At my job, I design things for a living. I brainstorm slogans and sit in on creative meetings. If I miss a deadline at work, nobody dies. There really aren’t any life or death situations concerning brochures.
But when it comes to the other part of my life, my kids, there’s been a whole lot of life and death moments.
There’s been the moment when I sat with Jackson’s oncologist and he told me my one-year-old had less than a 40% chance of surviving his cancer.
And that long conversation while laying on my left side in a labor and delivery room with Abby’s neonatologist as he told us a baby born at 24 weeks had a 50-50 chance.
Doctors work really hard at keeping to the facts and staying professional. I know they are used to delivering news, good or bad. I know sometimes they get numb to the words. I’ve had moments thinking: this might be another day at work to you, but this is one of the worst days of my life.
That’s why this picture touches me to my core. There’s no way around the humanity of this moment.
The doctor in this photo had just lost his 19-year-old patient. Not a senior citizen or someone who’d lived a long life. His patient was a kid with their whole life in front of them; someone who wasn’t old enough to legally drink or drive a rental car.
In a moment of grief, the doctor excused himself and went outside. An EMT took this photo of the doctor grieving the loss of his patient.
Wait a second. I thought doctors got into it for the money, right? For the Mercedes, summer house and private schools for their kids? All that school and residency and studying and late nights. The consecutive days they ran on 15 minutes of sleep and coffee. That was all for the prestige, right?
So very wrong.
The people who take care of us tend to get the least recognition. This very beautiful, private moment shows the compassion behind the white coat. This doctor knows the impact of his job and doesn’t take it lightly. There’s this misconception that the white coat makes you a more important person and it’s simply not true. It makes you more important to people.
This, friends, is the kind of physician I want for my children.
To all the doctors that have cared for Jackson and Abby: thank you for your kindness, your wisdom, your medicine and your answers. Thank you for the moments I shared with you, and for the time you cared for them and I just didn’t see it.