Thursday, September 18, 2008

Welcome to Pediatrics

Now that I've been in my job for over a month I guess I can share some experiences. Jumping into pediatrics for my first job has been quite an experience. I've learned a lot and still have so much learning to do. There's been some ups and downs. Downs including demanding parents (PLEASE check your attitude at the door), kids coughing in my face, the shock of having over a third of my paycheck go towards the government, and a few others. Ups include the sincere thank yous, working with great staff, the smiles that I get from kids of all ages, the opportunity to express standards and morals (monitoring TV programs, abstinence, etc...) while being viewed as "an authority" - that part is still a little weird. I appreciate those little opportunities where I hope I make a small difference in someone's life during such a short encounter. And then there are those weird, crazy, and funny moments, some are as follow...
* A rule for parents: please do not bring your puppy to your child's doctor appointment. Even more important, do not weigh your puppy on the baby scale or use any other clinic equipment on your dog.
* Another rule for parents: Please do not steal soap from the rooms. That is just ghetto. Ghett-o.
* I do confess that there are quite a few parents who ,"do not present themselves well," as one of my friends would say. Sometimes they don't have to say a word and sometimes their kids will say it for them. I had one tot whose first words, according the parents, very closely resembled "shut up" and "stupid." The only response I could say was ,"Wow." I remember my program director in PA school very early on in our training teaching us the importance of the "thought bubble" - as seen in cartoons and comic strips - and keeping our potential reactions and thoughts inside that bubble. I have used my "bubble" often.
* I am often humored by "creative spelling" of kids names. I know with some of the parents English is their second language, and some parents are trying to be unique, but I can't help to chuckle when I see names like "Melony" and "Marical" and quite a few others. Plus, it makes me look a little foolish when I attempt to say their name after I read it off the chart.
* One of the important rules I learned in pediatrics: Teenagers will always take more time. Always.
* I love my Littman stethoscope. It has endured some trauma during this past month, but its durability has not let me down. On my one week anniversary working at the clinic, I came down with the stomach flu. Near the end of the day as I was observing one of the doctors start putting some sutures into the last patient of the day, my stomach could no longer keep my breakfast and lunch down. Before I bowed to the porcelain god, I threw my stethoscope off my neck and onto the floor. After I finished what I needed to do, I noticed that the chain was broken in the toilet. I removed the lid of the tank and placed it on the trashcan so that I could reattach the chain. As I was fiddeling with the toilet , the trashcan tipped over and with with a loud noise (enough to scare another staff member and have her knock on the door) the tank lid fell right on top of the bell of my stethoscope. Fortunately, the tank lid didn't break and the only damage my stethoscope received was a crack in the rubber no-chill ring. Sooo lucky.
Fast forward to yesterday. I had a three year old patient who was going through a major mood swing. After yelling at his mom and calling her some not-so-nice names, he grabbed my stethoscope, pulling it from my ears, bit down on it and pulled on it as hard as he could. After I kept my cool he calmed down almost instantly and with my constant praise for his good behavior, he was an angel for the rest of the visit. After sanitizing my scope with some alcohol, I noticed that there was no damage, no teeth marks even. Amazing! A vet student friend of mine commented on how her stethoscope has survived being stepped on by cows. Huzzah for Littman stethoscopes, Huzzah!!

That's it for now, I'm sure I'll have more stories from the trenches, in a HIPPA-protected sort of way. Stay tuned!


Andrea said...

Wow, you're job sounds so exciting! I totally agree about the names with the wacky spellings. What's up with that? And you had me laughing with the "Ghetto" part!

Mitchell3 said...

Wow all this in one Month. Several times the thought of "What the ..." came to mind. Crazy people. Glad that your scope is hanging in there so far.