Thoughts in Ten on Tuesday. 

Day 3 – National Blog Posting Month.

Recovering from a half-marathon is taking longer than I thought.

Why are those last 6-7 lbs so damn elusive?

Daylight savings time is stupid.

Stress leads to the dark side.

It’s flu season. No, the flu shot will not make you sick.

I dream of Halloween chocolate, which likely explains the second thought above.

I forget what it feels like to sleep in. I worry I will never be able to do it again.

Years tick by and I still wonder, what if?

I really need to start reading books again.

It’s spring in November.

Burnt.

Further to my post yesterday, I haven’t had any extended time off from my practice since July, 2014. When my receptionist pointed that out to me, I was kind of surprised. I’ve taken a few long weekends here and there but yeah, I haven’t really had a break from my job in well over a year.

It’s no wonder I’m a little cranky.

My older colleagues regularly take a month off every summer and at least a week or two in the winter. They can afford to do so as their children are now all grown up and out of the house. I am not in that position yet. I still have a mortgage and other debt to pay off and I wonder sometimes if I ever will?

I love my job but it’s hard to listen to other people’s problems day in and day out. Most of the time I can help solve the problem; here’s an antibiotic for tonsillitis; here’s a pill for your awful irregular periods, or here’s a great physiotherapist for your chronic ankle sprain.  If that was the extent of the problems I would be fine without a regular holiday.  But it’s not like that in family medicine.  In family medicine I see the wife who found out her husband is having an affair; I see the schizoaffective patient off their meds; I see the teenager with anger management issues displaying cluster B traits (borderline personality disorder) who bounces from one psych unit t to the next;  I see the elderly woman with memory problems who doesn’t remember she has memory problems.

I am privy to the knowledge that a wife plans to leave her husband, who is also my patient and is about to be blindsided. I am privy to the knowledge of a history of horrific childhood abuse and the subsequent psychological damage that does to a person. I am privy to the knowledge that a 40-something year old man really wants to be a woman.

It is a privilege to be these people’s family physician, it really is.

But even the doctor needs a break.

A Good Place.

I am in a great place right now.

Home life is the best it’s ever been, the kids are wonderful each in their own special ways, and my husband, well, I would kiss the ground he walks on every day if I didn’t think it would inflate his ego too much.  Ha ha!  He’s an incredible husband and father and I am so blessed to have him.

Work is keeping me mentally quite busy and I love it.  I am staying more focused at work than I ever have been before. I think being so busy really is a blessing in disguise. After the experience I had visiting my patient at home the day before he died, I’ve been thinking a lot about doing more palliative care, probably when the kids are a bit older( as it will involve more call). I am excited to see how my medical practice is going to evolve in the coming years.

And running  –  running is making me feel healthier everyday, both from a physical and mental standpoint.  My injuries have worked themselves out and aside from a few minor aches in the lower legs, the injuries seem to be staying away. I’ve enjoyed each and every single one of my runs lately, and am slowing working on increasing my intervals.  I haven’t been running any hills because I really don’t want to get re-injured.  I am sticking with 3-4 runs a week and while I would love to do more, I think it’s a mistake to overdo it.  I wrote before that I wasn’t going to focus on distance, but let’s be honest, I have a little bit of the typical type-A personality and once I set my mind on something, I have to go through with it and see it to the end, even if it kills me.  So yeah, I’m determined to reach my distance goal of running 10 km.  Now, this won’t be a straight 10km run or anything; I will always run intervals because it’s what works for me.  Maybe in a year or two, I’ll get adventurous but for now, interval running is what I’m doing.

So, after taking my daughter to school yesterday, I went for a beautiful morning run before the heat set in.  I didn’t have any specific distance in mind but as I got moving I realized I might be able to do a longer run.  The music I was listening to kept me going and I enjoyed myself immensely.  My thoughts drifted, but I realized something important.

I love myself.

I am finally free.download

Back In The Game

My regular readers will have noticed by now that the look of The Urban Dr. Mom has changed.  I hope, for the better.  I felt a change was needed. I wanted to brighten up the look of my blog.  I hope you all enjoy it.

Well, as of about 20 minutes ago, I survived my first week back to work.

Yay!

I’m relieved to have it over and done with.  My favorite part of being back is knowing how much I was missed.  Ha!  Seriously though, I love showing off pictures of my brood and catching up on the lives of my patients.

I won’t lie, I’ve been pretty tired.  Thankfully the baby is giving us a solid 7-8 hours of sleep after midnight, so that has been super helpful.

I also managed to run home from the office the other night.  I think I am over the hump of my injuries (more on that in another post), and I can’t tell you how amazing that feels.  To run for almost 5km and not have any significant pain?!  O-M-G! Talk about a little slice of heaven!

Here’s the proof!

map

Time to go home and have a nap. (Ha!!  I wish!)

Reflections.

This isn’t just the last day of March, it’s also the last day of maternity leave.

I return to work tomorrow.

April Fools Day!!!

As I write this, the baby is in the exersaucer desperately trying to talk to me.  I wish I knew what he was trying to say.

I try not to think about it, but I realize just how much I’m going to miss him.  It’s time for daddy to take over his full-time care.  I wonder if he’ll miss me? Will he wonder where I went? I felt this way with all the kids but with this baby, it’s more poignant.  Because he is my last. I know this.

The last six months have been truly a blessing.  To be home with my entire family has been wonderfully exhausting, yet I am really looking forward to being a doctor again.  I know I never really stopped being one, it’s who I am and who I will always be.  Just like being a mother is who I am and will always be – it’s just that the mother had center stage for so long, it seems.  But, now it’s time to be a doctor again.

Dr. Mom.

That’s me.

A Few Pinterest Gems.

Day 13 – January Daily Blog Posting Month

Most nights after a 4 AM feeding, I am wide awake and can’t fall immediately back to sleep. So I will often browse Pinterest.

I found two gems the other night that I thought I would share.

I’ve written before about the almost daily purge we have to go through to keep our house in some vague semblance of order. And I do mean vague. At any given moment I am tripping over a piece of LEGO or a mega block or a dinky car. It takes everything I have not to pick it up and toss it in the garbage. Inevitably there is a child afoot who screams bloody murder at the thought of their precious ending up in the garbage. So much so that this epitomizes my plight.

20140112-125149.jpg

On an Internet forum I often frequent there was a thread about life with 3 kids. Most of the posters talked about how crazy their life has become. With 3 kids, it’s just louder, busier, and impossible to have any time for yourself. I’m not sure I entirely agree. Sure, I’m only a few months in and the baby is a blob right now, so perhaps I am deluding myself, but it hasn’t been all that bad. It probably helps that husband is also home with me. We both make time for our own hobbies. Sometimes this means the kids put a video on and watch a movie. Is that bad? I tend to think not. Happy parents = happy kids.

Honestly, I couldn’t handle it if my husband worked. There. I said it. I have it easy, I know. Still, can’t help but think this might be me in a few years.

20140113-104727.jpg

Back to Doing What I Love.

I did something last night I haven’t done in months.

I cross-stitched.

Most of my new followers probably don’t know this, but I am an avid cross-stitcher.  I started in medical school, wanting to have a hobby of sorts.  I was staying at my girlfriend’s house for a week one summer and she is quite crafty.  She and her mom took me to a local craft store and showed me around. I saw a picture of a cat asleep on a chair and was immediately drawn to it.  It was a beginner’s cross-stitch kit.  My friend’s mom thought it was something I could learn pretty quickly, so I bought it and I’ve been stitching ever since.

That first cross stitch design was this:

It has several mistakes, the most glaring of which is the “w” and “r” in “where” and the spacing between that and “the”.  Still, not too bad for a first try.  It was the beginning of a beautiful relationship between me and cat-themed cross stitch kits.

I’ve completed eight or so kits since I started stitching back in 2002.  I currently have three works-in-progress.  I stopped stitching sometime in July, mostly because my belly was getting far too big to hold the fabric for any length of time, not to mention sitting for hours at a time was just impossible.  And of course, since the baby was born my hands have been full of him and so it’s been next to impossible to find any decent chunk of time to work on my projects.

That is, until last night.

For the past few weeks, the baby is starting to get into a more predictable sleep pattern. I put him in his crib around 5-6pm for the night.  He will usually sleep 3 hours and wake for a feed, after which I put him right back to bed.  When I go up to bed, I take him out of his room and he sleeps in the bassinet next to my bedside.  So, for a few hours every night, I am now baby-free and can cross stitch.  Yay!  I started a kit for him a few months after I found out I was pregnant.  All the kids have a birth record framed cross stitch in their rooms, which I had completed by their first birthday.  For baby J, it’s no different.

Last night, I pulled out the kit for his birth record and went to work.  I lasted about an hour.  I hold the fabric in my left hand and after about 15 minutes, my thumb, index finger and the thenar eminence all started to go numb. My hands are clearly out of shape!  I’m not kidding!  Some nights I’m holding the fabric for several hours with no issues whatsoever.  Not last night though.  My eyes also got tired pretty quickly too.

I felt the calmness come over me, which I only get with stitching. I am so glad I worked on it, even if it was for a short period of time. My mind turned off and all I thought about was which cross I was going to do next. It calms me after a stressful day at work and it centers me when I’m in doubt.

It’s what I love to do.

January blahs.

January has always been a “blah” month for me.  After all the lead-up and hyper over Christmas (especially now having children), January comes with a brutal hangover.   Suddenly, the reality of days on end of eating huge meals, sweets, chocolate, not to mention copious amounts of wine at family functions, catches up to you when you put on your work pants and they are just a bit more snug than they were a week ago.  There’s the task of taking down the Christmas tree, and explaining to the kids why the tree is out on the curb waiting for the garbage man to pick up.  There’s 10 days of having to entertain your child while she is off school.  Really, there is only so much Play-Doh I can handle.  There’s the late, late nights with husband watching Taxi Driver, the entire Lord of the Rings and Alien trilogies, which by the way, is a lot of fun.  Oh, and did I mention I was also working and covering two other practices?  Yeah, so no wonder I greeted January with one measure of fatigue, two measures of new flab and a measure of low mood.

I’ve been quite grumpy for the past week or so, mostly because I don’t know how to say no.  I agreed to cover for my two colleagues during the holidays – paid, of course.  We have an arrangement where we pay each other for lab review and patients seen.  We are all paid a salary, so we get paid whether we see our patients or not.  So, when a colleague is on vacation for 10 days and getting paid for it, I’m at the office seeing their folks.  I agreed to it, so I have no one to blame but myself.  It was busy.  One afternoon, I saw 24 patients (when I usually see that many in a full day), and the other morning I saw 16.  I got tired.  And grumpy.

It’s also winter.  Really?  Yes, it is!   I don’t remember the last time I felt the sun on my face.  Which might also explain the horrific acne these days.  TMI?   So, while at Costco the other day, I decided to finally take some of my own advice and start taking some Vitamin D – you know, just to make sure the advice I’m doling out is actually correct.

Vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin.  It is present in a few foods, can be synthesized in our skin by natural sunlight, or taken as a supplement.  Vitamin D has to go through certain biochemical processes to become active and useful in our body.  There is some metabolism through the liver and the rest is done through the kidney.   (To read more – go here).  Vitamin D is important in maintaining adequate calcium levels in our body, as well as phosphate.  To put it simply, vitamin D helps make our bones stay strong.   Insufficient levels of vitamin D in children can lead to rickets, and in adults to brittle bones. But vitamin D has other important functions –  these include functions in cell growth and immunity, as well as reducing inflammation.

Many of my patients take vitamin D, for many different reasons.  I recommend it for all the children in my practice as well as the post-menopausal women, and I usually tell the patients who are struggling with depression (especially in the winter) to also take extra vitamin D.   I’m finding more and more people (men and women, alike) are taking vitamin D.  Apparently it’s the go-to supplement these days.  Did you know it can fight 3 different forms of cancer?? <insert eyeroll here>

In any event, I decided it was time to take some of my own advice.  A few days ago I started taking 2000 IU of D3.  To my genuine surprise, I was amazed at how quickly I started to feel better.  Yes, likely a placebo effect, but who cares?  Suddenly, after 10 days or more of darkness and bleak mood, the sunshine is back.

Oh, and did I mention that I am nearing the 10km running milestone?  For a few weeks now, I have been increasing my running distance by 1km per week.  Yesterday, I ran 8.2km.  It felt great.  I’m a little sore today, but it’s that good kind of soreness. Exercise really is nature’s best medicine.  I need to remember that on the dark days.