|Dorothea Lange: House Call, 1939|
Farm Security Administration camp unit at Merrill, Oregon
The camp nurse introduces doctor to mother of sick baby.
The other day, I got the following comment on the post titled Gertrude Stein, IEPS, conservatorships and books:
O.K. I don't know this person, but I love her already, and I hope she's reading this right now!
Today I am unlurking myself to you. I have read your blog from start to finish over the last few weeks as I just discovered you via Grady Doctor. I am a fourth year medical student currently applying for residency in child neurology. I would LOVE to hear your advice for a new, naive, idealistic, hopefully soon to be resident about what you need from your doctor and how I can provide that to the parents and children I meet. (Next time you don't have anything to write about, a post in my honor?) J/k. Kind of. Anyhow. Thank you for sharing as I feel I have already learned much about Sophie and what must be many other special needs children like her. Children that I will hopefully be honored to meet and care for.
I love you already!
One of my secret wishes has always been to implement a requirement in medical schools and residency programs that the student spend a good two weeks or more with a family dealing with a child with a medical diagnosis and/or disability. I imagine that person sleeping on the couch and getting up in the night to observe the routines of the parents -- whether that is giving meds to a sleeping infant, suctioning a child, entertaining a child who decides to wake and stay awake at 2:00 in the morning, holding a child while she has a seizure and then sitting next to her for hours, making sure that she's still breathing, etc. I imagine the morning coming and the student continuing to observe -- like a fly on the proverbial wall -- as the family goes about their day, dealing with schools and insurance companies and doctors' visits, and siblings and marriage and everything else. I believe there are programs like this out there - particularly in the area of diabetes and sickle cell anemia, but I wish that it were standardized because I believe it would give the student incomparable experience and truly affect how she deals with her patients and their families. I think it would not only impact "bedside manner" but also how the doctor makes decisions about treatment and care of the child. But I digress --
I love the person who wrote the above comment even more for considering a residency in child neurology and have already replied that I hope she'll narrow that down to becoming an epileptologist (there's an incredible shortage of pediatric epileptologists). She'd get to deal with kids like Sophie and parents like ME -- lucky, lucky, lucky!
What I'd like to do in today's post is ask any of you parenting a child with a disability -- or not -- to answer her, share what you need from your doctor or what you wished you might have received from your doctor and perhaps some advice for this "new, naive, idealistic, hopefully soon-to-be resident."
Don't be shy! Here's your chance to influence and affect a new generation! I know that those of you who read here regularly have many different perspectives and experiences, so I hope you'll be candid. As a further incentive to answer, I'm going to either do a live strip tease on Skype or send you some virtual chocolate cupcakes. (Just making sure that you're paying attention)