally over my anger (it takes about 24 hours before I can talk to him, and he knows it) we were able to talk about what went wrong that day, the one I previously blogged about, and came to some agreement on how to avoid it in the future.

When both of us are having a bad day, it's just bad all the way around. I was having a bad time because by the end of the week I am a mess. I wanted to go out with my friends, and wanted to save a couple of bucks if he was going to be home. He was short with me on the phone when I called the tech answered and, instead of relaying for us, held the phone to my husbands ear while he was looking in the microscope operating. That tech really should know better. He wasn't irritated with me. But he was short, and I didn't like it. He was really upset because he had asked the other chief resident to take this case because he needed to get out of town for his other commitment. Instead of coming over to the hospital when he was finished, he went home. So he was left to do the case himself. The attending said he could leave, but you just don't do that. They want to know you are serious and that this is your priority above all else. He couldn't leave. He was trying to finish quickly and as always there were complications.

My husband is a nice guy, and by being nice he gets himself abused. He is already a nice guy, he doesn't have to be doing people favors to prove it. So we talked about saying no more often to his junior residents who want him to cover for them. He needs to stop staying yes to everyone at the expense of his family and other responsibilities. He can't do it all, all of the time. This time, nobody won - everyone lost.  In the future, when he has somewhere he needs to be at a certain time he is just going to take the entire day off. Past experiences have proven that even with the best of intentions something always comes up making it nearly impossible. Now that we've come to that solution, we'll see if it works the next time we are faced with conflicting time tables.

I am so glad I married someone who can recognize when he's made a mistake and owns up to it. I could do a better job of that myself. I was thinking, during that 24 hours that I need to cool off, that we don't fight. I can't recall a single fight in the 7 years we've been married. We rarely have disagreements and get along really well. I'm convinced he is responsible for most of that. Granted I don't go looking for fights to pick (and I rant and rave on this blog instead of directly at him), but he is quick to acknowledge when he has made a mistake and apologizes. How can you be upset with someone like that for long?

Apology accepted! I love you :-)

Saturday, August 13, 2011


I am mad, and I need to sleep, therefore I need to blog.

Before I begin to spill my guts, let me say once again for the record that I married an amazing man. The only problem with that is that everyone knows it, and everyone wants a piece of him. That last sentence makes this post sound a lot more scandalous, it's not.

If you are the wife/partner/girlfriend of a medical student/resident/doctor you know that they don't have a lot of free time. That's just the way it is. I've resigned myself to that fact that his job will take up the better part of our life. What is rather unique about this particular doctor is that he also has quite heavy leadership responsibilities associated with our church that require more of him than I am able to freely give. I don't know what they were thinking when they asked, and I don't know what we were thinking when we said yes. He has been involved in this particular role for the last 16 months, and for the most part it hasn't been too bad. Inconvenient, yes - particularly on Sundays.

The bishop in our ward is out of state with the boy scouts during the same week that the girls are at camp. My husband, as one of the bishops counselors, was asked to take his place this evening at a fireside at their camp 2 hours away and spend the night.

He thought he would be leaving around 3:00. I called him at 4:30 pm to ask him at what point will it be too late to go. He was scrubbed in, so I understand it might not have been a good time to talk, but I was trying to help him and myself. See I was planning on going to my girlfriends birthday dinner and movie. I had already contacted a babysitter (that was no small feat) who was coming over at 5:30, and if he wasn't going to make the fireside (which I didn't think he was) I wanted to know so I could tell the babysitter she might be finished earlier than later.

My question to him was "at what point is it going to be too late to go"? I thought that was a logical question. In my mind if you finish your case too late to make it to the fireside is there any point in going? He didn't see it that way. To his credit, he sees it as an assignment and if he finished his case at midnight he was still going to go because he said he would.

That irritates me. One, being late annoys me. If you aren't able to make it to the part you have been requested to attend, why go at all?  Two, why would you commit to going when you cannot guarantee that you will be able to be there when they need you? I would never do that.

So the babysitter shows up, I take the baby with me out to dinner with my friends and we go to a movie. The movie started at 8:20 and was a 2 hour plus movie. What was I thinking taking my 7 week old out for that long? I am crazy. Then I realized. I haven't had a date, dinner and movie with my husband since probably last year, maybe even longer ago than that. And today, I just took myself out and it wasn't cheap. Dinner $14, movie $8.50, and babysitter $40. So for the low price of $64.50 I got to be upset at my husband, and spent the better part of the movie walking with the baby in the hall so she wouldn't disrupt the normal people who left their little babies at home.

I talked to my husband on the drive to the movie theater (I wish I wouldn't have) and he didn't get out of his case until 7:00, putting him at the camp site sometime around 9:00. I am fairly certain that he missed the fireside but I can't even bring myself to ask him about it. In fact I don't want to hear about. I don't want to talk about it. I don't know when I will be answering the phone again.

I am mad. Not at any one thing in particular. Because I am mad my mind starts turning things over and before I knew it I had narrowed it down to this: my life revolves around my husband and our children, his life doesn't revolve around us. Anytime I want to do anything I have to coordinate with his availability. He on the other hand can accept assignments and make plans without the same need for consultation with us. If only we had an endless supply of money it wouldn't be such a big deal, but we rarely get a babysitter.  This is the first time EVER that I have paid a babysitter to watch my children so I could go and do something without my husband. And I probably won't do it again soon. It is an ordeal. Then I start feeling resentment towards my friends who saved themselves $40 by having a husband who is home to watch their kids and I wish I would have just stayed home.

And now here it is the early morning hours and I am watching QVC and blogging while the baby is crying because she has been kept out late and is having a hard time falling asleep. I don't blame her, I want to cry to. Actually I want to scream. Just let it all out in one loud scream, but the girls are asleep.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Another Way to Look At It

So you've read my rants about our insurance, and how much I hate it. This is just a little one, with a good moral at the end.

I often think I would be better off without health insurance. If I took all of the premiums we have paid over the last 15 years (approx. $55,000 not including interest) and put it into a savings account, I could have paid cash for all four of my children's births, our preventative check ups, prescriptions and the three times we have seen a doctor for illness. We are healthy, we just happen to have babies. Instead I pay my premiums every year and get to foot a hefty part of my bill. My savings account now registers a big fat ZERO, and it will probably be empty for a while.

All the money I've saved goes to pay for something I think my husbands employer should just give him by virtue of the fact that they are exploiting him. Yes, they are. They say he is a hospital employee yet he is denied many of the benefits hospital employees receive: vacation time (he never gets to use), sick time (he never uses), he can't "sell" his unused time for cash like other employees, he doesn't get overtime, they refuse to let him moonlight. They really paint us into a corner.

But, what I am really sad about is that I wanted a new refrigerator. Temper tantrum. It is a beautiful counter depth stainless steel refrigerator that our kitchen needs if we are going to sell this house. This is a source of much anxiety around here. All of the other appliances have been replaced (slowly, over time) except the refrigerator, because it is the most expensive. Now I probably won't ever get to use it even if we are ever able to save enough to buy it!

And then I heard something on C-SPAN the other day that made me realize how silly it is for me to be mourning the loss of a shiny refrigerator when instead I got a healthy baby that I also wanted! It was a Presidential candidate talking to a group of newspaper editors, I love politics. He said he was approached by a senior citizen who wanted to know what he was going to do about health care because she pays $200 every month for medication that is keeping her alive and she thought that was a terrible injustice. His answer to her was isn't that wonderful! For only $200 you are able to purchase medication that is keeping you alive. He asked her how much her cel phone bill was, how much her cable bill was... you get the picture. His point was that we don't place enough value on the things that we say really matter to us.

My children are invaluable. They are my number one priority, and now my wallet reflects that fact. Yesterday I wrote out the first installments of bills for our delivery ($2,850 in all) and said a little prayer expressing gratitude that I have healthy children and pleading that somehow money would find its way back into my savings account for the other bills that are coming and if possible a new refrigerator, please.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Everyday is a Surprise!

If there is one thing every person should know about the life of a resident and living with a resident is that the only thing that is predictable is the unpredictability. Don't try to make plans because they will certainly change!

Today I am specifically thinking of the two days my husband has reportedly been off. Funny we haven't seen him much. The surgeon that he works with on Monday and Tuesday was off, so technically he is off. The surgeon didn't schedule any cases, and nothing scheduled for their clinic - because they were gone. But as I have previously lamented, there is no such thing as a day off. He was at the hospital at 6 am both Monday and Tuesday working on presentations, making phone calls to our favorite friend Sallie Mae, and in general setting a good example for his junior residents by working hard. Heaven forbid a junior resident think the chief isn't working hard enough. Some days I hate that my husband is such a good guy.

Knowing that he had these two days that would be more flexible, I scheduled my follow up OB appointment for this afternoon so he could watch the kids while I saw the doctor. I bet you can't guess what happened! Yeah, Monday he called and said that they added a case for Tuesday afternoon that he needed to cover because the other chief was out of town. So he would be at another hospital during my scheduled appointment. He offered to change my appointment with the OB's office, he knows how much I hate having to do that, and managed to get me worked in earlier.

So instead of going to my appointment with just the baby in tow in the afternoon, I got to take all four kids to the office at 9:30 in the morning. That was fun. Thankfully he was available to watch the kids at the hospital. The kids love getting the special treatment from their father, including cookies from the doctors lounge and a visit to the aquarium in the surgical waiting area. He owes me big time, especially because the case that was scheduled was cancelled and my appointment was rescheduled for nothing.

It's almost impossible to predict what will happen tomorrow. Most of the time I don't even try, but there are some things that must be scheduled and committed to - like doctors appointments. This is a crazy life we live.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Coping Strategies

I am a creature of habit, schedules, and routines. I've probably always been like this, but it has become apparent since marrying a doctor that I require it and can't function as well when life is unscripted and carefree. Trying to schedule myself has been one of my coping strategies as well as one of my trials. I have come to the conclusion that this lack of routine has been the "bee in my bonnet" for the last few months.

There are relatively few things I have to do at a predetermined time, or accomplish by a certain time. For a person who loves deadlines, a to-do list and an electronic day planner I am constantly struggling to organize my life into something that I can quantify. I like predictability, knowing what I am going to do each day, setting out to do it, and crossing it off the list. 

One of the anchors of my daily routine has been going to the gym. Everything else I do seems to revolve around this one activity and it has been missing for the last two months. No wonder I can't pull myself together I've lost my anchor and have been adrift! 

It sounds crazy doesn't it? But living with a doctor in the house means living with unpredictability. No two days look the same. I've learned to cope with that uncertainty by making other parts of my life absolutely certain. For the last year each weekday I've taken my son to the bus stop at 8:15 and went straight to the gym for a 9:00 class. Those two events served as my launching pad for the whole day and everything else revolved around those two commitments. Between having a baby and summer break from school the last few months have annihilated my routines. I can't wait to get it back! School starts in two weeks and I have my OB check up next week, where I should be cleared for exercise. 

My sanity is right around the corner! 

Monday, August 1, 2011


I realize I've been feeling pretty sorry for myself lately. I can't describe where it is all coming from, we are all complicated beings. I am going to blame it on the postpartum hormone imbalances and before that the pregnancy hormones. I am almost feeling normal again. Then again, there is nothing like a dose of perspective to right your thinking.

In the church I attend there are 7 women expecting babies all within 2 months of each other. It is a baby boom! Four have already been delivered and the next three are due any day now. All babies are exciting, but there is one in particular that was a miracle. She hadn't been able to conceive for 6 years. They had an older daughter who is 7 and an adopted a daughter who is now 5. When it was discovered that she was expecting, without any treatments, the entire ward was ecstatic for them. Her shower was two weeks ago. Her due date is this week. She spoke in church last Sunday. She looked great.

Yesterday they announced that she had gone into labor that morning and delivered a still-born baby. I cried, and cried, and cried along with most of our congregation. I kept thinking of all people to have this happen to, not her.  I wouldn't wish that on any one, but it seemed so unfair to have it be her. I felt guilty for having uncomplicated pregnancies, healthy babies, and for having four of them.

My heart breaks for her and her family. I don't know what it is like to endure infertility when you want to have children. I don't know what it's like to spend nine months anticipating something you have waited on for years. I don't know what it feels like to go to the hospital anticipating the birth of a living child to find out he didn't make it. I don't know what it feels like to recover from labor and delivery with nothing to coo at you and cry and feed. No diapers to change. A nursery waiting to receive its occupant. Baby clothes hanging in the closet that will never be worn. A crib that won't be slept in. How does a person get over that?

I never thought I would see sleepless nights, crying fits, hundreds of dirty diapers, and mountains of laundry as something to be thankful for. But I am grateful I have the opportunity to experience this. That I get to hold a fussy baby, wash loads of tiny clothes, wipe little noses and bums, brush four sets of teeth, make PBJ sandwiches, fill car seats, hush screeching voices, and hold tiny hands.

I know this event didn't happen to teach me a lesson, but I learned one anyway. My problems are so insignificant (you may have already known that). My life is blissful. My life is blessed. My life is free from the piercing heart aches that leave eternal scars. I can live with having a husband that works a lot. I can live with financial stress, and medical bills to pay. I can live with being the sole parent most days. I am capable of handling the lot I've been assigned to bear, and can do so gladly. I pray I never have to experience the loss of one of my children. I might not be able to live with that.