Here we go again with the next installment of docsmo.com. I’m your host, Dr. Paul Smolen, a board certified pediatrician with 34 years of practice and a lot to say. From gestation to graduation, if it pertains to children, we talk about it here.
Well, its that season again– the 18 year olds, who I often have known since birth are coming in for their college forms to be completed and their final pediatric visit. Along with the first newborn visit, I find this pre college exam extremely satisfying. This is a moment that I cherish. I am ecstatic for these children and I think my fondness for them is obvious to everyone. I am so proud of their accomplishments and honored to have been able to contribute to their well being in a meaningful way in prior years. The kids are brimming with anticipation, a little anxious, and full of excitement. You can tell, they are really ready to begin their journey into true independence and growth.
These visits are emotionally charged for everyone; the newly minted adult, the parent who I have grown to know and respect for the past almost 2 decades, and lets not forget me, the pediatrician who has watched the entire process. Of course we go through the ritual of the checkup, getting the shots, and blood tests but it is way more than that. We often reminisce about experiences and illnesses that the teen had during their childhood. Of course, I always take a few moments to tell them that temptations are going to be strong when they are off on their own, and I remind them that their parents and I expect them to use good judgement when they one their own, making their own decisions.
Then, we get to the end of the visit. The part that I used to dread. The final goodbye and good luck. I must say, that in the past few years, I have succumbed to my urge to give each graduate a hug. Good luck and a handshake or elbowla just doesn’t seem adequate for the moment. According to the WSJ, our society has become much more willing to touch one another which I think is a great thing. The Europeans and Hispanic worlds have taught us much in that regard. I have read that lower social inhibitions about touch have even started a new industry, professional huggers that are ready with a reassuring hug for a fee. Only in America, right. Even the young women, I now can’t resist giving them a goodbye good luck hug. I know that doing so is on the edge of acceptable doctor behavior, but I just have to do it. It’s one of those moments that I am sure I will recall when I am old and my world has been reduced to sitting in a chair remembering my life experiences. And maybe these teens will also have a fond memory to hold onto of their own going forward… let’s hope so. Maybe they will have fond memories of old Doc Smo.
Thanks you again for making this blog experiment of mine so successful. I had no idea of my journey when I started this blog in 2010. If you have something to say, I would love to hear your comments that you can leave on social media or my blog, wwwdocsmo.com. While your there, don’t forget to subscribe so you can easily keep up with the newest content as I post it. Signing off from studio 1E, wishing you great ease, the next time you give a child you love, a big squeeze. Until Next time.
WSJ-September 13,2013; The Delicate Protocol of Hugging, by Peggy Trexler