You know, on Peds, there were always plenty of cute, happy kids, and lots of parents (OK, maybe lots is overstating things, but some parents) who were happy and grateful for the job that we did--but I tell you, I have never in my life gotten the kind of job affirmation that I have been since I started Anesthesia. It's kind of nice. I had one patient tell me that they were going to specially request me to do anesthesia for a procedure that they were having done the following week. Another patient woke up from a MAC case, clutched at my hand, and told me that I was her guardian angel. And then there was this patient, who I was wheeling to the recovery room.
Dr. Au! Dr. Au!
I'm right here.
Where's Dr. Au?
I'm right here, behind you.
Come here! Come here!
What's the matter?
I want to give you a hug.
(Trying to figure out appropriateness of said action)
(Hugs, not drugs)
So I figure that all this feedback means that either I'm doing an OK job, or more likely, all these patients are stoned out of their minds.
* * *
I was post-call this morning, and Joe's still on vacation, so we actually all got to go in en famille for Cal's first set of shots. I think we all did pretty well, meaning that I didn't cry, and Cal did, though only for a little while. It wasn't a full checkup, since he'd only been to the Pediatrician two weeks ago, but we asked to have him weighed again, just to see where he was at. Fourteen pounds. This kid is getting massive. He's like a linebacker.
Since Joe's been on vacation spending all kinds of quality time with the baby, we've been able to put this double-working-parent-household juggling act on hold for another week. I feel less guilty about my hours knowing that at least one of us is home with The Boy, but obviously, this is not going to be the case most of the time. And it's hard missing all those waking moments with him. Like last night post-call, I got home at 1:00am, pumped, showered, got into bed, only to wake up three hours later to go to work. As I was walking out of my buidling, the night doorman, who had pretty much just seen me getting in a little while ago, commented, "Short night." Tell me about it, Tommy. Cal was obviously asleep the whole time I was home, which at least allowed me to get some sleep, but was kind of sad nonetheless. I missed him.
* * *
So why didn't anyone tell me that my truly ridiculous original intention to pump three times a day while at work was laughable. HA HA HA. That's the sound of me LAUGHING at the RIDICULOUSNESS of mine own self. OK people, so here's how it works in real life. A fifteen minute break from the OR is too little time to get the whole job done. It can pump at home in fifteen minutes, so that's why I thought it might be feasible, but that's because I already have everything set up here under ideal conditions. At work, this is...well, not so. And in terms of fitting in one more pumping session in the afternoon after work but before I go home, I've been hard-pressed most days to waste yet another half hour at the hospital hooked up to some giant piston-powered sucking machine when I could actually just go home and, you know, FEED THE BABY. That was a hare-brained idea. So I pump once a day at work. This is tough on call, I think I will have to fit in another evening session on days like that so I'm not bursting with fruit flavor by midnight, but on most days, it works out just fine. My milk supply has been keeping up, and I have the routine pretty much down, including the fact that I have to bring my own water in a thermos from home to rinse the pump parts, because there was Legionella found in the hospital water supply some months back, and therefore said water supply has been deemed unsafe for drinking for the time being. Man, why does everything have to be so hard? I can't even use the damn sink.
I'm happy to pump for Cal as long as I can keep it up, and it makes me feel good to look in the fridge and see all those little bottles lined up in there, ready for his gaping maw, but it does make for some lonely and rushed lunch breaks. My half hour "break" basically consists of me now sitting alone in the shower room, hooked up to the pump and frantically cramming down my lunch so that I can finish in time to was the pump parts and run the precious, precious milk to the fridge before I'm due back in the OR. Even with the routine that I've established and roaring full steam ahead, I'm always rushed and need every single minute of my half-hour break to get everything done. So there's no time for socializing, and of course, we work solo for the most part during our OR time. No wonder I don't know the names of 80% of the people in my program.
Currently reading: A copy of The New Yorker that I found discarded in the women's locker room, because sometimes you just reach that point where you feel if you have to read one more word about Anesthesia, your head will explode.