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Monday, June 11th, 2012
I’ve been dealing with an awful lot of Mom Guilt lately.
Here’s the deal: I’m coming up on the end of my residency (only two more days!). In order to finish early, I had to switch a bunch of call, so I’ve been on call approximately one billion times in the last few weeks. There have been a few days in there where I would be at the hospital until 10pm or later, go do my grocery shopping, come home and pass out for a few hours, and then drag Caroline to daycare at 6:30am to be in the operating room by 7. This past Sunday, I saw 17 patients and didn’t get home until it was almost Caroline’s bedtime.
I would complain that my own kid doesn’t even know me anymore, but the fact that she’s repeatedly begged me to “stop fixing so many teeth, Mama, please” is evidence enough that she’s well aware of who I am and exactly how much of a workaholic I am, to boot. Some nights I call to check on her and my mom will tell me “she’s doing great” so that I don’t worry, but in the background I hear “am I going to Mama’s house soon? Is it time for Mama yet?”
Feels good to get it out, though, even if there’s nothing I can do about it at the moment. And while we’re at it, I have a few other things I’d like to get off my chest. That’s right! It’s time for True Confessions: Mom Edition. Here’s how this works: I publicly post a bunch of stuff that I’d normally never tell anybody, ever, and then you do the same in the comments. K? Good talk. Don’t let me down, ladies.
Here we go:
I’ve had an open container of cooked egg noodles sitting next to the carseat for four days.
Those AAA batteries you gave my kid with her birthday gifts? Not a single one of them was used to power her toys, if you catch my drift.
I got fed up with Dora the Explorer, so Caroline thinks she’s been “sleeping” since sometime around February 2011. I have also been known to tell her that Yo Gabba Gabba is “broken”.
I have brought her to daycare looking like this, because I didn’t have the energy to fight her:
When she asks me what my wine is, I tell her it’s “Mommy tea”. And yes, the liquor store is the “Mommy tea store”. And she comes with me when I go there. Frequently.
Those fruit snacks and Kraft mac and cheese in the shopping cart are for me.
When I get tired of reading her books over and over, I hide them and tell her they’re at Daddy’s house.
I have occasionally bribed her with candy to stay in the jogging stroller so that I can get a workout in.
If people come over on short notice, I throw all her toys in the shower so that my house looks clean.
When she wakes up at 5am on weekend mornings, I have been known to drag her into my bed, hand her a bowl of dry cereal and my iPad, and pass out cold next to her until she shakes me awake again.
So, what about you? Time to share in the comments! Don’t leave me hanging, here…
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Caroline, On-call, Preschoolers, Residency, Single Parenting, Toddlers | Categories:
Caroline, Must Read, Residency, Single Parenting, Unexpectedly Expecting, Work/Life Balance
Monday, January 9th, 2012
You know that saying “when it rains, it pours?” It’s definitely true, at least in my life, or at least in my 2012. My boyfriend dumped me in the most sudden and brutal way possible, I totaled my car, my laptop died, and I’ve been on call 80 bazillion times in two weeks and have been missing my kid like crazy.
I mean, it could be far worse, but, what’s a single mom to do? I’ll tell you what. She spends a sh*t-ton of money she doesn’t have. Because, well, she has to. I mean, I have to. (I’m losing track of myself in the third person here.)
As for the first problem, confesh: I totally pretended that every tooth I extracted for about a week was HSD’s, sans anesthesia, natch. (Very therapeutic. Try it sometime. Not at home. Or without a valid dental degree.) As for the second, I went out and got a super-cute dark blue used Volkswagen Golf, which hopefully my insurance will still decide to cover despite the fact that I am basically this:
Allstate mayhem commercial
(Watch it. It’s only 30 seconds and so worth it.)
As for the third, I got an iPad, which I am currently blogging from and is, incidentally, very handy for entertaining cranky toddlers in a pinch, and cheaper than a laptop. All of this served as truly excellent retail therapy. And as for the fourth problem, as of tonight I’m not on call for almost a whole month, so I got some quality snuggle- and play-time in with Caroline, and I plan to get much, much more.
So it’s all worked out quite well in the end, and my friends and family (and readers! Thank you!) have proved yet again how truly awesome they are with offers of comfort and rides and cars and loans and hate-mail-sending-services.
Things are looking up for me in the new year, even if they took a couple of weeks to get there. It’s also time for me to be getting serious about my post-residency job search, and I’ve come up with several options that involve major life change, relocation, and consequently being shanked by friends and family who would prefer that Caro and I stay close by.
But, it’s time for a change and the next chapter in this crazy adventure that I call my life! Stay tuned for my big announcement, once I’ve finalized my decision and have informed the appropriate people in appropriate ways…
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Breakups, Caroline, Dating, Money, On-call, Residency, Single Parenting | Categories:
Caroline, Residency, Single Parenting, Unexpectedly Expecting, Work/Life Balance
Friday, September 23rd, 2011
I know, I know. I asked for it.
I went to school for 22 years to become a dentist. Then, after dental school, I chose to do a residency rather than immediately go into practice. Just because I asked for it doesn’t mean I appreciate the teeth taking over, though. I’m just sayin’.
So every day, I go to class from 8 to 9. Then I work in the clinic from 9 to 5. Two or three nights a month, I’m on call, so I’m at the hospital until 10pm and then I take the beeper home. Some of those days include weekends, so I’m at the hospital all day Saturday or Sunday.
That’s a lot of teeth.
One of the points of my residency is to learn how to treat patients who are medically complicated or otherwise difficult to handle. It doesn’t mean all my patients are difficult to manage in some way, but a lot of them are. Is it violating HIPAA to give you a short, anonymous list of the craziness I deal with on a daily basis for your entertainment? We’re about to find out! I’ve had a patient who claimed he was abducted by aliens and had his entire skeleton replaced with steel (do I have to premedicate for that?), a patient who faked a code blue (life-threatening medical emergency) in order to get out of having a filling done, a patient whose “chief complaint” was clicking and popping of her jaw during the performance of, ahem, certain personal activities. I’ve been sprayed with pus while treating abscesses, accidentally stuck myself with a dirty needle, and on one memorable on-call occasion at around 9:30pm, pulled half of a fingernail out from between someone’s two front teeth.
Yup, I said half of a fingernail. I suppose it’s better than half of a toenail.
It’s not all craziness, though. I actually got to place my first dental implant all by myself this week:
And I get to do all kinds of things that I didn’t learn about in dental school. And it’s great to have the supervision and help there if I need it, and pretty much total independence and autonomy if I don’t need it. Of course, the best part of it all is… there’s never a dull moment!
Anyway, back to how teeth are taking over my life. Caroline is getting her last two teeth in, slowly and painfully for both of us (can I get a hallelujah for being almost done with teething?!), and she informs me daily that she, too, is a dentist:
She must have done some kind of accelerated degree program. I should have looked into that.
Do you ever feel like your work is taking over your life? How do you get back on track to a more balanced lifestyle? Right now I feel like I’m totally drowning in it!
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Tuesday, July 26th, 2011
Tyler and his mom did end up coming to visit Caroline this week. The three of them are staying at my parents’ house (in what has got to be the awkward situation of the century) while I go about my life for one Caroline-less week.
It is bizarre, really. She hasn’t been with Tyler for even one night since April, so I had forgotten what it was like to live without her. My apartment is clean and quiet. I don’t have to rush home from school to pick her up from daycare and cook and feed her and bathe her and get her to bed. I don’t have to get up during the night and I don’t have to get up before six. I can stay late at work if I need to, I can work out whenever I want, and eat whatever and go out with friends. I can actually be out of my apartment after 7:00 pm. I’m… a free woman.
I kind of hate it.
Well, okay, full disclosure– I don’t hate it. For a couple of days, it is a huge relief to have a break from my hectic working single mom lifestyle. Catching up on sleep and work and time with friends is awesome. But after that… I miss her. Your child is a part of your life and your home and your heart. ”Mommy” becomes a huge part of your identity, of who you are. When your child is not around, you are missing a part of yourself.
Honestly, it makes me wonder how Tyler lives without her all the time. I miss her terribly and it’s only been half of the week. (He’s just here until Thursday, but then I’m on call Friday and Saturday so she’ll stay with my parents until Sunday.) I suppose we have always had very different priorities in that respect…
But all of this is just a part of coparenting. I could mope around and whine about how I miss her. Or, I could make the most of my “momcation” to do all the things that I miss out on while I am busy single-mom’ing it. And I can be grateful that she is getting to spend some time with her father, and hopefully they are bonding. I feel a little guilty about going out and having fun and enjoying my “freedom”… but I can’t change that she has to spend this time away from me. I might as well try to make the most of it.
She needs her dad, and I need a break. Soon enough she’ll be back here with me. And the time spent apart, as always, will make for a very happy reunion for both of us.
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Caroline, Divorce, North Dakota, On-call, Residency, Single Parenting, Tyler, Visitation | Categories:
Caroline, Divorce, Single Parenting, Unexpectedly Expecting, Work/Life Balance
Thursday, July 21st, 2011
Last night was my first night on call.
It wasn’t too bad. I was really nervous going in, as I usually am with things I’ve never done before. Being a new doctor is kind of like being a new parent. You have no idea what you’re doing, but you have to pretend that you do because they can smell fear.
I took the beeper at 6pm and it didn’t go off until around 7. A friend of mine who is a second-year resident stayed to help me through it, which was good because the ER is kind of confusing if you don’t know your way around. It was a toothache, so I took an x-ray, gave the patient a prescription for pain meds, and told her to come back when the clinic was open to have the tooth extracted.
Then I didn’t get any more pages. I started to get bored. My friend suggested that I bedazzle the beeper and then hand it off the next day as if it had always looked like that. I seriously contemplated it, but in the end I went to the bar across the street with a few friends (not to drink, okay, gawd) and around 9:30 I figured I could head for home. I stood up.
BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP!
Of course. I smashed the beeper, I mean, I called the ER and they said a patient was there with a broken front tooth. I went back to the hospital. When I brought the patient in, he looked me up and down doubtfully and gave me one of my least favorite (but most common) lines: “uh… you’re the doctor?”
He was adamant that he didn’t want me to do anything if he was going to be charged (okay, so, why’d you come in?) but finally he let me take a look and the fracture wasn’t far down enough to affect the nerve, so I told him he could see his regular dentist in the morning. He said, “oh, sorry, I hope you didn’t come in just to see me!” which was nice of him to say but honestly, I really don’t do too much hanging around the ER just for funsies at 10pm.
So it went as well as I could have hoped. My mom stayed with Caroline (I totally took advantage by doing my grocery shopping at 10:30pm) and thankfully the beeper didn’t go off during the night. Now all I’ve got to do is make sure I hand off the beeper early enough that I can run to daycare before it closes.
I think I can do it– successfully balance a residency with single motherhood. As long as I have a little help, of course. It’s a pretty good feeling.
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