Tuesday, July 26, 2011
It's been a while since I wrote on here.  Have no fear, real life progress is being made.  I've been busy with this whole doctoring thing, and still working a lot on my house.  More on that later this week. 

I haven't actually written about any experiences in residency yet, so I thought I'd do that.  I've been on pediatrics for the last three weeks (finish up that rotation on Friday).  One of the things that always affects me when I've been on pediatric rotations is how quickly a parents life can change when their kid gets sick.  In general, it's totally unexpected.  Even if the kiddo has been sick, you fall into a routine and something changes, so does the life you knew. 

We had a patient the other day that made me think about this.  He was a 3 month old infant with respiratory problems that was admitted to the PICU.  He was born at 28 weeks and had been in the NICU until being sent home at the beginning of last week.  Four days later he was back in the hospital, in our PICU this time, because of difficulty breathing.  Overnight, he suddenly had more difficulty breathing and died.  No one was necessarily expecting it, but there are always risks with babies born that early.  When they are first born, they require tremendous amounts of support just to survive. 

But after three months in the NICU and being sent home, I imagine the parents put their guard down, thinking they'd been through the worst of it.  And then, suddenly, all that time spent in the NICU, all the trips to and from the hospital, just around the time you originally thought you'd be welcoming your son into the world, he's gone.

I haven't been thinking about this case so much for the parents and baby that died, but for someone I know who recently delivered her baby at 28 weeks.  I've been following the baby's progress at a distance (you know, through Facebook).  It's very different to watch someone you know go through all the struggles of having such a premature infant.  I've seen the excitement that comes with each little step of progress she makes: getting off the vent, getting off oxygen, the first time she got to be outside the incubator, first time she ate from a bottle.  And I know there will be so much excitement when she gets to go home.  I can't help but be apprehensive about that excitement now.  I would never tell the mom to take each step with a grain of salt, because she deserves every bit of positive news and excitement that come her way.  But still, I can't help but worry that each step is one towards more disappointment when something goes wrong.  How depressing is that??

I keep trying to think of an upbeat way to end this train of thought... but I've got nothing.  Sometimes, life just sucks. 

Enjoy the times that don't.


About Me

I am a Family Medicine intern at a community hospital in Indiana, navigating the new world of being a physician. I am privileged to work in a field I love, where every day is a new and unpredictable challenge.
I am not only a doctor, but also a cyclist, runner, DIYer in the making, lover of the outdoors, traveler, and human.
Human, MD is a glimpse into the world of a young doctor who is just trying to stay true to herself through the grueling whirlwind of residency.


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