Thursday, March 2, 2017

Being the parent of a patient

Over the last few years, I've been frequently been the patient thanks to infertility. Being a patient who is also a doctor has certainly felt unsettling at times, but over the years I got used to it. I couldn't really ever turn off my doctor brain sitting on the exam table, but I tried to listen thoughtfully to my doctors and their recommendations. Infertility treatment involved a lot of discomfort and heartbreak, and over time dealing with those issues almost became routine. Normal.

Then my child had a serious medical issue requiring surgery. And everything I thought I knew about being "on the other side" went straight out the proverbial window.

I'm not going to describe her medical issues; I want that to be her story to tell, if and how she chooses, when she is older. She continues to receive excellent medical care, and I will be forever grateful to the many doctors, nurses, patient care techs, physical and occupational therapists (I'm sure I'm missing someone, but I'm ending the list here for brevity's sake!) who are caring for her. It's certainly true that her surgeries and care thereafter couldn't have gone better. Life is slowly starting to get back to whatever constitutes normal as a working physician parent.

And yet, I can't seem to get back to normal myself. The level of emotional fatigue that I'm still experiencing is outside of anything I've previously known. As much as I'd like to just sweep these feelings away and resume daily life, they don't seem interested in going anywhere. I wish they weren't as demanding of my energy, but they're definitely quite settled in.

Part of me feels like it would be a betrayal to all that has happened to just pick up and get back to "normal." Part of me is afraid to let go of the constant vigilance that accompanies having an ill child. Part of me is unsure that I'll recognize myself in the mirror if I dared to really look, now that we're hopefully through the worst of this experience.

So, for now, I'll just keep plodding along. Maybe this reality is destined to be my new normal; maybe these feelings have taken up permanent residence. I'm just going to allow them the space they need.

Their continued existence would certainly be a small price to pay for my child's well-being.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Inspiring family physicians on social media

In my last post, I mentioned "articulate and inspiring family physicians on social media." I thought I'd take a break from my current post arc and share who some of these amazing people are, both family docs and those who advocate for Family Medicine:

Dr. Mike Sevilla @drmikesevilla
Dr. Ranit Mishori @ranitmd
Dr. Andrew Morris-Singer @AMorrisSinger
Ms. Molly Talley @mollytalley
Dr. Bich-May Nguygen @bicmay
Dr. Carla Ainsworth @SeattleFamilyMD
Dr. Pat Jonas @apjonas
Dr. Kenny Lin @kennylinafp
Dr. Mark Ryan @RichmondDoc
Dr. Jay Lee @familydocwonk
Dr. Jen Brull @mrsbrull
Dr. Kim Yu @drkkyu
Dr. Heather Paladine @paladineh
Dr. Emily Lu @dremilylu
Dr. Anne Montgomery @AnneMont
Dr. Glen Stream @grstream
Dr. Reid Blackwelder @blackweldermd
Dr. Robyn Liu @rliumd
Dr. JL Richardson @drjfpmd
Dr. Torian Easterling @KTEGlobalMD

Please check them out! If you're not on social media, please know that Twitter is more than the US president's rants and what your favorite celebrity ate for breakfast. There's a vibrant medical community on Twitter that's well worth a few minutes of your day.

I am 100% sure that I have missed some worthy individuals, so please add them in the comments section below.