Friday, June 6, 2008


To say that pediatrics has altered my outlook on life is the understatement of the last general election. Take my children, for example. Most of my parenting decisions come from 1) gut response 2) experience from pediatric residency 3) pediatric practice or distant #4) indoctrination from my own parental units.

For several years William and Harry have requested some type of reptile coming to reside at our house. I have a difficult time calling a reptile a pet since they are neither cute nor cuddly.

Gut response says “Hell, No. No slithering critters with tails who can escape from minimally-lidded glass aquariums.”

The joint Pediatric camp says “Are you crazy? Turtles, lizards, geckos, etc. carry salmonella and shigella and can give you bloody diarrhea just to start.” Flashback to PICU patient seizing with generalized shigella infection.

Finally the Parental/Growing up experience has no comment because I grew up in a house full of girls who had nothing to do with reptiles.

The issue of “heelies” has also come up with the two boys in my life.

“They’re fun.” Says Harry

“We won’t get hurt.” Says William

“What about the classmate with the two broken elbows from last week?” The Pediatric Camp volleys.

“We’ll wear pads.” H and W say simultaneously.

“Yeah, right.” We’ve already paid a small fortune or at least a couple of house payments to our friend the orthopedist. Let’s not add our friend the ED doc to the family payroll. Another flashback to PICU patient with head injury seizing in the unit – maybe I just have Pediatric Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.

And then there are the video games which are heavily regulated by the Homeland Parental Unit (HPU). E rated and the occasional T rated games only. Every now and then the HPU catches Harry sneaking next door to play M rated games with the neighbors. Gut response wants to know how long it will be before William or Harry go postal and wind up on E! television as a True Hollywood Story about serial killers. The Pediatric camp wants to know how much weight they’ll gain from playing 2 hours a day instead of being outside. The Growing up response again has no comment because I’m a girl and too old to have dealt with this issue in my own childhood.
Ok, I’ll admit it. My career has warped me into an overly neurotic, lizard-hating, heelie-avoiding, E-rated un-fun (but safe)parent that I am today.


  1. If it makes you feel any better...

    There's emerging research (and I can't find the citaton from where I'm working) that boys who game with others are essentially better off than boys who game alone, or, surprisingly to me, boys who don't game. These casual unstructured social interactions are surprisingly important to development, and the fact that they occur in the context of violent games doesn't lead to bands of sociopaths.

    So don't say anything. They get socialization benefit, you can *appear* to disapprove, but you know better. ;0)

    E, Who Doesn't Like Games With Death and Monsters and Aliens Anyway

  2. Wow, I can really relate to this. I'm not a pediatrician, but when I see pediatric rehab patients, I feel like I get scarred for life. It is like the personification of all the really tragic things that can happen to your child: burns, falls off balconies, viral encephalitis, etc. After I finish residency, I have no intention of ever seeing a pediatric patient again.

    However, you make me glad I have a daughter not a son :) I'm hoping for two girls...

  3. Some of my most vivid memories from medical training are from pediatric patients.

    The three-year-old who cut off his thumb with garden clippers, the six-year-old who went too close to the fence and got his face mauled by the neighbour's pitbull.

    For most parents dangers are hypothetical, but when you've actually seen the results of countless accidents, it's hard not to be cautious.

    At least your decisions are influenced by several camps - that makes them balanced, right?

  4. I am going to grow up to be just like you, I can tell. I am already neurotic and obsessive and have only just finished 2nd year med school and am in my 2nd trimester. It's only going to go downhill from here. Your boys sound happy and safe and well-adjusted, though, so it looks to me like I've picked an excellent role model!


    Happy parenting.

  5. That sounds like me with my little sister, and I'm not even in med yet! I've seen a fair bit of paeds in school though, and now I'm a wee bit neurotic about keeping her safe.


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