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Mar 24, 2012

Update from the Front

Caroline crawls now. She pulls herself along with the strength of a woman with a mission and gets herself into fabulously perplexing situations. Nothing makes her happier than getting herself stuck under the table or smashed behind the couch. Squeals and peals and laughter, which all inevitably evolve into shrieks and screams and pleas for rescue. Once rescued, she returns to her previous adventures, scouring the floor for things that might be lethal so that she may shove them in her mouth before someone stops her.

Colin is endlessly fascinated by Caroline. He wants to be as close as humanly possible at all times. Closer. He bends over her and grins right into her face, giggling and saying in a sing-song voice "Caroline-y!" She loves it, and grabs his face to pull his nose into her still toothless mouth. He protests, "Yuck, Caroline-y! That's my nose!" but he doesn't mean it. What he means is "You're the best thing ever" and she laughs and drools and shuts her eyes tight, which, of course, means "No, you are."

**

It recently occurred to us that we are in our 14th year of togetherness. Fourteen years of tolerating each other, even seeking each other out, putting up with all the ridiculous things that people do to each other. The last few years have been more difficult to keep up with the ins and outs of a relationship, what with the careers and the kids and the, I don't know, life, so we decided to make an effort to spend more time together, away from the children. We spent a night away, bought tickets to see an opera, and stayed in a hotel. We got take out Thai food and went back to the hotel after the show instead of going out for drinks (what? they had free cookies in the lobby.). It may not have been the most adventurous weekend away, but it was well deserved, much appreciated, and so, so fun. The opera was good, too, as an added bonus.

**

Work. Work Work Work. Work times a million.

When I took my maternity leave at the beginning of this academic year, I did so knowing that it would eat up all of my vacation. That even included any time off at Christmas or New Year's. I took unpaid leave then so that I could have a short time with my family, but aside from those few days, I haven't had more than two days off in a row since July, and I won't until probably September. That is a LOOOOOOONG time, for anyone in any place in their life, but to do that your intern year? It's crazy, completely insane. It's painful and horrible and awful.

What I'm saying is: I could really use a vacation.

I'm rotating on Internal Medicine right now and realizing that I really, really made the right choice in what to do with my life. Every day I go to work and try to fix people's problems. I try to fix their blood pressure or their diabetes or their bad back or their bad heart. I try to talk them into quitting smoking or eating better or taking their medicines. I slave over the computer and write novels into people's electronic medical records, only to have the consulting services ignore my notes and sign off on complex patients, leaving me to fend for myself - and the patient - alone. The problem is that you can't fix anything! You can't deliver their baby that's making their blood pressure high - there is no baby! It's a dude, first, and second, his blood pressure is from years and years of poor diet and no exercise, not a placenta that doesn't work. You can't simply take the patient to the OR to fix their heart that doesn't work as well as it should. You can't do a quick note, you can't make rounds quickly, you can't just stop in and talk to a patient. Everything is inordinately complicated and has to involve seven different services not to mention the patient's grandmother and cousin and neighbor two doors down. NOTHING EVER HAPPENS OR GETS BETTER.

I can't wait to get back to the OR and Labor and Delivery and my relatively healthy young women.

**

I've started running. I went one day on a whim and something clicked in my brain and I haven't been able to stop running since. I've always hated running, hated it. But it was nice outside one day and the kids were out with Patrick and this idea popped into my head. It's a nice day for a run, my brain mentioned, and I thought, Hmm. Yes, it is, isn't it. And so I strapped on some old tennies and went for a run. I did run-walk intervals so I didn't die, which was clever on my part but was in no way my idea, and afterward I had lots of energy and didn't need to collapse on the grass. My brain said, Well, that was just lovely, wasn't it? So refreshing. I took a mental tour of my body and noticed that I felt great, completely fantastic. And so, after a few more runs, I thought, My goodness, I'm turning into one of those odd people who run. For fun. Then I bought new shoes and now I love it even more. I think about when I'm going to run next during the day. When I get home from a run, I think through it in my head: how was my form, where does my body hurt or feel sore, what was challenging about that run or route, what was good about it?

I miss yoga still and try to stretch and stay flexible, but at this moment in my life, I need the fresh air, the movement, the wind. It is inexplicably restorative to go move outside, alone. Just me and my shoes and sometimes some music. There is this lightness I feel when I'm about halfway through a run that I never feel elsewhere, a lightness in my chest that lifts me up out of the frustrations of the day and lets me see the miracles of my life. I see that even just a dose or two of caring is good for these medicine patients. I see the joy in my children - a joy that comes from each other and makes my stomach burn with love. I see myself growing up and falling in love with my life again every day.

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