Monday, June 7, 2010

Handle with care, both ends are hot.

You ever heard the phrase "burning the candle at both ends?" If ever there was a good description of my last two weeks, that would be it. I worked 11 of the past 14 days. I know, that sounds like a normal schedule, but believe me that's packing in alot of working time. We're talking on average 12 hour days, a few of them even longer.

I think I've mentioned on this blog my interesting work schedule. Our clinic is run as a one-doctor practice with two doctors job-sharing so that we both still work full-time hours. Huh? Basically we each work a full 6 day week (50-60 hours) and then have a week off, alternating with each other. Now, I normally do not complain about this setup. It's not common, and as far as spending time with my kids and cutting down on childcare costs, it's ridiculously good. I don't know that I could ever find another job situation like this, especially in veterinary medicine.


There are a couple of major drawbacks to this type of schedule. If one of us doctors ever wants/needs time off that doesn't fall on our scheduled off week, we have to rearrange the whole schedule months in advance and we usually each end up working several consecutive weeks, which is what happened this past month. Again, you're probably thinking you and everyone else on earth, sweetie, and you'd be right. But boy, is it tiring being the only doctor for long stretches of time. Having a one-doctor practice means that anything that comes in the door has to be seen by me. Routine care. Emergencies. Surgeries. Walk-ins. During an "on" week I normally get to work around 7:45am (after dropping kids at daycare) and if it's a busy day, I rarely leave before 6:30pm. If it's a really busy day like we've had lately, I'm working that entire day with no lunch, just two short breaks to pump and I scarf down a salad or something in between appointments and procedures. Last week, I came home 3 days out of 6 after the kids were in bed, one night not making it in until almost 10pm because of an emergency surgery -- is there a reason that I have never cut an emergency surgery at 10am? How do these animals only get themselves into trouble after their owners get home from work, I'll never know...

Anyway, enough belly-aching. I do actually love my job, but I'm glad to have some time off this week because I could feel myself burning out by the end of a 14-day stretch. Nothing's perfect, I guess.


In other news, J is a full-fledged reader now. Really reading, not just regurgitating books that he's memorized, and reading big words at that. Just like me when I was a kid, now that he knows how to read, he's noticing words everywhere and he always has to have something to read in front of him. At breakfast he "needs" a cereal box to read the back of. He takes books into the car, even if we're only going a short distance. If he doesn't have a book, he reads all of the street signs, surprising me with how many words he can recognize or figure out -- "That says Windmill Street!" or "That store sign says 'Ask about our specials.'" He knows our first names and so now he goes to the mailbox with me and sorts the mail into piles for me, TH, and himself (junk mail). He reads the CNN crawl on the bottom of the screen even though he has no idea what he's reading -- "Why does that say, 'Obama visits Gulf for second time'?" (Seriously, he read that, I was floored.) Last week he took one of his more complicated books to school, one intended for 6 yrs and up, and he was reading so well that his teacher asked him to read the whole book to the class, which amazingly he did.

What's interesting is that he doesn't write anything. He can make a few rudimentary letters and numbers, and likes to draw big backwards J's on everything, but if I try to get him to practice writing his whole name (which he's been able to spell and recognize for almost a year) he gets frustrated immediately and won't pick the pencil up. He's even told me that "all the other kids at preschool are good drawers and write better than me" but he still doesn't want to do it. I'm not sure how to encourage him to write, maybe I should ask his teacher?


Julie said...

DUDE! J is READING!!! That is amazing and totally way impressive. Who cares that he isn't writing letters--he can read them!

Your schedule sounds pretty intense--how do you do it? It probably helps that you love being a vet. I hope you get some time to recuperate during your week off.

Joanna said...

My neighbor is a Nurse Practitioner, and people like to tell her she works part time because she only works three days a week. Not so. Not only does she work 3 12 hour shifts, she's doing very stressful, life saving work. It sure isn't a walk in the park, and I would imagine being a vet in a one doctor practice is about 10 times more stressful. Surgery is a little more demanding than putting together a power point presentation.

Awesome about J reading. Although, it does present a problem when you want to spell something that you don't want him to hear.

Something with Michael seems to have clicked recently and his reading has really shown a jump. We were having internet problems over the weekend and when I couldn't get Youtube to open on the browser he said, "Mommy, click the 'try again' button."

What's interesting is he's the opposite of J. He won't try to read a book. Instead, he wants to write words. He'll sit down and write Spider-Man and then copy it over and over and over again. He did Star Wars at my mom's house yesterday.

As far as J writing, I'm not sure that you need to do much about it. It's a fine motor skill that normally starts to develop this year. If J has a perfectionist streak in him, he may simply wait until he's very confident and then do it.

Stacey said...

Awesome that your kid is reading!! That's so cool.

My kid isn't reading or writing, but I bought the Handwriting Without Tears preschool program to work on this summer (ha! as if my kid will sit down and do this). It's good stuff and involves building the letters with wood pieces before actually writing them. It's developmentally appropriate and was created by OTs. I've heard nothing but great things about it.