I wrote this blog in 2010 and find it pertinent now that Mom has died 2 years ago yesterday. My patient work is therapy that helps me feel fulfilled even when my personal family problems are large.
In short , I always take care of my patient problems before I attend to myself. Of course, someday that will end.
My father was a family physician and my original inspiration for going into medicine. He developed dementia over the past 3 years and his slow decline necessitated lots of hours spent at my parents’ house, then at the hospital, then at the nursing home, and then finally wrapping up in his death and funeral. All of this has occupied my every conscious and unconscious minute, except for those taking care of patients, since March of 2010. He died on November 23, 2010. I do miss him, both the competent and funny physician, and the weak, totally dependent but sweet, little old man that he declined to, in the end. I have taken to wearing some of his clothes, and I carry around his wallet, to keep him with me. I am at peace that his little body is in the frozen ground, and he is up in heaven with his brothers, sisters and parents.
I was really sick with bronchitis and influenza last week, and I had to miss work for illness for the first time in 10 years. Although I didn’t go to the doctor, my husband, a spine surgeon, nursed me along, brought me ice chips, got me a Z-pack, and generally was supportive for 4 days, although he is annoyed I keep coughing (my staff is annoyed too). Yes, doctors are important, and patients should not suffer even when the doctor is sick. I thank my staff and my new physician assistant Julia Snyder PA-C who helped me during this setback.