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Lives of Doctor Wives: Call and Family Time

Monday, July 13, 2009

Call and Family Time

The summer is in full swing around here and although Erik's program has "home call" for all 4 ortho years, during the busy seasons, like summer, there is no such thing as home call. The residents are required to live within 30 minutes of the hospital because of this. Last Sunday, he was actually able to come home while on call [ a first in over 3 months]. He ate dinner with us, played catch with the kids, and watched some tv with me after the kids had gone to bed. Erik is convinced that "the powers that be" know the exact moment that he has decided he wants to go to bed, because his pager seems to go crazy around that time. He ended up driving in at 1am [I hate it when he has to drive in like that] for an ER consult and ended staying there. Oh well, it was nice that he was actually able to come home for a bit. It had been a LONG time since he actually had "home call" and the kids were more than pleased that dad got to spend some time with them even though he was on call.

He was on call this Friday and Sunday and boy were they slammed. Friday they were in the OR all night long. He didn't get to sleep at all and then he didn't finish rounding until after 2pm. Needless to say he way beyond zonked and he had to be back at the hospital at 7am the next morning. Yesterday [Sunday] was another busy call day. I didn't hear from him until 5pm, they had been in and out of the OR all day and now that it was after 5 everything was closed and he and the MSIV on call with him hadn't eaten anything all day. He tells me that they have another case but it should be short and could I bring them some food when they're done. Ugh, this can be such a pain for me. I have three kids, ages 8, 4, and 1 that I have to drag with me. We live about 15 minutes from the medical center, which isn't bad, but if I pick something up over here, it will be gross by the time I get there and the options by the hospital aren't in the "safest" area during the day, let alone the evening. But, he hadn't really seen the kids ALL WEEKEND, and I was pretty sure that both he and the MSIV were EXHAUSTED and STARVING so I geared up to make the trek out there. The drive itself isn't the painful part. It's the getting the kids unbuckled and out of the car to pick up the food, lugging the food and the kids back into the car and buckling back up just to drive down the street to park in the hospital parking lot and get them unbuckled and out of the car. Then I have to make my way to the hospital and then through the corridors and mazes of secret hallways and elevators all the way up to the ortho resident's lounge. All the while keeping track of the kids, trying to keep them "quiet" [it's a hospital, not a playground], and not getting lost along the way. We make it there with my picnic basket of Vietnamese food and drinks. We sit down to eat and of course Erik gets paged. They have a case that has to go to the OR. They inhale their food and take off. It's just me and the kids in the lounge. We eat up then head home. It ended up being another LONG night in the OR and he still hasn't made his way home yet.

We've done this before and I'll do it again. Although, our children seem to handle his absence pretty well, the kids really LOVE bringing dad food and hanging out in the [dirty] lounge. We've always openly talked about how people, all people, have to work so that they can take care of themselves and their families. And often times having to work means that you have to miss out on a lot of things, things that you wish you could do and greatly miss doing, but that's just a part of life. Both Erik and I were raised by single mothers who worked a TON but neither of us ever felt deprived or resentful. We had J when we were still in undergrad, trying to finish school and work. So, I think it's just part of family package. The kids know how lucky they are to have at least one parent who can consistently be there for them. There are plenty of children who don't even have that.

On weekends like these [which happen WAY too often especially considering that the residents are only suppose to have one or two weekend call days a month, he got 4], it's the only way they get to see their dad. Hopefully, they'll remember the happy times that we got to bring him dinner rather than all the times he had to miss.


Blogger Melisa said...

I am feeling spoiled. Brad hasn't had a call night this entire week. Wowza, right?

Hope things get easier!

July 16, 2009 at 9:54 PM  
Blogger JLee said...

Hey. Thank you for your post. I have a feeling I am heading for many days like what you are experiencing! I wanted to ask you if you know of any ortho programs that seemed to be family oriented more than others. My husband is an MS3 right now. Any information about it would be helpful. I fully understand and laughed at the getting the kids buckled and unbuckled thing. Been there, done that!

July 17, 2009 at 2:10 PM  
Blogger Davita said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

July 17, 2009 at 4:03 PM  
Blogger Davita said...

Thanks Melisa!! We'll see what nest month's call schedule looks like...

July 17, 2009 at 4:04 PM  

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