This was a big milestone week for Doc Smo. For administrative reasons, the medical group of which I am a member decided to stop making rounds at one of the hospitals that I have worked at for almost 30 years. I knew I didn’t like the idea of not being involved with this hospital, but I really didn’t understand how much I would resist the change until I was faced with my final day, the day I would no longer be a part of the hospital that I helped staff for 30 years. A large portion of my professional career took place in it’s various departments. I have served on innumerable committees, have been to and directed countless meetings both administrative and educational, spent many hours in delivery rooms, the emergency department, the intensive care units, the newborn nursery, and most of all the pediatric ward talking care of sick and injured children.
As I approached the hospital for my last day rounding after all those years, I was suddenly flooded with memories of specific children and their illnesses. I had no idea that those experiences had such a “memorable“ and “emotional” impact on me. I can now see see how the elderly become consumed by the past. All that emotional energy that doctors expend taking care of sick children leaves an indelible mark on us. I guess that makes sense; we expend a tremendous amount of energy to ensure that our patients recover from whatever illness they have. That’s what pediatricians do. We sweat it out with the families during each child’s crisis. As I like to say to parents, we are professional worriers. Did I miss something? Is my assessment correct? Am I using the correct medicines in the correct doses? Could something else be going on? Should I have done some other test or treatment?
Now the day has come and gone. All the hospital staff that I have worked with for so many years and watched age and mature are now just a memory. Yes, I think I left a mark on the hospital and the thousands of children I cared for during all those years. By the same token, I now realize how much impact the children and their families have had on me. This week was truly the end of an era for DocSmo.
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