From the desk of Doc Smo : Do We Ever Outgrow Pediatric Illnesses? (Article)

I was reminded that adults get pediatric diseases this week when I got sick.  Last Friday, I finished my day at work in the office and went home particularly tired.  I’m generally tired at the end of the day, but this day I was exhausted.  After supper, I sat in my favorite chair and slept for about an hour.  Despite this sleep, I was still tired.  At this point I decided to do something radical–go to bed at 8:30pm in the evening. Usually it’s off to studio 1E but not this night.  I slept a good 10 hours, all told, and got up to go off to work that weekend.  Still didn’t feel great.  While at work, the thought crossed my mind that I might have a strep infection….logical thought since every child I was touching that day had it!  I asked my nurse to run the test.  Bam, five minutes later I was the owner of a very strong positive.  I had a kid’s disease.  After I had the benefit of a little penicillin, I was as good as new.

That entire experience was just another reminder of how interconnected pediatric and adult disease can be.   I am always amused when I hear my internist friends realizing that germs that pediatricians deal with on epidemic proportions on a regular basis discover that these same germs are a major cause of adult disease and mortality;  germs like Influenza, RSV, Parainfluenza, Rotavirus, Parvo B19, Enteroviruses, and yes, Group A Strep.  Germs are equal opportunity infectors.  Given the right conditions, most germs will infect anyone of any age, race, gender, or sex.  It’s a small world and one owned by our microbial friends who surround us.  In reality, we’re the invaders in their space.  Just a thought for you to ponder.

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From the desk of Doc Smo : The Secret is in the Roots (Article)

Sometimes great wisdom comes from strange sources. In this case, it came from a longtime friend of mine who happens to be a master gardner. Having grown up on a farm, he learned the trade from his father and has always seemed to have the ability to make his gardens work magic. In particular, his tomato plants bear an immense amount of fruit. I’ve been envious of his skill for many years and recently asked him to divulge the secret to his lush tomato plants. “The secret is in the roots,” he said. “The more roots, the stronger the plant.”

This struck me, and I realized that his advice extends beyond a healthy tomato crop. The truth is, children and tomato plants have a lot in common: strong roots grow strong successful children. These strong roots come from a home full of consistent love and acceptance, literacy, respect, appreciation of others, curiosity for learning, and ultimately a sense of life’s purpose. Let me use my own children as an example. As you may know, my daughter Sarah is a photojournalism graduate with a flair for art. In fact, she manages all of the digital editing, photography, and visual look of this blog. Sarah first expressed an interest in photography when she was about 12 years old. Thank goodness I listened and encouraged her curiosity! I already had some experience with photography, and her newfound passion afforded us many hours of exploration time, talking, exchanging ideas, and generally having fu. We shared great experiences taking trips to photograph wildlife in Wyoming, antiques in the Blue Ridge Mountains, and even a watermelon festival in Pageland, SC.

Along with strengthening our relationship, the skills Sarah gained led her to major in photojournalism in college and to win numerous photography competitions. Now she uses the skills she learned to help design and manage this blog. In hindsight, I can see that our hours together hunting for the “Next Great Photo” shaped the roots of her professional career as well as her worldview. Sarah’s “roots” were her natural interest in art, the “fertilizer” were our trips, and now I am enjoying watching her grow. Pay attention to the roots you’re planting at your house: tend those tender little children and I’m sure they will grow into strong adults who bear plenty of fruit! Just a thought.

 

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Babies, Water, and Salt- A Briny Mix (Pedcast)

Water is essential to life, and you can’t drink enough of it, right? Wrong. In this Pedcast, Doc Smo explains why it can be dangerous, and even life threatening, for infants under 6 months of age to consume too much water. Small people have small kidneys, and when they are overloaded with water, it can cause water intoxication.  Doc Smo provides practical advice about how to prevent water intoxication in your baby.

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From the desk of Doc Smo: The End of an Era (Article)

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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