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.

Broody mornings.

It is 0433 hours. The early morn. The city has already began to stir. The morning runners have commenced their warm up, at the least. The construction industry is well and truly onto the workday. The morning shift nurses have to be at work in about an hour. The school buses would have been plying their bleary eyed wards by now, if not for the summer holidays.

We better start our days early here. By late morning, the soaring temperatures start to roast us out of our juices. By noon, we are done. We might still be at our schools and offices, but we ARE done. We sit in our dry, artificially cooled rooms and will the clock to take us to the hour that can take us home.

I ain’t a morning person, by any stretch. At best, I’m inwardly broody, at worst I’m outright snarky and irritable. I am pissed off. I am like a coiled spring, a whip waiting to lash out or riled up like an irritated lion at a noisy zoo. I have learned to live with it. It is a personality trait, not a habit that can be broken.

And the earlier I have to begin my day, the worse it seems to be.

Thanks to my default mental disposition, the early starts affect me more than the general Janes and those annoying morning persons who wake up with a smile on their face and a song on their lips. I get by most of the morning with a furrowed brow and a perpetual frown. It takes about 2 hours or so to find my groove in the mornings. Things are worse now, as I not only have to get my arse to work; I have other broody, annoyed small humans that have to be prepped and primed for their day before I head out the door. Damn destiny.

Lil’ Z seems to have taken after her mother. She hardly ever wakes up smiling, and is always slightly angry at the universe in the mornings. The Little Man, I am not sure yet. He may have escaped the Broody Morning Gene, I hope he has. He is young yet. I cannot tell for sure. I hope he has, for this household cannot handle another temperamental morning person.

You might think, I should have found ways to improve my morning mood by now. After all, it’s been three decades. The answer is yes and no. The average crappy morning feeling can be conquered, but some mornings are unsalvagable. It is almost as if, I am pissed off at myself for not dying in my sleep.

There are a few things though, that I find help me ward off the sickly feeling that seems to be engulf me as I drag myself out of bed each day.

1. Wake up early.
Rushing seems to aggravate the situation.

2. Eat something as soon as you wake up.
Maybe it’s just a simple case of acute early morning hypoglycaemia.

3. Morning run.
Probably the best solution. Almost always works. I sweat the annoyance out of me.

4. Music.
Almost as good as the run.

5. Get things in order the previous night.
Outfits, work bag, breakfast plans, nursery bags, keys- for me rushing about in the morning to get these things in order is like asking a math- hating, deprived drug addict to solve a calculus problem whilst blaring loud, clanky music that she hates. Ha, what rubbish analogy. See, I told you I am not a morning person!

6. Shower, duh!
I am a night shower person, but a morning shower always helps with my mood I notice.

7. Marry a sane, morning person.
This can work both ways. Over time, you can erode his morning vitality, or he may vanquish some of your darkness. But beware, this can either make or break your marriage 🙂

This post is dedicated to all my fellow broody morners (pun intended). I sympathise, and you are not alone.

May our tribe decrease.

GOOD MORNING!
Till next time.

Dr 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.

The 3 min 40 sec skincare routine.

Yes folks, I spend about 4 minutes or so on skincare everyday. Considering the fact that I can allot only about four hours to sleep and rest, I think 4 minutes on skincare is borderline luxurious.

Here goes…

  1. Getting the war- paint  off.

    FullSizeRenderI use one of the two, depending on what I feel like and how much time I want to spend on it. I do prefer the Bioderma Sebium H2O though. It quicker, less icky and more effective.

  2. For the non- squeaky clean finish.

    FullSizeRenderIn the summer, my skin can handle the cleansers that give the “squeaky clean” feel. Not in these dry months though. I have really been liking this particular cleanser.

    I bought it because, I have been seeing it in the female on-call bathrooms for a while now. And over the last month someone has been quickly getting through the bottle. Therefore I surmised that someone really likes this cleanser, and I know first hand that Bioderma is a fairly “gentle” brand. It hasn’t disappointed me and I’m thankful to the faceless/ nameless doctor that has unwittingly recommended this to me.

  3. For the night-time.

    FullSizeRenderI finally finished up every last drop of my Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery Concentrate and then headed off the very next day (as I had promised myself about 10 months ago) to pick up this pretty brown bottle.

    This is all I use on my face at night- two drops is more than sufficient. Will let you ladies know what I think of it soon..

  4. An old work- horse.

    FullSizeRenderYou guys must be bored of seeing this on this blog. Apologies.

    I use it on chapped lips, cracked heels, flaky elbows; basically my SOS cream.

  5. Trying to use- up.

    FullSizeRenderNot really worth the hype IMO. Maybe it doesn’t suit my skin/ situation. Or I might not be using it right. In short, will not repurchase.

    7. You little beauty!

    FullSizeRender

    It might sound far too simple- minded, but this flat, tub of glycerine is all I use for dry skin. No fancy body butters, and no fragrant body lotions.

    So pray tell me ladies, what are you folks using this winter??

    Till next time.

    Dr J.

Exhaustion.

“My head aches, my eyes burn, my arms and legs have given up, and my face in the mirror has a grayish cast. The bed, across the room, calls in its unmistakable lover’s croon, Come to me, come, only I can make you truly happy, oh, how happy I’ll make you, don’t resist, remember how you moan with pleasure the instant we touch…..

Laura Acosta”
Lynne Sharon Schwartz, Fatigue Artist

And so my dearest beloved, my friend forever and my closest confidant (as I often murmur unspeakable secrets into the non-so-fluffy-anymore cushions) calls out to me. Unkempt and chaotic, my bed seems to purposefully mimic my life and circumstance; so as to say-

I am just as you, like you.

And therefore shall not judge you.

I shall welcome you to my soiled but loving sheets with nothing but comfort and understanding.

I shall not croon words of advice or sing songs of fake commiseration.

I shall offer you the biggest gift of all.

Silence.

And a gentle place to rest your tired limbs and jaded mind.

Come to me, my love.

And we shall together dream dreams of a brighter, better day.

I realize now, that exhaustion, like everything else in life is relative. And incomparable. At 23 I thought being on-call for 30 hours was exhaustion. Little did I know, there are levels of exhaustion that are far, far beyond the limits of my then young, juvenile mind.

There are also several kinds of exhaustion. Metaphorical, physiological, philosophical, physical, mental, notional, fruitful and utterly unproductive. And then there is a type that cripples you. A dark, demonic concoction of all of the above.

There is price to pay for everything, folks. But it is thoroughly unfortunate and oddly ironic, if the price for material contentment is arrant exhaustion. For the latter shall never let you savor the former.

Sigh!

Till next time,

Dr J.

Weekend woes.

The wheels on the bus go round and round, round and round, round and round. The wheels on the bus go round and round. All day long….

Seriously folks, this has been running in my head ALL DAY LONG!

I had some tremendously marvelous blog post ideas for the day. Posts that lamentably did not materialize.Oh well, there is always the next weekend.

What’s the big deal if I have bushy eyebrows and flaky skin, the salon appointment can wait. The messy cupboards are no big deal, it means I don’t have to worry about messing them up any further while I rummage for stuff to wear in the mornings! Shopping for work- wear can be postponed indefinitely as well,  wearing the same top on alternate days makes me the bad- arse surgeon who does not care what others think of her. She is so cool that she can wear the same clothes everyday!

So you must have slept in eh?

Naa. Losers sleep in, friend. The super- efficient achievers NEVER sleep in. Why waste a precious Sunday morning sleeping, when it can be productively utilized to feed slurry oats to a hyper-active, combat ready, teething ten month old.

You must have definitely caught up with your favorite TV shows, then..

TV? What in heaven’s name is that??

A bunch of old friends wanted “to do brunch”. I despise (or maybe envy) hanging out with single/ unmarried/ yet- to- be- parent/ non- fellow friends; so I politely declined saying I have a stomach bug. Trust me, only the “stomach- bug” excuse can work, baby/ work excuses only lead to endless discourse and convincing.

I have no idea what happened folks. It’s all a blur. I remember coming home from work on Saturday afternoon. It gets hazy after that.  It is almost midnight now, the tail end of my precious Sunday. The Weekend does not exist anymore. I do not wish for Sundays (or Fridays!) anymore. Life is better without them.

Somebody is obsessed with THE WHEELS ON THE BUS song, and I am thankful for it’s existence. For it allows me to at least use the loo in peace!

539-599690

Can’t wait for the weekday to begin. Whiny patients and preachy consultants, here I come…

Till next time..

Dr J.

 

 

Midnight wonts.

Mademoiselle Zoe drifts off, reluctantly. Unwilling to give up, she holds on to restless wakefulness until the cozy, welcome embrace of sleep finally wins her over and takes her over to the other side. To dreamland. A land of lilies and puppets and endless newspapers for her to rip and boundless water for her to splash around in.

As is her wont, J lays her bundle of joy and worry at Her corner of the bed, and noiselessly scoots over. A pillow takes her place. It will not serve it’s purpose for long, but it will do for now.

A year ago, on a day like this, J would have plonked face down into the pillow without a care in the world at this point. A day which sucks the life- force out of you. A day when you have more to do than the time available to humanely do it in.

It is NOT a year ago.

J opens her closet door to pick out an outfit for work the next next day. The door creaks loudly. J holds her breath and stand absolutely still. Lil’ Z stirs, but then rolls over onto her tummy and nuzzles into the replacement pillow. J starts to breathe again. And without a sound, gets out some clothes to iron.

Ironing done, she finally settles into bed. Lil Miss Zoe wanders over in her sleep. J can’t help but smile.

She settles into bed, with a million books, gadgets and paraphernelia. And thus begins her midnight wonts.


 

Jotting and Logging.
Jotting and Logging.

Look back at the day. Look into the next day. Cross appointments, confirm appointments, check appointments. Outline and plan chores/ errands. Enter into the Log Book.


 

Ahem. Me time?
Preening and pampering.

Yes. J is still at it!


 

Cramming.
Cramming.

For next day’s journal club/ seminar/ presentation/ case/ discussion/ whatever else they decide to throw at us.


 

Blogging
Blogging

Lord alone knows why she does this everyday! For sanity perhaps..


 

Running.
Running.

For the next day.


 

Reading.
Reading.

Just before Zzzzzzzzzz…….


 

The above pictures are grainy and dark- as they were clicked in semi- darkness. Apologies.

Good night folks.

Till next time..

Dr J.

 

 

Runday Monday- Excuses!

MjAxMy01ZGExYzkyYmI0OTIxMWVj

It was a special day. A watershed one. Zoe is standing, all by herself. All quivering and unstable, but standing.

And on the same day, Mama suddenly finds out that her clothes don’t fit. Her favorite pair of pre- pregnancy jeans are loose. Yes. You read that right- LOOSE!

NO EXCUSES!
NO EXCUSES!

Ha.

It’s fantastic when the naysayers and negativity breeders are proved wrong.

She was told things will never be the same again. She was told to get rid of her old clothes.

She was told she would never find the time. That it would all be a bit much.

Her “healthy” cousins who hated her skinny physique were finally delighted. Pregnancy and child- birth will fill her out they whispered.

She was told a lactating mother should not exercise. Apparently it messes up the supply.

She was told, the fat stores would never dwindle.

She was told she would never run like before.

And she believed them. Just enough to make excuses for her lazy lifestyle.

Just for a couple of months.

Until, the pure insanity of motherhood pushed her to the brink.

Until running became more of an escape rather than the love it once was.

The excuses started to fade away.

 

597c92df937be7ea_599328_649761945054764_604047418_n.preview_tall

Yes, we don’t have a battalion of nannies. We don’t have million- dollar personal trainers and fancy gym memberships. But honestly, where there is a will, there is a way folks.

And please, oh please don’t let the “well- wishers” get to you. They mean “well” but they have no idea what they are talking about.

In our part of the world, marriage and motherhood is an excuse to give-up. Throw in the towel, literally and otherwise.

We are asked to give- up everything we enjoy and hold dear, and live out the rest of our lives FOR THE FAMILY. No harm. If that is what you choose. But ultimately, we have but one life. And our excuses, mean nothing to anyone. They are meant to fool only ourselves.

May232013

Having a family, it the most glorious gift of life. But, sneaking an hour or two for ourselves is no crime.

I am no motivational speaker. I ain’t a fitness expert. I am no one special or extra- ordinary.

I am an ordinary working daughter, sister, wife, mother who struggles to get through each day with her sanity intact.

The to- do- lists never get done fully. There are always chores pending. At least one person is pissed off with me each day. I  nod off on my laptop each night. I drive my husband crazy with my antics. I inwardly curse some whiny, nagging patients. I have almost zero tolerance for shoddiness or ineptitude from juniors at work. I change diapers at night, with my eyes closed; half- asleep. I am impatient and swear at the guy who cuts me off on the road. I don’t eat as healthy as I would like to. I binge on sweets and savory fried stuff. I cannot always squeeze in a work- out everyday like before. And I hate waking up in the morning.

I am as imperfect and flawed as the next person. If not more.

I also make a million excuses each day.

I think these excuses are my shackles. They stop me from being the best I can be. From fulfilling my potential.

I fight them everyday.

Someday, I shall conquer them.

A full and final victory. Someday….

It's paying off!
It’s paying off!

 

Till next time…

A struggling fitness junkie!