Sunday, January 6, 2013

On energy and expectations

I think I've mentioned this before, but I just don't seem to have the energy I used to have. I don't know if its age or physical un-fitness, or diet, or all of the above, but I get tired pretty easily these days.

Take today. I actually slept a solid 7.5 hours for the past 2 nights in a row (we moved L to another room to let him CIO without disturbing B, but he actually slept the whole night...I think he is getting sick, he has been extra tired the past couple of days, eating less, and cranky). I got up at 6, on my own, drank my coffee, got L from his crib & fed him breakfast by 7 AM. Then I did a very very short & easy workout of 20 minutes on the elliptical and a few abs & push ups. I ate breakfast, showered, and started making headway on our chores by cooking up the items for the boys' lunches. I played with B while L took his first nap of the day. We decided to go out for brunch, and we walked a short 13 blocks there, had a typically frantic but not-too-terrible time & a delicious brunch, and walked back by noon. I was exhausted. I thought it was just from eating all those delicious potatoes, so I volunteered to take the dog for a walk to the dog park and to pick up something from the store...I figured the walk in the cool sunny air would help wake me up. Nope.

G said I looked horrible and insisted I take a quick nap, but of course here I am blogging. I don't want to take a nap...if I can manage to fall asleep, I sleep for way too long & then end up groggy and worse off then before. More than that, I don't want to need to take a nap. Not when I am healthy & well-rested to begin with.

I've cut out alcohol (for now, hah!), cut back a bit on caffeine, drinking tons of water, no sugary/sweet stuff, very moderately exercising, no major stressors going on...what else can I do? (if you say, "cut out gluten", I will reach through the computer and smack you, because, unless I have endoscopy-confirmed celiac...just no).

I actually saw a patient in clinic this week with a resident. The patient had limited mental abilities and had a family member with him. When we finished the visit with the patient, the family member started talking about his own health, and asked the resident (I was on the phone calling another specialist to coordinate patient's care, & plus he was a tall male) who he should see about "being tired all the time". The resident's advice was brilliant: of course talk to your PCP, and take care of yourself, with good diet, sleep, and exercise...but you're how old now, 38 (!!!), sometimes you need to adjust your expectations.

Since I firmly believe that unmet expectations are indeed the root of most unhappiness, I might have to give this a try.


  1. Sooooo.... for the first time in like, a month, I finally feel like I have real energy. I think I've been fighting off one infection or another for a really long time, and it started wearing me down. You have 2 small kids in daycare, so it wouldn't surprise me a bit if that was going on with you as well. Hopefully it will pass. Sometimes a girl needs a loll around day just to recharge. Remember how before you had kids you could do that any time you wanted (ok not really, you were a resident then)? You're not getting old, you've just been burning the candle at both ends for EVER.

    1. you're probably right, L is sick today so maybe its in the wings for me again. loll around days? its been ages. there was this one year and a half, 2007-2008, my 2nd-3rd of fellowship, where I didn't have weeknight calls and only 8 weekends during the year AND i wasn't pregnant. lovely.

    2. And this? Is what is wrong with academic medicine.... Cut yourself some slack, woman!

    3. Ha! No not related to academic medicine in the slightest. I was tired for years from being on call every 4th night (or 2nd or 3rd in fellowship, home call does not count for anything except sleep deprivation), then I had a break, and then the kids. I'm waiting on the kids calming down so that I CAN spend a weekend just chilling, reading, watching movies, but it hasn't happened yet!