Monthly Archives: January 2016

The Great Many Juxtapositions that are My Life as an OB/GYN

It was 9:35 pm and I found myself staring longingly at a trash can, salivating at the beautiful sandwich perched precariously on its rim. My hands were trembling from hunger. If you would have checked my blood sugar at that moment, it would have likely been critically low.

My day had started at 6am with a 5 mile run and I hadn’t stopped moving since. I got paged for a stat delivery while I was in the shower and the day had seemed to go down hill quickly. A full office and multiple laboring patients awaited me. My emergency protein bar served as my lunch and during the cafeteria’s dinner hours, I was in the OR on a hemorrhaging ectopic pregnancy. I was so tired I could feel every muscle in my body, and each one throbbed in their own unique way.

 

The sandwich is CLEARLY above the rim.

The sandwich is CLEARLY above the rim.

That is how I found myself in my real life Seinfeldian dilemma. After realizing the cafeteria was closed I had went back to my office in hopes of grabbing a leftover sandwich out of the refrigerator only to realize in horror that someone had thrown the precious salted meats in the trash. However one specimen had perched itself slightly above the rim, still on its original plastic tray.

Do I eat refuse or trek across campus to the doctors lounge for a poptart? If it is above the rim is it technically garbage?  Not to me in that moment. I wolfed down the cold cuts and said a little prayer against listeria and all other types of food poisoning. It tasted divine.

I thought about how very strange my life was, as I sat back and patted my full belly. A mere two weeks earlier I was dining at leisurely at cafes in Paris, now I was George Constanza, eating  out of the trash.

Beautiful gourmet meal from our trip to Paris.

Beautiful gourmet meal from our trip to Paris.

The next day  I ran into a casual acquaintance who remarked how glamorous my life seemed on social media. I laughed and told her my trash eating story. The incident made me think of the many other strange juxtapositions of my life.

There was the time I found myself in one of the messiest deliveries of my life a couple of hours before the hospital Christmas party. While birth is a beautiful moment of life, sometimes it can also be a giant hot mess. During this rather difficult birth I was initially pooped on quite extensively. Then as the baby delivered, I was hit with a tsunami wave of amniotic fluid that soaked me to the core, making a mockery of my ‘protective gear’. The patient then began hemorrhaging, so I performed an internal uterine massage to help stop the bleeding, which equals me inserting my entire arm into her uterus, making me feel a little bit like a large animal vet. The only bodily fluid missing from the event  was vomit. Hours later after a “Silkwood  shower” and a quick makeup application, I find myself at a country club in a little black dress having small talk about the weather.

Many times I’ve been at the playground with my kids only to sneak away a few steps to answer a call from the hospital about a STD or other topic that is definitely not a ‘playground friendly’. Bedtime stories or games of ‘hide and seek’ have often been interrupted with stat pages to the hospital. I’ve gone from reading Dr. Seuss to performing an emergency C-section in moments.

The worst juxtaposition is dealing with loss in the middle of a regular day. While OB/GYN is often a happy specialty, when it is sad it is heartbreakingly awful. I often have to deliver the worst of news: miscarriage, infidelity, cancer, infertility. There have been days where I have went from placing a lifeless baby in a mothers arms and with barely a moment to catch my breath and dry my eyes, to seeing a patient for a new pregnancy right down the hall. Death and life with only moments in between; the roller coaster of emotions is so strange.

I’m not complaining about my job. I’m well adjusted to the bodily fluids and tumultuous schedule. I simply find it intriguing how my life can go from one extreme to another so very quickly. I’m sure most other doctors would have similar stories (well maybe not the trash). Also this serves as a good reminder that if you see me looking semi-fancy in a picture, the special ingredient that made my hair extra shiny, might just have been amniotic fluid.

 

 

 

 

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Happy New Year: Writing Year in Review

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. (Photo Credit Amy Conor)

I am finally catching my breath and attempting to recover from December, which is known in medicine as “lets see how many procedures we can do in one month” month.  Every patient has met their deductible and has suddenly decided that they desperately need that surgery they have been procrastinating for years.

Thinking about this coming year, I am going to try to make more of an effort to keep up this blog and also link from this blog to my other writing. This will be an easy way for anyone who wants to follow my writing to have access in one place, since I write for several sites. Although, I think the only people who follow my writing are actually related to me, so its probably unnecessary, but a girl can dream.

Catching up, here are some of my favorite posts from last year:

I have no sex drive. Could it be my hormones? Was the first (and only) post that I’ve done for WebMD that actually got featured on their home page.

I enjoy writing, but one thing I don’t enjoy is writing headlines. However this post for MIM is my favorite headline EVER:  My Life as a Call Girl.

My personal favorite post of the year was this one that was originally posted at Grace for Moms, but also got featured by Kevin, M.D.:  What an Emergency C-section is Really Like. I had a fellow OB tell me that this post gave her chills, which was also my favorite compliment of the year.

I described traveling to Paris for my 40th on this site: Learning to Breath Again: Turning 40 in Paris.

I attempted to impart a little wisdom over at MIM: 10 Lessons Learned in 10 Years of Private Practice.

There was the post that made everyone throw up in their mouth a little bit: Is Seeding after C-section Safe?

Any my latest post for WebMD is Do I have an Ovarian Cyst? , which I find to be a mega boring topic. Considering the material, I felt like this post went pretty well. My editor did nix my favorite line that I wrote: “Sometimes your ovaries are awesome and help you make another human, but other times they get pissy and try to kill you. ” I have no idea why.

I’m hoping to both run and write more this year, but life sometimes has a way of putting hiccups in those plans.

Santa was very good to me this year.

Santa was very good to me this year.