No matter how much I attempt to convince myself I have time for all the things I want to do in life, the truth is with my chaotic schedule there are not enough hours in the day and no matter how hard headed I am, I'm not capable of being super woman. Eventually things have to give and so often they are the same things: working out, cooking, sleep, time with friends, studying, cleaning, blogging, me time, and did I mention sleep? Leaving time for clinical hours and administrative work, the occasional dinner and drinks, 5 hours a night of sleep, and a few hours a week to maintain a relationship with a very patient and understanding man.
For me reality is life revolves around a stethoscope and vital signs. Perhaps I am a workaholic by the force of the culture and perhaps I'm a workaholic because medicine is my calling. In the end the reasons don't matter, at this point I live and breath medicine and my friends do the same. The perfect example: Once a week, a month, or every couple of months I get together with two of my favorite people to play strategy board games. Call it a guilty pleasure. When you put together 2 emergency medicine residents and a surgery resident (or 3 workaholics) it is hard to find a good time to get together. After cancelling multiple game nights and trying to figure out how to get together we finally decided on playing together while one of us was on call. The threat of being called away mid-game only adds to the fun surely and that is precisely what happened. Right in the middle of the game something more important came up(work) and the game had to come to an end. But no big deal for 3 workaholics, a few pictures of the board so we can easily start where we left off next time and we were back to what we live and breath.
Over the last several months, I have accomplished a great deal of feats. I spent a month in the Surgical ICU complete with 24 hour calls(more like 26 hour calls). It is a place where Emergency Medicine residents go to learn what they are made of. When you have been awake for 20 hours, 3 people are trying to die, traumas are hitting the ER, and you are left to your own devices you either panic or go through a great deal of growth. While panic seemed like a very attractive option, I chose the latter, strapped on the tennis shoes, put trust in my nursing staff, and figured it out. On the other side of the trenches comes some clinical confidence and the realization of the fragility of life. I watched young patients who ended up with life altering or life ending injuries while enjoying the things in life they love struggle in the unit and it was impossible not to sit back for a moment and wonder if I should be more careful, take less risks. This was a question that was brought up more than once between me and my co-residents for the month and we always came back to the same conclusion. While being more careful could possibly keep us from ending up in the SICU, life was unpredictable and not worth living if not lived fully. The cost for happiness is risk and sometimes pain(of the emotional and physical kind).
Since finishing up in the SICU, I have studied and taken my one test of the year, spent a month in the ER, helped to start a wellness committee for our residency, taken on new recruitment responsibilities, saved a life or two, and started this month in the medical ICU. I have just a couple weeks left before I return to the ER basically permanently and just over a year left before I finish up residency. So in the little free time I do have I have started to look for my first post residency job, wherever that is going to be.
It is certainly true that I spend probably 85% of my life working or sleeping the last many months, but I have managed to fit in some pretty wonderful things in that other 15% of my time.
In the beginning of January I went out on what I promised would be my last first date in Little Rock. Knowing I would be leaving the area in what will be almost no time and that I had, had terrible luck in the dating department it seemed like a good time to stop dating. I went into that first date with an "I don't give a damn how this goes" attitude. Perhaps that is why we had such a good time, but after a crazy few months I couldn't remember the last time I laughed that much in such a short period of time. Over the last several years I have done some short non-official dating, nothing super serious. It is fair to say as things started to progress I was a little nervous and afraid. Bless him for being so patient with me. All of me. My fears, my career, the fact I'm a terrible morning person(understatement), my need for independence, that some weeks make up and looking presentable aren't part of the allot time. Quite honestly this story deserves its own blog post and one day I'll write it. But with my track record who knows when that will come. For now I will say this, I have a type and not a great one. You can ask my sister and grandpa all about it. After some less than positive experiences, I was hoping to break my pattern and I think maybe I did just that. It takes a very special person to be accepting of this crazy life I live and all the things that come along with dating me, but somehow he acts as if it is nothing and loves me despite my chaos and quirks. There is something about having a relationship where we share decisions, help each other out, and expect nothing that seems to just work. So that couple of hours I have to spare a couple nights a week are filled with laughter, stories, and plenty of sarcasm.
Outside of dating, I had some vacation time in March. I went home for a few days and was there to see my sweet niece, Merideth, turn 5. FIVE! I simply still in disbelief. When the hell did that happen? She has turned into the sweetest little girl with just the slightest attitude and so many entertaining things to say. Her parents deserve a pat on the back for creating and raising such an awesome little girl. She had a little Moana party. If you haven't seen the movie, see it. Adorable. She is starting to become independent and wants to spend more time with her friends than her aunt. As sad as that makes me, the time was bound to come and she still has a little time for me. I then made it over to see my other sweet niece and nephew. For those who don't know, Aurora is my 2 year old niece who kind of despise me. This trip was really no different, however I did get a single kiss and I have photographic proof she got close to me on her own accord.(I'm sure the birthday gift had nothing to do with it) My sweet little nephew is getting so big so fast, but I managed to steal some snuggle time with him. Hopefully he is a bigger fan of me than his sister is. My mom and I set the date for when she will be coming to spend the weekend with me in Arkansas this coming June. I can't wait to have a little mother-daughter time.
After returning to little rock for a few hours I jumped into the car with 2 of my best friends and headed south towards Austin. The reoccurring question I get is where I will go from here and the short answer is I don't know. However I have made some process and went from narrowing it from someone warm on earth to a few select cities: Austin, Nashville, Kansas City, and the Carolinas. However, I had never been to Austin before so having a few days off at the same time as my friends seemed like the perfect time to do some exploring. This also deserves its own post and I promise to write it, one day. Let's just say we had an incredible time and Austin is an amazing city. I can't wait for my next road trip with the best travel partners. Nashville here we come(eventually).
So one could say that I have been a little busy. I have quit being jealous of the people who seem to have figured it out and are able to do it all. Quite frankly they are either aliens or they let different things give. Instead I have started to work on giving myself some grace for not being super woman. The laundry will still be there, I still have my 20 minutes of me time in the car, and the internet doesn't shut down blogs just because it takes you 3 months to write a blog post.