Wednesday, June 4, 2008

The doctor's doctor

I kind of feel like a failure when I bring Melly to the doctor. Because, you know, I'm a doctor. (Sort of. That's what it says on my badge.) So naturally I should be able to diagnose any medical problem that comes up. Then prescribe amoxicillin to treat it.

My current excuse for my poor pediatric diagnostic skills is a lack of proper equipment. I don't have the tiny stethoscope like my pediatrician's. (And I'm fairly sure the stethoscope I use for work is colonized with MRSA and every other bug I've come across in the six years I've owned it... it's pretty much a petri dish. Melly tried to lick it once and I almost had a heart attack.) Also, I left my otoscope at my mother's house and there's absolutely no possible way I can get it, short of some sort of experimental matter transportation device (a la The Fly).

Yeah, if only I had my otoscope, it would be NO PROBLEM to stick that thing in her tiny ear to visualize her eardrum while she's flailing about wildly. Because I was just so good at it as a med student.

The sad truth of the matter is that I'm lucky if I can even get a temperature for her. That ear thermometer we bought is very suspect. I took her temperature on it once and got 102.4, then took it two seconds later and got 97.5, so what am I supposed to do... average the numbers?

Part of the problem is probably that I have too much knowledge for my own good, but not enough knowledge to do anything useful. Like when she's drooling a lot, instead of assuming that she's teething, I think to myself, "Oh my god, is this epiglottitis?? Will this require intubation???" And slowly I lose my mind.

I recall in med school that my worst exam grade was in my pediatrics rotation. Damn, if only I had studied harder... I could have saved myself so many $20 copays.


  1. I'm slightly disappointed to hear that this neurosis doesn't go away after 2nd year med school. But I can TOTALLY sympathize! (I was convinced I had stomach cancer - turned out I was pregnant... I was close.)

    Hope your little one is feeling better.

  2. It is good that you know your limitations. My son walked around with a buckle fracture of his wrist for a week while I said "Oh, it's just a little sprain. No problem". Sometimes it is better to let a doctor with an open mind make the diagnosis.


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