A Mom takes the Medical Board


Staci takes the Internal Medicine board exam tomorrow; in a cubicle, with a computer. No pencils. No ovals.

It has been 12 years since she last took the exam. For 10 years, she stopped doctoring and simply took care of Cat, Will and me. A mom. Moms do that stuff. They are a different species than Dads, for sure.
The last two years she has gone back to practicing medicine. She is a hospice and palliative care doctor. That means she relieves suffering, often in the 9th inning of life.
We talk medicine tons. I have learned so much from her. When Catherine first found out her Mom was tasked with the care of the dying, she commented something like: “Mom, you are too smart for dying patients, anyone can care for them. Let the dumb docs take care of the dying.”
A common response when discussing Hospice/Palliative Care is: Why would anyone want to do this? How depressing?
I say, on the contrary. If one takes as fact, we will all die someday and only a minority will be blessed with a sudden painless death, then that leaves most with a potentially difficult struggle. The few that have Staci and her team taking care of them are so lucky.
They sometimes sing to patients on rounds. Sitting on the Dock of the Bay was the last one I heard about. Imagine that on a cardiac or surgical service.
The relief of suffering is far from depressing. As Docs, it is our essence.
As a trained observer and master of the obvious, I say she breezes through the exam. My thoughts will be with her tomorrow.
JMM

3 comments

  1. good luck to Staci! Great post – my grandfather had hospice care in his last few days – something for which his 9 children and 32 grandchildren were very grateful. It's good work indeed.

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