I walk by the boys’ room and I hear a shout “rocket ship!!!!”
My toddler is playing in his crib. The baby is still quiet but I know that won’t last long. Can’t go in right now; I think, can’t be late for work. I want to go in and snuggle them but instead I gather my things and quietly exit the house. My husband is more than capable, but I still think sorry, you’ll have to deal with them on your own, yet again as I walk to the car. The drive to work is dark, snowy, and cold. I park and shoot my husband a quick text “hope the boys are alright this morning! It’s icy out there, be careful!” I rush into the hospital to start my day wishing I could be in two places at once.
The first patient is asleep and my staff has left me to chart and manage the case. I finally check my phone and there is a text from my husband, “poop-explosion this morn!!” with an attached pic of a confused baby in the tub getting washed off. “Diaper rash isn’t better either :(.“ Ah, poor kiddo, I need to take a better look this evening I think. “Hey, is the patient relaxed?” the surgeon interrupts my thoughts. “Should be” I respond, “but I’ll give them a bit more.” I focus on the case again—why can’t I be in two places at once?
Out of the OR to grab lunch. In the doctors’ lounge a co-resident physician I haven’t seen in a while asks “Hey! How are you?” We have a quick chat as we both must get back to the OR soon. They tell me about their awesome day skiing. I show them pictures of my children. “Wow! They are so big now!” they respond. I know, I can’t believe it either I think to myself. I take a moment to look at the pictures a bit longer wishing I could be at home with them—but I also want to be here, learning and helping. If only I could be in two places at once.
“Looks like the day is going to go a bit longer than scheduled, you okay to stay?” asks my staff. “Yes, of course” I respond quickly. I want to stay and manage the case on my own but at the same time I do the mental calculation I do every afternoon: surgery ending at about 5:30, ensure my patient is settled in recovery, then look up the slate for tomorrow. Okay, I’m missing dinner today but should be home for bedtime. I text my husband my estimated time of arrival home. I get just a thumbs up in response. By now he knows how unreliable my estimations are. I want to be in two places at once.
The surgery takes a bit longer than expected, but my patient is finally resting comfortably in the recovery room and I’ve handed over the case to the on-call resident physician. I see our nanny has sent photos from the day. The baby with his face covered in food—obviously pleased with his new-found eating skills. Another of my older son holding a bucket of duplo over his shoulder like I carry my work bag. I know he’s saying, “I’m going to work!” and I laugh to myself. I look at the schedule for tomorrow. I’m booked for an interesting case the next day and think I haven’t done that before! I’m excited, but I also know I’ll be reading long after the boys are in bed tonight. The boys…damn, it’s already 6:30. I hurry out of the hospital forever wishing I could be in two places at once.
I get home and open the door to the house. A pause, and then “MOMMY!!!”. I hear little feet running towards me. My toddler stops at the top of the stairs and growls at me “ROAR!”
“Hi buddy! What are you?” I ask already knowing the answer.
“A big, big, BIG dinosaur!!!!” he proclaims. I hear some crying from upstairs. My husband must be getting our tired baby ready for bed. I scoop up my son and say, “let’s go help Daddy get the baby ready for bed, okay?”
For once agreeable, my son nods and snuggles into my shoulder. I’m right where I’m supposed to be.