Finding roots again

Hey! It’s been a while. And things things look quite different around here no? Well, it’s been an impulsive revamp. I have been in a bit of a funk lately, feeling a bit out of control and unmoored; thus the impetuous changes in other, trivial aspects my life (hair, blog, screensaver, laundry detergent, tea bag, loofah….you get the drift).

The genesis of this virtual space is rooted in the singular loneliness of a new parent, especially a mother (sorry, I cannot be gender impartial at times like now). I have spoken of this before. Of how lonesome, tiring, and generally hard it can be. Of how nobody really tells you that is how it is going to be. People always warn you about any impending exams, tests, professional choices, homes, automobiles, phones even; but the act of having children is never reviewed or warned about, at least not until you’ve had them. Once in the club, people commiserate, but they would never tell you these things before you enter the hallowed halls of motherhood/ parenthood. Damn all of you!

I started writing on here as a mother of a newborn. The first one. The early posts were outrageously mommy- centric. And as I grew into my role, I starting writing about other aspects/ topics. There were even some attempts at fluff pieces (make up, bags, shoes), as I’d like to call them, but I have realised that at the end of day, this is one aspect of my life that is all- consuming. Therefore, it is a manic- mum- life (the title has greater meaning- I shall maybe someday share them).

I thought maybe it is the early days that are the hardest. Helpless bundle of cells and organs that human babies are. But I’m here to report (from the trenches no less), that it doesn’t seem to get any easier. Listening to Michelle Obama talk about it (how she was her own person, doing her own things and chasing life, even while in a marriage- until she had her first child), I realised- the resentments and feeling of helplessness aren’t entirely my own. My homemaker mother feels them, my working- mom friends feel them, our grandmothers felt them. Your other half generally gets to flit in and out, and contribute when they wish, but you have the major burden of responsibility- barring any unusual circumstance.

I now wonder about these things, because amidst the chaos of having young children and trying to have a semblance of a professional life, I had to move in with my parents for a while. Two years, in fact. And now that those two years are up, reflecting on them puts into perspective another thing that I’d heard from the Obamas – Mrs. Obama asked her mother to move in with them to the White House the entire duration they were there. For the childrens’ sake. For some order among the chaos.

Moving back with one’s parents has its downsides no doubt. Being treated like a child sometimes, when you are thirty and used to living life your way isn’t easy. Especially when you consider living in an Indian household. But the complete and utter freedom I felt of having my mother with my children while I was off to work (a surgical fellowship can be as taxing as a Presidency!) for long- stretches of time is unexplainable. You have to live it to believe it. I travelled to attend workshops, conferences; stayed away for days. I missed my kids, so did they; but not for one moment was I concerned about their well- being or safety. My children had another person to be ‘their person’, apart from me. A person to run to when hurt or sick. The next best thing to their mother- or maybe even better (the selflessness of a grandmother trumps the duty- bound cares of a mother). It was in short, a miracle. Suddenly, at least for a while, I had found an island of calm. I could learn my craft, be a good mother, be a better surgeon, work on projects and things that were important to me prior to becoming a mum; and generally find myself again.

Like all things in life, that too had to come to an end of course. Shorn of the luxury, moving to a new city, looking for a another job and trying to get used to ‘ the new normal’ again has been gritty. I am often left thinking of the early days with my firstborn, the utter all- consuming nature of them. The children suddenly bereft of their ‘people’ seem to cling to me with a fervour that I haven’t seen since they were nine months old. Staying at home with them full time for the past couple of months has amplified it all. And yes, I have lost my people too. The upside of being treated like a child by your parent is the care and attention you receive. Someone actually puts food on the table for you, someone asks you if you want a cup of coffee, the laundry gets folded (magically) more often than not, people fuss over you when you are even slightly under the weather- unfathomable luxuries while being an adult and parent. It is a gift and a bane, for you start to lean on a crutch that is likely not permanent.

Anyhoo, all that’s done and dusted. And now we move on to new adventures. New lessons. New troubles. The city now is Thiruvananthapuram- the capital of God’s Own Country!

Let the parenting conundrums continue.

Till next time,

J.

Random thought threads from a rainy ‘call’ day.

 

I will admit that men and women of all vocations work hard. Engineers sometimes work odd hours, IT folk may work horrible hours, investment bankers suffer from stress ulcers; even tax practitioners and auditors have their “times of the year” when the hours are irrelevant. All said, for most people “hours of work” is a reality, which is sometimes subject to exceptions and extraordinary circumstances. But for some segments of society, work has no relation to the concept of night and day, ‘work days’ and ‘off days’.

Ask a security guard, a nurse, or better still – ask a surgical resident.

 

 

 

You might have heard inpatient doctors complain about their hours ad nauseam. About how our responsibilities never cease, and about how our hours never end. I try and refrain from that kind of commentary on most occasions, but some days I just cannot seem to keep it in.

 

 

Of course, there is always a trigger that sets me off. The rant is almost always precluded by some event/ occurrence or change in surrounding mien, that brings forth the feeling of resentment and discontent.

Today, the trigger seems to be the rain.

 

 

I’m no foreigner to rain. I have mostly lived in places where the rain is a constant of life. Where the rain is seldom appreciated or cherished and is most often considered a nuisance to everyday life.But in these parched lands, the rains are always welcome in my books. It reminds me of lazy childhood days, and naughty teenage years. The rain makes me feel young, fresh and unbothered again.

 

 

 

On a day such as this, a weekend no less; I should be home, lounging on the couch. With crisps on hand, re- watching old, action/ suspense movies  or fluffy reality shows while the Little One bounces off the living room walls as usual, and the husband lies semi- comatose a.k.a asleep and snoring away comfortingly beside me.

 

 

 

 

Here I am, sipping coffee and typing a quickie post, while I watch the rain from a tiny window in the on- call room, and wait for a call from the ER. It’s quite pathetic really. The window doesn’t open and I cannot hear the rain or smell the air; the coffee is tepid and poor and this post might yet be unfinished/ unpublished as I might get called any moment.

 

 

 

I have not seen the sunlight today nor have I have breathed in any “real” air (barring the conditioned variety). To make matters worse I have a pounding headache that seems mighty resistant to any analgesic that I can throw at it.

 

 

 

Most days, we wish for a “light- call”. A day/ night when we see few patients, stable patients, non- crazy patients, ‘classic- case’ patients, unsurprising patients…. You get the drift. Today though, I wish it were insanely, crazy busy (like some nights are) since it is the only way for the hours to whizz past, and not drag along painfully.

 

 

 

I love my job. On most days. But on days like this, I am forced to dwell upon the countless weekends and holidays I have missed. The innumerable hours of night sleep I have sacrificed at the alter of medicine and surgery, and the infinite hours of family time that I have relinquished in the path to be where I am today.

 

Hope the night is quiet folks. And hope some sleep is in store.

 

Till next time..

 

Dr J.

 

P.S. Above worlds were penned at different times during the day. In between the usual “business”. Quickly and without edits; on a handheld, mobile device.

*Disclaimer- No persons/ patients were neglected/ harmed during the making/ publishing of this post.There was no abdication of duty at any point of time.