I’m not the doctor. I’m the mom.
She grasps her chest dramatically and falls to the floor. Her eyes flutter as she tries to hold them closed. Her one arm across her chest the other flailed in theatrical fashion to her side. She’s dead. Her heart is broken. The other jumps from the bed, and after landing, reports her leg is broken. She hops about the room, unable to use the leg and there are no crutches or small wheel chair for her to use.
“Sweetie, are you okay?” “Mom, mom! Mom!!” “I’m not dead. I’m okay.” This last sentence in addition to the frantic “moms” break the trance that the chart-grind has induced. “What?!” I start. “I’m not talking to you. I’m talking to her.” She replies. This is number three discussing number two. I realize the pretend play now. The doctor kit is scattered over the floor. Stethoscopes are draped from both necks. The pager hangs from one pajama dress. They rotate quickly back and forth who is the doctor who is the patient. So I join in, to number three, “are you taking care of her?” “Yes.” I smile, brushing the curls from her sweet forehead, “You’re such a great doctor.” “I’m not the doctor. I’m the mom.”
I watch in amazement as the two littles easily rotate roles. Why is this a difficult task for me? As I near the end of the second month of my practice, I realize over the last month, I have plunged beneath the seas of work and have not surfaced for life. The balance is off. I have the sensation immediately of being hit by another wave before I have gotten my breath. I can’t help but be distracted by the freedom with which they “practice” their craft. Magic Band-Aids are applied over broken hearts. The otoscope is used to evaluate the broken bone. The blood pressure cuff is applied to the ankle as a cast of sorts once the diagnosis has been confirmed.
Turning back to the computer, I stare at the work-list with charts, results, documents, and tasks taunting me. “You cannot complete me.” It’s like building a sandcastle at the edge of the sea. You may get the first towers built. You may insulate the castle with a moat. However, the tide is coming. And the work you complete will shortly be washed away. This is one of the most difficult lessons to learn as a new doctor. However, I am bound and determined to build. I will build a practice, but I will also build a life. It will be another long night. There are only a few times that there is this type of carefree play. The charts will wait. The broken hearts and legs I have seen through the day can have their notes finished after bedtime. Right now, I have two little girls that need a story and a cuddle, and I need a lesson in multitasking.
Filed under: Uncategorized