Showing posts with label mommy guilt. Show all posts
Showing posts with label mommy guilt. Show all posts

Monday, October 5, 2015

This child and his sensitive skin

It all started out as a little papule on his left buttocks. In the middle of a busy week of relatives visiting and make-up clinic days, what started out as a small papule morphed into something worse. Zo has had exceedingly sensitive skin since he was 1 years old. Hyperkeratotic plaques behind his knees that sprout up in the span of 2 days if he isn’t slathered in a thick mixture of shea butter and petroleum jelly twice a day. Diffusely itchy maculopapular rashes if we miss his nightly dose of cetirizine. That type of sensitive skin.

I thought I had things under control. But I didn’t.

Monday - I see a little papule on his left buttocks. I put on a thin layer of triamcinolone 0.025% on it. Later that night, I see a few more papules. I put him in the bathtub and then put on more triamcinolone and begin our twice a day ritual for exacerbations.

Tuesday - I see more papules. He is itchy. Is that a ring? Nahhh, I’ll just step up the emollients.

Wednesday - I return home and notice him scratching. How was swimming? His response, “it was fun” as he continues to scratch. Bathtime. Is that a 2 centimeter scaling ring-lesion?!? Oh goodness! He’s got tinea!!! I don’t have time to get clotrimazole and I forget to text my hubby what medicine to get from the pharmacy.

Thursday - satellite lesions. After clinic I run to the local CVS and wait in line for 15 minutes to purchase clotrimazole and by the time I arrive home he's asleep. That peaceful sleep where you know not to interrupt them or all hell will break loose so I let him sleep as I fret about his tinea outbreak.

Friday morning - we begin twice a day clotrimazole use.

Weekend - more lesions. Lower back, posterior and anterior thigh. Areas I won't mention for fear of him one day reading this. But seriously who knew tinea could spread so quickly and that toddlers can get jock itch! Major fail!!! Quick consult to my doctor friends with pictures of all of the lesions minus his groin. Definitely tinea. Definitely spreading; it’s all of the summer camp fun and splash park play dates. Primary care friend KJ says just go ahead and suck it up and put him on griseofulvin too, it’s already too out of hand and you'll stop it before it spreads to his scalp.

And just like that, I have written my first prescription for my son. Too ashamed and time-pressed to bring him in to my new clinic for tinea corporis. I knew the liquid wouldn’t go well as he is now 16 kilograms and our last go round with amoxicillin ended in us making daily smoothies. Based on my calculations, he could do one-half of a 500mg tablet daily - and after all of the pill swallowing for kids I observed due to an awesome program one of my co-residents did, I knew what to do.

Tuesday - I took him to the pharmacy to get him excited about his new medicine to help with his itchy parts. He shook the bottle to a nice beat and did a happy dance. We got home and I cut the pill. Hubby says “shouldn’t you crush this, it’s huge.” I say “nawww, we’ve got this.” Equipped with 1 tablespoon of honey and half of the pill, I say, “okay, you’ve got to swallow this without crunching it up.” Zo smiles, says okay and then hubby offers him some extra water and then VOILA!!! My almost four-year-old swallowed his first pill!!! Proud doctor-mommy moment in the midst of a crazy week.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

What in the world?!?

I was supposed to be much farther along in my studying goals and there are 6 weeks until my pediatric boards and every week I realize how much further off track I am.

I thought my schedule was “made for” studying. Four-day work week with Fridays off. And then my clinic closed for 2 days and I’m making up those days on my off days because I don’t have enough comp time yet.

And then the fancy, super detailed Google calendar study plans that I worked so hard on are being utterly obliterated. The first 2 weeks I was solid, but that was when my patient load was only at 50%. Then when I got up to 75% things got real. And now that I have a full patient load there is literally not enough time in the day to sleep, eat, see patients, work on notes, call patients back, read consult notes, spend at least a few hours with my family, and finish the notes that I didn’t get done earlier in the day.

I hadn’t even realized I had gotten to the 6 week mark until one of my study partners mentioned it. What in the world?!? She said “it’s time to go to PICU hours?” And she’s totally right. Something has to give and I don’t have $2,265 nor the time to retake these Peds boards. My husband is super supportive and tells me to take the time that I need but after so many years of missing out on tons of family related activities it just breaks my heart to be at this coffee shop doing Med Study questions on a beautiful Sunday morning while my family is at the park but hey - it’s going down!!! (well right after I write this pity-party of a blog post)

I’ve got this, right?!? I just remember how grumpy I was during the PICU because of the sleep deprivation. At least I don’t have to calculate TPN (total parenteral nutrition) or ventilator settings.

Alright ladies - I need your support. Your encouragement. What did you do? (I scratched that because I have all of the resources I plan on using and don't really want general info about how you studied cuz' we all study differently and I know me - I'm all about practice questions). How did you do it? How did you balance it? Did you study as much as you'd planned? Did you get up at 5am? When did you do your notes? When did you study?

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Feeling like the worst mom in the world...

My introduction post was mostly about how I get to know Mothers in Medicine, which was when I found out I was pregnant. I also talked about where I am today. I never talked about what happened in between those 2 and a half years.

So during those 2 and a half years, I went from first year radiology resident to fourth year radiology resident. I just took my boards last month!! (Ask me again in 1 month how I felt about it, which is also when I'll get the results.) My husband, big C, went from 4th year orthopedic resident to a 6th/chief orthopedic resident. He just graduated last month!! Currently, I started my first month of my last year of residency and my husband is actually, right now, taking his orthopedic boards. He'll be moving to the east coast in exactly 2 weeks to start his spine fellowship.

So basically, I'll be a single mom for a year. But what you don't know about me is that my little C has been with my parents in a city 1 hour away from our  city of training for the past 2 and a half years. That is how we did it. So your recent blog post Anita Knapp really resonates with me! It was an extremely difficult 2+ years. But given my husbands 80+ hour work weeks and my most difficult years of residency ahead (combination of both majority of my calls during my 2nd year of radiology residency and studying for radiology boards/multiple board review sessions during my 3rd year of radiology residency), we felt that this was what was best for little C. 

I have had my share of mommy guilt during this time. I questioned my decision all the time. I felt like a horrible mother. It definitely put a strain on my marriage with big C because who likes being around a negative and sad person all the time? But little C was my heart and soul and it just didn't feel right being away from her Monday to Fridays and some weekends. 

Well little C is all moved down. It's so funny how kids can be so resistant to change at times and also so easily adaptable. I took 2 weeks of vacation to help get her situated. In less than a week, it was as if she already forgot about her 2+ years with grandparents (much to my mom's dismay). During those 2 weeks, she and I attended her 2 week orientation at the pre-school associated with the university, which basically meant spending 1 hour a day for 2 weeks with her at the pre-school. That part went fine. In fact, the entire 2 weeks was awesome for our relationship. I got to just be her mom without even thinking about residency once. 

I thought the transition to pre-school would be easier. She attended part time pre-school during her last 5 months with grandparents almost as a preparation for what's to come. She had a hard 1st month but eventually grew to love it and was out the door to go see her friends as she would say.

However, she must feel like her whole world is upside down now. It's been almost 2 weeks into her new pre-school, which is obviously now full time and every day she cries and cries. Drop-offs are so painful. I spend the mornings just thinking about her crying little face screaming for mommy.

She refuses to eat at pre-school. She's potty trained at home but refuses to pee on the toilet at school. She also doesn't nap. When I go pick her up, she seems okay but I can't seem to shake it off that this is just a transition period. Is she ever going to adjust? Am I just the worst mother in the world? Was this a mistake? Was I being selfish by taking her away from the princess treatment that was given to her by her grandparents? 

I don't know if I can go back to the former life. I love picking her up. I love eating dinner with her. I love putting her to bed. I love that she runs over to me and wakes me up in the morning. But do I need her more than she needs me? Am I not able to give her what she needs? 

It almost feels foolish that I thought the mom guilt that I carried with me for those 2+ years since maternity leave would disappear once she lived with me. 

But right now, I can't help it. I'm feeling like the worst mom in the world yet again.

How am I going to survive once my big C goes to the east coast? 

Days likes this. Cutter's blog post comes to mind on whether this (as in medicine) is worth it? I simply say "no." 

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

MIM Intro: Doctor Professor Mom

Hello, I am Doctor Professor Mom.  No, that’s not my real name but it’s a name that makes me really proud.  My oldest son coined it a few months ago when he learned that I am not only a doctor but I am also a professor and I am also a mom.  He seemed genuinely proud when he coined the name and, of course, I was equally proud both at his creativity and at some of my accomplishments.

Even as a Doctor Professor Mom, it’s hard to feel accomplished.  Maybe it’s something about academic medicine where I feel pulled in a million different directions. I teach; I do research; I see patients – it’s easy to feel like a jack of all trades and master of none.  Add on a busy family life and mastery is not in my cards.  But academic medicine has given me incredible flexibility, variety, and satisfaction.  Plus, I get to proudly say I am a doctor and a professor.

Of course my proudest accomplishment is not that I am a doctor or a professor but that I am a mom to three boisterous, energetic, and absolutely wonderful sons.  They are ten, eight, and six (gasp - how did they get so old).  After ten years of motherhood I have a lot to reflect on in managing a household with two equally ambitious working parents and ever changing challenges of parenting. 

I became interested in writing about my experience as a doctor and mother after my first son was born.  I spent 18 months crying every day when I went to work and decided (with the incredible support of my husband) to leave my job and stay home.  Then I struggled trying to find my identity as a stay-at-home mom (I wrote about this experience in an essay called Dr. Mom).  I returned to work and decided to focus on research and a career in academic medicine.  For me, it was an excellent choice.  That being said, the struggles of being a working mom, finding meaning and satisfaction in your work, and all the other challenges of life never go away even when you feel like you’ve found the perfect job.

When I wrote Dr. Mom in 2007, so many women contacted me and thanked me for sharing my story.  I promised myself I would write more, but, not surprisingly, life got busy.  I’m thrilled to have a place to write, to be a part of a community of women in medicine and hope that something I write will resonate with someone else. 

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Birthday Call: from zero to 60 and then somewhere in the middle in mere hours

40 minutes into my commute to work, I had a pseudo-melt down. As I sang “Happy Birthday” over the phone to my three-year-old, I lost it. I realized that I hadn’t kissed him on his birthday, I’d forgotten my lunch and during a 28 hour call the cafeteria food begins to make me nauseous, and that I was exceedingly anxious about all of the changes our lives will encounter over the next few months.

Needless to say, I’m in the call room after a deluge of discharges, awaiting our next transfer, feeling the urge to write and release this tension.

My Little Zo is three today. Three years ago, on this day, I birthed a fabulous little human being into the world. He’s helped me grow in countless ways. I’ve learned to let go. I’ve learned to give my all in the moment and then pass things off to someone else (to hubby O, to my parents/in-laws, to the wonderful ladies at daycare, to his Pediatrician). I’ve learned that keeping your own kid alive and occupied means breaking lots of rules (my infant slept on his belly after weeks of sleepless nights, my 2 year old ate yogurt and spinach smoothies or oatmeal for dinner on picky-eating nights) and that I am so much more capable than I ever thought imaginable. I’ve realized what’s important (playing legos and dinosaurs before bedtime and leaving my notes until he’s gone to bed, sleep, couple time, giving my all at work and not worrying about my child since he’s taken care of at all times).

In less than a year, I’ll be an Attending and yet another goal will have been achieved. I have had a few successful telephone interviews and I have my first in-person interview in October with a community health system affiliated with my medical school. This morning when I was sobbing, a great friend, KJ, who is now a Pediatrician in private practice gave me her pep-talk. We have these at least once every few months. She tells me about all of the little and big victories she has in her life after residency. She has weekends off and time to be with her boyfriend and her dog. She tells me about her quirky colleagues and her amazing patients. She tells me how different things will be in a few short months.

So, on Little Zo’s third birthday, I went from zero (dragging myself out of bed after an exhausting month on inpatient service during asthma season), to 60 (sobbing in the Starbucks parking lot), to somewhere in the middle. I am thankful for three years of motherhood. Thankful that Zo is vibrant, healthy, active, super-smart, and super-sweet (when he’s not biting or hitting). Thankful for only 3 more days on inpatient service before 2 months of elective and that I've been able to do great work this month and keep folks' babies alive and healthy! Thankful for friends like KJ who understand the struggles of residency-based medical practice. Sad that I wasn’t at home snuggling Zo and our visiting family members. And hopeful of life after residency.

Happy birthday to my little roaring dinosaur - Mommy loves you!

Friday, March 7, 2014

Daddy time!

My daughter has the most beautiful relationship with her daddy.  They have their own little songs they sing together, bedtime rituals, games only they understand.  She’s his little buddy and I love to watch her chat with him in her little 3 year old way about her day or her thoughts.  I’m currently on a very long night float rotation and my little one is having a hard time keeping her sleep schedule.  Many nights my husband declares that she is going to bed at 8pm on the dot.  I often find her snuggled up with my hubby in bed after they’ve stayed up late watching “one more Dora” or having a jam session in his studio.  There is so much beauty in their father daughter relationship.  It is deep and substantial and real.  I hope their strong bond continues as she gets older and helps her to continue to be strong and self assured.   My husband and I love raising this beautiful girl together.

A few weeks ago I was talking to a fellow resident (and mom of 2) about the typical mommy guilt involved with being a resident and spending time away from your kids.  She’s struggling about choosing a specialty and worried about the damage a more rigorous specialty would cause to her kids.  Somehow we got to the topic of her husband having to comb hair and she mentioned that her daughter actually prefers her daddy’s more gentle approach to her mom’s attempts at taming her hair.  And then we starting talking about all the daddy daughter bonds both of our daughters have and reflected that without their busy mamas, our daughters may not have had the opportunity to form these strong attachments.

My daughter is proud of my work at “the doctor house.”  The time I spend with her is my most treasured and I think our relationship is amazing.  How awesome is it that she also has just as enriching and fulfilling a relationship with her daddy.  And, I’m not suggesting that dads never form close relationships with their daughters in all other work-life situations.  However, just think of how many women you know who report troubled or complicated or loose ties to their fathers.  Maybe our girls would have formed all these same attachments no matter what careers we had.  But, on those days of horrible mommy guilt, it’s nice to think of my baby girl and my hubby dancing, singing and rocking out to their own song.

cross posted at