You and I collaborate in our mutual goal of maintaining and restoring your child’s health through our respective roles and knowledge.
“Doc, my kid has a cold, what can you do for me?” I am faced with this question at least a couple of times everyday. When I hear this, my role as the child’s care provider broadens to include the whole family. For as simple as this question seems, it is loaded when evaluated from a pediatric stand point. The child is not the only one suffering. The whole extended family has been hurting- mom who has been watching over her and can’t sleep all night, dad has to leave for a trip and has a project being finalized, sibling who has to unwillingly share all the attention (and very often sick himself), grand mother who is far away and can’t believe that her little angel is sick, and the friends whom the mom has been calling for advice.
Next day, the parents show up at my office and ask the question, “Doc, my kid has a cold, what can you do for me?” As a physician, I will confirm the diagnosis and also rule out any further complications like an ear infection. Mom is relieved that it is a cold and no other complications of the cold have ensued. Sometimes parents will say, ‘I should not have brought her in. I am sorry. I knew it was a cold’. In my experience it usually helps when mom brings the child in, as now the violent monster virus attacking the child has a name, we know how it behaves and does not seem as frightening. Now when the baby is coughing at night, mom will still be worried, but will tell herself that it will take a week and she is going to get better. Somehow the whole dynamics have changed and all I suggested was conservative management, without an antibiotic or anything else that could potentially change the course of the disease. Looking from a distance it seems I have not done much, but looking from close quarters, I have ‘healed’ the child and the family with information rather than medicine. I have empowered the family with definition of the scope of the illness and information. They feel cared for, relieved and in control of the situation. I am available to them for revaluation, if things do not go in the expected direction.
Things are not always so simple and straightforward, but still follow this general trend. I feel fortunate that I can use my knowledge and experience in making small differences in everyday lives and when needed, big differences in small lives. This is my reward and and my joy, to be a part of peoples’ lives… to treat sometimes, but to heal always.