While most of the practice of pediatrics is fun, happy and joyful, there are occasional days that you have to relay bad news to a family. I had one of those days today. It is the hardest part of being a pediatrician. I doubt many parents ever expect that they will take their child to the doctor, for a seemingly inconsequential issue, and leave with a life – altering diagnosis. How quickly your parenting life changes, it sounds trite, but for any of us, it can happen in a “blink of an eye” and the hardest part of my job is knowing that I have to be the one to tell the family.
Most of us take our good health for granted, and although we, as parents, do worry about our children, many of our worries are about scrapes, breaks, stitches and sleepless nights with a child with a fever or ear infection. Why do those events seem so big, when in reality they are just part of the “normal” parenting experience? But hearing that your child has a life changing illness must make your world stop for a moment as you take it in the information. I admire the parents (more than they will ever know) who also “hold it all together” for the sake of their child. The parent’s love shines through as they hug their child, hold back tears and have the smile on their face, letting their child know that “they will be fine” but also knowing that their own tears and anxiety will come later that night in the privacy of their own room, rather than in front of their child.
So, when I got home tonight, it was one of those nights you just want to hug your child, tell them they are perfect and thank God that your are so fortunate to have healthy children. It is another reminder, “don’t sweat the small stuff” it really isn’t worth it.
That’s your daily dose, we’ll chat again tomorrow.