As a pediatrician with three of my own children, it has sometimes been hard for me to just be a dad and let their pediatricians (my partners) doctor them. Earache? Have a seat and I’ll take a look. Sore throat? Let’s just run into the office on a Sunday night; I’ll do a rapid strep test and call in a prescription if the test is positive. Got a wart? I’ll freeze it myself at home. (Parents: do not do that to your kids; they will never let you forget the pain you caused!) Radiologist Nisha Mehta learned the “10 truths of physician parents” the hard way:
1. You either over or under-react to everything related to your child’s health. Your kid chokes? You perform the Heimlich and are back to dinner conversation 2 minutes later. Your infant spits up a little more than usual after their introduction to rice cereal? You decide they may have FPIES [Food Protein-Induced Enterocolitis Syndrome] and stay up all night worried they may require tube feeds. True story.
Any medical professional will tell you that too much knowledge is a bad thing, especially when it comes to the health of your own family.
2. You can’t go to any of your children’s activities or events without getting curb-sided, usually about somebody’s rash or poop. If you’re not a pediatrician, you will fumble through most of these questions, unless it happens to be your lucky day and the question is actually related to your subspecialty.
This is something I’ve never minded. It comes with the territory of being a pediatrician who lives in the same community where he works and where his kids live, learn, and play — one of the many things that makes being a pediatrician so special.
7. Your children say no a little too quickly/emphatically when asked the question, “Do you want to be a doctor too?” You just hope it isn’t in front of your chairman. Shocking how the pager going off in the middle of the Super Bowl or always being late for dinner hasn’t attracted them to the field. Honestly, a part of you is relieved.
I rarely complain about the frustrations all physicians feel in the changing world of modern medicine. I happen to like being a pediatrician — a lot! Still, despite my inward optimism and outward enthusiasm about my occupation, I’m 0-for-3 with my boys. None will be doctors.
8. Your children will be prohibited from doing normal things just because you happen to have seen an unfortunate case. I’m a radiologist, and my husband is a plastic surgeon. Things our kids can’t do: Jump on a trampoline, put their hands on the escalator rails at the mall, pet an unknown dog … the list goes on.
True. Sorry guys.