So I've been a little - scarce around here lately. My last post was in July, and that was just a link to a piece I had published on Pulse*. My last substantive post was in June, nearly nine months ago. I feel as if I don't have any material.
I still have a kid at home. Writing about her has become more challenging as she's grown older. Eve is 17 now, with her own social media presence and a keen awareness of being talked about. "Mom, you can post that on Facebook if you want to." Her story is her story, and while I have a piece of that story, it's challenging to figure out how to tell my parenting story without invading her privacy.
So I'm still a mother - but am I still "in medicine?" I left my clinical job at the end of July and since then have done a variety of different things, none of which feel much like practicing medicine. For the first time since 1986, my days are not primarily concerned with diagnosis, treatment, and notes. It's - odd. And disorienting.
I've always been determined to have an identity outside of my work, unlike some of the other docs in my family. My grandmother referred to my grandfather as The Doctor, as in "The Doctor won't be home for dinner tonight." My mother didn't do that, but she was The Doctor's Wife first and foremost, and we were The Doctor's Children. I worked fewer hours than they did, although my call still interfered with family life. I took more vacation; my dad took his first week of vacation in 1968. He started practice in 1961. I don't ask Eve's friends to call me Dr. Jay; they mostly call me by my first name. In the end, though, I still defined myself as a doctor first. Everything else is "spare time" - "In her spare time, Dr. Jay hangs out with her husband and daughter and enjoys crossword puzzles and mystery novels."
I guess now my whole life is "spare time." I'm not retired - I still need to contribute financially, and I'm figuring that out - but I know I am done with full-time clinical work. Or even significant part-time clinical work. I'm generally OK with that. I miss talking to patients, and I miss the intellectual challenge. I do not miss having to schedule my life around every third weekend call and I do not miss dragging myself out of bed after being woken up four times over night.
I hope to remain a contributor and figure out what I have to say as we prepare to help Eve launch into college, and launch ourselves into the next part of our life. Most likely, we'll all have to navigate this transition. Perhaps I can start thinking of myself as a trailblazer.
*I had another short piece published on Pulse during my MiM hiatus