Tuesday, June 27, 2006

why do I feel like a loser?

Not for the reasons you might expect (i.e. I AM a loser, or just normal person beset by low confidence). It turns out that that icky feeling in the pit of my stomach was probably food poisoning. Last night, I experienced that long forgotten joy of being awakened from a fitful sleep by feelings of nausea, making it to the toilet just in time to yak up the pizza that M had so kindly ordered to celebrate my first day. Linguisa and artichoke hearts, we will not meet again for YEARS, I can promise you. The bug quickly travelled south and I have been re-living all my Peace Corps good times spent pissing right out of my ass. M, however, in unaffected, which throws some question of the whole food poisoning scenario, but man, what else could it be?
Then Gabriel threw up around 4am, but that is because, I think, I failed to elevate the head of his bed and he was swallowing all of his secretions. Still, the smell, the unhappiness, the need to change a deeply unhappy infant did not help matters at all. He seemed to bounce back though, when he woke up at 7, though, so I am crossing fingers that he is not really sick. I felt so punk this a.m., M postponed driving to Sacramento, fed baby and bundled him away to daycare so I could sleep. There is something a little suspicious about calling in sick on the second day of school, n'est-ce pas. So I feel guilty about that, but mostly I just feel like my stomach is being wrung out for mysterious reasons best left to the microbes.
Yay, so tomorrow, I'm back at it. 7 am, baby. I may have to don a pair of G's diapers, but I'll be there!

Monday, June 26, 2006


First day down. Spent half of it getting lost in the warren of hallways, searching for my "team," and waiting for people I'd paged to not call me back. The other half I spent scheming to dart away from team to go pump and figuring out how I was going to break it to the resident that as much as I'd love to, I can't come in at 7am tomorrow because M has to drive to Sacramento for a meeting and I can't drop G at daycare until 8am. I retained nothing related to Pulmonology, with the exception of the acronym R.I.P.E. While potentially referring to my body odor after my 17th trip up the stairs to the only elevator that will take me down to the basement, I believe it may actually have something to do with TB meds.

Gabriel had a fantastic day at daycare. Then he came back home and fell spectacularly apart. But only after I konked his head against the doorframe (very gently, I swear). Until then, things were sunny.

So why do I feel like such a loser?

*rifampin, INH, pyridoxine and ethambutol. I looked it up.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

wish us luck

Well, tomorrow's the big day: my first day back after nearly a year home with Gabriel. He had a full day at daycare on Friday and by all reports had a great day. He played on the floor amidst the chaos, he slept with the big kids, he ate his sweet potatoes and yogurt, he had a swing outside in the yard. Sure, he looks stricken with betrayal when I drop him off, and seems to take a few moments to recognize me when I pick him up, but that's normal, right? Right?
So he's ready. I am not feeling quite so ready. Still, I have located my white coat and I think I know where my stethescope is (bedroom closet? maybe?).
I'll be at the county hospital, a mere mile from our apartment, starting with Pulmonology. I don't remember exactly why I thought that was a good idea, but whatever. Best to just jump in. Ready to feel like a complete idiot all of the time -- the student's role. Reminiscent of the parent's role, now that I think of it, but without the chortling laughs and newly toothy grins of baby to ease the pain.
I'll keep you posted...

Friday, June 23, 2006

thrift town, or is that thriftown?

One of the nicest things about moving to our new apartment is a new friend, in the form of an old friend. Allow me to explain: turns out one of my college roommates, SW was living here all along! She married the guy who lurked around our house occasionally (in a very sweet, not scary way at all) and they have an adorably precocious 19 month-old daughter who narrates her day with nouns and gerunds. She lives on the other side of the lake and it's ever so nice to go on adventures. To the bakery! To Trader Joes! To the park!
Today, in a crazy coincidence, neither of us had children (Gabriel at daycare for the full-day trial run -- ohmigod; SPetite playing with a friend who throws things -- ghastly) and what did we do with our crazy freedom? We high tailed it to the suburbs and the 2nd hand mecca, Thrift Town, to get our hands on as much dusty, used clothing as possible in the two hours of precious liberty. It's all so reasonably priced, why not fill up a cart with things I didn't need before glimpsing them amongst the hideous polyester castoffs and too small sequined bustiers (darn). I spent nearly forty dollars. I got books! clothes for school! a onesie that's too small for Gabriel but has the Ramones printed on it! Yay!
Posting this prematurely, as my saved entries have a tendency to languish. Dashing off to lunch with M. Such a social gadfly today. Trying to keep very busy to keep images of Gabriel at baby farm at bay. Luckily, I'm easily distracted. Mmm...sushi.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

public service announcement

So, if you receive a wedding invitation printed in three languages and two of those languages are Spanish and Farsi be prepared to dance your ass off. Just so you know. I attended such an event just this last weekend. Dear F from medical school married her long time love. The ceremony was a beautiful, heart-rending affair. The party afterward was a serious PARTY. I wore the dress again and was a somewhat underdressed. I should have guessed, of course, but F's family is composed entirely of gorgeous, petite women, dressed for the occasion in marvelous floor length formal gowns, and dapper men, decked out in tuxedos. Aside from feeling like a slightly frumpy (through no fault of my own) Amazon, I had a marvelous time. After dancing, after dinner, but before more dancing, there was... the chocolate fountain. I had heard marvelous stories of these inventions but had never beheld one in the flesh, if you will. A thing of beauty.
What was also remarkable about this event is that it was in Southern California. I flew down a few hours before the wedding...sans bebe! I know. After all the hand wringing and wailing of last week over leaving little G for 3 hours, I up and leave for nearly 24. Actually, I almost didn't go about 200 times, but M was so steadfastly confident. "You should go. We'll be fine," he repeated at least 500 times. And you know what? I went and they were. Fine, I mean. I expected to hear a horror story of sleepless night and endless crying when I called on Sunday morning before my flight home. But no. G had a great night. Woke up twice and fell back to sleep. They had a great time. I was thrilled and just a little hurt. I mean, I leave and it's like nobody noticed. Ha. I am sick. But what a wonderful thing, eh? Daddy did so great. Baby did so great. Momma pumped her boobs in the Ramada and felt somewhat bovine (esp. beside svelte relations and following excess wading in glorious fountain of chocolate), but she did great, too.
And this morning, I dropped G at daycare for a half day. No crying on drop off. A telephone call from DF, no crying before his nap, oh and by the way he's still asleep. No crying at pick up. Q was just picking him up out of the highchair. Yay! Not that everything is going to be perfect and unruffled from here on out, but it's very encouraging to have a good day!

Friday, June 16, 2006

who's the bigger baby?

Took Gabriel to D.F.'s* yesterday for a little playtime. I dressed him up in adorable wheat-colored velveteen overalls, because years ago I read that people are nicer to cuter babies than ugly ones. I packed him a snack (Yobaby yogurts, because I am a sucker for cute packaging and he actually likes them -- sweet!) and wrote his name on his bag of diapers. We walked into the house through the backyard and Y, one of the amazing teachers, whisked him away to play. I talked to DF about how I would be just down the street at the coffee shop and she assured me she would call if there were any problems and even if their weren't. Gabriel started crying somewhere within the house. DF gave me a hug and sent me out the door and I walked away. I sat in the car on the street. I could hear Gabriel crying. I cried. And then, all of a sudden, I couldn't hear him anymore. So either they had, you know, silenced him for good, or he'd decided he could go along with it. I drove away. DF called me before I got to the main road, "He's fine. Y has him playing with a telephone that lights up. He's totally entranced." I parked the car and walked to a cafe feeling very weird. Like I had forgotten something critical. Oh, that would be my child! I ordered a latte and a chocolate croissant, which I very snobbily called "pain au chocolate" to the server who looked at me like I was totally insane. Gah! Chocolate croissant, chocolate croissant! I sat on the covered porch and read, which I haven't managed in a while. I'm reading The Amber Spyglass (why can I not underline? oh well, you know what I mean) the third book in childrens fantasy trilogy by Phillip Pullman. It is GOOD! It starts out in a parallel universe (I know, bear with me) where people have daemons, outward representations of their souls in the form of animals. Children's daemons can shift from animal to animal, but adult daemons settle into one creature particularly suited to their personalities. Aside from desperately wanting a daemon of my own (what would it be? what would it be? NOT a cat!), I have been very troubled by the fact that people in these books are constantly under threat of having their daemons separated from them -- painful, agonizing process leaving them hollow husks of the people they once were. I felt, as I walked down the street towards coffee and solitude, that some part of myself had been wrenched away. Gabriel, my poor amputated daemon baby. Perhaps I am a bit overwraught. I feel weird without having him at arms length, though. We're meant to be together. He's the one who's supposed to initiate the separation process. Not me. Not like this.
After an hour and a half, I returned to DF's and picked up a little guy who, they swore, had started to cry just a few seconds before I got there. He fussed and cried in the car seat all the way home and then nursed like a fiend, as if starved for a week, despite the snack I packed. Oh, this is going to be hard...

*Dawna Fantastik, the daycare lady

Thursday, June 15, 2006

trip to laundromat

A new project for the afternoon has announced itself in the form of cat puke on the bedspread. Though Sammy staggered home from his wild morning of partying with the neighboorhood felines only an hour ago, it was plenty of time to eat kibble, hurl, then curl up innocently on the paper stacked (all right, strewn) on the kitchen table. By the time I discovered the, um, offering, it had soaked through quilt, sheets and mattress pad. The moldy mattress below is just damp with recalled kitty digestive juices. I am disgusted.
Why do we keep feeding this cat? Letting him in? Why? Why?

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

the trip

We're back from our travels and now the countdown starts with a real audible ticking in the background. T-minus 13 days until I return to school and Gabriel begins full-time daycare. So frightening is this fact that after writing the above sentence, I wandered away to complete as many inconsequential tasks as possible to avoid thinking much about it. We're going over to D. Fantastic's tomorrow to play and get acquainted with the idea of easing into full-time over a week or so.
We tried daycare at the wedding (a lovely affair) over the weekend, actually. The bride's family has lots of little kids and they thoughtfully provided a babysitter for the reception. I left Gabriel playing happily on the floor in a back room at the fancy estate they had rented for the party, but when I peeked in 20 minutes later, he was red-faced and weeping. Screaming, actually, and looking around in a very panicked way. Poor little guy! And here I am cramming cheese and canapes down my gullet. A little cuddle calmed him down and we sat down to play. I left after he got real involved in his play-telephone. 15 minutes later, one of the girls came down to the reception to find me. Gabriel's screaming had started all the other baby's crying apparently. They'd had to call in reinforcements from the catering staff. Oh dear. So Gabriel spent a couple hours with us at the reception, flirting with our friends and growling appreciatively at the speeches, until finally, ready to collapse (him, not us. Well, us too, but we were determined to have a dance), we put him to bed in the den o' babies where he slept like a log. I'm trying not to let this experience freak me out, though. Many particulars are different. First of all, the baby sitters weren't exactly the most professional; they seemed to expect the babies to amuse themselves with the help of Pinocchio on the big screen TV. Luckily, I had a bag full of toys that they could play with. The sitters, 2 young teens and their aunt, who confided in me that she hadn't watched kids since she was a teenager, weren't so much in the distract and cuddle techniques that might work on a baby who just realized his mom's gone. Plus, we'd been travelling for constantly for three days at that point and there's nothing like a brand-spanking new situation to make a small little guy go, "hmmm, I wish my mom was here." So, I refuse to panic and will continue with Project: Babycare as planned. I will push all images of Gabriel weeping inconsolably on the floor of the baby farm far, far from my mind.
Actually, the trip on the whole was good. We had fun seeing friends. We ate a lot of bacon. Flying cross-country was as painless as possible, I think, with Gabriel sleeping a good chunk of it there and back. The only mini-disaster was a diaper-blowout on the flight back, of the oh-my-god-what's-that-smell-and-what-is-that-on-my-arm variety. And of course, I'd forgotten to pack a change of clothes for Gabriel. I was all prepared on the way out, but the as the trip progressed the diaper bag became a catch-all sort of thing. I probably took out the baby-clothes to make room for more toys and a sandwich (for me!). So Gabriel spent the rest of the flight wearing his velour track jacket and his diaper. At least I remembered the diaper. He looked pretty cool, actually.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

social lubricants: apply generously

We're off tomorrow for a wedding back east. Just as Gabriel seemed to be settling into a civilized and humane sleep schedule, wouldn't you know. Looking forward to the five-hour flight, of course. I spent an obscene amount of money at Target this morning on things-we-might-need: new toys as diversion, baby food in jars and plastic, adorable baby juices in wee bottles, disposable bowls and spoons, baby wipes in handy travel-size pack, diapers (useful). I am determined to fit all of his stuff in one small bag, though. I will NOT morph into huge, immobile Mommy as lumbering pack animal. I will, instead, style myself after a svelte and compact pack animal. A llama, perhaps, or a very small pony.
I've also been spending, spending, spending to get myself prettied up. Just so you know how very superficial I am. It started with the dress (ignore scary looking model). Once I had the dress I needed shoes. Once I had shoes I needed another outfit to wear to the post-wedding brunch. Then I needed a few cute tops because, oh my god, all I have left in my dresser are rags that didn't make the cut when I packed away the maternity clothes back in September. Yesterday I spend $60 on a haircut, which is crazy, but felt justified in some small, crazed, vain corner of my brain.
I'll be seeing a bunch of people I haven't seen in several years and I'm nervous, all right. I'm not one-hundred percent body confident post-baby. Shock, seeing as I was not exactly loving it pre-baby either, but still, it DOES look different. I am different. I tell myself I look okay and should feel proud of myself. But feel lumpish. Now, with new clothes I will be distracted enough to get through weekend of merry socializing with only a social application of alcohol.

Monday, June 05, 2006

yet another new baby trick

When Gabriel doesn't care for whatever it is I'm pushing in the solid food department he leans over his highchair and, pbbbrrtt, watches as it dribbles out of his mouth onto the floor. Today, breakfast (prunes and barley) and lunch (tofu, yogurt and bananas) met the same fate. Fili loves it and she stands at attention off the starboard side waiting for more baby chum to fall her way. After lunch, she had creamy drips on her head and ears. She's a dedicated soul. At the spitting point, I am forced to conclude that lunchtime is over, even if he's only had two bites. I very much want to sit him up straight, order him to open his mouth: now, that's a good boy, you'll eat this and you'll LIKE it. But, oddly enough, it doesn't seem to work that way.
My friend JM referred to Gabriel as my co-worker. I like that. As if we are involved in some fabulous and intricate project requiring much consultation and late nights. He's a bit of a whiner, though, I've noticed. And refuses, point blank, to do any of the admin work. But he is definately an out-of-the-box thinker -- more like an out-of-the-box-and-all-over-the-floor thinker.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

while I was sleeping

In the past week Gabriel has become a different baby, again. Yesterday, he was sitting on the floor of the kitchen merrily strewing the tupperware lids, spoons and other sundry blunt utensils that comprise the Big Box of Fun. I wandered away, as I am wont to do when G is so enthralled, to check my email or some such silliness. I was engrossed until I heard an eeirie silence. I peered around the corner to witness the little guy industriously tearing pages from the Joy of Cooking with such a look of concentration that I laughed. And then removed the book from his hands. He had humped over on his bottom to the low shelf where I've been stacking cookbooks -- but no more. Later in the day, he discovered that the knobs on the cabinet under the sink reveal a box filled with even more fun: the poorly rinsed cat food cans and wine bottles that make up our recycling. So on with the baby latch. Up with the cookbooks. We have graduated!

Friday, June 02, 2006

Sitting here, watching the buses go by, waiting for the baby to wake up. Who says life is not fulfilling.
And then a sudden squall. Ah. He has arisen...

Thursday, June 01, 2006

in which I attempt to explain myself

In my little blog log (redundant?) I've got three abandoned posts. I've left them to languish because they suck. They can't possibly suck more than the many others I've posted, but somehow I cannot bring myself to finish them. So despite the paucity of new things to read here, I HAVE been thinking about you. Oh yes.
I've decided to go for Family Medicine. You may recall (and then again, you may not) that I'd debated in a half-assed manner the relative merits of Internal Medicine vs. Family vs. Emergency Medicine. It had come down to the point that I really needed to choose because I needed to sign up for the right clerkships and then get ready to do my applications for residency. I had a small revelation when one of the freebie med journals arrived in the mail. I usually toss them directly into recycling, but this issue was dedicated to all things pregnancy, childbirth and newborn related. I read the damn thing cover to cover. And then I wondered why and if it had anything to do with my own recent experiences (one's own conditions are the most fascinating, of course). But, I realized that this was a phenomenon that had occured over the first three years of med school, too. I really get a kick reading anything to do with women's health, pregnancy, childbirth and young children. And I remember the details and like to talk about it. I can certainly get through articles about high blood pressure and diabetes, but it always feels like work, you know. I read about ladies and babies for fun. And that's when I knew that Family Medicine was for me because, as a resident, you learn all of these. And as a doctor, I feel like I could actually create a practice where I can focus on them, if not exclusively, then enough to keep me going.
While I certainly could do OB-GYN and hit three out of four, I've decided no based on my observation that OB's are completely mad. With good reason. They work way too many hours and strange hours at that. They get sued whenever anything bad happens. And thus they are forced to practice the most defensive medicine out there. Internal Medicine has a certain gravitas, but you don't do so much with the maternal/child angle. Emergency Medicine was an interesting idea, and I found the shift work lifestyle intriguing, but when I thought really hard about it, I realized that I didn't want it badly enough to do the ambulance ride-alongs, the research and the extra courses in Toxicology, etc, that would make me a competitive candidate. So Family Medicine was left, and instead of seeming like a beat down fourth choice, I find that I am so thrilled to have come back around to it. The idea that I could help women and children brought me to medicine in the first place. I think I will be able to follow my heart, if you will, and find a way to actually use my enthusiasm to bolster my resolve to get through the coming years of residency hell.