The bereavement counselor from hospice called to check up on me. Normally I recognize the number and don’t take her calls…I don’t have any privacy at work and anyway the one time I spoke to her (about two weeks after my dad died) I didn’t find it particularly useful.
This time she caught me, and I picked up. It was again a largely useless conversation, but one thing she asked was what I was doing for self-care. I said I journal (meaning, I write this blog). She said to keep doing it, and that I shouldn’t keep all my feelings bottled inside.I feel tired. Now that I have seen what old age and death are like, I am scared of the future. At 22w pregnant, I am tired and feel I have no energy to focus on my job or anything else, and I remember that last time postpartum was more difficult than pregnancy.We had another (the second) anatomy ultrasound today. This time they were able to see everything they needed to, and confirmed that all was well. Amusingly starting tomorrow they are charging $5 to text you your baby photos, so we lucked out and saved $5.
I had lunch today with two coworkers from China.
One was discussing her daughter, who at age 3 is enrolled in gymnastics, ice skating, swimming, etc. etc. and some kind of learning center. Her dad has cancer and she has brought him here from China, gotten him seen at a mobile medical unit since he has no insurance here, consulted/used any number of her friends to get him free CT scans at the nearest major cancer center because in her opinion the local one (which we use) doesn’t have good enough equipment, and is trying to enroll him in an NIH clinical trial. A few weeks ago, she was asking me a lot of questions about how I got a recent promotion–she wants my resume so she can do something similar to what I did. She keeps talking about how she doesn’t have enough money and can’t afford to eat noodles at the cafeteria–I know she makes as much as I do and her husband makes much more than mine.
All of this made me feel sad. These women were then discussing their life insurance and how our employer’s isn’t so great, and CostCo offers a much better plan. These two women don’t know this, but I just cashed out my dad’s life insurance last week and he had the same plan from our employer that they were saying wasn’t good, and I just felt sad that my dad did something for me out of love and these ladies were saying it wasn’t good enough.
I haven’t enrolled my baby in any classes. I didn’t find a clinical trial for my dad. I don’t think constantly about how to get ahead in life. It makes me nervous to see that other people are constantly scheming and planning, I guess.
After lunch, I just felt inadequate, and sad.
I randomly happened upon this blog, which I found to be an interesting and well-written account of leaving academia. The author talks very honestly about some regrets, and how the long investment in a PhD wasn’t necessarily directly useful.
I am now five years out of my tenure track position. I have zero–zero–question that I did the right thing in leaving, but I do daily have misgivings about whether I left for the right thing. I have an academic degree and not a professional one–in my field, it is pretty hard–there is no straightforward career path once you leave. You have to find your own way somehow. Everybody finds a different way.
I was 20 weeks pregnant yesterday…so the glass is now tipping toward half full!
The weather, too, is starting to get warm. Such a relief. This winter I really struggled, it was hard to make it through each cold day, and I felt like it’d be winter forever.
It’s 5.5 months since my dad died. Hard to imagine that very soon, it will have been half a year.
A nice quote from the owner of a caregivers’ site, in response to a daughter struggling with guilt after her mom’s death:
Every caregiver here has some major regrets – something we wish we could go back in time and do over; do RIGHT. But if we actually were able to do that, those different decisions, those RIGHT decisions would only lead to new situations; new decisions to be made, and new mistakes would be made. Maybe worse mistakes. Caregiving is not an exact science – we aren’t doctors, we have absolutely no medical training and since it isn’t taught in school, the only way to learn is to DO. Everyone knows that any time you start a new job you’re going to make some mistakes – the problem with caregiving is that this new job has a direct effect on people we love, so there is a lot riding on every move we make. So when we do make a mistake, it hurts us long after our loved one has forgiven us or died.
If you had been the one in the hospital, and your mother had been your advocate, and made the same mistakes you made, would you be mad at her? Would you be glad to see her crying and asking you to forgive her for being careless and stupid? And when she asked you to forgive her, would you say, “I’m sorry, I just can’t.”? No. You would say, “There’s nothing to forgive – you did your best under stressful circumstances. You were there for me and just knowing that you loved me and were trying to help me made it more bearable.”
I had a nightmare a few nights ago where I was reliving the worst moments of my dad’s cancer treatment. And in the middle of it I woke up and the quote I mentioned previously came into my head–“I might never forget, but I need not always remember.” I reminded myself that the middle of the night on a workday was not the time I needed to relive all that awfulness. And miraculously, I was able to go back to sleep and slept for the rest of the night. Physically, I am feeling increasingly uncomfortable. My nose is really stopped up and I don’t know if it’s allergies (due to spring), a slight cold, or if this is the onset of the horrible pregnancy congestion I had last time during the third trimester, and I need to start nose steroids. I’m really trying to delay starting them as long as possible. I don’t like the side effects and I don’t think you are supposed to use them for a long time–and I have 20 more weeks to go. At age 36 my husband is still a first-year medical resident and it’s been nine months now. I really, really am beginning to resent that he is never home and I am stuck doing my job (which pays our bills, as his entire salary is going into childcare) on top of the job of 1.8 parents, while I have pregnancy fatigue. I have no free time to care for myself, write, or do any of the things I loved. There is no way out of this mess in the foreseeable future. It’s not like he can change jobs or something. I really just want to relax and focus on me and my job for a bit.
I don’t think the OB had reviewed my charts, as the last time I’d been in it was for an emergency ultrasound due to bleeding. I asked him why I had been bleeding at 15 weeks (I’d gone in the next day for an emergency scan, but I’d just seen the sonographer–he reviewed the images but said he didn’t need to see me).
“Well,” he said, “I’m going to be honest; it probably wasn’t nothing. It could be implantation bleeding, or it could be subchorionic or cervical. We don’t really care what things are–we mostly care whether they are a threat to the baby or not. And since the ultrasound last week was fine, then whatever it was, it’s not a threat to the baby.”
I don’t really like that. I’d like to understand what happened.
In happier news, this is the last month of three that my husband is on a horrible rotation. There will be a three month respite of easy ones now. It has been very, very hard to care for a toddler alone, to do my job, and to care for myself–especially just having lost my dad a few months ago. I am really tired.