Tuesday, June 3, 2008
I'm a highly trained physician, but I can't put drops in my kid's eyes. He fights, and I'm afraid prying open his eyes will hurt the recent sutures.
I seriously believe every physician should have children before telling mothers how to give medicines. I used to prescribe 10-day courses of antibiotics all the time. Now that I realize how difficult that is, I would never do it to anybody else.
Thursday, May 29, 2008
About half an hour ago, I was at a neighborhood pizza restaurant with Sister, her two kids and their two friends. Sister asked me to keep an eye on her kids while she used the restroom.
I was in the process of sternly asking one of them to climb down from the skeeball machine when Son tugged on my sleeve. I shook him off and kept my focus on the skeeball climber. He tugged again. "Stop it, Son," I said, giving him the shake off again. Finally I turned to him, ready to sternly lecture him, as well.
Son stood at my side, a horrified look on his semi-cyanotic face, trying to speak, trying to breathe. Choking. Niece had asked me if Son could have a starlight mint. I said yes. He then tried to get my help and I brushed him off.
Before I could even form the thought to do the Heimlich, he coughed the piece of candy up. It went shooting across the room. Then he vomited, all over his neglectful mother.
"I'm sick. I need to go to the doctor," he cried.
But I am a doctor. And your mommy. And not very good at either right now.
"No you don't, sweetie," I said, cuddling him, "that was scary, wasn't it?"
He's fine now. Incident forgotten. But I'm still shaking.
Tuesday, May 27, 2008
Tonight, I have to prepare a lecture for a group of healthcare professionals. I've known about this for nine months, yet I've put it off until the night before. Exactly 22 hours from now, I will be embarrassing myself with my unpreparedness. But I'm not thinking about isn't my professional reputation right now.
I'm thinking about Son, who is upstairs in his bedroom for the first time in two weeks. He's been sleeping with us lately. We don't know why. Tonight we decided to try him back in his room. We told each other he'd last five minutes, and we were OK with that. But five minutes passed a long time ago.
He's intermittently singing, though I can't understand the words. Every now and then I hear a knock on the door. "Mama," he calls, "where are you?" I ignore him, though it is so tempting to call back to him. He knows how to open the door, so if he really wants to come down, he will.
These small things are the challenges in my life. I know how to treat a pneumonia, how to run a code, how to track down the most elusive data using our complicated electronic medical record and how to work my patient onto the closed radiology schedule.
But how do I make my son feel safe in his own bedroom? It's a small thing, really, but aren't those the ones that perplex us? I wish being a mother were as "easy" as being a doctor.
By the way, it's now been 30 minutes. The singing and knocking have slowed down. I'm fighting the urge to open his door and look, but I know better.
After almost four years, I've learned a thing or two about being a mama, too.