I saw my colleague’s patient the other day as I was covering her practice for a few days. It’s haunted me ever since. She was diagnosed with a bladder infection last week and I got the culture report back just before the weekend. I had to change her antibiotics. I spoke to the patient on the phone and told her if she still wasn’t better after the weekend to come to see me.
Well she did. While the bladder symptoms appeared to be improving she also mentioned how light-headed and dizzy she was and “oh yeah, by the way, I’ve lost about 10 lbs in the past month.”
I looked through her chart at her recent blood tests. Hemoglobin was normal but compared to 2 years ago, there’s been a 20+ point drop.
Upon further review of her chart, I noted a family history of colon cancer in her mother and stomach cancer in her father. Both deceased.
Oh and she repeatedly refused to be screened with colonoscopy or fecal occult blood testing.
You get the drift.
She’s got cancer and it could have been caught early with a simple screening test.
2. My husband
3. My children
4. My parents and brother
5. My friends
6. My cat
9. Cross stitching
13. Martinis – preferably chocolate-y and sweet
15. Being a doctor
16. Being respected
17. Being someone to count on
18. Being my own boss
19. My bed.
20. Chips and dip
21. Ice cold water
22. The sun
24. The smell of my kids right out of the bath
25. The scale ;)
26. My Guess jeans
27. My boots
28. My nails (they are the longest now they have ever been … ever!)
29. My house
30. My life
I suppose it was bound to happen the way she swings around on those monkey bars. Last Friday after school I got a call from my husband that she fell off the monkey bars and probably broke her wrist.
You know that sudden feeling in the pit of your stomach you get when you know something is wrong? That’s the feeling I got when I heard my husband’s voice. He is not one to panic or think the worst so for him to say he thought it was broken I knew it was serious and I knew he was probably right.
I’ve never broken a bone so I have no idea how painful it is but I know it hurts. I’ve seen both adults and children with broken bones. When I got home and saw my daughter’s tear-stricken face and the tell-tale swelling of her little wrist my fears were realized. She was cradling her arm so carefully and refused to allow us to touch it or put it in a sling. My heart broke for her. I never wanted her to experience that kind of pain. What parent does?
The six-hour wait in the ER was long. She wasn’t allowed to eat in case she needed conscious sedation to set the fracture. It took two hours after the x-ray to see the doctor who ushered us into the orthopedic room where the casting supplies were. The ER doctor was a lovely young female resident in her second year of training and she was very calm and comforting to my daughter. I asked her how many casts she’d done that day and she smiled when she answered. She’d done five including my daughter and all were children who’d suffered injuries on the playground. My little girl was so brave and admittedly scared when the cast was being applied. She didn’t want anyone touching her arm because it hurt. Thankfully the doctor ordered some Advil and Tylenol to take the edge off a bit and it seemed to work.
She suffered what appeared to be a greenstick fracture of her distal radius.From www.kidshealth.org – a greenstick fracture is a partial fracture in which one side of the bone is broken and the other side bends (this fracture resembles what would happen if you tried to break a green stick). It is a common fracture in kids and is considered an incomplete fracture as their bones are softer than adult bones. Children’s bones are more likely to bend than break completely.
She was put into a thumb radial gutter cast because she had a bit of tenderness in one of the wrist bones as well so the ER doctor wanted to make sure to immobilize the thumb in case there was a second fracture that wasn’t visible on the x-ray. It is a temporary cast and is open on the ulnar aspect of her arm in order to allow for swelling. In a week or two we will go to the fracture clinic where she’ll have another x-ray and likely be put into a fiberglass cast for a few more weeks.
I’m thankful that she landed on her left arm as she is right-hand dominant and loves to draw. Within 12 hours of the cast being put on she had already started decorating it.
My little girl is one tough little cookie. While I never want her to experience physical pain ever again, my husband reminded me that this was an important lesson for her to learn. She is vulnerable and can get hurt. I hope she is a little more careful the next time she climbs those monkey bars again but I realize that every time she falls off, she will be determined to get back up again, even if I want don’t want her to. If I had my way, she’d never climb those monkey bars again! ;)
I know you’re there. You come from all over the world. Some of you are oceans and continents away and some of you are around the corner. Whoever, wherever you are this is for you.
I appreciate the time you take out of your busy life to spend a few minutes reading about mine. I hope I provide you with a little perspective on what it’s like to be an urban doctor and a mom. I don’t pretend to have all the answers. I strive to be as honest as I possibly can with myself and with my writing. I don’t pretend to be a prize-winning writer – far from it actually – yet that doesn’t seem to matter to you and I love that about you.
Don’t be a stranger. Tell me what you think. Challenge me!
My friend ran her first marathon today in Chicago. I’ve been following her training over the past 19 weeks and have been completely in awe of her. Her determination, perseverance and dedication is to be commended. She crushed her expected finishing time by 7 minutes.
I have been giddy with excitement for her all day.
When I started running 2 years ago, I’m not sure I even knew what a marathon distance was, let alone have any desire to run one! So tonight I wanted to honor my friend somehow. There’s no way I could ever run for as long as she did today but I felt I had it in me to try for a personal best for her.
I headed out for a 5km run. I pushed myself and gave it my all. I tried to run a sub-35 minute 5km but fell short by 45 seconds.
I’ve run 10km four times since July. Every single one was hard, but the last one felt different. I ran it 4 minutes faster (1:14:13) than the first time (1:18:20). I didn’t feel like everything hurt the next day. I actually felt stronger than ever before.
The very thought of running 42.2km has always seemed a little crazy to me. But suddenly half that distance doesn’t seem all that far. Maybe in a few years it might even be possible.
Never say never.
So to my friend GK, I say THANK YOU for inspiring me to keep going 1 kilometer at a time.