Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Is it better or worse if the stuff I am coughing up is from my nose or my lungs?

Ok so I'm having a sick day. Pretty rare for a doctor, I know.

The good thing is I've been able to cross off a few things on the 'to do' list like emailing Nerine and getting our flights to Fiji put on our frequent flyer numbers. Oh yes, didn't I tell you? We went to Fiji a few weeks back. I'll get around to posting some photos... in another lifetime, maybe.

Enny hoo...
When Ollie was about 4 months old, they changed the packaging on my favourite brand of boob pads. Gone was the friendly smiling woman I felt like I'd come to know, as we gazed at each other at all hours of the morning, me in my bed, she on the bedside cabinet. She looks like a woman you could have a yack with. Sure she's a model, but she's got a nice, open face. And a kind of "Oh, Honey- breastfeeding? Man that gave me the shits" look on her face. And I loved the half-assed slogany thing "They Work Beautifully". Like "In the marketing division of Rite-Aid we have absolutely NO IDEA what a nursing pad is, and we really don't want to know either". I suppose "Engorged Boozies Love our Cushies" is a bit out there, really.

But now, this woman.
Can't relate to her at all. First of all, she's asleep. What? You have a baby! You've got no time for sleep!

Secondly- her long, wavy, blondy hair. Who has time to look that good? Meh. Do Not Like.

Finally the soft glowy focus. Maybe it's the dawn light softly stealing up on her as she finally falls asleep only to be woken by the harsh sunlight coming in through the blinds and an overactive 3 year old running in "MuMMY! Rubbish Trucks! RUBBISH TRUUUCKS!!"

Rite-Aid: I'm ready and willing. Anytime you want. Here's my practised 'harried mother' look bound to earn sympathy and purchases:

And, oh Buggerit. A gratuitous shot taken in Fiji of the beach we played on every day. Just to evaporate any lingering shred of pity you had felt for me.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

I need new frames (On with the fluff)

Well, actually I don't. I have these perfectly lovely frames in purple and black. A native mandarin speaker at work told me they mean "prosperity" or "Good fortune".

But i was disappointed in the lack of range of frames in shops these days, so I went hunting for vintage. Specifically cat-eye vintage from the 50s and 60s. I have checked with my opticians and they are happy to fit lenses to my vintage frames.

Now I just need to decide.

Here are the choices:

Of course I have no way of knowing which of these, if any, will suit me. I'd just love to have a pair.


Monday, August 02, 2010

And then there were ... four, again.

I have a long post rattling around in my head about all the crap that has been happening to me lately, just as I have a post rattling around in there about families and the beauty, universality and frailty of the human being. I'd love to one day actually sit down and write them, but my available time to myself is vanishingly small. So it's going to be quick, and not very well written, but I still want to be able to get it out: this blog is as much for me recording my life as it is for other people to read, if they wish.

Well, that's a sufficiently clunky intro.

Basically my most recent work assessment was well below par for my training purposes, and well below my own usual ratings. The person who wrote it accused me of lacking commitment to my training, including because I won't come in on my days off to complete training that (in my opinion) ought to be available to me in-hours, and is available in-hours to other trainees who work full-time.

I was gob-smacked. But instead of standing up for myself and giving a well-reasoned, professional response with reference to the organisation's purported 'family-friendly' work practices and the college's guidelines, I burst into tears. In the middle of an operating theatre. Because I am chronically sleep deprived. And to be honest, because, in part, my supervisor is right. Unlike other trainees, work is not my number one priority. Shock. Horror.

For all its posturing, we do not live in a post-feminist world. I truly believe that much of the backlash against (oh be still my beating heart) Prime Minister Julia Gillard (even if her fruit bowl is empty) is because her supposed "backstabbing" of former PM KRudd was "bitchy" rather than 'manly and decisive'. And I believe that we may have a conservative, sexist PM who may well rescind the legislation permitting RU486 (despite public opinion being overwhelmingly supportive of accessible termination of pregnancy) simply because this country is not ready for a female PM. Goddamit. (It's not the first time I've seriously considered moving to NZ because I hate what this country's become).

And so it is with medicine. The bottom line is that we now have employment policies that make it illegal on paper to discriminate against women because of their gender, but have yet to come up with policy solutions that deal with the reality that the role in parenting is different for men and women, purely because of the differences in the makeup of our biology. Oh, and the fact that if we want to reproduce, that puts a huge hole in the time when we are supposed to be surging ahead in our careers. (Like me. Like right now.) because we don't have endless fertility unlike our male colleagues and partners.

Rulings in the courts acknowledge that women should be given flexibility in their work places until their children are at school age. However, the practical application of this in the workplace is years behind. YEARS. Maybe decades.

I'm angry that in 2010, I have to make the decision whether or not we have a third child is based not on- "could we cope? Could we afford it?" but "can I afford the time off" when this is not a decision my male colleagues have to make. I would be willing to bet that the proportion of male registrars finishing their anaesthetic training who are married with children is reasonably similar to an age- and education- matched cohort, but for women? I can only think of one previous female registrar who has finished this job after having kids. One. One. In a department that prided itself on how equal the trainee intake was. I know there are a number of recent trainees who have delayed having children only to find themselves infertile. And possibly bitter.

Much as I'd like to kick against the pricks and finish my training whilst being a good mother, I'm just going to have to... (deep breath)... be a bitch for the next 12 months. What will I miss? It's only 12 months after all? Oh, only Patrick's last year before school, and Ollie's most cerebrally formative year...

Before we married, MrT and I decided on "more than one, less than four" children. But I've always wanted three. (And, yes, being honest, I would dearly love that child to be a girl. To train to become mummy's little feminist, and to make funky skirts for. But I wouldn't, really wouldn't not love three boys. Brothers! A little band of brothers!!). But this looks increasingly unlikely. I'll be 39 at the end of this year, and we're not getting any younger. Ollie still doesn't sleep well, and neither does Patrick. And this year I've had my own health problems- an irregular heart beat (actually probably due to chronic sleep deprivation. No, really. Seriously.) and a retinal haemorrhage (sounds worse than it is. "just one of those things" according to my opthalmologist (who is my age with a girl Patrick's age. Who works part time. Hmmm... no, I'd go MAD looking at eyes all day: all that death breath to contend with). So, it's probably not going to happen anyway.

But these are the reasons I should not have another child. NOT because it is inconvenient to my training. I shouldn't even have to factor my job into my decision making. Because a man wouldn't.


(stamp! my little feet!! stamp stamp stamp!!)

I have almost come to terms with that conclusion. And I can almost see a future with it.

Well, actually, I should say I had. Because last week... Oh God.

Over the last two weeks, we were on holiday. I had packed some "feminine hygiene products" because I was expecting AF. But when I looked in my diary, I discovered I had actually expected AF the week before our holiday.

Wtf? I'm never late. Never.

Oh. My. God. Nausea- check. Appalling tiredness- check. Peeing all the time (actually took antibiotics because I thought I had cystitis)- check. Feeling like my brain was made of cotton wool- check. Milk supply dwindling (yes, I'm still feeding Ollie)- check.

HOLY MOTHER OF GOD. This cannot be happening.

But then: cramps. Pain. Spotting. Holy mother of God. That other thing. It's happening. Again.

G7P2. I'd even begun thinking of names. The holy improbability, and then the holy despair. And sadness. What did I do wrong? Was it the air travel? The one Pina Colada? The stress of the workplace thing? The looming possibility of growing up in a country overlorded by the Mad Monk?

Of course I know it was none of those things. But when I look at my sleeping Oliver, my dear, sweet baby who only a few short weeks ago I told my supervisor was the worst mistake I ever made (in terms of my training), the baby who shouldn't be, and I miss the third who may have fucked up my career entiely, but made me whole.