CP Rounds

Tomorrow you are presenting rounds. I want to tell you that I wish I could be there, because I do. But the problem is that I wish I could be there for so, so many reasons.

If I close my eyes, I don’t have to try very hard to imagine what it would be like to be there.
I know the room: I know the feeling of the seats and the way you can never reliably leave your coffee on the desks without it sliding to the floor. I know who will be there: I see the postures and faces of the people who will be listening. I fantasize of the conversations I would have with the people sitting near me. I hear your voice and am captivated by your confidence and expertise.
And when it is over, I would still be there and getting ready to do the things I thought I would always do there.

Being there means being back where I belong – back with my community. I imagine an empty seat where I’m supposed to be sitting: however, no one else knows I’m missing because there is no reason I should be there.

I wish I could be there to hear your talk and to be a happy, smiling, supportive face in the audience. But, I also wish I was there for me, because if I was there, I wouldn’t be so lost.

The Downer Days

Every once in a while I have a day when I am “just down.”

That’s it.  Down.

I feel stupid, unmotivated, lonely, incompetent, uninterested, and generally unhappy with my life.

I wonder if I’m doing the right things in life.  I question whether I made the right decisions, if I’ve trusted the right people, and if I’m ever going to feel truly happy.

I wish I had someone to hug me and comfort me and be supportive or helpful.  But I feel like I have no one.  And, I don’t even really know what I would need to feel comforted and supported.

Mostly I just feel confused, and lost, and helpless.

The worst part (if there is a “worst part”) is that I don’t know how these days come to be – I don’t know what triggers me to feel this way.  Or, maybe I do know, but I know it’s just stupid.  Or maybe it’s just a culmination of everything that I feel is wrong in my life.

I wish I knew how to fix things.

I wish I knew how to stop having these downer kind of days.

Multitasking Extraordinaire

How much multi-tasking can you do?

I have multiple goals today and am, therefore, multi-tasking to the max.
1. I am scrubbing for 6 c-sections today.
2. Here (for some reason), the surgeons are obsessed with 2-handed ties. They don’t really teach these in medical school (and no one in my last program ever used them). If you don’t know how to two hand tie, most docs won’t let you suture anything in the OR. So, I am practicing 2-handed ties, especially with my non-dominant hand … I got them down with my dominant hand.
3. I am 20,000+ steps behind K on our fitbit step challenge. I am usually in the lead, so being this far behind is hard for me to handle. I am also at my lowest 7 day step total ever. So I am trying to walk laps around this rather small hospital to get my steps up. This is especially important given that I will accumulate no steps while standing in the OR for 6 surgeries.
4. I am trying to get my life in order… Like fax off our nanny application forms. Send in A’s referral forms for development assessment, and drink lots of coffee to stay awake.

So, here’s what m day looks like:

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Things Only Parents Appreciate

Lately there have been a lot of posts circulating on Facebook and blog sites about the choice to go kidless and all good and bad (mostly judgement) that’s goes along with it. I’m not going to say that people are missing out by not having kids, and I certainly spend some time wondering how much more sleep, free time, and disposable income I would have without kids… (And I won’t lie, sometimes it seems like a wonderful choice).

Regardless of your preference for children, there are just some things that only parents will ever understand (and that’s okay). So, I think only parents will truly understand my emotions this morning when husband sent me this picture:

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Yes. That is poop… In a potty. This poop happens to belong to a very stubborn two-year old who poops, on average, 5 times a day and has consistently refused to poop on the potty. Until now. I felt like announcing to everyone I ran into that E finally pooped on the potty. But I didn’t. I blogged about it instead. (After all, I don’t want to the THAT person who gets criticized by the non-parent people for posting poop pictures on facebook)

If you’re a parent, what are some of this things you appreciate?

If you’re not a parent, what do us parents do that annoy you?

Night Time Attack

For some reason I have most of my anxiety attacks at night. I am (was?) having one right now. I don’t know why they always hit me at night – usually waking me up from my sleep. It used to be that I would have them on the nights before I was on call and I assumed it was because I was anxious about the upcoming shift and, likely, the possibility that I would get nauseous while at work. The last few attacks I’ve had, however, haven’t been associated with a call shift.

I’m not really sure what’s been going on. I know that one of the hallmarks of my anxiety attacks is nausea. The whole emetophobia thing is something I’ve been working on with my new psychologist. But, I’m not so sure my anxiety is related to the nausea as much as its a cause of my nausea. Why do I think this? Well, despite my best efforts, I still feel nauseous most days. Fortunately, I haven’t been having anxiety attacks every day that I am nauseous. My nausea has also improved so much that I hardly take any medications to help with it. There have been nights where I have been quite nauseous and needed to take medication again, yet I wouldn’t have an attack. Tonight, much like the last time I had an anxiety attack, I had very little nausea up until I actually started the attack.

Tonight I fell asleep right after the end of my headspace meditation (ironically I am in the midst of a series of anxiety meditations). I woke up very suddenly in the same position that I fell asleep in and realized I hadn’t yet taken my anxiety medication. So I got out of bed, went to the bathroom, and took a sip of water with my pill. Right after I swallowed the pill, I felt just a little bit “off.” I got back into bed, turned off my lamp, and got comfortable. Very soon after that, though, I felt the panic attack start. After awaking suddenly, it almost always starts with a feeling of nausea, and then a flushing sensation over my whole body. I did feel some slight nausea and flushing and thought to myself, “gee that’s not as bad as it usually is.” I tried the technique I’ve been learning in my meditations that involves “noting” the feeling, labelling it as anxiety, and trying to observe it rather than experience it. Unfortunately, the feeling came back again, but only stronger. And then a third time. At this point, I had to get out of bed because the nausea was so bad. I went to the washroom and did my usual “routine” that I do when I’m feeling very nauseous: I take some gravol vaginally – yes, you can do that – and then I sit on the toilet (sometimes I find when I’m nauseous, the other end of my GI system gets excited too). After a 4th round of intense nausea and flushing, I moved to the next stage of the attack: chills and shivers. Usually this marks the winding down of the attack. Occasionally it will repeat itself another time, but I find that if I get to the shivering phase “successfully,” I know I can make it to the end of the attack.

At this point, I climbed back into bed with the pillows propped up against my headboard. I pulled up the blankets, and stayed sitting to let the attack resolve enough to go back to sleep. I tried to think about my day and the events of the evening that could have precipitated this panic attack. I know my kids drove me crazy and we ran a lot of errands, but I remember thinking one prominent thought right before I got into bed the first time: I was having a really great weekend without call or the stress of crazy work hours. I was thinking about how much more enjoyable my life would be if I wasn’t in such a stressful residency program. I’m not sure if that thought is what precipitated my attack, but I just thought it was an interesting “coincidence.”

I know I have been struggling a lot lately with feeling unhappy with my life choices and not being able to tell if it’s the choices or the exhaustion making me unhappy. This was a topic of discussion in psychotherapy this week and I thought I realized that it was mostly the exhaustion. I really do like my job – I just hate how hard I have to work right now. I also haven’t been feeling “great” for the last week or so – like I’m coming down with a chest cold that just won’t actually come… There have also been other stressors, like my nanny situation, feeling lonely, still adjusting to my new life… Just to name a few.

I just wonder, why do these attacks always happen to me at night? At a time when I need to be getting rest. A time when I am alone and have no one to talk to. A time when I really just feel isolated and helpless. I thought maybe blogging would help me to reflect on the attack, let it pass, and give the gravol time to kick in (both for the anti-nauseant and the drowsiness). I’m not sure if writing it down has changed anything or made me feel any better. I know I didn’t make any major or profound discoveries about my anxiety, but this is the first time I’ve done writing during (or at the tail end of an attack) and hopefully that is part of the next step to overcoming this anxiety.