When I was a little girl, I loved nothing more than the shiny trinkets found in the checkout aisle, at the dollar store or in goodie bags at birthday parties. My most treasured possession at age 5 (besides my imaginary pet goat) was a silver colored ring with a fleck of pink colored plastic "stone". It had been given to me by my kindergarten sweetheart. Wanting to protect the ring from loss, theft, meteorites, and my mom I buried it in a shallow grave under the tree in the kindergarten playground. Where it promptly became forgotten.
Eventually, I remembered the ring and spent the rest my kindergarten recesses digging around the tree. It seemed I was destined to never find my treasure, and my sweetie had sadly moved away.
Then, it was found. Terribly tarnished, rusted even, and missing the pink fleck of plastic. It was as beautiful to me that day as it had been the first time I saw it, when it had been given to me as a token of friendship, a pretty little trinket that was just for me.
I’ve been doing this Attending thing now for just over 4 months, and the shiny has decidedly worn off. I have already recycled through most of my patients, and some I have seen many times since Day 1. I have lost a few, seen some amazing diagnoses, sent a hospice patient across the country to see her newborn grandchild, collaborated with fantastic specialists, and called 911 from my office.
I’m still as much in love with medicine and my profession as that little girl was with her rusted out plastic ring. Sure, outpatient medicine has its rusty spots but overwhelmingly I am enamored with the patient relationships – the sick that get better, the healthy trying to stay that way, and even those with acute-on-chronic multi-system organ failure. So far, it remains a privilege and a joy to be a part of their journey, and to have them as part of mine.
Teenage Boy has quickly settled into small town life. His growth in height is surpassed only by his growth as a human, and I am blessed to bear witness to the coming of age of a pretty cool dude.
Big Girl, now 6, has made new friends and wants to be a doctor when she grows up. But, you know, the real kind of doctor – the one that helps animals. She’s been known to sleep in her roller skates lately.
Little Girl, 4, is truly one of the most thoughtful souls I’ve ever known. She still talks about our old house and her old daycare and her best friends there – she takes a while to warm up to folks and is still working on establishing new roots here. We know she’ll get there. She is reading better every day.
Ahh, sweet Baby Girl. 7 whole months old now, crawling and standing and even trying to walk (!). Baa Baa Baa, Maa Maa Maa, sweet potatoes, sleeping in a crib (ok, just for a few hours), and being carried around like the living dolly she is. I have 2 15 minute blocks built into my schedule for pumping and I get to nurse her every day for lunch – the days I can’t get away to see her at daycare Honey brings her to me at the office. This is the easiest time I’ve ever had pumping and nursing and also the first time we haven’t had to supplement. Amazing.
And my High School Sweetheart? Still enjoying stretching his wings and discovering what he wants to be when he grows up. He’s our command center these days. I love him dearly and can’t wait to see the rest of his story.
So, it’s out there. Joy, satisfaction, healing when you can, simply attending when you can’t, and all the glorious visits in between. Yes, primary care has its weaknesses. But so far, I’m still very much in love. It’s out there, folks. Go get it.