Nov 3, 2009

Why is the Doctor's Kid Always Sick?

Today I was the first assist on a c-section...very exciting for me. Usually a surgical nurse does that job, but today the obstetrician let me be the one to help him with the instruments, and help suture and staple the patient closed, layer by layer. The baby was big (over 9 lbs) so I had to push hard on mama's belly to get enough force to help baby come out of the incision. When she came out, I suctioned her mouth and nose, and she began to scream.

And scream. And scream. All through the closing procedure, through her measurements, and through our dictation of the surgery. All through daddy holding her (saying "it's okay, daddy's here"...melted my heart...), and mama trying to breastfeed. She screamed through the nurses taking turns holding her and reassuring mommy and daddy that yes, this was normal, and yes, everything was all right.

I came over to check on mom, as I always do after a surgery, and she grabbed my arm and asked. "WHAT is wrong with her??!!). "Nothing" I said. "She's got a great, healthy set of lungs." Dad laughed, and mom just looked at me. I heard the nurse sarcastically comment "Boy, that's a doctor comment if I ever heard one. This one's learning early."

The thing about being a doctor is, you know what can truly go wrong. You worry when the baby is silent. When they cry for a long time, you have peace knowing that the lungs are well-developed and they have created enough intrathoracic pressure to close the fetal circulation, allowing baby a healthy heart to start their life outside the womb.

My mother, who works as a speech-pathologist in a school, says that doctor's kids are always the sick ones. Maybe it's because the parent brings home patient germs, maybe its because they are too busy to deal with keeping them out of school. But I'm inclined to think that its because they know nothing is really wrong. They see so many health crises per day that one simple cold doesn't even fall on their register of illness, and they send the kid off to school.

I think most doctors are not cold people with indifferent comments. I just think they have seen a lot, and tend to tell it like it is. This is not to say that most are not compassionate; on the contrary, most doctors that I've seen care a lot about their patients. They may not be the most user-friendly professionals, but they do care. I sure care about my patients. And I'm oddly kind of pleased with the nurse's comment, because I feel like I'm learning to be an effective doctor.

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