Wednesday, June 22, 2016


By the time I left on my recent trip, I was in desperate need of a break.  I needed to not have to make life or death decisions and to not carry a pager and to not have to be witness to the inevitable human suffering that accompanies medicine.  I was spent.

Unfortunately, the Middle East is not the most relaxing place to visit*, and traveling with one's soon-to-be-ex-girlfriend and her family does not make the experience any easier.  At the end of my trip, I felt just as stressed as I had been at the beginning, and things have only gotten worse as a result of 1) the subsequent breakup and 2) a very long and busy week on call. 

Thankfully, I'm spending this upcoming weekend in Chicago.  My Mom turned 65 last December, and my brother and I decided to mark the occasion with a family getaway**.   We leave at 8:30 tomorrow morning, and I can't wait to be away.  I am ready to see beautiful architecture and eat tasty Top Chef winner cooking and not worry about anything.  All of the problems of the real world are just going to have to wait until Monday.

*Particularly as an LGBTTQ person.

**We deferred the trip until the weather was likely to be good and until my brother's and my call schedules aligned.  Bloody call.

Thursday, June 16, 2016


Life is a strange contrast at the moment.  I am on call for the week, so my days are run-off-my-feet busy between my regular clinic schedule and the added inpatient service.  I am constantly scribbling notes in a chart while balancing my cell phone on my shoulder, or listening to my resident present a patient while I not so inconspicuously scan blood work on the computer.  I start my days anxious and I finish them overwhelmed, uncertain of where I will get the energy to do it all again tomorrow. 

And then I go home.  My pager is relatively silent most evenings, my apartment even more so.  My dining room table is empty, the jacket and wallet and keys that used to live there now scattered across the dining room table at my ex-girlfriends' family home.  Beyond feeding myself and the two cats, there is nothing that I have to do.  I read for a few minutes, then watch tv for a few minutes, then stare at the cats willing them to be better conversationalists.  Occasionally they purr, and I tell myself that they are trying to make me happy, although I am well aware that cats are inherently assholes.

I don't know what to do with myself.

For two years, my life was filled with her and with the bustle of activities that filled her restless, extroverted life.  The first day after the breakup, my introverted self reveled in the stillness of her absence, but as time passes stillness transforms into tedium.  There is no shortage of things I should do - the not quite unpacked suitcase from our trip is still on my bedroom floor, and there are always dishes - but I am longing to want to do something.  I am five-year-old me, whining at my mother: "I'm bored".

"Clean your room," she replies, and the answer is as unsatisfying now as it was 34 years ago.

Thursday, June 9, 2016


Two major events happened last week.

First, I finally hit the zero point on my net worth.  After two years of budgeting and frugal(ish) living, I finally dug myself out of the hole that medical training and lots of careless spending created.  I feel a little bit lighter and a little bit less stressed, but it hasn't been quite as momentous an achievement as I had hoped.  Now that I am officially worthless (ha ha), I want to actually start accumulating some money.  An emergency fund!  A down payment on a home!  Apparently I'm incapable of being satisfied with where I am in life.

Second...I broke up with my girlfriend of two years.

It's hard to know what to say about this, because there are so many things at play in a breakup, and they never quite fit together into a coherent story.  It's inevitably messy.  I can say that it was my decision, that I had a sense it was coming for a while, that I'm doing okay.  That it is very strange to watch carloads of her things disappear from my small apartment and to see my old life emerging from underneath them.  That the worst thing in the world is hurting someone you love.  There is so much more.

For now, one of the many songs that I'm listening to, over and over again.