Yes, so the picture is me during Family Practice residency at OHSU. Also a friend, visiting, a fellow graduate from Medical College of Virginia. She looks alive. This pneumonia is making me feel like that picture. I started internship and residency with a six month old. We would wait until 9 pm for his bedtime or sometimes he wouldn’t see me.
One night I was trying to give him a bath, after a day and a night and most of another day on the obstetrics rotation. I had to call my husband to come help, because I could not stay awake by the bathtub. Safety first.
When I had a really bad call night and then ran around the next day trying to get everything done so I could GO HOME, I could not stay awake until my son’s bedtime. So he would put me to bed. By age two he would tuck me in and babble a story and dad would turn out the light…..
I would come home from the day and a half working, just exhausted and my son would be doing something new. “When did he learn to CRAWL!!?!” I would say.
“Oh, is he crawling?” my husband would say. “I don’t know. Didn’t notice.”
When my son started two word sentences around age two, we would ask him questions. “Where does T live?”
“Where does daddy live?”
“Where does mommy live?”
I went and had a tantrum at my residency director. I was so mad at the faculty. My son thought I lived at the hospital. He was right, too. I was pissed and stomped around like a honey badger, wanting a cobra to fight. The faculty ducked into closets and bathrooms…… I gave them hell.
My kids are doing well in spite of mom living in the hospital. Though they acted out some, as normal kids do. A few years ago I asked my daughter, “Where are the barbies?”
“Hmmm.” she said.
I eyed her. That noncommital noise gets my attention.
She shrugs. “Ok, well. T and his friends and I blew them up with firecrackers. In the driveway. When you weren’t home.”
“Hmmm,” I said.
“We did not blow up the Get Real Girl because we knew that would piss you off.”
“Mmmm-hmmm.” Yes, it would.
So I wonder…. what else were they up to? How did the ceiling tiles get broken in the finished basement? There are various other mysteries…. if the house could talk, it would tell me.
The barbies came up a few days ago. “Didn’t you blow up any action figures? Aka Boy Dolls?”
“No.” said my daughter.
“That’s kind of sexist.” I said.
“Hmmm.” she said. And my son just laughed.
That’s tired, alright. I was single and living alone during residency. I can’t imagine having young children then, for just the reasons you mentioned. For me, the scariest day was when I woke up on a highway flyover while driving home post-call. Then I discovered that if I washed my hair and drove with wet hair, I’d stay awake. Glad you and your kids made it through anyway.
Phew. I was so tired that three years. And I would get these coughs that would last 6 weeks or more….