I am becoming friends with a pediatrician mom - her twin daughters and mine are in the same class. I have learned a lot about her family through Cecelia, and have chatted with her at school events and after sleepovers. She is pretty amazing. I love to hear stories about being a pediatrician. What a hard road (like we all have). She recently discussed frustration over a 10 minute well child visit that turned out to be small kids who have never seen a doctor and had recently been rescued from a bad home life. Never been vaccinated. "How on Earth am I supposed to tackle that in a well child visit?!!?" And do all your charting on EMR, I thought. And realize your time will be bundled in payment. And how do you pay for the sleepless nights you end up with trying not to worry about those kids, when you don't even have enough time with your own children?
But we don't just talk about work, we love to share stories about the kids. I bumped into her in front of the Dr.'s lounge recently. She recounted a weekend tale; she also has a six year old in addition to the twelve year old twins. "The kids were running around downstairs shooting rubber bands at each other. (Her husband, also a peds doc) was on call. I was wracked with anxiety about the danger of the situation but so excited they weren't buried in their ipads that I let it go on way too long. Sure enough, one of them came crying to me with a superficial eye injury. I debated - Stop this? No. How can I continue? I pulled the swim goggles out of the closet and made them all wear them. The fun went on while I worked upstairs. It was one of those magical mornings, ones spun out of nothing, to remember forever."
I laughed so hard I almost spilled my coffee. I love rare magical mornings. Her story reminded me of that old adage, "Put on your oxygen mask first." We try to do this, as mothers and doctors, but we forget. Through sharing we are constantly reminded of how important that is for us and our families. Play is just as, if not more so, valuable to our lives as work. And what we do for our patients within the system is enough. It's ok to constantly strive for more despite the constraints. That's what makes us what we all intended to be when we started this journey. Healers full of hope.