Rants from the Crib

An Ob/Gyn gone mad

Archive for the tag “change”

Skinny Me

OK, so I’m not skinny.  I’ve never been skinny.  The closest I’ve been was the first couple years of college, when I wore a size 4.  And weirdly, I lived on Diet Cokes and Hershey bars out of the library vending machine.  Even at a size 4, I found myself sucking in a little tummy pooch.  I could never get that sucker flat.  I obsessed that one day I could just relax in a bikini and not suck in at all.

I have been a yo-yo dieter all my life.  During that same college experience, while dating an extremely tall guy, I attempted to match his monster food intake and soared up to a size 14.  My mother of course began to nag.  And I wasn’t very happy with how I looked.  I spent a lot of time wearing my boyfriend’s boxers and oversized t-shirts, in an attempt to hide the extra weight.  When we broke up, I lost the weight again.

I have had a love/hate relationship with eating and weight since I was real little.  I begged my mother for a pair of blue jeans when I was around 11 and she refused.  She said they just wouldn’t look good with my “little lazy tummy.”  When I look back at prepubescent pictures of me, I see a tiny little girl who, if anything, had a tendency to stand a bit swaybacked, which is the only reason I had a “tummy” at all.  But the seeds of discontent were planted early.  My mother continued to dress me in coveralls and overalls.

I was 13 when I went on my first diet.  I carefully followed a diet plan I found in Teen Magazine (remember that rag?).  My mother applauded my efforts.  I probably weighed about 110 pounds at the time, but I was already obsessed with that stomach pooch.  I fell off the diet with a WHAM when we went to a school reception and I was faced with a plate of Krispy Creme Donuts and a table full of cookies and cakes.  My mother wrinkled up her nose in distaste.

When I was in my teens, Mom had me walking around in heels with books on my head.  She could hear me peeling a banana from across the house.  She would scornfully swoop down on me, and whatever time of day, she would inform me that I would gain weight and spoil my dinner.  I learned from my dad that stealth, cunning and gluttony were the keys.  Stealth and cunning were the only ways to get snacks with Mom around.  We learned to look for cooking ingredients like marshmallows and chocolate chips, which were hidden behind other containers in the pantry.  Often we would get up to eat after she was in bed.  And I think we both ate out of spite, just to prove that we could do it and get away with it, which set a very bad precedent for my future.

The rest of my life, my weight has swung up and down.  I began eating to spite myself, gorging when I was angry with my life or sad or upset because I was gaining weight.  Smoking curtailed that behavior a bit, high school through just out of residency, since smoking is another way to punish yourself when you are upset or sad.  That kept the weight off a bit.  There was a fair amount of drinking with the smoking, however, and that put weight on both via calories (my drink of choice has always been beer) and via complete loss of eating will power when I was drunk.

I have always had a closet full of clothes, but part of the reason for that was that I have kept a range of sizes from 6 to 12 my whole life.  My weight swings that much.  I only keep items that flatter at whatever size, although some sizes are just unflatterable.

When I got pregnant, I got the diet monkey off my back but good.  Pregnancy was an excuse to eat whatever I wanted without the guilt.  After all, I was eating for 2, right?  And I would lose the weight after the baby came, right?  At least I managed to avoid gestational diabetes.  I remember one time eating two Cinnabons at the same time and feeling right queasy afterwards.  I weighed 190 pounds when I had my baby.

Amazingly, the weight did come off.  I dropped to about 135 just by breastfeeding and cutting back a bit.  I sure wish I could breastfeed without having another baby.  Boy, if I could pump those suckers out a couple of times and drop some weight, it would be totally worth it.  Then I went on an extremely restricted calorie diet, which I maintained by writing down every single thing I ate and looking up the calories in a book I carried with me everywhere.  I dropped to 123 pounds, which I loved, as I was hovering between a size 6 and a size 4, but my husband began telling me I was too skinny (huge mistake, in my book) and I lost my discipline and started eating again.  It didn’t help that at the lower weight I began to get light headed and pass out at work, during surgeries when I had to stand for long periods of time.

My job finally got the better of me.  I had hated that job, hated my line of work for so long.  My stress level was unbelievable.  My partner and I had been looking for a new partner, and it took us the better part of 2 years to find one.  When we did, she turned out to be a total sociopath, and we had to let her go.  We then entered a stretch where we were on call every other night for 2 and a half years.  I ate.  I stress ate.  I ate when I was angry.  I ate when I had a bad day.  I ate when I was stuck at the hospital late at night.  My husband became the nemesis that my mother had been, and I ate to spite him.  I ate because I was depressed and I hated my freaking life and I had nothing to look forward to and it was the only thing that gave me pleasure.

I finally hit rock bottom.  Or should I say, rocky top.  My weight soared up higher than it has ever been since pregnancy.  For 2 years, I weighed 175 pounds.  At 5’3″.  I have never looked so bad.  I didn’t have pregnancy as an excuse.  I was wearing about a size 16.  I hated myself.  I hated myself because I was fat.  I hated myself because I love clothes, because I had an entire closet full of beautiful clothes that didn’t fit.  I hated myself because I lacked the willpower to diet more than a day before backsliding.  I looked so ugly.  I wore scrubs all the time, because they came closer to concealing the fat.  I actually had a patient scold me because I had “let myself go”.  My face blew up – it looked like I did when I was pregnant.  I lost all self-respect, cut off all my hair into an ugly haircut, and stopped wearing jewelry or makeup.  And I hated myself every day.  Not one day went by that I did not call myself ugly names and loath myself.  I never looked in mirrors.

I found salvation when I finally ditched my shitty job.  I quit and began work as a locum tenens, or traveling doctor.  This meant when I was working, I wasn’t home and therefore was not feeling the stress of failure as a wife and mother.  And when I was home, I was off.  I could enjoy being a wife, mother and housekeeper.  I made a rule that when I was on the road, I would not eat out.  I allow myself one treat:  a yogurt parfait with granola and fruit.  And the pounds finally came off.  Melted off.  I’ve dropped from 175 to 142 and I’m still going.  I’ve got 20 pounds more to go, to get me back in my 6’s, or even 4’s.  I now am wearing a 10, and some 8’s are fitting.  My closet fits again!  I can wear all my clothes!  I’ve been trying on the entire closet, reveling in the fact that everything fits!

I’ve never been so happy since that weight has come off.  That 175 pounds was one of the most humiliating experiences of my life.  I missed opportunities to see old friends, because they would see how fat and ugly I looked.  I hung my head in shame when I met new people, because I knew they were judging me for my ugly, lumpy, misshapen bulging body.  I love photography, but for 2 years I dodged every opportunity to be photographed, even if it meant having no pictures with my family, because I couldn’t stand the sight of my ugly self.  For 2 years my Facebook profile pictures were pictures of my daughter.  I have never been so full of hatred and humiliation.  To hell with people who say, “Love yourself the way you are.  You’re beautiful at any size.”  I call bullshit.  I looked like pure shit crap.

So now I’ve gone on this self-improvement bender.  Not only have I lost weight, I’ve grown my hair out so it looks pretty, I’ve started wearing makeup again, and I had my teeth whitened (a whole other post).  I’m enjoying my hobbies again.  That ugly depression that dogged me for two years, it’s almost gone.  And it’s a circular thing.  The less depressed I was by work, the better I felt and the more able to improve.  The more improved I became, the more I liked to strut my stuff and the more the depression faded.

My advice:  change your life.  Your whole life.  It’s probably the suckiness of your life that’s keeping you where you are.  You probably hate yourself because you hate your life.  No matter how scary it is, make the bold move.  Decide what you want, and do it now.  Even if it means decreased income, decreased power, decreased approval from friends and family.  Do what you love now, before your life is over and you look back and you realize you hated the whole freaking thing.  Allow yourself to have dreams again.  For almost 10 years, I had no dreams, no goals.  I never imagined that things could be different.  When I finally made the move, the whole thing came together.  I have never been so happy.  DO IT.

Trim on my honeymoon

Trim on my honeymoon

My ugly fat body after birth - forewarning of things to come

My ugly fat body after birth – forewarning of things to come

Trimmed down again, about 135#

Trimmed down again, about 135#

Down to about 125#

Down to about 125#

Freakin’ rock bottom. 175# at my best friend’s wedding shower. Note: no makeup, didn’t even dry my hair, triple chin

Never mind the red eye. A friend took a picture of me when we ran into each other a couple days ago. She posted it on FB and captioned it: “Dr. H – 30# lighter!”

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The Worst Is Yet To Come

It has been very difficult to come with a daily post lately because there is a depressing sameness to my life.  I come to clinic, day in and day out, and take call every week.  Things are changing so fast.  They have closed the labor and delivery unit at my hospital, and now we have to drive across town to do deliveries and major surgeries.  They have combined the nurses at this hospital and the nurses at the other hospital on labor and delivery, in the nursery, and on pediatrics, and all the nurses from over here are having to learn their way around over there.  On our call days, we will have to go across town and have clinic in the strange clinic where we have never been.  One of their doctors will have to come over here since there is not room for everyone.  We are on two different medical records systems and there is no way to combine them.  Eventually we will all have to learn a third medical record system.

And then I am leaving.  I am counting down the days – my last clinic day is February 14.  So Happy Valentine’s to me!  I can’t wait to be out of here – out of all the confusion of merging two practices, two labor and delivery units, and two hospitals.  Of course, then, I will be learning a third hospital with all total strangers when I go to North Dakota to do my locums.  So I’ll be starting all over again.

Today we held a lunch meeting (while I wanted to be taking my nap) about the logistics of rotating clinics.  I will be the first one to do this, and it will be tomorrow.  My nurse and I are so unprepared.  They haven’t been able to let us know which lab we will be using, which pathologist, or even which clinic room we will be working out of.  We need a pulse ox and thermometers and they don’t even have those over there.  They don’t even read OB ultrasounds over there, or even do them if the patient is on Medicaid.  This is just going to be a major cluster, and I will be here just in time to enjoy the worst of it.  I am stressed out and discouraged.

And then we have the major planning that comes with a job change for me.  My husband and I have to sit down with an attorney and decide if I will form a corporation for my new locum endeavors, or just submit tax forms at the end of the year.  We have to find new health insurance.  We need to sit down with a CPA.  We keep planning on making a list of all the things we need to do, and we seem to just keep avoiding it.  And my husband is a lot better than I am about not sticking his head in the sand.  There is just so much, it’s unimaginable.  And in the meantime, I have new passwords, and a new badge, and new phone numbers, and new passcodes and new dictation numbers for this hospital across town.  And I will just need those for six weeks, and then I will be out of there and on to a NEW hospital. 

I am stressed.  I keep taking naps to get away from myself.  I can’t stand all the stress.  As much as possible, I’m trying to just not think about anything.  But that’s awfully difficult, with all these meetings we’re having, and how upset everyone is about all the changes and all the questions that we have that are unanswered.  We are recognizing that this whole switch will be a total cluster.  And then I’ll be leaving, and doing something entirely else.  I can’t wait to leave.  It means I’ll be done with this place, and these people, and by then all the new preparations for my new job will be taken care of.  I hope.

So that will be the shape of my life until February 15.  Then I’m on my way, to newer and greater things!

Hell Is Other People

Today was our first day at the new hospital.  We had two c-sections scheduled back to back, on an unfamiliar Labor and Delivery unit with (mostly) unfamiliar nurses.  Everyone was nervous to be working with new people.  The scrub tech was zooming around at the speed of light getting things ready because she was so nervous.  We didn’t even know how to find our way up from our (wrong) parking spaces to our destination on Labor and Delivery.  We didn’t know where the surgery suites were.  The masks and face guards were new and unfamiliar.  The surgical equipment was unfamiliar.  The suture was different.  I didn’t have a dictation number, so I couldn’t even dictate the surgeries that I had just done.  The postop orders were different.  We had sheets to sign that didn’t even exist at our own hospital.  We were all completely out of our comfort zones.

After we survived the c-sections, I had to go do my hospital orientation.  That’s right.  I said after.  So I was being given an ID badge and information about how to get around the hospital after I had already fumbled my way around and done my c-sections.  I took a lovely photograph for my new badge, since I had gotten up at the crack of dawn and had had a hat on my head for two full surgeries.  I got a tour of the hospital that was completely incomprehensible.  The place is ancient, and things have been added on and added on until the whole place is one disjointed rat maze.  They have lines drawn on the floor to try to get you from place to place.  I was given a whirlwind tour of Labor and Delivery, the postpartum and pediatrics area, the surgery center on the second floor, various medical plazas, HR (which is OUTSIDE for crying out loud), the other Ob/Gyn office, the doctor’s lounges, dictation areas, medical records, and the doctor’s dining area.  Like I’m going to remember all that stuff.

Then I had an hour training session on the computer system in the new hospital.  That’s right.  We have to learn a whole new computer system.  And we’re supposed to be ready to use it after an hour of training.  All our results are there.  We are supposed to sign all our orders through that system, and look up vital signs, and labs, and consult reports, and dictations.  One hour of instruction.  The girl who was doing the teaching was very nice but she didn’t seem all that optomistic.

I hate to be such a negative blogger, but my life is really not on a positive course right now.  I’m having to learn a whole new hospital, and then, in six weeks, I’m off to North Dakota to learn another one.  I am really unhappy when I am lost and in unfamiliar territory.  Now I have to go all the way across town from my office to round on my patients, do circumcisions, etcetera,  It will waste at least thirty minutes of my time every time I have to go over there and back.  Forget sleeping in in the mornings any more!  There is rampant confusion about the new combined call schedule, and who rounds on whose patients when, and now I find out that on call days I have to go over to the other unfamiliar Ob/Gyn office to see my patients.  My nurse is freaking out.  I am freaking out .  This is all very inconvenient and very uncool.

Then I get to clinic this afternoon and everything is all cattywhompus.  Every patient seems to have some weird problem.  None of the appropriate paperwork has been filled out.  Records are in the wrong places.  The computers aren’t working.  I’ve just resigned myself that today is NOT going to be my day.  And when I get home, I’m sure my husband will have things he wants me to do, like finishing putting away the Christmas things, or Lord knows what, when all I want to do is put my feet up and absorb my day.  I need some down time. 

All I have is six more weeks and I’m outta here.  I know every place has its own set of problems, but this office is a kind of an existential hell.  My nurse and I were just discussing that if we died and went to Hell and Hell for us was sitting in this office for all eternity, we would try to kill ourselves all over again.  I am so ready to work part time and do some traveling.  Even if the traveling is to North Dakota.  It’s got to be better than this.  So I apologize if this blog is a total bummer.  It’s a reflection of me, and right now I’m feeling very put upon, and very lost, and very irritable, and that will probably be my tone for the next I-don’t-know-how-long.  At least six weeks, til I get out of here.  It will take a very special day to cheer me up.  So for right now I’ll be venting.  I hope that doesn’t alienate anyone, but I know it’s good for me.

New Year’s First Day

Well, today is New Year’s Day.  That means there was no Zombie Apocalypse while we slept (at least not in this part of the world – maybe NYC is a smoking ruin for all I know).  Today is the very last day that the Labor and Delivery unit at my hospital will ever be open.  Everyone is very sad.  We are all scared to move to the hospital across town where we don’t know our way around and we don’t know anybody.  The nurses are packing up all their things from the fifteen years that the unit has been open.  I have been there for almost ten of them.

A bigger hospital came and scarfed up both of the local hospitals in our town.  Then it started tearing them both down, piece by piece, moving things here, closing things there.  Our L&D and pediatrics units are the first to go.  As of tomorrow, everything goes to the hosptal across town.  So we have to get new badges, and new parking spaces, and maps, and learn how to use their computer system.  Everything new.  The nurses will be strange to us.  New anesthesiologists, new operating rooms.  Everything.

I turned in my notice two weeks ago.  It wasn’t just the closing of the Labor and Delivery unit, that we worked so hard to build up.  It wasn’t just the consolidation of the hospitals, it was a bit of everything and then some.  My husband and I had been talking about me working part time for over a year.  I’m just unhappy working all the hours I am.  I am missing our daughter growing up.  March 1 will be my last day and then I will become a locum tenens.  A travel doctor.

My first stop will be North Dakota.  North Dakota!  Lord, what was I thinking?  There’s so much SNOW up there!  I’m a Southern girl.  I don’t do snow.  I’ll have to meet all these new people.  I’m nervous and excited at the same time.  Mostly nervous.  There are so many things to take care of before March 1 comes.

I’m trying to decide when I should move my things out of my office.  I guess I should take care of a little bit at a time.  Take diplomas and such off the walls and bring them home.  I won’t have an office where I’m going.  We have to get health insurance lined up before my last day.  Can’t be bare one day without coverage.  But right now it is New Year’s, and I’m just trying to relax.  I hope we can get everything done.

Today we are doing laundry and taking down the Christmas decorations.  Another sad venture.  The end of the holidays, then plunged into cold dark winter.  This is a difficult, sad time for me.  Missing my nurses already.  Missing the holidays.  I hope the new year to come will be all I can hope for.  I hope I will be more fulfilled working part time than I am now.  I have many hopes for this new year.  And many fears.  I will just try to keep my chin up for all the changes to come.

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