Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Keep feeling fascination.

*Random rambling ahead. . . .

Swaddling: Trust me, I'm a professional.

"Keep feeling fascination
Looking, learning . . . 
Moving on. . ."

~ Human League

I have a not-so-startling confession to make:

I am a medicine nerd.

I know. . I know. . . some of you are gasping because of how ridiculously cool you perceive me to be. . . . .but alas, it is true.

Here's the deal: I love being a doctor. And not because I get to wear a long white coat or because it gets me the "proud eye" in the elevator from the Grady elders or even because I get to nonchalantly tell some one-uppity person in the park that this is my profession after some snoot-tacular remark is made despite their transparent attempts to sound non-obnoxious. Nope. It isn't even the excellent (albeit vastly variable) earning potential it offers or the privilege of putting "M.D." after your name on your checks (which I'm still not sure how I feel about. . .)

Wait. I had a point here. . . Oh yeah.

I love being a doctor for two simple reasons: people and medicine(in that order.)

Medicine just  excites me, especially when the diagnosis isn't known. (Picture me rubbing my dry-from-sanitizer hands together saying, "Bwah! Hah! Haaaaah!") Medicine nerds just love the hunt . . .asking those little questions that end up revealing some ginormous ah hah moment. Me? I call it "intellectually curious" My husband? He calls it "nosy"-- but either way. . . .there's just something about a fever of unknown origin, a nice red rash, and a randomly perplexing owie that just does it for me. Especially when it would otherwise be none of my business.

I was standing in the airport today and this woman had what I am certain was a thyroid nodule. At first she was talking on her phone and on a head turn I caught it. Shortly after, I was behind her in line at a food spot. Was it normal that it took everything in me not to reach around her and start palpating her neck? No. I'm serious. I almost. Grabbed. Her neck. And if she hadn't been in the middle of ordering a turkey, light on the mayo, on rye (good choice, by the way) I'm at least 75% sure that I would have made some lame attempt to bring it up in idle conversation.

"This pollen is awful, right? Matter of fact you have some pollen on the left side of your neck . . . Oh, my. . . that isn't pollen. . . It's a THYROID NODULE. . . You wouldn't mind if I just palpated that real quick. . . just swallow fir me. . . "

See? Not normal, I tell you.

THEN, I board my flight and this poor little baby is hollering bloody murder. But it sounds like an "I'm tired" cry, not an "I'm sick" or "I'm hungry" cry. The very young mother looked so mortified at the rude stares and eye rolls she got as we boarded that plane. See? This is when the mommy in me merges with the doctor in me. I wished so bad that I'd had some kind of doctor-y paraphernalia on so that I'd have a solid excuse for taking that (roughly six to eight week old) baby and swaddling him like an old school NICU nurse (the absolute one-two punch at that age I tell ya!)

Which reminds me:

What other person would sit in public places watching the motor skills and social interactions of children and subsequently quiz themselves on the kids' ages? It's nothing for me to be in the grocery store getting fresh produce while thinking: Okay. . . .transfers objects from hand to hand. . . Panicked when Mom bent over to get a grape off of the floor so no object permanence. . . .Hmmmmm. . . Then I just can't resist. . .

"Awww. . . .she's adorable! How old is she--like eight months?"

"No, almost ten months!"

I should've known something was wrong with me when the poor lady grabbed her baby and ran after I yelled out "Almost TEN months? Daaaaamn! Daaaaamn! Daaaaaaamn!" with my hands all thrown up. (Did I mention how much I like to be right?)

Not normal, I tell you.

I think this why I get all giddy when people at daycare ask me to peek at the goo coming from a kid's eyeball or why I accosted that poor unsuspecting woman in the supermarket when she was (just) trying to buy some Spam.  I maintain. It's not me. Its the medicine nerd in me.


There are a couple of exceptions to my love for medicine. In general, I cringe at the following complaints: dizziness, back pain for the one-trillionth time that only responds to the most potent narcotic with the most potent street value, scary complaints from family members, and any time the answer to every single question about pain is met with clenched eyes and "Yaaaaaaaaaassssss."

Otherwise, I love medicine.

And the people. Oh, the people! Bring me your cantankerous and crotchety, your sweet and giggly, your belligerent and manipulative, and your obnoxiously know-it-all-y. I welcome your fearful, your suspicious, your fiercely spiritual and your firmly agnostic. I relish in pulling up a chair beside the most powerful VIP as well as the least of these. . . . the ones whose hard lives and strong stench keeps others at more than arm's reach.

I love the people the most because every one of them has a story and something to teach. I think that is the biggest perk about being a doctor. I get to sit at the feet of some masterful life lesson teachers. . . .every single day.

I'm glad that I am surrounded by scores of other "medicine nerds" which makes me not feel like such an outcast. Lovers of both people and medicine ---which, if you ask my biased opinion, are qualities inherent in the very best doctors.

My friend and fellow Grady doctor Stacy H. once said to someone when asked why she enjoyed being a (primary care) doctor: "I get to meet people one minute and hear the most intimate details of their lives the next minute. It's such an honor to be trusted like that."

Preach, sister.

I guess that's why I write this blog. Okay. . .partly because I'm nerdy in some other aspects of my life,too. . . but mostly because medicine, especially at a place like Grady Hospital, is a labor of love. I write because I want to remember as many details as I can and because, like a wise person (okay, Oprah) once said, "The love is in the details." Sure, for obvious reasons, things in these stories have to get modified. . . but not the message. I want others to share a piece of this journey . . .because some part of me believes that the best a place like Grady has to offer would move someone else and teach them, too.

Or at least get them reflecting.

It's been nearly a decade since I first started working at Grady and the novelty has yet to wear off. It gets tiring, yes. It gets heavy, sho' nuff. But the best part is that it just keeps getting better.


I heart this job. :)


Happy Tuesday.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad while on an air-o-plane in the SKY! Whaaat?! Whaat!!!


  1. "Especially when it would otherwise be none of my business." Great quote!

  2. I laughed out loud and stopped at "nosy". I HAD to comment, because that is exactly what my husband calls me -- "nosy" for wanting to "be all up in other people's bodies and business, wanting to know what's going on".

    Back to reading the rest of your wonderful post.

  3. I finished the rest of your beautiful post, which in my mind I am alternately titling as either "Ode to Medicine" or "Definition of Love". Unable to pick one title over the other, I smile, knowing that your blog is quite simply both. I feel an intense wave of happiness knowing that someone else, someone as bright and wonderful as you, is as crazy in love with people and medicine as I am. What's more, I am relieved that the love does not fade after years of practice.

    Thank you for being and for sharing.

  4. Medicine Nerd. I get it completely! Well said, Grady Doc.

  5. I would really like to hold that baby up there in that picture.

    You give me such a nice feeling inside.

  6. I love listening to people who love what they do. Your energy LEAPS off my screen.

    Oh and *hi* back (via Lisa)


"Tell me something good. . . tell me that you like it, yeah." ~ Chaka Khan

Related Posts with Thumbnails