Tag Archives: memories

From the desk of Doc Smo- Life Lessons from the Grandpa’s Chair

The other day, my wife asked me to refinish an old chair (at least 100 years old) that we got from her mother’s house during our last visit.  I can tell that this chair has strong emotional value for my wife by the way she speaks about it.  As I began the refinishing process, I wondered why this chair is so important to her.  The chair itself is plain, high-backed, and wooden with a cane seat–really nothing special in my book. It’s the kind of chair you see at a consignment or antique furniture store.

Then it struck me.  It is not the chair but all the memories that the chair awakens.  My wife tells me that her grandfather sat in the chair every evening after dinner.  I began to imagine her grandfather listening to radio coverage of World War II in this chair.  Later, he would have listened to coverage of the Korean Conflict.  Later still, he would have watched his first television from this chair.  The chair undoubtedly was part of her family’s witness of all the great events of the 20th century and possibly some of the 19th century as well.  My wife loves the chair because she loved her grandparents; the chair is a concrete reminder of them, their lives, and of all that they mean to her.

While regluing and cleaning the chair, I concluded that it is indeed an important piece of furniture.  It should be treated with great respect, as should all old things. Everything we have today is a function of what came before us.  We all need to remember that fact in our dealings with one another. As you go about your parenting today and everyday, remember that what seems mundane and ordinary in your interactions with your children may turn out to be very important to them.  They may put a lot of emotional value into everyday ordinary events that you might not even remember a year from now.  Fixing them breakfast, helping them with a hurt, asking their opinion may turn out to be as important as paying for their college education.  Something to think about.


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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