On National Women Physicians Day, we should honor the courageous women who lighted the way and be mindful of the awesome responsibility of passing the torch to the next generation. The onus is on the medical profession as a whole to foster an environment of encouragement, collaboration, and mutual respect. Looking to the future, it is important to understand our past. Thank you Dr. Blackwell, Dr. Lovejoy, and every medical doctor who continues fighting for equality.
While there have been no more 9-1-1 calls and unexpected visits from police officers, this experience is another one of those parenting life lessons. Most of all, I am thankful the deputies “dropped by” when the scene was calm. If they were on my doorstep on any other regular evening, things might have turned out differently. I wish all of you a Happy Thanksgiving, and may you enjoy a day free of a surprise visit from your local Sheriffs’ deputies.
“I am so sorry,” I said. I was sorry for many more things than I could say. This is one moment I wish could be erased from my memory and done again, though differently. Ideally, I would greet the mother and child with a warm smile, take an extensive history, perform a thorough physical exam, discuss a list of possible diagnoses with mom, and send blood tests accordingly. I would reassure this mother we would properly evaluate her concerns.
My dreams for this young boy from ten years ago were shattered into tiny little pieces. In my mind, at the tender age of seven, he had been a ball of clay ready to be molded into something beautiful. Instead, all hope had been extinguished from the young man who stood before me now. There was no sparkle in his eye; the devilish grin was all that remained of that innocent child I once knew.
Whether or not we reach 100, 1,000, or even 10,000 miles together in our lifetime, we will have time spent enjoying one another. Time is a gift we should all appreciate. I am well aware of the fact in 10 years, she could recoil at the thought of taking a walk with dear old mom, but what if she doesn’t?
As physicians, we do our best to set patients up for successful futures. This instruction can begin when a person is a few days old and may continue for a lifetime. In primary care, we observe children grow into adults, finish their educations, and embark on families of their very own. The single greatest aspect of medicine for me has been to realize the impact our lasting relationships can have; something that was facilitated by being a female physician.
Unbeknownst to me, he arrived at the wrong school that morning and knew it when they pulled up to the front of Brownsville Elementary School in Bremerton, WA. He let Glenda, the bus driver; know he was supposed to be at a different location. She radioed for permission to take him to his proper elementary school in Silverdale, which is the one he intended to reach that day.
“If you get bit by a dog, then you will get rabies.” – 4 year old daughter “You mostly get rabies from bats.” – 7 year old son “Dogs get shots to protect them from rabies.” – 5 year old son “OK, phew.” – 4 year old daughter very relieved “Umm, how about we try to avoid getting bit by dogs?”–Mom preferring prevention strategy
As for my journey, my best advice is to draw your own ‘lines in the sand’ as a parent. No one single discipline method is perfect for every child. Reasons for misbehavior vary. Do not judge other mothers; it is harder than it looks. We are all “doing the best we can.”
It happened to me one unforgettable January morning. The weather has been glorious this week; it is time to tell this story, even though I am hesitant to share it. Our world today is fast-paced and time-crunched; sometimes we overlook details as a result. Infants are rear-facing until they are 2 years old; they can fall asleep in their car seat and we can forget they are there. It really can happen to ANY parent and below is my own experience.