Along those same lines, please limit the moonlighting you choose to do. My preconceived idea of a physician’s salary was very different from your reality. You are a pediatrician, an academic pediatrician. Having said that, we lead a wonderful life. We have what we need and have been very happy without the fanciness of some of our neighbors. Although the extra income is nice, I’d rather see more of you than more money. Besides, we just wrote the last check for college tuition, and I’m sure the boys will never ask us for money again.
Being Grumpy (No, Not the Dwarf)
My thoughts on moonlighting lead me perfectly to a discussion of your frame of mind: your mood. By definition, your patients are seriously ill hospitalized children. The bursting hospital census, the acuity of your patients, and the relative craziness of some of their parents invariably elevate your stress level. This, in turn, drives more frequent calls to the hospital and time on the computer all hours of the day or night. This does not allow for a restful sleep, when you sleep at all. I may be biased, but I think you are in the minority of hospitalists who bring their jobs home. Not that I’m complaining too loudly; this is who you are and why I love you, but if you haven’t noticed, when you are on service you tend to get grumpy. Think about this: If you’re not on call, why not turn off your pager, turn off your phone, and leave email alone?
Given the pressures inherent in your job, please tell me again why you would want to moonlight. Moonlighting means even longer hours, more stress, and less sleep for you, all of which make you grumpier and, as a result, tend to make me grumpy.
No, thank you.
Everyone we know has some form of “honey-do” list, whether intended for himself or herself, a spouse, or a professional. I know it makes you feel like a competent husband and man to do things around the house, but here’s a bit of advice: Let me hire someone else. Keep in mind that contractors were invented for good reason. The aggravation you’ll have trying to fit whatever project we’ve contemplated into your schedule will be dwarfed by the aggravation I’ll have when you can’t. I’ve never heard you ruminate about not cutting the lawn after we hired the landscaper and you got rid of the lawnmower.
The same goes for quality. Do you really think you did anywhere near as good a job replacing the leaking toilet as a real plumber? Should we talk about the breakfast room light fixture? Do you want me to continue?
My annoyance probably lessened any satisfaction you derived by completing these projects yourself. You should always keep the Pressel money-management credo forefront in your mind: “You earn it, I spend it.” Please let me do my job.
Let Me See If “The Doctor” Is In
Please leave the professor at the office; don’t talk too much medicine when you are not at work. Your trainees might need to hear all the minute details of whatever medical issue is at hand, but your family and friends do not. Most of those close to us chose careers outside of medicine a long time ago and probably don’t want to change direction now. Why do you think they call me for medical advice? It’s not because I’m a better doctor but because they know they’ll hear one of two things:
- I’ll tell them I don’t have a clue and they should ask you; or
- I’ll answer their questions in a tenth of the time that it would have taken you. And we’re talking easy questions because, while I’ve listened to you speak to medical students and residents for the last 20 years, we both know I am not a doctor.