Showing posts with label comfort. Show all posts
Showing posts with label comfort. Show all posts

Thursday, August 4, 2016

The special skills we have

Late last night past whatever passes for bedtime in the summer, tween daughter showed me the abrasion on her knee sustained while swimming earlier in the day.  It was the "lane rope monster" known for sheering the top layer of skin of even the best swimmer's hands, knees, etc.  She asked for me to go get her a band-aid.  Size?  Medium.  Our home is well stocked.

After checking to see that the wound was clean enough (no obvious debris), I applied the 2 inch bandage to the extensor surface of her knee, the "bendy" part.  She bent it, as if checking, testing, and then admiring my work. 

And then, with the complete absence of sarcasm (yes, even in a twelve year old) in this, the edge of the end of childhood, she asked if I went to special school to learn to apply band-aids that well.

For the degrees and formal schooling, it was 4 years college, 4 years med school, 3 years pediatric residency, plus public health and medical educator training along the way.  And most importantly, time spent as a mom. 

Monday, March 21, 2016

I'm a grown woman and my work bag needs to represent that

What do you do to celebrate yourself? How do you toot your own horn?

I am a part of several very lively on-line support groups for mothers. I love many of the posts and I have especially started to really enjoy the posts that talk about how busy mothers reward themselves with things like fancy purses, fabulous trips and paying off their loans. I don’t think we do as much as we should to celebrate ourselves, to be gentle with ourselves, to love up on ourselves. After the first 8 months of being an Attending, I sometimes realize that besides going to the gym I haven’t done a single good thing just for myself in a week; that’s when I schedule an eyebrow shaping or pedicure appointment (I am overdue for both by the way, uggh!). I am going to start with the purse, build my way up to a trip next year, and before turning 40 - these loans will be paid off!

Back to the bag - the work bag my mother bought me at the beginning of residency has been through a lot. It’s a nice, large personalized LL Bean bag but it has begun to look weathered and frayed. I’m too young to look sloppy and unkempt and I need an upgrade. I went out with some of my Sorority Sisters recently and I noticed how all of the Lawyers had beautifully sculpted, supple leather bags - they were gorgeous! 

That’s when I decided - I’m upgrading myself as soon as I get my first check from my new position (more on that later). My budget is modest and several friends recommended Coach (my favorite is the Coach Mercer Satchel in eggplant) due to their durability and timelessness and some sister-doctors recommended the Dagne Dover (I like the roomy Charlie Tote the best). And now I’m ready for my own, not-a-hand-me-down, grown lady work bag. One that I’ll feel like singing Beyonce’s “Grown Woman” out loud as I carry it into my new office. 

Any recommendations for your favorite work bag or purse? One that will not be flashy while commuting on the DC metro? One that will allow me to easily go from work to picking up Zo from kindergarten?

Friday, January 1, 2016

Saying their names

I don’t have a television but your story flashes across my Facebook feed, my friends tell me about you, my husband the Anthropologist tells me about you, and I look you up online.

You were bullied for being a cheerleader and you took your life (Ronin Shimizu). You went out for a pack of Skittles, a stranger chased you, you were shot and killed (Trayvon Martin). You were selling cigarettes on the streets of New York and you were choked to death as you screamed “I can’t breathe” (Eric Garner). You were playing with your big brother and he accidentally shot and killed you with a gun you found (9 month old in Missouri whose name will not be released). You were born a girl but your birth body was that of a boy, you tried to be your true self but took your own life after not being accepted by your parents (Leelah Alcorn). You were misunderstood, you were playing with a toy gun in the park and you were killed (Tamir Rice). You were with your friends listening to music in your car at a convenience store when a stranger approached you and began arguing with you about your music, he shot you and you died and he went back to his hotel room, walked his dog, and had dinner and drinks (Jordan Davis).

I honor your legacy with my tears. I think about your family. I snuggle my little one more tightly knowing this world is both a beautiful and dangerous place. I honor you with this post; I apologize it has taken me months to find the courage to say your name in this space. This space that is sacred to me but after my last post about Trayvon Martin received some insensitive comments I was hesitant to share some of my deeper feelings since I don’t see much social commentary here at MiM. Why is that? We are mothers and we are providers and don’t we see how unique our vantage point is? We can talk about the intersection of life and policy, public health and personal life from a place most others cannot. I struggle to find the time to read anything besides mindless fashion blogs when I’m not balancing my own needs with full-time medical practice, my husband’s needs and those of my four year old let alone to allow myself the freedom to reflect on society’s transgressions and tragedies.

I thought of you today while looking at my ever growing to do list. And because your life matters to me I put away other thoughts and wrote your name, I am saying your name.

#BlackLivesMatter #ProudLGBTQAlly #MothersInMedicine #2016LivingMyTruth

Friday, December 11, 2015


I used to think that I was drawn to hospice practice because I wasn't one of those doctors that had to fix everything. I'm comfortable with the incurable, the insoluble, the chronic and unremitting. I don't see death as a failure of my medical skills. Nope, not me. I'm not like that. I don't have a personal need to cure.

Except....I do still have a need to fix things. I don't feel compelled to cure; I feel compelled to relieve suffering. I need to make pain go away, ease shortness of breath, make the nausea stop. I need the furrowed brow and the tense muscles to relax. I need to make things better. And most of the time we can. We have morphine and humor and steroids and Haldol and ice packs and Ativan and massage therapy and music and pets and chaplains and social workers and aromatherapy and our own presence. When our patients are suffering, we can bring comfort.

It's more challenging to bring comfort to the families. Pain goes away. Grief must be borne. We can provide some companionship and support; in the end, though, grief is a solitary journey. A husband's tears or a daughter's anxiety leave me feeling powerless in a way that the patient's pain and shortness of breath do not. I want to do something, and I know I just need to stand there.

Today was a little different. Today, oddly enough, two different family members needed something I could give them. Something simple and available and entirely over-the-counter. They needed water. Twice this afternoon, I walked down the hall to our ice machine and filled a cup with ice and water, carefully placed a lid on top and collected a straw. I brought the cups back to the quiet rooms and placed them in the waiting hands. And I felt much better.