Friday, September 23, 2005

I live!

But so busy, with the work and whatnot.

Woah, so, party in the comments section, huh? I actually hadn't been keeping up with the goings on of my own website at all this week, but I just want to assure everyone that I don't take anything said in the comments section all too seriously, either negative or positive. Though I thank people for taking the time to comment in general. Thanks, commenting people! Just two things that I need to address, though:

1.) I have nothing but the utmost respect for nurses. Anyone who knows me or reads about my life in the hospital knows this, because nurses save my butt every day, and oftentimes know much more about the management of my patients than I do, just in having the sheer depth of experience that I lack. And I still fail to see why the observation that most people who wear print scrubs are nurses was somehow taken as perjorative. I mean really, there's absolutely no judgment in observing that fact--the clothes you wear have nothing to do with the quality of patient care or intelligence or anything like that, and I made no comments to that effect. How your own perceptions color your reading of those comments may be another story.

2.) To the person who said I have a "huge ego" about being a resident, this entry is for you. I would have written this about this anyway, so please don't feel like this is all an elaborate show of self-deprecation on that person's behalf, but I just got a kick out of picturing myself sitting on a big throne in the corner of the PACU, waving my miter at patients and smiting those who displease me because I AM THEIR GOD.

So.

The biggest adjustment that I've had to deal with in switching residencies was not even the transition from kids to adults, or from one peer group to another, but in adjusting to the fact that I feel like a total idiot every single second of the day now instead of just 40% of the time. Things have gotten somewhat better in the past week--for instance, I'm not as ridiculously back-asswards about setting up my room in the morning--but still there are days where I break through the glass ceiling (or floor, as it were) to inhabit whole new planes of idiocy that I barely even knew existed. With this on top of adjusting to seeing Cal much, much less than I would like to, there have been days this week where I've actually been in tears, wondering why I'm doing this at all. I wake up at dark o'clock every morning, come to work at this very stressful job where I am eternally fucking up, and pay someone else very large sums of money to take care of the baby that I miss all day, every day. When you say it like that, it just doesn't seem to make much sense. What the hell am I doing?

This article didn't make me feel much better. Apparently I'm so old-fashioned, trying to juggle career and motherhood. These excerpts, in particular, made me feel like a piece of dog turd:

"My mother's always told me you can't be the best career woman and the best mother at the same time," Ms. Liu said matter-of-factly. "You always have to choose one over the other."...

..."At the height of the women's movement and shortly thereafter, women were much more firm in their expectation that they could somehow combine full-time work with child rearing," said Cynthia E. Russett, a professor of American history who has taught at Yale since 1967. "The women today are, in effect, turning realistic."

Great. So now I'm a terrible mother for leaving my child and a shitty doctor for wanting to go home and see my kid. Self esteem in the toilet, one foot on the pedal, ready to flush.

Last night I was particularly depressed (not like Zoloft depressed, but, you know, sad), getting home at 10:30pm after a night on short call. Cal was asleep of course, in that baby way, his arms flailed upward, lying on either side of his head. Since he would probably sleep through my departure in the morning, I realize that so far as he was concerned, by the time I got home from work the following evening, he would not have seen me for 36 hours. Mother? What mother? And even though there seem to be no shortage of people in the world who feel free to give us advice on how it is so VERY VERY TERRIBLE to co-sleep with our baby and our marriage will be RUINED, we're not planning on kicking Cal out to his MTV Crib anytime terribly soon, because there are some nights where being with him while asleep is the only chance we get to be with him at all.

(Aside: I keep calling it his MTV Crib because I just laugh at the image of Cal giving us a televised tour of his digs, showing off his little mini-fridge where he keeps his Cristal. "Yo, my name is Cal, welcome to my crib. Now let's go see my cars.")

Anyway, not to be depressing, but this adjustment is kicking my ass. I know there are a lot of people reading this who are interested in seeing how it is possible to combine a career in medicine with a family life, and I have to be honest here. As a resident, it is possible, but lo, it is hard. This is not to discourage anyone from taking the same path, because that baby is the best thing we've ever made (even better than that cake we made once), but you should just know--as a resident, or as any working parent, life is not easy.

I think things would be better if I didn't feel like such a bumbling dumbfuck at work every single day. Even when I do things right it just reminds me how nascent my skills are--the other day, I got all excited because the surgeons finished the case and I turned off the gas, gave the reversal agent, and BEHOLD, the patient woke up and was ready to be extubated! Like magic! I did it all by myself! Look Ma, no hands! Meanwhile, anyone who's been doing this job for more than, oh, say, two weeks would just look at me blankly as I jumped up and down in glee, because duh, of course the patient woke up, that's what they're supposed to do. But see, to me, this is exciting. Because I don't know any better.

And it stresses me out that the other residents in my own class seem so much more together with their skills than I am. I feel so left behind. There we were in July, all in the same boat (the S.S. Clueless), learning things together...then I go on maternity leave for six weeks, come back, and suddenly everyone's a rock star except for me. I'm delayed.

If this was an episode of "ER," I would be totally demoralized but then at the crucial moment right before throwing in the towel, I would meet an adorable bald child with cancer or a charming and wise homeless person who would buck me up and give some pithy insight to teach me the true meaning of Christmas or some such thing. Unfortunately, as my life is not an episode of "ER," I just have to hope I do better next week.

Currently reading: There shall be no reading until I get to spend more than ten consecutive minutes with my child in those few evening moments when he's actually awake.

And also: Not to reignight the firestorm, but I did end up getting a scrub jacket--to be specific, this one in navy blue. In the end, I decided against the fleece, but in favor of the extra pockets. Still waiting for it to be delivered, though.

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