“Life” as a single mom in internship

It’s life, Jim, but not as we know it…

I am blowing the cobwebs off of the blog once again. I have a rare moment to write. Well, it’s not like I don’t have a lot of other things I could or should be doing, but I can’t pass up this quiet pause.

I am just over two weeks into my intern year. I am doing a traditional rotating internship at a local hospital. I volunteered to be on nights first. For the night float, I am working 6 nights a week, and an average of about 10 hours a night. Our team does admissions into the hospital from the ER, handles house calls, and helps run rapid response codes and code blues. As busy and frustrating as the job can be, it is not horrible. I love the people I work with. We have a great team, and I really like the people in the graduate medical program in general.

I am happy because I have gotten to handle a few emergency night gynecology admissions for my favorite attending physician in the hospital, a gynecologic oncologist. I also have gotten to handle a few psych admissions. Psych is my second love. The other members of the team gladly let me handle these cases. I know what to do on a lot of basic house calls now. I got to help save a woman’s life, a patient who coded and ended up having a massive heart attack.

I am naturally nocturnal, so the nights thing isn’t killing me so much. It is really difficult to have a life outside of the night float, however. One of my sons is mostly traveling with his father, and my other son is in camp and is spending nights at his grandmother’s house. That is why I volunteered to do my 4 weeks of nights now. I try to see them every day that I can. Sometimes it is only for a brief visit, after I wake up and before I head in for my next shift. I have one day off a week. The last one I spent dozing off on the couch. I had to spend the day today at an excruciating orientation. I had to flip my schedule to days for two days in order to attend it. As my friend and fellow expert in scatolgical therapy told me, this kind of sleep deprivation would turn her into a “drooling turd sandwich”. I am officially there.

I am gearing up for the match again. I am not looking forward to going through the whole process again, except with less spare time and optimism. I am also facing the harsh reality of residency as a single mom, without the benefit of doing what I love – ob/gyn. So, the application process is especially horrible.

Today, after orientation, I stopped by to see an old friend whose brain cancer is, unfortunately, messing with him again. He is now suddenly mostly blind, and will find out soon if he will be having his fourth brain surgery, and will most likely be starting chemo again for the umpteenth time. I picked up the kids, and made it all the way to the grocery store parking lot. I looked around in my wallet and purse for a Visa gift card I had been saving for such rainy days. It is pouring, my friends. I am waiting for a check to clear, and a deposit to show up in my account. My cushion between the two is $10. I couldn’t find the Visa card, so I took the kids home.

When I got there, I was so emotionally, mentally and physically exhausted, I couldn’t even bear the thought of looking through my cluttered, dirty house for the gift card. I, luckily, am quite a food person. Even though I have not done a decent food shopping trip in more than a month, I have a kick ass pantry and reserves. I had defrosted catfish nuggets (yeah, mama is buying cheap) already, and had hoped to buy the ingredients for the beer batter today. I also haven’t had any bread for over a week, and I have to make breakfast tomorrow for the kids, and Seb needs a lunch for camp.

I put together a breading for the catfish out of flour, cornmeal and plain yogurt. I had vegetable oil for frying. I had half a bag of onions, so I made onion rings with the rest of the breading and oil. I also had half a packet of yeast, and just enough flour and milk to make dough for bread. After the kids and I ate the interesting, slightly tart but definitely edible dinner, I passed out on the couch at about 8 pm. I am officially a drooling turd sandwich, and am on the exact opposite schedule I need to be on to resume a stretch of seven night shits in a row as of tomorrow night.

I didn’t clean the kitchen, which was wrecked. I didn’t bake the bread. I didn’t dry the laundry, which included stuff that S needs for camp tomorrow. I did manage to wake up intermittently to tell the kids to shower and brush teeth. I got Z into bed, and eventually got myself from the couch into bed.

I woke up at 4 am. Initially I was annoyed, since, as I said, this is the exact opposite schedule I need to be on. But, now I am grateful. Even with only half a packet of yeast, the bread dough rose beautifully. I kneaded it and put it in the oven. I put the wet clothes in the dryer and started a new load of laundry. I tackled the oily, breading-y mess of a kitchen. I started a load of dishes, cleaned all the pots and pans, I swept the floor, wiped down the counters and some surfaces, and I am now on the couch, enjoying a cup of delicious coffee and the aroma of freshly baked bread.

S made me a pot of French press before he went to bed last night, and it was waiting, full and gorgeous, on the kitchen counter amid the oily mess this morning. It was quite a love letter from a thirteen year old. He and I share a love of French press. He offered to try to help me out, since my fancy coffee maker decided to finally die about a week into my internship, by making me pots of French press when he was home. But, we got in a big argument about it the other day. I was exhausted, he was feeling very thirteen and had been juggled from his grandma’s to his dad’s and then back to my house. We got in one of our worst arguments in a while over him making me a pot of coffee. It was the first hour I had seen him in three days (his dad had him for the whole weekend), it was the first time he had spent with his brother in a few weeks. We spent it fighting about him plunging the coffee, and he was reduced to tears. So, it meant a lot to me to wake up to a fresh, full pot waiting for me, unbidden.

So, the kids are still sleeping. The washer, dryer and dish washer are humming. The sun is coming up. My coffee cup is empty, and I am going to pour myself another love offering and I’m going to walk the dog to the lake and drink it and the sunrise in. The bread is cooling and will be ready to enjoy for breakfast. I may even get to my presentation for the VBAC Summit.

Could be worse

Could be worse.

2 Comments

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2 responses to ““Life” as a single mom in internship

  1. Dare I say that I shit myself laughing when I read “scatological therapy?”

    And I loves ya.

  2. I’m glad to hear you’re finding ways to survive…as someone working nights I definitely agree that sometimes you just have to throw any idea of a schedule to the winds and enjoy awake productive time when you’ve got it. I wish you luck in the match process this time around. I have a new local friend who is re-doing the ob-gyn match this year as well. I guess last year was a tough one.

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