Feet First

“It is much more important to know what sort of a patient has a disease than what sort of a disease a patient has.” - Sir William Osler

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    Saturday, February 02, 2013
    On Children

    Sometimes patients will bring their children to their appointments - this usually means they are very young children and that the parents couldn't make arrangements for the kids. It doesn't bother me. In fact, on a tough day it invigorates me to have a baby in the room. My favorite trick for the young ones is to hand them a tongue depressor; it is wonderful to see them eyeing it, grasping it with both hands (what is this? I imagine them thinking) and then, of course, eventually gnawing on it.

    I also remember one energetic two-year-old who entertained himself by opening the bottom drawer of the exam table and taking out, one by one, the small plastic jars of  preservative fluid contained therein. The jars are for Pap smears. Don't worry, they were safely sealed and there was no way he could have opened them. The worried father asked if this was a problem. "As long as he's not screaming, I'm happy," I reassured him.

    The older ones find it interesting to look over my shoulder as I'm typing and especially to look at pictures of X rays. Or sometimes they will just stare at me, The Doctor, as I interview and examine their parent. Or they may even ask questions, which I love. Rarely a child will announce that he or she wants to be a doctor and I encourage them heartily.

    Pediatrics, though, I could not do. I realized that as a medical student the first night a neonate came in with a fever and we had to do a spinal tap on the infant. Now that my office is right next to the Pediatrics Department and I hear the wails of children echoing through the air vent on a regular basis, I am even more certain I made the right choice.




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