Full of Thanks

Our gloriously long Thanksgiving Break is coming to a close. This year, we got the entire week of Thanksgiving off… I don’t think I have ever had a Thanksgiving break that was this long, but it has been used very well.

November seemed to be a very short month. We had an entire week to study for the Block 3 exam; an entire week of bioethics for ICM; and now an entire week for Thanksgiving, and tomorrow is December 1st. Time seems to go by much faster when school is in session, and much faster now that Step 1 is coming up in the spring.

Almost immediately after Block 3, we got hit with the stomach bug that’s going around. I wasn’t feeling so great on Sunday, but I had a mandatory Journal Club meeting for the Global Health Distinction Track, so I went anyway. We had a great time, and it was so wonderful for Dr. C to open up her home to us. My stomach was in knots the whole time, and I really couldn’t wait to just go home. Once I did finally get home (and a snowstorm had just started by the time I left Dr. C’s house), I could not for the life of me get warm. I would cover up with our thickest blankets but I had the chills and a nasty pounding headache. David turned on our electric blanket for me, but even with it on, I still had the chills. We wound up getting several inches of snow from the storm, and I really hoped that the school officials would cancel class. I was still sick that morning and really didn’t want to have to make the drive in for class, and with being sick I didn’t want to be penalized for missing if I had to go to Urgent Care. However, at 3am I was awoken by the sound of David being sick… over and over. It was horrible knowing that he had caught whatever it was that I had, and I was too weak to really care for him either. Unluckily for me, even with every other school and college at least on a two hour delay, ULSOM did not close or delay any classes. I had already made up my mind that I wouldn’t be in to school that morning, but if I felt well enough, I hoped to go in for the afternoon classes that had points assigned to them, and I’d just Tegrity the morning classes.

At 6am, I called my parents. I was still not feeling well and David was still sick; luckily, Ladybug was still sleeping soundly, and didn’t show any signs of being sick. I called my parents to see if they’d be willing to take Ladybug to daycare, and possibly keep her overnight if we were still sick. They agreed, and packed her up to head to daycare while I went back to bed. I was still so weak and couldn’t wake up. By 10am, David had woken me up because he was sick for the third time. My headache had subsided a bit and I was no longer dizzy, so I went to check on him. He looked absolutely awful–dehydrated and the palest I had ever seen him. He was a lot worse than I was, and it was scaring me. He’s not one to go to a doctor very often (I have a feeling that will change), so I threw on some clothes that were acceptable to wear in public, forced him to get dressed as well, and drove us both to Urgent Care. I probably shouldn’t have been driving, but we had no other options. His white count was elevated and the docs were really concerned, so we took our first ambulance ride to a local ER for fluids and to check for possible appendicitis. By then I had already contacted school and told them the situation; needless to say, I didn’t make it in to class at all on Monday. Much later, we were able to leave, get his Rx, and went home. By then, all classes were over and we both just focused on getting well. My parents wound up taking Ladybug for a sleepover, because I could NOT have her catching this bug from us.

The next morning, I felt a little better (at least, well enough to drive). I had a mandatory LSP lab that afternoon, so I packed up all of my gear and attempted to make it through an entire day.

That was not to be. I felt myself going downhill the whole day. At 1pm, after all of the morning lectures, I didn’t have anywhere else to be until the LSP lab at 4pm. The longer I sat at my desk, the worse I felt, and the dizziness had returned. After talking to the ICM office about what I should do, they told me to go home. David had stayed home from work to recover, and he finally started to look like himself again. We both went to bed early after a dinner of only chicken noodle soup.

After that, things went back to normal for the week, but now I was behind on a presentation and a LSP lab. I was still so very tired. The week couldn’t go by quickly enough for me; I just wanted a break, and to sleep. So even though it was an easy week as far as med school goes, I felt like I’d been hit by a truck. I don’t think I’ve ever been so thankful to have a break after an easy week. Our saving grace, though, was that Ladybug didn’t get sick.

Until Monday. Even though I had the entire week off, I sent Ladybug to daycare so I could get some Christmas shopping and Thanksgiving cooking done. I had an appointment to donate blood that day, and I was really happy with how much I had been able to get done now that I was finally feeling 100% again. At 2:30, daycare called as I was leaving after my blood donation to say that she had a fever of 102.8F. I quickly called the doc’s office to get an appointment, picked her up at daycare, and off we went. I could feel the heat radiating off of her when they handed her to me, but she was still smiling and giggling. The doc confirmed a high white count, so it was off to the pharmacy again. This put an end to my plans to catch up on projects over break, and instead I spent it doing what was the most important: being a good mommy and playing with my baby while she got better. Now I also get to sport a huge, lovely plum-colored bruise on my arm–“no heavy lifting after donating blood” be damned.

The holidays themselves have been pretty good so far. All of my Christmas shopping is done (including a huge trip to the grocery so I don’t have to fight holiday shoppers until after it’s all over), we all got some rest, we’re all feeling better, and we got to see family. It’s been a wonderful break. Thanksgiving always seems like it’s not long enough to actually be a break, since we usually only have off for two days, but having off the entire week was good for my body, mind, and soul. Am I ready to go back to the last three weeks of classes for the semester tomorrow? Ummmm, not really. But I’m in a much better place than I was two weeks ago. It’s been so refreshing to forget about classes and Step 1 for a bit to remember who I am and what my values are outside of medicine.

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