Sunday, October 28, 2012

Name Change?

Or why you should never name your blog after your kids.

I thought I was very clever when I named this blog.  After all, pretty much everything I do and think about revolves around them, even if it is tangentially.  But then we had to go and throw a wrench in things.

We're due with number three in March and my world will no longer revolve around just two little people.  I could just tack number three's name on to the end but since we have yet to pick a name I am not going to even tempt myself to pick one based on how it makes the title of my blog sound.  So don't be surprised if the title changes to something a little more generic over the next few months.  I'll leave the web address alone for simplicity's sake though ;)

Monday, October 8, 2012

God, medicine, and spirit

My mom has a knack for sending awesome articles my way.  The most recent:

A Doctor's Ministry, Bridging Science and Spirit from the NY Times.

First, this man, Dr. Joseph Dutkowsky, has a gift with words.  Two of my favorite quotes from this article:

"The people I care for are imperfect.  And I can't make them perfect."

I think people inclined towards medicine are also generally inclined towards fixing things.  I know I am.  As such, one of the hardest facts to face in medicine is that we cannot simply fix our patients.  They come to us broken in so many ways and will leave broken.  We aren't god.  In fact we are as broken as our patients.  What we can do though is care for our patients -- both body and spirit.

It's important to recognize the body and spirit are tightly intertwined.  Medical education generally tries to isolate the body and focus on physical healing alone -- and that makes a lot of sense, as very few of us are experts in spiritual matters.  But it is hard to ignore the toll physical pain takes on the spirit.  Even if you 'fix' the body, there are still scars on the spirit.  That's something we cannot fix.

Speaking of... my other favorite quote.

"I see children with some amazing deformities.  But God doesn't make mistakes."

While I was rotating through pediatric surgery, my team was consulted on a baby in the NICU with multiple deformities, inside and out.  His heart didn't pump right.  He couldn't eat because his esophagus was connected to his wind pipe.  His arms were contorted.  His fingers were fused.  And his parents had a tough call to make.  Its hard to sit down with a patient, or parents, deliver bad news and still believe that God doesn't make mistakes.  Its hard to know that care is being withdrawn from a one week old and still believe that God doesn't make mistakes.  But for my patients and their loved ones I need to.  For myself I need to.  Those four words are like a life raft in the storm -- they are hope that some true healing will come from brokenness and sorrow.

Those four words are what make our patients perfect.