Monday, July 9, 2018

8 Months

Happy ninth, baby girl.

On a technicality (because it's after midnight on the 8th as I post this), you are 8 months old today.  I can't believe it.  I'm up late tonight thinking of some things that are not important (building a new house) some things that are very important (praying for a sweet friend who just came out of the hospital) and you.  Precious girl, I want everything for you.  At 8 months old you are the happiest, easiest, best sleeping baby I've ever had.  Your very first tooth just poked through the gums, which is always a fun moment for your mommy/dentist.  Your new favorite game is practicing pulling up to standing, and then sitting down with a plop.  It's my fault, really, because I cheer for you every time you do either one.  It's a win-win situation at Casa Edwards.  This month it was especially hard to take your picture because you are always on the move, so this side-swipe pic was the best I could manage, but I do declare you're still adorable, even crunched over sideways.

Happy 9th, little lady.  I love you to pieces.

Sunday, June 17, 2018

The Best Medicine

There is a narrative that exists in our society in which the healthcare field has been overtaken with caricatures of good and evil. Hospitals, pharmaceutical companies, insurers, and physicians are cast as greedy villains, who care little or not at all about the well-being of the patient, but thoughtlessly follow charts and doctrines of Western medicine and then go home to swim in piles of golden coins like Scrooge McDuck. 

While I would admit that there are some greedy folks in the healthcare field (just as in every other field) and that there is room for improvement in the treatment of patients, I also believe that there are very few true villains in this life, both in the healthcare field or in any other. In fact, I even believe there are heroes who are doctors, hospital administrators, pharmaceutical researchers, and many other healthcare-related positions. 

The problem is, we often don’t hear their stories of victory, partly because patient privacy is of paramount importance, and partly because they simply tend to be humble folks. But I happen to be married to a doctor, and sometimes I find myself compelled to share a story that flies in the face of the more negative perspective that seems so pervasive. 

One such story is this one. 

A woman was in the hospital due to breathing complications stemming from a problem in her lungs. The situation was quite grave—her doctors had warned her that while she needed the assistance of a ventilator to breathe during this moment of acute lung malfunction, they could not guarantee she would be able to come off the ventilator afterward. Happily, a while later she was able to move from the ventilator to a tracheotomy, but dealing with the stress of the situation had taken a toll on her mentally, physically, and emotionally. 

Being unsure of her future ability or inability to breathe on her own had left her feeling anxious, afraid, and weak. Upon entering her hospital room very early one morning while rounding, Jeffrey found her sitting up in bed, struggling for air and looking terrified.  He came over to her bed and watched as she wrote on her whiteboard (as patients who are trached cannot speak) “I can’t breathe. I know you can’t give me any more medicine right now, but I can’t breathe.”

Jeffrey rightly diagnosed that the patient’s feeling of breathlessness was related to her anxiety rather than her lungs, however he also knew that giving her more medicine to treat the anxiety was not an option as it might depress her breathing even more. (The patient knew this, too—that is why she stated “I know you can’t give me more medicine”.) So what’s a doctor to do who is denied his ability to prescribe? 

He motioned for her to hand him the dry erase marker.  Quietly he drew a series of lines and then handed the marker back to her so she could make her first guess in their impromptu game of hangman.  

Quietly there, in the early morning hours under harsh fluorescent hospital light, the room became calm and the patient’s breathing slowed, not by medical intervention per se, but by her doctor, sitting on the foot of her bed for a while to play a silly game.  Sometimes medicine means pills and prescriptions, and other times medicine means distractions and kindness and time. 

Don’t let the narratives you hear fool you. Our healthcare system is not made of one dimensional caricatures. There are exceedingly few villains and while there are occasionally heroes, more often good medicine is simply good work done by attentive doctors (nurses/administrators/lab techs/etc...), responsive and resilient patients, and the miraculous biological process of healing. 

Yes, your doctor really does care about you and your health—and if you’re lucky, he might even care to play you in hangman. 

Saturday, June 9, 2018

7 Months

Seven sweet months with Holland Elizabeth and another magnolia blossom added to her first year's bouquet.  What a lovely month it has been.  Baby girl has developed the most awkwardly adorable roly-poly army crawl, giving her forward motion to grab big brothers' toys.  Still a lightweight on the scales but eating like a champ...even with no teeth at all.  We're all in love with those blue eyes (that look just like her daddy's) and her gummy little smile. 

We're so glad you're in our family, sweet pea.  Happy 9th, love bug.

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

6 Months

This day marks the halfway point of a first trip around the sun for my littlest sunshine.  She's squealed through the month with the highest pitched glee, earning her the not-very-catchy but very appropriate nickname "Squeaky Baby."  She sits up with just a little bit of help and started eating some baby food puree.  Typically, when I pick her up from work, she grabs my face with both hands and gives me a slobbery kiss that only 6 month olds and puppies are best known for.  (But I don't mind it.)  This month's flower is a ranunculus--which means "radiant charm."  Well, my sweet baby, you are radiantly charming to me and to everyone you meet.  You're a light.  I love watching you shine.

Happy 9th, Holland.

Oh, and one more thing, just for fun--I put together the pictures from each baby's 6 month photo shoot.  It's a good thing you all weren't triplets...I never would have been able to tell you apart!


Monday, April 9, 2018

Five Months

Happy ninth, little girl!

At five months old you are an absolute delight.  You've found your voice and often use it to squeak with joy or displeasure.  (I remember your oldest brother doing the same thing around this age, but you, my dear, are in a register all your own!)  You can roll from back to front or front to back, but you much prefer to turn left.  We will have to work on moving to the right so you don't turn out lopsided.  If I'm really honest, though, your biggest preference is to be in someone's arms.  That little thumbkin is still in your mouth about 90% of the time, but if we're able to pull it away, we get rewarded with your darling little smile.  This month's flower is a white orchid, signifying beauty and innocence.  You are a lovely little lady, indeed.