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Internal medicine physician and mom of 4

The quiet within

This morning I parked in the physician only parking spot of the first nursing home I ever worked in, on my way to visit one of my clinic patients.  I remember years ago when I worked there looking at that parking spot and thinking to myself - one day, I'll get to park there.  :)

Yesterday in clinic I found myself spacing out while auscultating a patient's lungs.  I suddenly realized that the poor lady had been taking deep breaths in and out for quite a while while I was seemingly mesmerized by the soothing rush of air in and out, in and out.  After reassuring the patient everything sounded great and sending her on her way, I stopped for a minute before seeing the next patient.  Those brief minutes I had taken out of my ridiculously over-scheduled resident day were like salve to a burn and awakened a memory from several years ago.

I was asked to talk to a small group of incoming first year med students the week before I started second year of med school.   The idea was to answer any questions they had, reassure them that everything really was going to be OK, and especially to talk to the parents in the crowd about med school with kids.  At the time, I had an 8 year old and a 4 week old (who was nursing for the entirety of the session, and pretty much for the entirety of her first 3 months of life).

Several of the parent-students wondered when the best time to study was, and if they would still be able to be active participants in their kids' lives.  The (childless) faculty moderator looked at me, mouth agape, in disbelief after I described my late-night study habits, daycare duties, soccer practice schedule (as a coach), etc and asked me "when do you have time to yourself?"

the moms in the crowd laughed - what mom has time to herself?  I tilted my head, switched the babe to the other side, and thought.  And thought.  "Well, I take showers most days, and I'm alone then (this is sadly not true these days - the alone part, not the shower part).  Also, it takes me about 15 minutes to drive up to campus and sometimes I listen to the radio and sing". 

This year (and my wonderful husband) has afforded me more opportunities for "me" time - playing soccer, sewing.  And yet, yesterday I was "alone" and enjoying time to myself while gratuitously auscultating.   I wonder what my patient thought about her lung exam.
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