“I want to be like her When I Grow Up” (Part 1 of 2)

The first rule of the residents lounge: Everyone Bitches about their Attendings.  It’s the Goldilocks of patient management – this one is too Mean, this one has No Cojones, and that one never answers their phone so I guess I’ll figure it out on my own.

Dr. D was the only person who was above lounge bitching.  She was fair, kind, capable and had an amazing bedside manner.  The kind of attending who didn’t have to rip you a new one when you screwed up, because you were already berating yourself – “How could I have done something so stupid in front of Dr. D?”   Plus, she always looked professional and put together when I was still rocking Dansko clogs and dress pants that were always a little wrinkled.

In contrast to today – when I had a casual lunch with Dr. D, while we talked about balancing work and kids schedules (try and get as much as possible done before 9 AM), how the babysitter she helped me find was doing (fantastic) and the key item to making work outfits mesh with a White Coat (cardigans)

In truth, she and I were part of a rotating table of fantastic women in medicine, passing through during a special Holiday Lunch Service in the lounge – several were my colleagues, who freely exchange Tirades over weak admissions as well as hand-me-down baby clothes.  Others were subspecialists who I’ve worked with and looked up to for years and am now finding that their lives aren’t so different from mine at this point.  (Heck, some might even be reading this – Hello!)  

The one thing we all agreed on, in between keeping small ones settled on our laps and checking the clock to make sure we were still on schedule is that paying full-price for any piece of Child’s clothing is insane.  

Decades ago, the understanding was that a Doctors first and most important commitment was always to their patient.  They would come and see their families once the work is done, but if that was after dinner and bedtime, so be it.  (The scene in Scrubs where Dr. Cox bursts into his son’s room, story in hand only to find him already asleep hits home for me)

These days, I have to figure out a way for my patients to get the best care I can give – but seriously, the Daycare closes at 7:30 and I have to be there.  And so I am relieved to see the physicians I respect and admire, who do provide excellent care day after day happen to also be mothers and active participants in their families day-to-day lives.  

I wasn’t positive I could do it, to be completely honest.  I had to go back to work when small one was 5 weeks old – not even old enough for day care.  (Thank God for Grandparents and Dads who take extra vacation…)  

I dealt with this fact in a very mature fashion: spending one memorable morning holed up in the office crying and eating a box of leftover Christmas Cookies.  However, once the hormotions (hormonal emotions) passed, things did get easier.  I started to see the ways that Dr. D made things work – planning ahead, finding (and then trusting) people to help you, and always having a backup plan.

5 years later and my, how things have changed.  I have traded orthopedic footwear for stylish flats and paid a hip young person to tell me what clothes will make me look fun and professional (while camouflaging rogue booger wipings).

I still want to be her when I grow up, though.  

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