MENU

I have a confession to make: I sometimes look forward to my trips to the bathroom at work. Being a busy pediatrician, it can be the only alone time I get to myself; and on occasion you just need a quiet place where babies aren’t crying and phones aren’t ringing. The other day as I was leaving the bathroom and returning to the bustling clinic, I did something strange. I knocked on the door before I exited the bathroom. It has become so much a part of my routine to knock on doors as I enter rooms that my brain apparently now knocks on doors as a reflex of sort. Luckily, no one saw me do this, and I left the bathroom pretending to have done nothing abnormal.

While the aforementioned story is obviously light-hearted, much of healthcare is not. Practicing medicine is rigorous; it consumes the person that you are in many ways. What is often overlooked in medicine is the emotional heft of dealing with hardship that the doctor himself or herself experiences. A doctor, nurse, or anyone involved in the healthcare of people is often at the eye of the proverbial storm.

Bailony Blog Sunset2

Unfortunately there are many more of these memories that haunt me. My journey in pediatrics has been lit by the laughter of children, but the moments where they cry or suffer bear a turbulent burden on my soul. Nobody really teaches a physician how to deal with the emotional consequences of being involved in such poignant moments. I know that personally my emotional gas tank only holds so much fuel. There are days after work where I seem like a zombie to my friends and family. Occasionally in the midst of my day, I find myself being warm and friendly with my patients and their families, but rather cold and removed in my relations with the office staff.

Bailony Blog Flowers

I remember a blistery winter day while I was in medical school in Ohio. The snow covered the streets and I felt lucky to be on my obstetrics rotation in the warmth of the hospital, where I wasn’t paying the heating bill. Suddenly the senior resident said we had to run down to the ER for an emergency. The moments that followed have never left my memory. A pregnant mother had gotten in an automobile accident and her car flipped several times. She was rushed to the ER and in front of my anxious eyes and racing heart, the medical team tried to resuscitate her and her baby. Neither of them made it past that ill-fated day. An hour later I was there to witness the moment that the father of the baby learned of the tragic news in the trauma bay. I will never forget the sound of his scream as his body went limp and fell to the hospital floor.

Medicine is a grind on the heart. We need more resources available to physicians and healthcare employees to ensure that the ones giving treatment are being treated themselves. It is also vital to create a culture where seeking help in dealing with the emotional toll of medicine is encouraged, and not looked down upon. Many doctors (myself included) are too stubborn to seek out such therapy, because we are trained to see ourselves in the provider role, and don’t quite understand how to be patients.I certainly don’t mean to treat anyone poorly in my personal life. However, trying to calm everyone’s worries is more draining than I would have imagined. Some days I have 40-50 different patient encounters of various kinds, and each of these requires me to be emotionally available. In the process of training to become a physician we are rigorously instructed to have the tools to weather the storm (i.e. diagnose and treat conditions). Sadly, we are poorly taught on how to keep ourselves afloat after the storm has passed.

I don’t want to suggest that I’ve gained some kind of privileged understanding of all the moments I have encountered as a doctor. In fact, I don’t know if I ever will fully comprehend the seemingly random events that make up our lives. I do know however that I am not ashamed to admit that these encounters affect me and shape the person I am. They lead me to laugh at myself when I knock on a bathroom door, and to shed a tear when tragedy unfolds. Hopefully, they will also lead me to a better understanding of myself and everyone else who touches my life in one way or another.

To read more of my blogs, click HERE.

There’s a lot I’ve not forgotten
I let go of other things
If I tried they’d probably be

Hard to find
The National “Hard to Find”



Posted on Aug 21, 2015

By now you have hopefully taken your child for their back to school physical and are ready to get your child into school mode.  In the midst of getting new supplies and clothes, it is also time to get your child’s sleep back on track.  While…



Posted on Aug 18, 2015

Every school year parents and kids alike look forward to summer.  However, a few weeks in to summer and it’s time to talk about going back to school.  Besides getting all of the necessary clothing and supplies, one of the first things you need to think…



Posted on Aug 11, 2015

A few months ago, the father of one of my best friends was diagnosed with cancer. He had to have surgery to remove the tumor. His father, being someone I’d known since childhood was like an uncle to me. After the surgery, I sat across…



Posted on Aug 4, 2015

It’s World Breastfeeding Week and what better way to celebrate than to talk about all of the ways you can support your loved ones who have chosen to breastfeed.  The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends exclusive breastfeeding for the first 6 months of life, up…



Posted on Jun 23, 2015

I love being a pediatrician.   I get to practice medicine while spending the day with adorable, silly children. I help them feel better, watch them grow up and guide their parents through each stage of development. But, once a year I give that all up…



Posted on Jun 18, 2015

This popular children’s TV show on Disney can help prepare your child to see the doctor.Going to the doctor can be a scary experience for a child.  The grown ups are big, use big words and have weird looking tools.  Furthermore, children often don’t know…



Posted on Jun 11, 2015

The start of summer is an exciting time. School is out and kids are ready for some outside play. While safety is important year round, summertime involves many fun family activities that bring with them special safety reminders. Below are some ways to stay safe…



Posted on May 28, 2015

While examining a newborn baby for the first time, a mother happened to ask me, “Doc, what was your name?” “Dr. Bailony,” I replied.  “Wow, that was the name of my pediatrician as a kid,” she said with a surprised tone in her voice. It…



Posted on May 19, 2015

Every spring I breathe a big sigh of relief that flu and RSV (respiratory syncytial virus) season are over. Unfortunately, the reprieve is short-lived.  Winter viruses give way to spring and summer illnesses.  One such illness is called hand, foot and mouth disease.  That’s right,…




SEARCH