I wasn’t always a huge supporter of eating organic. I was a poor college student… a poor medical student… and a poor resident. In fact, I didn’t start thinking about my health seriously until my husband and I were planning to get pregnant. Maybe this was a little late in the game at 37 years old… but better late than never, right?
In college, I lived off of lean cuisine microwaveable meals with plastic and drinking 3 diet dr. peppers a day. In medical school, I survived off a protein bar, sandwich, and microwaveable dinners as well. Did I mention that I experimented with smoking to help me study? Ick, what horrible habits! In residency, I continued with protein bars, microwaveable meals, and hospital food that was free for residents around 9p. Not to forget, that I made sure I went to a bunch of residency interview dinners to meet potential incoming residents. Fast forward to getting ready for my wedding day, I went 3 months on a paleo diet and felt incredible and saw real changes in my body without feeling deprived or hungry. We went organic during my first pregnancy. We’ve placed more importance on sustaining our baby and helping her maximize her growth and learning with a more nutritious diet. During my second pregnancy, I again ate organic. But, I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes and moved to a more Whole30 diet — eliminating processed foods as well as sweets. I was able to really control my blood sugars with diet alone, and I feel better without all the processed food and sweets in my system.
Why do I think about this now? More and more, I feel the impact of a well-balanced diet on my body. My AGING body. Perhaps in our youth, we can fake it and make it by eating crap food and maintaining an unhealthy lifestyle. But as I’m aging, I feel the effects more and definitely sooner. Additionally, I care more now about what I put into my body and in my family’s. I would love to teach my kids the importance of healthy eating and what good food tastes like. So, enter my quest to eat organic as well as grass-fed, hormone-free meats as well as going more plant-based.
I had just written a response to a partner’s email regarding outpatient coverage and the focus of work-life balance. I think it’s a great initiative that she is tackling while brainstorming what could help the group with flexibility as well as some normalcy while raising a family.
This made me think of changes to antiquated practices we currently have in our work environment… primarily, paid maternity leave as well as paid sick leave. Many of my male colleagues can continue to work and can take as little or much leave as they would like for family bonding or vacation time to spend with their newborns. This is their option. Unfortunately, the women physicians in our group are not afforded that same luxury. There is a 6 week medical leave of absence with a vaginal delivery or an 8 week leave of absence with a C/S as proposed by the OBs. During this time, we are not paid. State disability is a joke bc it’s not even enough to cover a mortgage payment. Look at other large companies, there’s often paid leave or sick leave available to the employees. Therefore, women who choose to have kids while working as a physician in our group are penalized, especially if they are the breadwinner.
Not only that, even while off on medical leave, we are required to pay into the trust and pay ridiculously high premiums to cover the wide age gap of partners in our practice. I would be happy to look elsewhere for my medical coverage, but I simply cannot come off our medical insurance plan.
Therefore, I propose there be a fund set aside to create a pool or trust for persons creating families (just as we do for our more distinguished and elderly physician population with our health insurance plans and exorbitant premiums) who will have families and work in our group.
Here are some examples in the news of what is and has been in the pipelines….
As Arden is getting older and bigger, I’m wondering if she will outgrow her pack and play that has been her bassinet and crib since she was born. At school, she naps on a floor bed. The times we have tried to get her to nap at home on a floor mattress, she wanders around her room. That was prior to her really crawling around. Now almost 11 months old, she is so fast at crawling and getting around…I’m worried she’ll wander around her room and not get a good night’s rest. But, maybe the ability to explore and be comfortable in her own space is exactly what she needs…
To promote the series #asawoman started by @nataliecrawfordmd (from Instagram)
Throughout medical school, residency, fellowship, even now in private practice… patients have often judged a book by its cover. They’ve thought I was their nurse, volunteer, high school student or college student shadowing, almost everything but the person who will lead their anesthetic care. While this can seem deflating given all the extra work and studies one puts in to become a physician, I’ve changed my mindset re: my patients’ initial thoughts on me.
First of all, thank goodness they think I’m super young! I have my mom’s genes and beautiful skin to thank!! At this rate, I hope I start to look 30 when I hit 50. When patients ask my age, I happily oblige them with a bold 39. Then I see a look of relief over their faces. I, of course, ask them how old they think I am….and I get the range of: just graduated college to mid-20s. Awesome!! I use it as a bonding moment and icebreaker with my patients. Sometimes with the right patient, I joke with them that it’s my first day… it usually entertains a good laugh. Then, I go into an overly technical schpeel on risks/benefits of anesthesia, expectations, PACU recovery. This typically solidifies to the patient that it’s not my first day on the job. Additionally, many patients tell me in the PACU that they feel better than their prior experience or better than their expectation and are quite grateful for my care.
There are a lot of men in my anesthesia group. Sometimes, after I introduce myself to the patient, they’re shocked that a woman anesthesiologist would be delivering their care. In this day and age, I’m shocked that a lot of patients still assume that a male physician will oversee their care. When caring for female patients with this mentality, I purposefully address a gentle and vigilant anesthetic plan. With my male patients with this mentality, often times they’re happy to talk about the “happy juice” cocktail they’ll get and some much deserved relaxation knowing that I will carry a watchful eye over their surgery and anesthetic.
Lastly, since becoming pregnant with my first and currently pregnant with my second… I feel I have a better understanding of the worried/concerned parents who are at the bedside to be with their child about to enter surgery. Oftentimes, the parents think I’m young and want to know where I trained and when I graduated. I offer them this info, and continue speaking to the patient (their child) about their concerns or questions. I make sure the parents know everything that will go on re: anesthetic plan, how the patient will feel in recovery and risks/benefits of anesthesia options. I TAKE MY TIME with the parents and the patient. While my age and gender often work against me (even though it shouldn’t!), I make sure the controllable worries by the parents are addressed. I speak to the parents after the surgery. They go into the recovery room and see their child (older than 13 at our hospital) comfortable and recovering. While I can’t change my appearance (nor would I want to…), I can change perceptions of women physicians. We are every bit as capable of everything our male colleagues can do. In addition, we tackle pregnancy, motherhood, businesses, and everything in between. #asawoman As A Woman, I feel more empowered now than ever before.
I’m not one to make New Year’s Resolutions. Why? Because I used to make a list of 10 things and NEVER got any of them completed. My goal these days is to constantly re-asses my goals daily. Every day is a new day to accomplish something or try something new or go outside your comfort zone. So, this year, my husband and I both want to work on our nutrition. It’s more evident now (we’re in our 40s) than ever before that we really take responsibility not only for our own health, but the health of our littles. Therefore, this is a top priority for both of us. The more we learn about nutrition and what to put into our bodies, the more we can teach our kids the importance of health and nutrition. I hope this knowledge continues to transfer down into our kids, grandkids, etc. The gift of good health is more valuable to me now than before. The older I get, the more I see my parents/family aging. Luckily, my family has good genes are have lived into their 90s. However, I want to take what I can into my own hands and make sure it stays that way. I come across so many patients who either have bad genes, poor diet, poor access to nutrition, lack of knowledge of nutrition and exercise, or simple complacency with an “I’m gonna do what I’m gonna do” attitude.
Three Books that I’m tackling this year:
Fit Men Cook by Kevin Curry: 100+ meal prep recipes for men and women — we got this book as a gift from my mom who is a great healthy example of nutrition and exercise. This book is very approachable!! Originally, my hubs and I wanted to just dial in a few meals to be able to cook during the week. But the more we read this book, the more we love the idea of meal prepping and eating healthy at home and work. So far, I’ve cooked one dinner and one breakfast and they are delicious! Our almost 11month old loves the foods as well!
The Obesity Code by Jason Fung — I purchased this on Audible as a recommendation from one of my anesthesia partners. It’s been a great listen and actually uses large scale studies done on humans (not animals) to really discuss nutrition. So far, it’s a great listen!
We took our first trip as a family of 3 to Maui (or should I say 4 since I’m 14 weeks pregnant). Granted, it’s a roughly 6 hour/5 hour plane ride to/back. I had read up on multiple blogs regarding what to bring, how to travel, what to expect, etc. I’ve created a bullet list of must-have things to travel with or pack for your little one (ours was 7 months old at the time of travel) Continue reading “Traveling with an Infant”