Monday, December 7, 2009

The ebb and flow of an academic neurologist

I am an academic neurologist with twin four year old girls. Academic life has teaching, research, and administrative responsibilities that you basically try to squeeze in between seeing patients, so I didn't write about one particular day, just what the daily ebb and flow is like.

6:30am: wake up, get ready for work, make kids’ lunch
7 to 7:30: commute, listen to NPR, try to plan day
7:30 to 9:30: answer emails, try to do some uninterrupted writing, prepare something to teach the residents that day
9:30 to 12 inpatient rounding, teaching
12 to 1pm: grab lunch, or attend noon conference
1 to 6pm: afternoon clinic, if not a clinic day, meet with clinical trial coordinator, interview applicants, go to committee meeting (quality assurance for the department), do paperwork for clinical trial—data safety reports, case report forms, adverse events, etc., prepare grand rounds or other talks, submit abstracts, apply for grants, call patients that need follow-up, write prescriptions, go back to the hospital to see new consults or follow-up on EEG or MRI results that have been done during the day, meet with resident advisee
6 to 6:45pm: commute, try to clear mind of work, sing in the car
6:45 to 7:30pm: see kids for the first time in the day, play with them while husband makes dinner (or vice versa), eat dinner
7:30 to 8:30pm: play with kids—board games, 10min of piano practicing each, games on, or watch Dora
8:30: husband does bath with kids, while I start the clean up from dinner
8:45 to 9:30: help kids get dressed, floss, brush teeth, read several stories, sing several songs, then lights out
9:30 to 11pm: I do one or more of the following in order of frequency:

Chores: clear dishes, sweep under table, plan future meals and shopping list, consolidate trash, separate recycling, laundry, clean toilet, general pick-up of clutter
Relax: fold laundry while watching TV, read in bed
Spend time with husband
Work out for 30 minutes on the Wii Fit
Go to bed early
Do work: edit paper, prepare talk
Socialize on phone with mom, sister, friends
Try to avoid eating anything
Try to avoid facebook

Note: When I am on service, which is six months of the year, I am also on 24 hour pager call, usually getting 2 to 3 after-hours pages per night. I rarely have to go in.

Typically go to bed at 11pm

Husband and kids’ schedule
7:30am—wake up, play with each other in bedroom
7:50am—Dad wakes up, tells kids to get dressed while he shaves and gets dressed
8:10am—Dad goes into kids’ room to find them in various states of undress and helps them finish getting dressed
8:20am—Go downstairs, get cup of milk to drink from the refrigerator (already prepared by mom), get socks and shoes on, get jacket, lunch bags, make toast and bring toast to car
8:35am—leave for preschool, eat in the car
8:45am to 5:30pm: spend day at preschool while Dad works from home as a software engineer
5:30pm—Dad picks up kids from school, they put away jackets, shoes, get a small snack and play until mom comes home



  1. Wow- am exhausted just reading this. But what I really want to know: How's the Wii Fit?

  2. I love your last two tasks...try to avoid eathing anything, try to avoid facebook. LOL. Really.

    Welcome to our happy community. You SO fit right in!

  3. KC-Well, some days are more productive than others. The Wii Fit is a lot of fun, but probably only a workout for people who are out-of-shape like me.

    FD-thanks for the welcome! Two things guaranteed to make me feel guilty--lots of snacking after dinner and spending two hours on facebook.

  4. I'm glad I'm not the only one that is facebook-challenged!

    Love that you sing in the car. That is one of the biggest releases of my day.


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