It's hard to write about patients when I'm afraid that (even with many details changed) an owner could recognize their dog or cat from my post, and it's hard to write about work when I spend so much time there and would rather think about my family when I'm at home!
To briefly recap, since my last post I:
- Saw hundreds more patients (duh)
- Celebrated H's 2nd birthday (!!!)
- Had another baby (a girl! Little E was born in October)
- Am enjoying the heck out of an extended maternity leave (I've been off since 2 weeks before I delivered, and go back at the end of February)
- Have realized that there is no way in hell I could ever be a SAHM (I ADORE both children, but I need to get out of the house and do work that is intellectually challenging, and I sadly lack the patience for remaining cheerful in the face of the one thousandth, "Mommy, I need [x]!" of the day)
- Extremely well-equipped hospital
- Specialists on staff
- Decent client demographic
- Decent salary
- I really like my supervisor
But also a lot of disadvantages:
- Specialists on staff :)
- Longish commute
- Crazy long hours - I'm gone for an average of 15 hours on my full days, which while short by the standards of vet school or internship/residency, is a lot longer than I want to be working as a general practice associate
- Way more interpersonal drama than I ever could have imagined
- Some of the management staff are borderline crazy
(BTW, specialists appears on both lists because it is REALLY nice to have a specialist immediately on hand to ask questions of every now and then, and it's great to be able to transfer very complex cases to them. On the other hand, they have a tendency to be condescending and critical of GPs' case management [whereas external specialists are generally nice to you since they want you to keep referring to them; internal specialists don't have to worry about that since you pretty much HAVE to keep referring to them, so instead of, "Hi, Dr. LIVS! Thanks for the referral! Here's what I think of the case...", I get, "Hey, Dr (and I use that term loosely) Dipwad, your workup of this case SUCKED (did you even GO to veterinary school?) and you really should not even have touched the patient before referring them to me. Try to pretend that you have at least 3 functioning brain cells next time."] which is kind of demoralizing, especially when I stayed 3 hours after the end of my shift working on that patient the day before.)
Anyway, I considered either not going back at all (maybe doing a couple of weekend vaccine clinics a month to supplement our income), or looking for a job at a more local hospital that is more of a traditional GP clinic (rather than a 24 hour hospital). But the weekend vaccine clinic thing would kind of be the worst of both worlds - I'd be a SAHM who ALSO worked weekends, and MM and I would only get 1 weekend a month together, since he also works one weekend a month - and wasn't quite enough income (and isn't intellectually challenging at all). And when I met with my supervisor to discuss returning to work, it turned out she was willing to give me a SWEET schedule, and management agreed to convert my previous salary to an hourly wage (based on SCHEDULED hours, not hours actually worked, so I effectively got a 15% hourly raise since I always got stuck at work way beyond the end of my shift), so I'm going back.
I'll be working 2 days a week (technically 6 hour shifts, but I know they'll turn into 8 hour shifts most of the time - which I'm a lot more okay with since I'll be paid for the whole 8 hours!) and 2 Saturdays a month. I could pretty much not have asked for a better schedule than that! And we'll be a lot better off with 2 incomes, even if mine is just part-time -- student loans, rent, health insurance, and part-time daycare cost us about $4000 a month (just for those 4 expenses!!!). We would have had to cut out pretty much everything not absolutely essential, and completely freeze saving for retirement, if I didn't go back to work. Finally, again, while I adore the kids and love spending time with them, when that's the only thing I do, it becomes work - it's my job. When I'm working outside the home, the time I spend with the kids becomes my fun recreation, which is much better for my relationship with them.