Thursday, January 28, 2010

Which job is harder?

My husband is an ER Doctor. His job is really diverse and full of adventure. To steal a quote from Forest Gump, "His shifts are like a box of chocolates you never know what you'll get." When he gets to work he's bombarded with a waiting room full of patients all suffering different ailments and injuries. I've asked him before how he knows which patient to treat first. He said they use the triage system in the ER. That means he assesses all patients' situations and treats by order of importance. Chris then proceeds to treat the sick, the injured and the mentally ill in a rapid manner. All the while he must maintain calmness and make quick smart decisions. He performs these tasks at all times of a day because unfortunately emergencies don't seem to be planned.

I always enjoy hearing about his patients (no names of course). His stories range from the hilarious to the tragic. Some become cautionary tales for our kids while others become welded in our minds because of the uniqueness or the severity of the situation.

In some ways Chris's job is similar to mine. Like Chris, I've implemented the triage system at home. Here's an example of how it works: one son has an accident in his pants- at the same time there is a fight- at the same time someone spills milk- at the same time the phone rings. What to do? Assess the situation and treat in order of importance: break up the fight, clean the soiled pants, mop up the spilled milk, and then let the phone go to voicemail. Much like my ER Doctor husband, I've learned as a mother to stay calm in these situations, make quick smart decisions and get to work. Similar to Chris, I work the morning, afternoon and night shift too. Finally, I go into my "shift" not knowing what it will bring: tragedy, humor or a little of both.

I've often ask Chris after he spends some time at home which job is harder working as an ER doctor or as a stay at home mom. He says it depends on the day. Good answer.

It's 9 p.m., time for both of us to start our night shifts.

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