A Day In The Life Update - Fellowship
Last year in August I detailed a week of my husbands work schedule. To provide some perspective on the changes from week to week, month to month, and year to year I've decided to take a snap shot once again of what the doctors work week looks like.
No two weeks are the same, no two months are the same, no two years are the same. Here is proof.
Sunday - OFF!
Monday 5:45 am - 7:10 pm (OR day) 14 hours
Tuesday 5:45 am - 3:15 pm (light OR day) 9.5 hours
Wednesday 5:45 am - 8:15 pm (clinic day/journal club) 14.5 hours
Thursday 5:45 am - 6:15 pm (OR day) 13.5 hours
Friday 5:45 am - 5:45 pm (OR day - 1 really long case) 12 hours.
Saturday - OFF!
Total hours worked for the week = 63.5. Overall, not that bad of a week. He didn't work Sunday or Saturday, and he wasn't on call at all this week.
Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. This week was awesome.
I was sweating bullets on Friday because he had purchased tickets to take our son to a MLB game that started at 7:00 pm. They were doing a huge case that had neurosurgery, head/neck, and plastics involved. He thought he would be cutting it close and that I might have to bring our son to the hospital so they could leave from there.
Everyone in the OR did what they did and there were no complications. Dad was home in time, and little boy had the best night of his life. Baseball with dad, ice cream in a plastic helmet and cotton candy.
It was a good week.
P.S. You should really read this next post about his weekend call the following week:-)
A Day In The Life - Residency
This was originally published as a blog entry on August 29, 2011 during his 6th and chief year as a neurosurgery resident. When August 2012 comes around I will post another week in review. I am curious to see how much changed between residency and fellowship.
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?