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A Thursday in the Life of Shannon Cairns

This Fort Worth doctor balances surgeries, two kids and a baby on the way

Dr. Shannon Cairnsis a podiatrist whoruns a private
practice in Wataugawith her husband,Daniel. They livein Fort Worth withtheir children,4-year-old Noah,2-year-old Bethany,and baby numberthree expected“any day now.”

5AM Wake up. This is my personaltime to read, pray and go overmy agenda for the day. IdeallyI try to get a little workoutin—but at nine months pregnant,I’ve pretty much given up on anything thatrequires moving.

6AM Noah heads down the stairs. Both heand his sister are supposed to sleep until7am, but someone always wakes up early. Ifinish up with my book and make breakfast.I always aim to make something easy andportable, like toaster waffles and fruit. Noahis an especially picky eater—it’s a mysterywhat he decides he likes from week to week,but waffles are usually a safe choice.

6:15AM Thursday is surgery day so Ihead upstairs to change into my scrubs.Operations kick off at 7am, and since Danieland I operate together, we’re both out the
door early. Luckily, my mom agrees to helptake care of the kids on these busy days.She spends the night on Wednesdays, whichmakes these hectic mornings go much more smoothly.

6:30AM Bethany is up. I bring her downstairsto watch cartoons and eat breakfast withher brother. She throws an epic tantrumwhen I tell her that Nana will take her to “school” because Mommy has surgeries. Shescreams and cries, “Mommyyy!” It breaks myheart, but I have to get going—my patientsdepend on me too. I hand the kids off to mymom and rush to the car while clutching mycoffee and to-go breakfast.

7AM I arrive at the surgery center, greet ourpatients and sign consents ahead of the day’swork. We have a busy morning with threesurgeries scheduled. At 36 weeks pregnant,it’s getting increasingly difficult to operateall morning but I push through. Still, I make aplan to go home and rest at lunch before westart afternoon clinic.

11AM Our surgeries are well underwaywhen I receive a message from the hospitalthat they have a consult they would like forus to see. I nicely ask Daniel if he will gosee the patient so I can continue with mylunch plans.

11:30AM Lunchtime rolls around so I dropby the house to grab a bite to eat and restfor about an hour. Daniel calls to tell meabout the consult and informs me that thepatient will need a procedure later today. Myschedule is lighter this afternoon so I tell himI’ll head over to the hospital after I’m donewith patients in the office.

1PM Afternoon clinic begins. I’m scheduledto see patients until 3pm so that I can pickup my kids to get in some extra quality time,but I usually end up staying an extra hour tocatch up on paperwork.

3PM I wrap up my appointments andpaperwork on time and head over to thehospital to see our patient. I perform abedside procedure—which takes about 30minutes—and do my notes. They don’t tellyou this on TV, but there’s always paperworkto be done in medicine.

4PM Done with work for the day. Timeto pick up my sweet kiddos and headback home.

5PM After traffic and wrestling Noah andBethany into their car seats, we finally gethome. All I want to do is lounge on thecouch and watch movies with the kids, but people need to eat. I get dinner started andrun interference to keep everyone fromgrabbing all the snacks from the pantry.

6PM Daniel is home and it’s time to eat—except the kids decide they don’t likespaghetti today. Noah wants chicken nuggetsand Bethany wants macaroni and cheese. Noway am I cooking more meals. We struggleuntil they each eat a few bites.

6:30PM We head upstairs for bath time,jammies and lots of nighttime snuggles.This is my favorite time of day. I lovesnuggly clean babies! It’s also the mostexhausting part, and I’m looking forwardto relaxing and sleeping once the kidsgo down.

7PM We read books, sing songs and putBethany to bed. Noah pleads for extrastories, more television time, a glass ofwater, milk, snacks and anything elsethat will delay bedtime.

7:30PM Noah is finally down for thenight (or at least contained to hisroom). Daniel and I team up to tidythe house, clean the kitchen and foldsome laundry.

8PM Time to relax and watch a littleNetflix. Since I’m very pregnant rightnow, I’m lucky if I can make it throughan episode without falling asleep.Though we work together every day,I treasure this quality time with myhusband away from the office.

10PM Off to bed and ready to start itall over again in the morning. I’m excitedand a little scared to see how our family’s routine will change once we addbaby number three to the equation.