The Doctor Mom
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Monday, March 29, 2010

What is it about blogging?

Since I have (re-) started blogging things for me have changed.  Now, you could argue that things were changing and this has nothing to do with blogging. The beginning of this blogging resurrengence did come at the same time as a new job and a new home...but I digress...

With blogging I have begun see the world differently.  The blog is constantly on my mind.  And I am always searching my little universe for topics.  It seems to be helping me focus on the "bigger picture".  And I like it.

My goal for the blog is to write about what I see to be universal truths among women-new mommies, seasoned mommies, working mommies, SAH mommies-and see where it takes me.  So, now, rather than focusing on being mad at Reagan for hitting her sister, I find myself asking, how should I best handle this parenting conundrum?  What is it about kids that break us down?  How can I take myself to a place to teach my kids to behave better by showing them that I can behave better (ie keep my cool...yeah, right!)?

This weekend I had a playdate with some spectacular NEW mommy friends.  In the past, I have been quoted as saying that "I don't really need any more friends, I am quite content with the ones I have".  What I have meant by this is that I feel blessed to be surrounded and supported by wonderful girls, I mean, WOMEN, who I have known for (mostly) my entire life.  And I am afraid to let in new ones.  It is such an investment.  What if I don't end up liking them in the end, or, what if they see the real me..and don't like it?

But, as of late, I have made MANY new friends.  Through Maj (aka the women's group), through my kids, through work, through blogging...and I am finding that I ACTUALLY MAY HAVE BEEN WRONG.  I may actually NEED new friends.  We all may.  To keep the conversation stimulating.  To allow us to hear new points of view.  For us to be seen for who we are TODAY.  To share our stories and reflect.  To be HEARD.

Opening myself up to my blog and to new friends allows me to explore new issues that I never knew existed.  If someone has read my blog they may know more about me than I know about them.  But, I have found that they may feel comfortable commenting on some of the ideas that I have been exploring.  They may have new thoughts on mommyhood or womenhood that haven't yet been heard.  And I might just learn something from their new point of view.  Maybe they will inspire me.  Maybe I will inspire them.  And, maybe supporting each other will make us all better...better mommies, better friends, better wives...just better.

So, now I have decided to put myself out there, both virtually and in reality and see where it takes me.  What about you?

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Moving On...

The blog has been majorly neglected as of late due to my overwhelming need to pack.  I am moving to a new house.  The back side of this story is that I have been longing to move for 3 years.  Unfortunately, for us, like the rest of the country, this has been difficult.  But we finally decided to take the plunge.  And we are moving on, and thankfully, moving up.

So, I have begun the task of packing my memories.  I have been putting my silver (that I haven't seen since my wedding) into boxes.  Carefully packing my Baccarat crystal so that it doesn't break before it has ever been used.  Taping and labeling and arranging.  And then thinking...

I want to move on.  I can't wait for this new house.  To inhabit it, make it our own.  To make new memories and have laughter radiate between its (many) walls.  To make it cozy for the girls.  For them to feel like it is their home from day 1 (a daunting task...).

But I am stuck thinking about the memories of our house, the one that we have made into our home and what it will mean to leave it behind.

My current home is the first that I have owned.  I left its doors as a single women and re-entered as a wife.  It was always 3 bedrooms, but it has changed from a home with a guest room and an office to one that holds a family.  I became who I am today in that home.  I was transformed from an intern, to a resident to an attending physician while living there.  Those walls heard me cry when I began to question it all.  It is the home that I brought my first born into when I finally saw love in its physical form.  And the same home I was in when I learned of the amazing surprise of baby #2.  It is the place where I began to embrace being a mother.  And a wife.  And a doctor. And a gardener.  And my own version of Martha Stewart and the Barefoot Contessa. 

So, now that I am leaving it behind, do I leave all that behind?  Can I pack the laughter, the tears, the heartache and the joy in boxes?  If so, how big should they be? (and do I need bubble wrap to protect them?!?)

I find myself thinking about the girls ages and how they may not even remember this house.  They won't remember playing strollers for hours?  Running around in capes as superman?  Dancing to the hoedown throw down?  How can that even be?  And if they won't be able to remember it, does that mean that it doesn't matter?  When does it start to "count"?

I have decided that it does count.  All of it.  They may not remember all of it but I will (or at least try).  And I will remind them of all the fun we had.  How we all snuggled in a bed too small for 4.  How we would hide when someone came over and have them "find us".  How we would wave "Bye Bye" at the window before going to work. 

And now we will keep making new memories.  I don't know what they are.  But I know there will be days of laughter, times of joy and plenty of tears in this new place.  The girls will be transformed from toddlers, to adolescents (scary) and beyond (even scarier) while we are living there.  They will have playdates and sleepovers (and maybe even) parties there one day.  And I hope they love their new home...and that they notice their window treatments.

Please(!!!) comment if you have any insight into the above questions.  Or just share your stories. I'd love to hear them, or just know someone is reading. you can comment without signing in.  Just click on comments at the top of this post. 

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

On being a doctor...

I was asked to speak at my old high school to the "Pre Med Group."  I accepted (with excitement!!).  I was asked to talk about "my path" to being a doctor.  Ok, that is broad.  And then the planning began.

Should I talk about how I (apparently) always knew I wanted to be a doctor since I put this on my SAT?  Should I talk about the time when I got a 37% (yes, 37) on my organic chemistry test and saw my dreams washing away?  Should I talk about all of the tears I shed about every test, every grade, not thinking it would be enough? Should I talk about all of the times I left my [then] boyfriend at my apartment, alone, in the middle of the suburbs of Illinois so I could spend the ENTIRE day at the library?  Should I share the details of how I decided which field of medicine was right for me?  Should I tell them about missing countless events because I was on call?  About the debt? (well...I did mention this one...briefly)

No, I should not tell them about this.  No one wants see a sausage being made.  They just want to know about the end product.  Unless maybe you are going to be the sausage.  Then, you may want to know the gory details of what you are signing up for.

Instead, I told them the sunny side of what I do.  That I work 3 days a week as a part time doctor and full time mom.  That I go to work, I am fairly compensated, and go home without much stress.  That I am a better mom because of what I do.  That I affect peoples lives.  That I can help people make changes that keep them healthy. That I can counsel new mommies on how to feed their babies, the best way to help them sleep and that it is ok to break the rules every once in a while.  That people will listen because of the fabulous education and hark work that I, yes I, made happen.

And they sat there.  They (mostly) listened.  They had blank stares.  They don't know what they are getting in to.  And they don't know what they want.  And that blissful ignorance is ok, in fact, it is age appropriate.

In reflecting on the day, I decided that I wish I had a time machine.  They did not have a pre-med club when I was in high school.  But if they did, I surely would have been there.  I looked out trying to find a girl like me in the audience.  I would reach out and tell that girl to take a good look.  Look at yourself.  And stop worrying.  You are smart enough to do this.  You are determined.  That despite all the tears, insecurities and questions, you will persevere.  You will find out who you are. You will have a amazing group of old friends who will support you. You will be loved by an amazing man.  You will have a family to be proud of.   You will be proud of yourself.  And you will continue to have struggles, and tears and angst.  Tons of angst.  Because that is who you are and you would not have gotten here without it.

I would beg her to listen.  But she would not.  Because she is me.




Monday, March 1, 2010

Why should I care about Primary Care?

Do you take your kids to the doctor? "Yes.  I don't miss a visit.  I'm proud that my kids are up to date with their shots."

Do you take yourself to the doctor? "I'm healthy...why do I need a doctor?" (PS I don't have time and I don't have a doctor).

We look out for everyone's best interests.  We try to keep ourselves healthy.  We try to keep our kids healthy.  We mostly play by the rules.  But when everything is always fine, why should I see my doctor every year?  And what kind of doctor should I call "my doctor?"

Lets start with the players in Primary Care...

1.  Internists. Considered "specialists in adult health care".  Able to care for the simplest or most complex of medical diagnoses. Training is a mix between inpatient and outpatient care.  Internists may also see their patients in the hospital.  May sub specialize into various fields such as cardiology, gastroenterology etc.

2.  Family Practitioners Primary care physicians that provide care for patients of all ages.  Training for board certified family physicians is 3 years after graduation from medical school and tends to focus on the outpatient setting.  Includes obstetrical training.

3.  Pediatricians.   Specializing in health care for children.  Usually will provide care for patients up to the age of 18.

4.  Internal Medicine/Pediatrics.   (FYI, this is me.) Considered specialists in adults and specialists in children with the equivalent board certification of an Internist and Pediatrician.  Residency training after medical school is 4 years and training and certification allows us to provide the most specialized care for patients of all ages, newborn through geriatric.  Both inpatient and outpatient trained.  May also sub specialize if desired in any of the pediatric or adult domains.

So who should you consider "your doctor"?

Well, picking a doctor is intensely personal.  Referrals from reliable sources are important to start, but ultimately, you must be able to trust, connect and rely on this person.  This person is going to be your window to the health care system.  Below I have listed some things to pay attention to when selecting your doctor.

1.  They take your insurance.  If they don't, you'll fork over a pretty penny.

2.  Find out what hospitals they are affiliated with and make sure you are comfortable at that institution.  This is important because that will be the place that your doctor will send you for tests, for admission (if needed) and the doctor will usually choose their sub specialists from that hospital.  PS.  hospitals should not be chosen based on how pretty they are or how good the food is.  Remember if you are sick, the only thing that matters is the best medical care.

3.  Office issues.  Are the office staff personable and understanding?  Does the office seem to function well?  Do they take same day appointments for sick patients?  Do they have weekend or evening hours?

4.  Does your doctor make rounds at the hospital or do they use a hospitalist?  Which would you prefer?

5.  Do you feel comfortable talking with this doctor?  Do they listen to your concerns?  Do you feel like they answer your questions without rushing?  How will they communicate results to you?  What is the best way to reach the doctor if there is an emergency?  Who will cover for the doctor if they are unavailable?

There are many changes to come in health care.  But the foundation of good coordinated health care will remain with the the primary care physician.  So find one.  And see them at least once a year so they can get to know you and so you have someone to call if something goes wrong.

A new concept in medicine which is emerging is called the PATIENT CENTERED MEDICAL HOME. I could try to explain this, but this EXCELLENT VIDEO does a better job that I could ever do.  Hopefully, your doctor will start participating and you will soon see positive changes.

So, what are you waiting and make an appointment!