It’s Monday, I recall as I step into work;
“Preparing for battle,” I say with a smirk.
Surviving all weekend with a sick kid in tow,
the parents’ relief as they waited to show
you their child with fever, diarrhea and sneezing,
the one who is too hot, too cold or is freezing,
the one who forgot that a helmet is needed,
the one who is eating too much, they conceded.
The one who still haunts you when you’re seeing the others,
The paranoia of missing again always bothers.
The one who decided today is the day,
to come out to their loved ones in your safety bay.
The one with a rash, or a headache, or more,
you’re thankful your job is never a bore.
You’re trusted with the absolute most precious life
until you mention the flu shot and then the parent decides,
that maybe you don’t know as much as you should,
or your loyalties lie in some big pharma hood.
So you run into one room and then to another,
your feet start to ache and your speech starts to stutter …
Did you say they missed one day or two days or four?
What’s the cause of this fever, could it be something more?
Are you missing the measles, meningitis, the plague?
“It looks like a virus,” just sounds too vague.
They want answers, solutions, and even a cure —
So you text your bestie who knows more for sure,
“What should I do with this kid who is sick?”
She says, “I concur, to the ER real quick!”
All day you spend running from one room to another,
Because you know what it’s like to be one of these mothers.
When you know that the news is the unbearable kind,
You will cry with your patients and then you will find,
The smile and drive to move on to the next,
For they also deserve to be seen, like the rest.
We waited so long just to see you today,
What is the reason for your delay?
They’re sometimes angry, impatient and hurried,
Forgetting the parent before them was worried,
About a diagnosis no parent should hear,
So be patient when you wait for your doctor, my dear.
What happened to lunch break and where did it go?
Did you drink enough water? Did you get the memo?
The patients need call backs, and your husband does too,
The messages are piling up looking for you.
“I have to stay late,” your kid sends in a text,
So you put out the fires and wonder what’s next,
When the last patient is seen and the forms are filled out,
You drive home like a zombie in the familiar route.
Digesting what happened and clearing your head,
You’re home just in time to see the little ones to bed.
You snuggle them close and thank your good fate,
For the privilege your job holds you know, is so great.
Hila Beckerman is a pediatrician.
Image credit: Shutterstock.com