Getting to know me, Real Medicine

Why I Paed

il_fullxfull.1060268322_b3xh_1b44cb32-38e5-43f0-83cd-e66691807124_grandeWhenever I talk about my love for child health, and my intention to pursue it as a career, I get this kind of response:

“Oh, I could never work with kids. It just breaks my heart to see them suffer!”

I don’t get it.

I mean, maybe I’m a cold-hearted bitch, but I don’t think so.

I hold children down and stick them with needles, because I know it’s necessary to make them better. I scrub burn wounds and I encourage parents to wait outside because I know they’ll cry and/or likely try to assault me for hurting their babies.

I also use topical anaesthetic cream liberally and question IV lines when I don’t think it is absolutely necessary. I’m liberal with analgesia prescriptions because pain is more harmful than useful in a hospital setting.

I see malnourished and abused children, and sometimes I bite my tongue raw to keep my temper.

I’ve told mothers that their children had cancer, and I’ve told them that their kids would be developmentally delayed for the rest of their lives. I’ve told them that their kids will live, but that they will be long-term patients.

(Thankfully rarely) I’ve informed parents that their baby was no longer alive.

* * * 

But I give more high-fives than I give pain.

I get gummy smiles and snotty laughter and the wide-based gait of children waddling around my legs.

I call in the social workers and the dieticians and we (try to) address systems, not just lapses in judgment.

I get to pick up a crying infant and feel it relax, because although human contact isn’t medicine, sometimes it’s just what you need in that moment. Both of you.

I get to discharge more patients than I ever have to declare demised.

When I tell a parent that their child is disabled, I get to tell them about disabled people who don’t only live, but THRIVE.

I get to admit a shocked child, and see her running around the ward two days later.

I get to witness the purity of the human spirit first-hand.

I tread among the future.

Paediatrics is the great success-story of 20th century medicine, and I rarely cry for it.

* * * 

Adult medicine? Oh I couldn’t. I’d cry all day.


4 thoughts on “Why I Paed”

  1. Glad you’ve found something you love! My brother is a pediatric oncologist, and it nearly broke me to spend a day at work with him when I shadowed him as a medical student. I cried pretty much all day. I’m one of those people who could never deal with the hard stuff in pediatrics, but I can generally cope with it pretty well in adult medicine.

    Good thing the world has a variety of people who like to do different things.

  2. So proud of you for finding your place and speciality in Medicine. I think I want to do Paeds, too. But something with Surgery in It too. Paediatric Surgery perhaps? Thank god I still have time to decide.
    Ps you’re definitely in the best part of the country for Paeds, I plan on moving there as well when I start my Paediatric training.

  3. That’s very touching. When my son was born and in the hospital for 10 days, my husband I were very grateful to the amazing Dr.’s and nurses that helped him. Thank you for what you do!

  4. Congratulations on finding your calling. The voice of the little ones, what a blessing and a joy! Is topical anesthesia readily available? In The Bahamas it isn’t and during my Paeds rotation, it was something I wish we had available just for the kids.

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