Friday, July 25, 2008

I'm watching hopkins

I love Thursday nights because I get to watch Hopkins, a six part series following Dr's and patients at Johns Hopkins. I love it because Hopkins is "my hospital. Exactly ten years ago I was there doing my clinical hours as a child life specialist. As I watch the episodes, I see all the familiar signs, glimpse the halls I walked through hundreds of times, see doctors I used to pass in the hall, or even those whose surgeries I stood in on. Even though the patients are not the same, they are familiar. The faces may change, by the diagnoses, the issues, the challenges of life in a hospital repeats itself. I don't mean that in an impersonal way. Some patients and families are unique and will always stand out. Others you don't even remember a week or a month later, they kind of just fade into your general experience and remembrance. What is always familiar is the role you play as a provider of care. A flawed person, busy with the details of your own life but simultaneous involved and importantly intertwined in the fabric of another person's life. No, medicine is not just a realm of pure altruism, everyone has their own motivations, but in the end
there is a fascination, or a desire, or an addiction to fixing that runs common.
The show reminds me of life and death, the universality of struggle and tragedy. It is about our humanness, something I don't think we have enough reminders of. I tell my husband often working around all sorts of medical issues, you kind of accept sooner or later you or your child will be "that patient". You will be the one getting the diagnosis, making the treatment decisions, the one sitting in the chair waiting for someone to come talk to you. I was reflecting on this today as I dropped off a painting for an Auction Event for the medical center foundation that supports the NICU where my ss#3 baby was after he was born. I remember the tears just rolling down my face 8 months ago when He was that patient. And I was digesting all the potential outcomes for my little son. I was all the more emotional because I didn't just hear the words the doctor said but I saw the faces of patients I had know who had travelled those "outcomes" in my previous experience. I could see those kids so tired of it, the endless weeks and months of living in hospital, of parents in chair beds, and cafeteria food, and the microcosm of a hospital room that can easily become the better part of your universe. At least in your care and attention.
I miss that daily challenge, the science, the learning, the creativity, the problem solving, the way you become involved in people's lives in meaningful ways. Whenever I am in a hospital I find myself wanting to linger. I think its because part of me knows I can do good there, in some room somewhere I could be doing something to help. Sure I could call the numbers on the recruiting postcards that come each month, but I chose my life as a mom of three boys, because my boys need me and I need them. Still there is a part of me that will always be at home in a hospital. If I had a a thousand lives to live, I'd know spend at many of them there.

So if you haven't seen it, go watch all the episodes at (I do occasionally, okay a number of times each episode, wince at a few of the comments, obviously a child life specialist did not figure highly in the dialogue) but you can look past that! Of course for the sake of ratings, they chose to focus on flashy things like heart transplants, but man I am sure me hosting Hospital Bingo via closed circuit TV almost coul have made the cut.
1. a healthy baby
2. being able to support good causes
3. being a "care provider"


LL said...

that's why we call you SMART Mama. We could also nickname you caring, loving, generous, funny and talented mama!!!

Meemer said...

i always knew you were cool!