Married to Medicine

Married to Medicine

Friday, February 25, 2011

Par for the course...

I'll admit it.  I'm having kind of a rough night.  And with 3 hours to kill before bedtime, a clean house, food to last another 4-5 dinners already made... I'm going to write about it.

I woke up this Friday morning SO excited.  Mark finally has a weekend off, and that hasn't happened for at least six weeks.  I think it may actually be the first weekend he's had off since Christmas but with the post-holiday craziness and general baby-still-wakes-up-once-a-night sleep deprivation I really can't remember much that far back.

I wore a cuter-than-usual outfit and dried my hair.  Put on make-up, the whole nine yards (well, once you're a mom there are really only about 2-3 yards).  Mark worked extra late last night so that we could have "more of a weekend" so I figured he'd be home early, maybe even 7 or 8 pm.  When the baby spat up in my hair (baby's favorite thing ever is to suck on his his thumb wrapped in my hair) I actually re-washed my hair in the sink, with shampoo.  I made sure the apartment was clean so we could really enjoy our surroundings this weekend.

I started looking at nice brunch places on the internet.  Mark had Valentine's Day off, randomly, but we haven't yet celebrated.  On the day of the holiday, I was on my way back from visiting a friend in Oklahoma.  Knowing he had the day off, I skipped dinner on my layover in anticipation of some sort of cute Valentine's Day spread he might have made for our happy reunion.  Unfortunately, though, there was nothing.  He spent the entire day sleeping - he actually slept 21 hours waking once to eat while I was gone.  So he hadn't had time to prepare anything.  I was kind of sad, but it's hard to fault anyone whose body is desperate to get twenty-one hours of sleep.

He thought we'd celebrate on his upcoming weekend off, now this weekend.  The plan was to go to a nice brunch so that we could bring the baby.  We really don't do anything without the baby because in my opinion, the baby is already getting jipped on daddy-time and the baby's needs are my #1 priority.

Anyway.  The point is I had different websites of brunch places pulled up and was so looking forward to this evening.  The baby took a later evening nap so I thought maybe there would even be a little father/son time tonight.  I imagined a happy reunion, putting the baby to bed together, discussing brunch places for tomorrow morning, maybe watching a Netflix episode...

But 5:00 came and I hadn't head anything.  Then 6:00.  Then 7:00.  I put the baby to bed at 7:30.  By then I knew that in spite of last night's extra-late night, this was not really going to be an evening together; with a 60-90 minute commute, once it gets to be 7:30, it's sort of all over.  Sure enough, just before 8:00 he called.  To say he'll be working really late again tonight.  Later than 11:00, my bedtime, so I won't see him until tomorrow morning.  Apparently, because he has two days off in a row, he has a lot to prepare for the resident who will be covering his patients this weekend.  Or something. 

That would itself be sort of sad, but the reality is that I really won't see him until tomorrow afternoon.  He won't get to bed tonight until after midnight.  Since he has now gone twelve days without a day off, and gotten under 5 hours of sleep each of those nights, he probably won't even be able to wake up until 3:00 pm-ish.  So suddenly his one weekend off after 6 weeks and for another however-many-weeks is really only a day and a half.  There's no Friday night.  There's no Saturday morning.  There's no Saturday afternoon.  On Sundays we'd usually go to church and community group but this is basically why we've become non-practicing Christians:  The rare Sundays off are either slept through or needed for the family time we otherwise simply won't ever have.

So here I sit, a little depressed and wondering if I should read for my book club or watch Twilight. 

When I mention Mark's schedule to people, I hear a lot of "But it's only temporary, right?"  Um, if you can consider 17 years temporary, sure, it's temporary.  Totally temporary.  I'm 30 and this has been the drill since we started dating when I was 18.  I'm married to a perfectionist in the medical field.  Even when we were in college he was always pulling all-nighters, and gone weekends all over the state running track and cross-country.  And now he's at MGH, which is fabulous for his career but would take a hefty toll on anyone's family life.  This year was already supposed to be better.  Last year, his intern year, was supposed to be the worst of it.  And he worked well over 100 hours many weeks.  But when MGH realized it needed to crack down on the 80 hr/week limit for interns, it shifted work up to junior and senior residents.  This year has actually been worse than last year.  And I just heard that next year, as senior residents, they're now scheduled for a ton of 12-hour overnight shifts.  In my experience those are just as brutal as their thirty-hour call shifts because when they do have a day off, they sleep through the ENTIRE day off and are up all night.  Then the year after that (2013-2014) will be his first year of fellowship, which is supposed to be just as hard as the first year of residency was.

Sigh.  If I were the person I sometimes wish I were, I'd just snap right out of it and continue being happy.  I'd think to myself "There are starving people in Africa!  I have it SO good, I should be nothing but ecstatic about life!"  Or at least "I could be a truly single mother!  At least I'm a single mom who doesn't have to work!"  But honestly, when I hear about people with really rough lives, it's not much of an upper for me.  I actually have a hard time enjoying what I do have when I am truly happy - which is most of the time - because I want everyone to have what I have before I can allow myself to enjoy it.  Every time I marvel at my healthy, beautiful baby, it's tinged with the awful knowledge that other parents out there exactly like me are watching their babies struggle with terrible illnesses and disabilities... oh I'm crying just writing about it.  And several times a day I'll feel such satisfaction that my baby is so loved and well-cared for, only to have it followed by a crushing sadness that there are babies out there exactly like my precious son, just like him who are not being loved, or who are being abused, and they are every bit as innocent and sweet as he is, and they don't know any better.  It breaks not just my heart but my soul to think of that.  I can hardly stand it.

Anyway, all that is to say that I'm feeling sad tonight and I'm not someone who can snap out of it by thinking of other people in worse situations.  I'm still thankful for what I do have, don't get me wrong... but for me, being thankful for what I do have necessitates being sad that others don't have those things, and it's all well and good to keep in mind but it doesn't add a spring to my step.

So, here's to hoping tomorrow is better.  Tomorrow afternoon, I suppose.


  1. Lisa, I don't know how you do it. I mean you are a saint. I give John such a hard time when he's not home before 6pm...but he at least gets to Gunnar before he goes to bed. And even then I can't help but feel resentful and feel a little bit like I am the only one "raising" our child (which isn't really true...but when your husband sees your child for only 1 hour per day it feels like that. But I can't imagine my husband not seeing the baby for days or a week. I have no words to make the situation better...but I feel for you and really I hope you get some much needed family time together soon.

  2. Lisa, this would kill me. I'm convinced of it. Being essentially alone with a baby would be so tough, and I can really only imagine it. Also, when I'm in a relationship I want to be with that person as much as I can be. I'm convinced that karma is real, and that a much deserved break is coming your way.