Will My Kid’s Illnesses Knock Me Off Track?

“I have boogers! MOMMY! I HAVE BOOGERS!” Babygirl screamed in a fit of horrified rage, this past Friday evening. She did, indeed, have two cascading falls of green mucous rolling down her face.

Thus began another multi-night stretch of really, really bad sleep, for all involved. Babygirl and Babyboy both came down with the upper respiratory virus du jour; this one features copious nasal secretions, high fevers and a relentless nighttime cough. Babygirl also chose vomiting from her menu of favorite symptoms; Babyboy, diarrhea.

It’s viral, it will run its course, and there’s not much to be done other than supportive care. We’ve gone to great lengths to hide antipyretics and even the forbidden fruit- COUGH SYRUP- in sippy cups of juice, praying that something will really do the trick. (Hubby read the label on the children’s cough syrup, which states very clearly, DO NOT ADMINISTER TO CHILDREN YOUNGER THAN 5 YEARS OF AGE. “Just ignore that, honey,” I directed. “5 mls. Trust me.”)  We’ve got the menthol liquid in the vaporizer; long tubbies with the shower going; spoonfuls of honey…. At one point last night, probably around 3 a.m. as we soothed Babygirl through yet another painful coughing spasm and Babyboy through another sweaty fever, Hubby asked, “Could it be pneumonia? We can use antibiotics on pneumonia, right?”

After three nights of sporadic sleep, Hubby and I were the walking dead. And I had clinic this afternoon. And he had a work function tonight. So, I made the call to block part of my schedule, and I only saw about half the patients I usually see on a Monday afternoon. People needed urgent appointments, and I (very guiltily) shunted them to my colleagues.

It’s viral, and it takes time, and here is yet another post on how caring for kids clashes with trying to be a doctor.

But I’m so tired of writing this same post over and over, that I’m going to take another angle on it.

For the past few months, I’ve been making a concerted effort to clean up my act at work. I’ve been embarrassed by the extended turnaround time on reporting lab and imaging results to patients. It’s been taking me one, two, three MONTHS to get non-urgent results back to people. While this may not be a big deal with someone’s slightly elevated cholesterol or their mild osteopenia, it is acutely uncomfortable when it’s something that should have been acted upon a tad sooner, like someone’s symptomatic B12 deficiency or anemia.

So, in addition to trying to get all my notes written same-day, and doing many of my own callbacks and social visits to inpatients, I’ve been cramming in sweeping results reviews as well, in any spare time. I’ve actually got it down to two weeks max for results reporting.

Not only that, but two weeks ago, I started a fitness kick. I had gained a ton of weight in my two pregnancies, and several months postpartum with Babygirl, I realized I was obese and had no excuses. I took a dose of my own medicine and lost almost fifty pounds over the course of a year. Well, that weight had started creeping back again. Not much, but enough to make me mad.

So I’ve been logging my calories every day (I’m using myfitnesspal on my iPhone, but there’s a gazillion of these apps) and trying to get more exercise in more regularly. I’ve committed to doing 100 weighted twisted crunches every single night, no matter what else I’ve done that day.

Now, three nights of children’s illness and lack of sleep is threatening to derail my efforts. I didn’t get to any patient results or followup all weekend. Monday mornings, I had been trying to get in a run after Hubby took the kids to school and before I left for work. But couldn’t do that today, with sick kids at home.

So, I thought about it on the way in. Thats when I decided to block my schedule. I figured if I just saw a minimum of folks, the ones already one the schedule for physical and things, I could still get through the notes, callbacks and results. As it was, I even managed to see an inpatient.

Exercise? I took the stairs up to the 10th floor. That was a feat, as it’s taken me six years of working at Man’s Greatest Hospital to figure out where the staircase in the main building is. The first floor access to the stairs is hidden in an alcove down a utility access hallway behind the maintenance elevators. I made it a project to find those freaking stairs. Huff and puff, sweating under my armpits, I made it to my patient’s room, the irony of the fact that she is admitted for complications of her metabolic syndrome not lost on me.

Tonight, I made it home in time to meet Nana, who dropped the kids off for me. They were grouchy and clingy and yes, still boogery. But I got them through tubbies and into PJs and repectably into the bedtime routine before Hubby came home.

Babygirl is still waking up coughing, but I did my 100 weighted twist crunches, dammit.

And, I blogged.

So, to my colleagues who saw some of my patients today, THANKS for helping me to take care of myself, to stay on my professional and personal tracks.

5 thoughts on “Will My Kid’s Illnesses Knock Me Off Track?”

  • I’m going on my week long summer family vacation to Colorado June 1. I am so out of shape for the past three weeks – work and family stress are consuming me. There will be lots of mountain bike and intense exercise opportunities. I will be happy to be able to hike a mile and enjoy the scenery. I decided it’s ok to rest, I’m not superwoman. I might not be able to do what I wanted to on this trip – maybe next year. I’ll send my kids off to three hour horse sessions and my boyfriend off to mountain biking and crawl in bed with a book. Damn it, I deserve it. So do you:). Much empathy headed your way in blog world. This too shall pass. Congrats on the big weight loss! That’s tough I know.

  • Oh, can I relate to this post… We’re “Dr. Moms”, we regularly prescribe self-care to frazzled parents… we also have a hell of a hard time asking for help, and then we feel guilty when we do…

    So, here is a high-five, a hug, and a “strong work!” to you. You done good.

  • You are doing so amazingly, and you can’t even see it. 50 lbs in one year??? Backlog of 2-3 months now caught up? Incredible. The illnesses are just a bump in the road. Keep taking the stairs. 🙂

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