Sunday, December 2, 2007

Why I will never be a pediatrician

I finished peds on Friday. My last patient, a 3 year old boy, gave me one of his drawings on my last day. "Put it on your wall?" he said. "On your wall?" I told him I would. "You has a house?" he asked. I told him I had half a house (a duplex), which was a little confusing for him. He then wanted to know more about my house. Who lives there, are there kids, are there pets? Then, he wanted to know about the student nurse's house, also in detail.

See, he's obsessed with houses, with homes, because he knows on some level that he no longer has one.

He was admitted for child abuse. A relative had been suspicious for a while, but when she saw the burn he recently sustained, she grabbed him and his brother and went to the ER to start a case. His injuries are such that he will recover, physically. However, they are also the sort of injuries that could only have been inflicted by someone else. We're pretty sure we know who, but I obviously can't go into detail here. Right now, the concerned relative has custody, but who knows what that means in the long run?

The night he was admitted, I was on call. He screamed and cried and shook, but let us examine him. We didn't want to, really, but we had to document his injuries. But he was so afraid. By the next morning, he seemed to realize that he was safe. People here might insist on taking his blood pressure and temperature every 8 hours, but he got used to that pretty quickly. When I came in to round on him in the morning, he started automatically rousing himself from sleep and sitting up so I could listen to his heart and lungs. He knew the drill.

On my last day, he sat on my lap and played with his cars and trucks for a while. There was a construction site outside his window, so we matched toy backhoe to real backhoe, toy bulldozer to real bulldozer.

When I told him I finally had to go, he looked at me and said, "I come too?"


e/m said...

in re: your post title. This post also reflects why you would be a very good one, if that were what you wanted to do. But it also reflects why you would be a very good ob/gyn.

Our species is so strange. Life throws plenty of tragic accidents at us, so why do we have to endure tragedy of our own making? It is heart rending.

Jan said...

Your wise and aged mother (did you know she got the aging part of the personality?) beat me to the punch. You would clearly make an incredible pediatrician, but I think it would be pretty emotionally exhausting for you. I don't know how you'd stay detached given that you care so much. We, of course, are grateful for that.