Sorry for the late post; I’ve been busy shadowing and taking care of my sick husband and kitten. 😦
Anyway, let me tell you about my shadowing! I shadowed a Pediatrician on Monday and Tuesday for a total of 8 hours. I will be going back on Monday for another four hours and I’m very excited!
Monday was pretty slow and “not very exciting” according to Dr. O (which is what we’ll call him). They were mostly wellness checks, and the kids weren’t very loud. Even the babies he saw were pretty mellow. The first patients were a set of twins that were two weeks old. One of the twins had pyloric stenosis (a narrowing of the pylorus, which is the opening from the stomach into the small intestine), so he had surgery to correct it. The mum had told me that it was scary before they found out what he had because he was spitting up all his milk and he dropped about 5 pounds in about a day. It had been a few days since the surgery, so the baby was eating well and he had gained weight.
Another thing we saw a lot of were “crooked heads” like Dr. O called them. A baby would favor laying their head on one side vs. the other, so the part that is always touching the surface gets flat and their forehead pokes out a little bit. It can usually correct itself by stretching the baby’s neck and/or propping them up with a cloth so they lay their head on the side they don’t favor. They keep an eye on it and if they get older and the problem doesn’t correct itself, the baby needs to get a helmet.
I asked him two questions while I was there on Monday.
– Do you see parents that don’t want to vaccinate their kids? And if so, how do you handle it?
“Most parents want to vaccinate their kids. Sometimes they get worried that giving them three shots at a time is too much, so they space them out. I don’t mind slowing them down as long as they get their vaccines by the time they’re two. The kids don’t like it as much because they have to come in three different times to get their shots rather than all at once, but it gives the parents peace of mind.”
– Why did you choose pediatrics?
“The rotation was great; you tend to like the rotations where you’re treated like a person. The doctors were very nice and they were willing to help, unlike the surgery rotations where they treated you like you’re an idiot. You’ll find out very early on if you want to work with kids or not, and I decided early on that I liked working with kids. Children also don’t cause their own problems; I remember going to a clinic once and seeing people in a wheelchair, with their oxygen tank next to them, and they were smoking. Kids don’t do things like that, so that’s also why I chose pediatrics.”
Tuesday was a lot more exciting. It was very busy; almost no time to check the score/goals of the World Cup (Dr. O is a huge
soccer football fan.) They were mostly wellness checks, but he also got to perform a circumcision and check out a psychiatric patient. The circumcision surprised me, because I didn’t know you could do it at a clinic. It was very interesting to watch, and the baby didn’t seem to mind it. He only got mad when his pacifier fell out, but he stopped crying immediately after the MA put it back on his mouth (the cherry syrup they gave him to keep him calm also helped). Dr. O explained the whole procedure as he was performing it, for my sake as well as the baby’s father who decided to watch it with us. Unfortunately, I didn’t have my notepad with me, so I didn’t take notes.
We also saw a two-week old baby that had a curly toe; this means the toe was curling underneath the toe next to it. Since it was one of the outside toes, Dr. O told the parents that he wasn’t very concerned; they usually fix themselves. However, if it doesn’t, she will probably need surgery when she’s five years old. He also said he usually notices them when T-ball try-outs start and kids try to run in a straight line and they end up falling over.
We also saw another baby for a wellness check, I think she was about a year old, and he showed me a hemangioma (birthmark composed of blood vessels) she had in her back. Dr. O said they usually disappear on their own and that they’re not something he worries about unless they’re in a sensitive area, like the eyes or inside of the nose.
He also had a patient that broke her wrist, but he put the cast all the way up to her elbow to stop her from twisting her arm too much. He had told her that if she did well with it and took care of it, he would cut it down below her elbow. So I watched him cut down the cast; I found it really cool that the saw didn’t cut skin; he touched it to show the girl so she wouldn’t be scared. He said the trick is to not let it get too hot; you go in and out rather than just cut straight through, otherwise the saw gets hot and the patient becomes uncomfortable. The patient was very happy that her elbow was finally free. 🙂
Another thing we saw was a little girl with nurse maid’s elbow, which is a dislocation of the radius. She had been playing with her brothers and they had been swinging her around before throwing her on the couch. Dr. O simply popped it back into place and gave the little girl a few minutes to see if she would use her arm again. After we went back in, she was happily looking through books and using her previously injured arm to hold up a lollipop Dr. O had given her before leaving. He said it was one of his favorite things to see, because he could fix it almost immediately.
I only had one question for him this time.
– Why is it called a nurse maid’s elbow?
“It had something to do with what the nurse maid’s would do, but I can’t remember what it was.”
I told him I would Google it and let him know the next time I saw him, so here’s the answer according to the first page Google came up with: “It was named for nursemaids who would care for children and they would often yank their arm if they tried to run into the street or run away.”
So there you go! I’m looking forward to keep shadowing him; I like working with kids. I don’t really mind the screaming either; I think I could do this full-time. 🙂
Oh, if you guys have any questions you’d like me to ask Dr. O, let me know!
Wish me luck!