November 19th, 2004

White Coat

Bed and breakfast.

I am at a Bed and Breakfast tonight, having been given the choice between staying here and staying at the Holiday Inn downtown. Now a Holiday Inn is a very nice place to stay, no doubt about that, but my Angel and I are B&B people, courtesy of my mother's tireless instruction about the things that really matter in life. Collapse )

And this week has been one of frustration, from which I am delighted to be transported. I will tell some stories, to pass the time, perhaps...

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There are a lot of women in the Medicaid prenatal clinic, which is where I spent my morning. I gave good news (baby looks great, there's a heartbeat, see you in four weeks, let's schedule an ultrasound and find out if it's a boy or girl) and worrisome news (I can't find a heartbeat, let's schedule an ultrasound and make sure your baby's still alive). I talked about drinking more water and about prenatal screening. I waved some paperwork from a transfer patient at staff. "Why are they screening a black woman with no history of cystic fibrosis in her family for CF?" CF, mind, is largely a disease of white people. Caucasians have a 1/29 carrier rate. "To waste her money," came the dry answer. I was intimidated by this man, when I first came to clinic. Now I see he is like my father-in-law and he is not only harmless but rather funny in a dry sort of way. And he mumbles, just like my father-in-law.
The more time I spend at this program the more I wonder whether this might not be the right place for me. I don't know. I can't decide. Everywhere I look there's a great program and good opportunities.

Next year, O Best Beloved. Next year I will be a doctor. I will be able to introduce myself as Dr. Nykki or Dr. B without feeling like an imposter, though they have begun to introduce me as that already. I see the subtleties of respect in people's eyes - strangers, like the man at Auto Zone who replaced my windshield wiper blades so that I could see in the rain - when he asked why I travelled so much (I had to ask what town I was in) and I told him I was a medical student, it was there.
Is it something so very special to be a doctor? Collapse )
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