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Wednesday, February 9, 2011

a fragile balancing act

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Only 6 1/2 weeks of rotations are left. Today was unavoidable, really. Karsen had been complaining about her throat hurting in the morning for a few days. I was hoping it was just viral, so I didn't rush and take her to the doctor right away. (There's no telling what kinda germs she would pick up there!) I also sent her to school because she didn't have a fever and it sure wasn't slowing her down any! Well, this morning bright and early she comes into our bedroom and says, "Mommy, my throat is really hurting me" and promptly falls back asleep in our bed. I take her temperature while she is half asleep--YEP, she has a low grade fever. It doesn't take a pharmacy student to know she couldn't go to school.

And at that moment it starts...this familiar feeling of what in the world am I going to do now!? I am at Walmart this month completing my Advanced Community rotation. Here in OH, the pharmacy students aren't allowed a sick day on their rotations. We don't have a support system here. Our families are all back in NC. I don't have a lifeline that I can call in.

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Frustration. Guilt. Feeling torn...I was told by one particularly mean and hateful strict preceptor that it would be an automatic failure. She made it a point to tell me that after I was out with Karsen back in December because she had a stomach virus. What is a mother/student (but first and foremost a MOTHER!!!), supposed to say to that? And by the way, I didn't fail after all.

Yes, I want to get A's. I want to pass my rotations, and it would be really nice to graduate on time! *Sarcasm, much?! Sheesh! I want to be the best student, and I give 110% on each day of every rotation as they are constantly quizzing me. BUT there are days when I can't be there. My "job" of being a mother comes first, and I am not going to apologize for that. It hasn't been an issue really; the sick days have happened here and there, but I usually appease the preceptor and end up working on a drug info question, do extra readings or similar project from home.

This morning, that same stress hit me. What am I going to do?? I already missed one day last week due to a snow day. Chris took one day off with them, but when he is the one with a PAYING job, he is the one that NEEDS to go to work. That just makes sense. Thankfully, they understood last week. At least, I think they did. ??

And this morning when I called, they seemed to understand too. I just hate the feeling of having to choose. Because I am always going to choose being home with my kids and taking care of them. Every.single.time. I want to be a good pharmacist, but I want to be a better Mommy. The rewards of that job are bigger and better and the consequences are much worse if I'm not. Easy decision there.

So, I stayed home. I convinced Chris to go to work. He has important projects going on, and I know deep down that Karsen really wanted her Mommy! Don't we all, when we are sick? We went to the doctor this morning and ruled out strep throat. A big fat negative, thank goodness. Official diagnosis, viral crud. So, we walked out without prescriptions, but I felt better knowing she didn't have a major infection. Afterwards, we swung by Panera and brought soup and bagels home for lunch. I made a fire in the family room since it is exactly 15 degrees outside! We got comfty clothes on and fell asleep off and on until 3pm. This was exactly the kind of day she needed, and I am glad that I could be here with her.

Being a pharmacy student has been trying along the way. No doubt about it. The amount of material and depth of knowledge we have been require to learn in a short amount of time is staggering. I have worked hard along the way to soak it all in. However, the part I struggled THE MOST with was figuring out how to balance it all. That is the toughest part, hands down. WAAAY tougher than Pharmacology and Therapeutics out together.

How to go to gymnastics lessons and study at the same time while Karsen expected me to watch every cartwheel and flip around the bars, and occasionally throw up a thumbs up and a big smile. I've had to figure out how to make it to exams at 7am in the morning even when Dylan was having an asthma exacerbation at home.  How to balance quizzing them on spelling words, cooking dinner, and thinking about the Therapuetics popquiz on seizures that I just knew we would have the next day. This last year, I have had to figure out how to physically be at the hospital 50-60+ hours a week while making sure the kids get established at a new pediatrician and dentist office and were adjusting nicely to a new school. How to squeeze in all the readings and projects at home when the kids really wanted chocolate chips cookies and family movie night. How to not let things fall through the cracks.Oh and then there's the hubby, he would like some long, meaninful conversations....etc.....ETC....ETC!, every once in a while. Ya know what I am trying to say?! LOL* It is a constant balancing act. It is fragile and fluid and it freaks me out whenever another variable gets added to the mix.

I have learned how to make slight adjustments along the way, and now we are SO close to the finish line. I have learned to settle gracefully for a B on a big exam if it meant I would be able to be there for the kids when they need me. When I walk across the stage at graduation I wouldn't be nearly as happy if I knew that I put my children or my husband on the back burner in order to achieve that goal. That would be an automatic failure in my eyes. It wouldn't be worth it to me. So.Not.Worth.It. When I walk across the stage it will mean so much more because I know I have accomplished more than just pharmacy school. I will know that I have not compromised the most important part of my life, MY FAMILY, along the way.As far as I am concerned my DR. MOMMY degree that I earned 11+ years ago is still the most important accomplishment of my life.

For 5 years now, I have been doing this intricate balancing act, without having to check myself into a mental institution in the meantime. :) I don't wanna lose it. I am too close to the end. I can do it for 6 1/2 more weeks!

Update: Karsen is bouncing around and laughing, so it's back to our normally scheduled program tomorrow. Crisis averted. *sigh*

The key to keeping your balance is knowing when you've lost it. ~Anonymous


Lisa said...

A+++++ Mommy. :) Keep up the good work, you are almost there!!

Foursons said...

Awe girl, hang in there. Like you said, you are SO close to the finish line! It will all work out, you have worked to hard for things to fall apart now. I'm rooting for you and will be cheering from way down here when you walk that stage.

Deciduous Heather