Saturday, November 29, 2008

Updates later

I'll give you the run down later (nothing earth shattering), but it's after 1 AM, I got up early to do Black Friday deals, and I am going to attempt to fall asleep now. So, until later, a few pictures:

Friday, November 21, 2008

Spoke too soon

Well, I figured posting about Tim being home when he was actually on his way home was a safe bet. As I should have learned from almost every business trip he's taken, getting home is not a guarantee.

First, his flight from Dulles to Cleveland was delayed two hours. The plane was there, but apparently it needed maintenance. So already his arrival moved from 2 PM to 4 PM. He was still planning to pick up Sophie when he got in (I had meetings all afternoon), so I thought we were ok.

I checked his flight status before one of my meetings, and he was in the air. When my phone rang at 4, I figured he was landed on the strip and ready to unload from the plane.

I was right on that. Problem was, he was in Pittsburgh, not Cleveland. Apparently the plane had an engine malfunction in the air, and they had to land at the closest airport. Tim said they even had emergency vehicles waiting on the strip in case they were needed. Sounds like fun!

So, it's 4 PM, and Tim's in Pittsburgh. I had to rush out to get Sophie while he figured out a plan. The next flight to Cleveland wasn't until later. He was going to try and rent a car, but the weather in the snow belt between Cleveland and Pittsburgh was forecasted to be pretty bad. I offered to drop Sophie off at my parents and drive out to get him. I didn't want to risk driving with Sophie in bad weather, but I also didn't want Tim to be stranded.

He was able to get a rental car (thank goodness!). He had to drive to the Cleveland airport to get his truck and drop off the rental, but he finally got home about 7 PM. I guess the weather was pretty treacherous for a good distance, but he made it.

And today is his 30th birthday. What a birthday present--at least he didn't get stuck on his actual birthday. But all of his travel misadventures make me think he's better off working via teleconference. Maybe someone is trying to tell us something...

Anyway, happy birthday Tim. My parents are coming up tonight to watch Sophie so his parents can take Tim & I to dinner. Sophie's not quite ready for the nicer restaurants yet. And then we're all meeting back at my house for cake & ice cream. Low key, but apparently that's what Tim wants. I offered to throw a party, or watch Sophie so he could go out with the boys, but he's not interested in really celebrating. It's his birthday, so I've got to follow what he wants. With the big snows coming through, this may not have been the best weekend for a party anyway.

Gotta love winter (or not...)

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Same old

I don't like to post about Tim being gone while he's actually out of town, so I've been putting off an update. I know, I don't think I'm so exciting that I have an internet stalker or anything, but there's something uncomfortable about posting about being home alone while I'm actually home alone. Basically, sorry for the delay.

Tim is coming home this afternoon after being gone for much of the week. Thank God. Really, every time he goes out of town, I pray for single parents. I have no idea how they do it. I've only been able to survive with the help of family. For instance, Tuesday morning I had to be at my insomnia appointment by 7:30, which meant I had to leave at 6:30. From my appointment, I had to head to lab, and then I had the VA in the afternoon. This meant I would be gone from 6:30 AM to at least 5:30 PM (depending on clinic). There was no way I could leave Sophie at daycare for 11 hours. Number one, that's just too much for Sophie. Number two, I don't think we're allowed to leave her for more than 10 hours at a time.

Usually, this would not be an issue. Tim would drop her off or pick her up (or, often both on my long days). We do nudge up against the 10 hour limit on occasion, but we've never exceeded it. However, with just me, there was no way around it. So, I called on family.

My mom came up Monday night and spent the night with us (either that, or she would have had to leave the house at 5:45 AM to be at my house in time). She stayed with Sophie at my house all day, and then she had dinner with us. There's nothing quite like coming home to mom's home cooking. I really missed that--I wish I would've enjoyed it more while I lived at home.

Despite past events (check out the June archives if you need some history), I really had no concerns with my mom watching Sophie at our house. My mom has never struggled with her alcoholism while staying with us. I'm not sure we were ready yet to leave Sophie down at her house--we'll get there, but we're not there yet.

I do know that Sophie loved it. When mom packed up to head home Tuesday night, Sophie cried and cried to see her leave. Sophie is not usually clingy. I drop her off at daycare and she never even gives me a second look! But with Tim gone, Sophie not feeling great, and then my mom leaving, it was a bit much for her. She was better when I held her and we waved goodbye out the window. But I couldn't be out of her sight the rest of the night.

Wednesday was even worse for the clingyness. Sophie wouldn't let me put her down all morning, not even to change her diaper, without her screaming. All she did was grab on to me. Dropping her off at daycare was really tough. She got better when she could play with the kids and toys, and I made sure she was settled before I left. But she caught a glimpse of me when I came to pick her up (she was in the middle of a diaper change at the time), and all she wanted in the world was to be held by me. It's a wonderful feeling to be so loved, but nothing brings on the mommy guilt quite like a clingy child.

Mom called and invited us down for dinner last night, so we didn't have to spend the evening alone in the house. It is exhausting though to travel with her on my own. It takes so long to pack her up and keep her occupied while still doing things like taking the dog out, getting the house organized for the evening (turning on lights, shutting blinds, etc), and trying to get out the door without forgetting anything.

And by the time we get home, Sophie's sleeping, I'm exhausted, and my whole night is gone. And I still have all the nightly chores to do, except that I'm the only one around to do them.

But, we survived. I of course miss Tim for personal and emotional reasons too, but I am thrilled to have another set of hands around. I have no idea how we would do residency with me having a crazy schedule and Tim traveling if we didn't have family around. I told him--he's either got to have a job with flexible hours and no traveling, or we have to stay in Cleveland for residency. Fellowship may be easier, but residency is a no-go without support around. We just can't do it.

So, that's what I've been up to. I also started this sleep trial on Tuesday. I'm guessing I either got placebo or the drug is crap, because I am still not sleeping. I was actually so nervous Tuesday night about taking my first dose of drug while I'm home alone that I set multiple alarms and cranked the baby monitor up so I wouldn't oversleep. Turned out to be a non-issue.

I've also been pondering a lot about some of the issues I talked about in the last few posts. I've really been thinking about how hard I am on myself sometimes. I also realized that reading my journals makes me sound all depressed. I'm really not. Things are tough sometimes, but they are for everyone. I get through those times with optimism, faith, and support. I just need to vent (hence the blogging), but really, life is pretty good. I do need to work on some personal issues. I can get into those at a later time. But I'm working on remembering the positive and just doing what I need to do to get through the tough times. It's not all thorns; there are plenty of roses along the way too if I stop and take a look.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


The last two days, I've had several moments of deep thought and general awe. Yesterday I went to the library, just to walk around and stay awake (stupid cold medicine makes me tired). I decided to walk around the section with all of the medical books just to browse and see if there was anything that jumped at me. As I walked up and down the aisles, I was dwarfed by the sheer number of books.

I was humbled by the amount of knowledge sitting on those shelves. And for a moment, I panicked. I thought, "How can I, as a future doctor, ever expect to know enough of this knowledge to actually treat patients?"

Even areas that are "specialties" have rows upon rows of books. I feel like it is my duty to know as much as I can when I plan to see patients full time. And I want to learn forever. Judging by the books in the library, I don't think learning forever will be a problem.

Then, yesterday, I was sorting through files on the computer in an attempt to be more organized. I stumbled across journals I started typing in 2005 (back when I actually was in "Crazy Talk", as we called therapy). Wow. Just wow. It's amazing to me to read about what was going on in my life. I was completely transfixed by the entries. Here's what I've learned since then:

-I've really regressed back to associating my weight and food issues with success in my life. I actually don't weigh more than I did in 2005, but I feel like I've gotten huge (it doesn't help that pregnancy redistributed everything).

-I'm still measuring myself with a different yardstick than I measure other people.

-I really hated lab in 2005. I should've cut bait when my first PI left and gone back to medical school. Instead, I've suffered since then. I wish I would listen to my instincts more. I do think switching labs this time was the right decision, but I knew in 2005 that there were no good options for me (as least as they were presented by the director in my department). Instead of compromising then, I should have listened to my intuition. I think this lab I joined will be the best I've been in for my PhD, by far.

-Much of the same family drama that existed in 2005 still exists. And it's had ups and downs, but it isn't consistently getting better. I am working to do my part with it, but I can't tell the rest of my family to do the same. And I'm a judgmental control freak, so keeping my mouth shut is not easy.

-Basically, everything I talked about in therapy in 2005 is still an issue with me. I am better about saying no to everything that gets put in front of me, but if I didn't have Sophie, I may still be a "yes" person.

-I question myself. A LOT. And I always have. At some point, I need to learn to make decisions and go with my gut.

-I am happier now in the sense that I've had enough clinical experience to know that at least one aspect of my MD/PhD training will be useful.

-Life is much more complete with Sophie in it. I had a lot of superficial things that I fretted about pre-Sophie. I've gotten better about letting the stupid things slide. It may mean that the house is messier than it used to be, but I am getting better about prioritizing.

-There are still a lot of things in my life that I am worried about. They are basically the same as before, just in different incarnations. And it all comes down to security. I worry about money in terms of security. I worry about having a career because of security. I worry about raising Sophia so she is happy and secure. I'm insecure with myself. Basically, that is my personal #1 basic need, and everything I do in live is somehow related.

It's interesting to step back every now and again in order to take stock in the big picture. I do feel intrinsically happier than I ever have before--Sophie is a big part of that--but I still worry about the same stuff. I keep saying that "I'll get to it." I don't know how, but I need to find a way to work on my issues while dealing with everything else I have going on. I think it will make the rest of my life easier in turn.

Monday, November 10, 2008

The goings on

As you’ve probably noticed, life has been a bit crazy recently, preventing me from blogging quite as much as I used to. In full disclosure, I’ve also not been trying to find as much time. I’ve had a lot of personal stuff going on. While I am generally not shy about talking about my issues, I’m also a little hesitant to get into some of the real nitty-gritty that is causing me stress. Really, it’s nothing earth shattering. It’s just enough to stress me out.

And, I don’t like to be so negative all of the time. I know the reason I started blogging was to vent, but that isn’t what my whole life is about. So generally, if I can’t think of something positive to say (at least on occasion), I’m more like to just not blog about it.

The big picture things are fine. Tim & I are good, thank God, because there is no way I could deal with this stuff on my own right now. Sophie is generally good, but I’ll fill you in on her rough weekend in a minute. Finances are tight, as always, but it’s not like we are in danger of losing the house or anything like that. And I’m taking on as much as I can with teaching/clinical trials to try and supplement our income. Work is ok. I’m adjusting as best I can, and I’m also trying to re-prioritize. The lab itself is a wonderful change from my old work environment. I’m just trying hard to change from working on my own to working in a group. But the people are great, so I’m sure I’ll be fine. Now if the data would only cooperate . . . but that is why they call them experiments, I suppose.

It’s more the day to day stresses. There’s been some family drama, which I’d rather not get into. There’s the insomnia, which is getting worse. And there’s also some of my own personal demons coming back to haunt me. As in the past, when life gets stressful, my food issues generally creep back. That leads to body image issues, which leads to negativity, which leads to guilt issues and self-worth problems. That is a difficult spiral to escape from. My issue now is more putting the brakes on things to not make them worse. I’ll have to worry about actually improving things another time

Anyway, back to life at hand. Sophie had her 1 year visit on Friday. She’s at the 75th percentile for weight and the 90th percentile for height—so she’s keeping pace with the 93rd/93rd percentiles she started at when she was born. She’s had a cold for a few days, and that turned into redness in her ears and lots of clear fluid, but no ear infection. Still, talking to the doctor, I think we’ll probably set up at least an ENT consult if not tubes. The doctor seemed to think this would probably turn into another double ear infection, but she didn’t want to give antibiotics just yet. Since she didn’t have an actual infection or a fever, she also got all of her shots. She hated those. Big shocker.

She did ok Friday afternoon. She was doing so well that we went down to my parent’s house for dinner. It meant we got to visit, I didn’t have to cook, and we got to see my niece. She did really well, and she slept well Friday night. Saturday she was supposed to have her first playdate with the son of a friend of mine, but she decided to run a fever and get really fussy, so we had to cancel. We ended up driving around for a few hours Saturday afternoon in order to let her sleep. Her cold was so bad that she could only sleep sitting up, but the car seat seemed to do the trick.

Saturday night she was doing better, so we went to my cousin’s house and had dinner. Again, she seemed fine. She went to bed ok, but then about 1:30 in the morning she started screaming. Bloody murder screaming. She didn’t want a bottle, she didn’t have a fever, she didn’t have a dirty diaper, and she wasn’t even as congested as she had been. She would go to sleep while I held her, but as soon as she hit the crib she started screaming.

Now, this is not my baby. She is not a crier, let alone a screamer. Even when she fusses at night she doesn’t scream. This was worse than when she got her shots!

I felt terrible for her. Since I couldn’t sleep anyway, I took her into the back bedroom, put pillows around so she couldn’t go anywhere, and I held her the whole night. She would finally drift off to sleep for a few minutes, but then she’d wake back up. She would roll over and grab my face with her hands, crawl until she was laying on my face, and then she’d fall asleep. She had to be holding my face all night long or else she was screaming.

It was almost like she was afraid of something. She’s a little young to be scared of the dark—and she’s never had an issue before—but I am wondering if that was a sleep terror or something like it. She slept fine Sunday night, so hopefully we won’t have another experience like that.

I just felt so awful. And helpless—that was the worst feeling. All I could do was hold her and make sure she was touching me. She did sleep eventually, but judging by her naps on Sunday, Saturday night wasn’t very restful for her. It wasn’t for me either, but what else is new?

Of course, I have come down with her cold. This morning I woke up with a swollen throat and whole-body aches. Motrin has helped a little, but the cold medicine is doing nothing. I catch everything she gets now because my immune system is so run down from the not sleep. Another vicious cycle.

I haven’t heard from day care yet today, so hopefully that means she is doing ok. I really expect her to be running another fever soon—I think the ear infection is coming. She was pulling her ears yesterday. The high fever is usually what tells us that it’s time to see the doctor.

Really, I feel like we live at the doctor’s office. I know that’s not true, but considering I go less than once a year, being there every other week is a lot to me.

Once we get the ears figured out, we also have to wean her off the bottle and the pacifier. She was weaned from breastfeeding a week before her first birthday (and I’m thrilled). The doctor suggested bottle first, then binky, but not to try until she was feeling better. So hopefully that will be soon. Sophie does ok with a sippy cup, but she’ll have to get really good at it pretty fast.

Sophie is also walking-ish now. She’s been taking one or two steps for a few weeks. We said when she did three steps, we’d count it. Well, Friday she did five, and she did five again on Sunday. So I guess she’s walking! She’s been pushing her little car around (along with laundry baskets, small chairs, and anything else she can find) for a while, and she can stand and squat unsupported for a few minutes at a time. When she figures out how much easier it is to carry things when she’s walking instead of crawling, I think that’s when she’ll really be into it. She can just crawl so quickly now that she doesn’t need to walk to get somewhere fast.

I’m still floored by how much she’s grown in the last year. She says “dada” and “mama” pretty regularly now, along with an occasional “dog”, “duck, or “baba” for bottle.

She can follow commands, especially when it involves getting a toy or her shoes. She even tries to put her shoes on by herself (with no success, of course). She shakes her head “no”, she knows how to put things in a container (and put things away, thanks to Tim). She’s just such a little person—and her own person, that’s for sure. She wants to do everything herself!

Looking at last year’s Halloween and this year’s Halloween pictures, I’m astounded and a little sad. I’ve tried hard to be as involved with her life as I can. Goodness knows I’ve taken enough pictures that I shouldn’t have any trouble remembering her as a baby. But I can’t believe how much she’s grown. I am in no way ready to have another baby—if anything, having her has made me want to cherish our one-on-one time and keep it that way for at least a few years. But seeing that she’ll never be that little again make me sort of sad. I’m excited to watch her continue to grow, but I also miss the baby days.

Ok, that was my sappy time. Thanks for humoring me.

Anyway, I just wanted to say that there will be a time, hopefully soon, where I’ll be back to my old self (and hopefully a well-rested self at that). For now, I’m working through some of my issues in private. Don’t take it personally—I just am not ready to get into it yet. I’ll keep you posted on more of the basic day to day stuff as much as I can. For now though, back to work!

Wednesday, November 05, 2008


I know I've been more MIA than usual recently. I am hoping this changes soon. I've just been so exhausted.

I actually did a screening visit for a clinical trial on Tuesday, and for the first time, I was not in the healthy volunteer group. It is an insomnia study, and I apparently definitely qualify. That was actually a bit of a shock--I know I haven't been sleeping much, but to quantitate it and have someone else tell me that I have insomnia was rather strange.

Basically, I have been sleeping about 4 hours a night for almost two years. A year of that was pregnancy plus the first six weeks home. The last year, though, Sophie's really been sleeping pretty well. I have not been. It takes me about an hour and a half to fall asleep when I go to bed. I get up at least three times at night, and it takes me about 30-45 minutes to fall back asleep. And I am always up before my alarm.

Some nights, I sleep and only get up once. Other nights, I don't sleep at all.

I don't drink caffeine or alcohol, I don't take medications, and I don't have other sleep habits that would keep me up. I'm just...up.

It's really started to affect me. I've always been tired during the day, but now I can't get my eyes to focus, I worry about driving, and I can't be still for more than a few minutes without starting to nod off (think seminars...)

And having to get up at 5 AM on mornings like today will become more of a regular thing in the new lab. I try going to bed earlier, but I just don't fall asleep. And so, it's 2 PM, I've been up for 9 hours already, and I can barely keep my head up. And I have a full day ahead.

I just can't keep living like this. The clinical trial is only 8 weeks, but if I feel better afterwards, I am going to talk to my doctor. I'm hesitant about long term sleeping medications, considering that one benadryl knocks me out for 24 hours, but I need to figure something out to get more sleep.

So yeah, insomnia plus crazy busy at work plus busy at home equals not a ton of time for blogging. Too bad, because I've had a lot of things pop up that would be fun to talk about, but by the time I have an opportunity, it just doesn't seem interesting anymore.

But life in general is moving along. My new project isn't doing what we expected, which could be interesting if it is a real result, or it will just be frustrating if it's an experimental error. Hard to tell with such a small number of experiments done, but I'll let you know.

For now, I may have to break a rule and go get some caffeine. I'm not going to be able to finish my day without it.

Sunday, November 02, 2008


I have about 50 Halloween pics, but here's a good one:
Compare that to Halloween last year:
My, how time flies!