Pop the champagne! I am going back to work. Starting in May, I’ll be working part-time in a private pediatric practice in New Rochelle with three other women. I’m excited to get back into practice. Over the past 5 years, dealing with my own children’s many issues has been akin to running a multispecialty clinic in my own house. But taking care of other children is a huge step! Of course I am a little nervous about taking on the responsibility of new patients, but I figure this is as good a time as any.
The decision to go back to work speaks volumes about the state of our family. At least for the moment, the children have reached a certain level of stability. Type 1 DM is never predictable or stable, but their control has been better over the past 6-9 months. Having Leo in school with a great nurse has made a huge difference, and I have been training her to make decisions without me so she doesn’t need to call me five times a day. It’s not that I mind when she calls, but she is getting to know his patterns better.
What about me? I have accepted that I cannot cure diabetes. I will continue to manage my children as well as I can. This is challenging and often heart- breaking work. Just this morning, Sam cried after a painful site change and Leo’s blood sugars were too high last night for him to have dessert. Why on earth would I want to expand my panel of patients?
I can’t cure my own kids, but it may feel good to go back to work where I can diagnose and treat a strep throat or an ear infection. I can reassure an anxious first-time mom that she is doing a great job with her newborn. I think this will be gratifying. My own kids are also getting bigger! I miss seeing the wonder of a nine month old as she begins to discover the world, the feisty pre-schoolers who usually save their tantrums for outside the office. Spending time with my 5 month old niece has reminded me of these fun stages. (See Magic of a Baby post http://mdmommy.com/?m=201211).
This did not happen overnight. The day after Leo was diagnosed, I asked “How can I go back to treating sniffles?” I was overwhelmed with enormity of diabetes and worried that I would never again have compassion or patience for simple childhood ailments. For a time, I winced when people complained to me about the difficulty of raising children who were “picky eaters.” What makes me ready now? I can’t say for sure. Time, adjustment, acceptance? I also realize that pediatrics and parenting share some basic skills. While some problem-solving may be scientific and clear-cut, both require a degree of intellectual creativity and patience. And who knows? As many career moms claim about their own professions, there is a good chance that on many days I will be more successful at doctoring than I will be at parenting.
So, here’s to going back to work. Again. Outside the home. For other people. To my friends, family and mentors who have encouraged me to take this step, I thank you. To my wonderfully supportive yet understandably apprehensive husband, I love you. Even during the bad nights and weekends on call.
I’ll keep you posted.