Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The Unfriend

I want to Unfriend you.  As in the popular song my daughters love, sung by that little boy (he looks quite young, don't you think?).

Not everyone, just some of you.  Let me clarify.  Being a physician and a mother is a very tricky job.  I think most people are aware of this.  I think my problem stems from the fact that I work part-time.  The reason I work part time is so that can raise my children and I don't have to pay a nanny to do ALL of the little stuff in between.  Just some of the stuff.

I have worked part time since I started practicing medicine about 10 years ago, right after my first daughter was born.  I am lucky enough to have a husband who is also a physician, and we decided together that this is the way things would be.  He would work full time, I would work part time as a physician, and the REST of the time as a mom.  For the most part, it works.

In residency I had no friends, aside from my wonderful husband and few female colleagues.  They went off to practice medicine in different places, I went off to have a baby and then start working part time in Family Practice.  Along the way I have accumulated several mom friends.  Unfortunately, a few Unfriends as well.

I consider myself a fairly likable person.  I say this because most people like me and I genuinely like people, a common theme among family physcians, or I would think you would lose your mind.  People usually end up wanting to spend more time with me than I have to offer, but I have come to accept this and it usually works out just fine.

So let me just say for the record, that just because I am a warm and friendly person, and you know me in my Mom Life, not my Doctor Life, this does not give you free reign to ask for medical advice.  I have never minded the casual, "Hey, what the hell is that thing on my kid's leg... ok, thanks".  And if there is a true life threatening emergency, OF COURSE I would be happy to help.  The truth is, most things are NOT the emergency that people think they are.  I actually had one Unfriend years ago diagnose herself with hypoglycemia, purchase a glucometer, and proceed to call me with every blood sugar she considered to be a concern.  Multiple times a day.

House calls can be a tricky thing to document, and it's not good for anyone involved to ask a doctor to throw out an opinion without getting some history and or exam.  Plus, I work part time so that I can be with my kids and take time for myself, not so that I can be available to the rest of the world to examine your kid every time she moves the wrong way.

Just in case anyone were to get the wrong idea, I love what I do and I love to help people.  Perhaps I exude this in every interpersonal encounter I have, which is why I can't seem to make people stop putting me in this position.  My goal will be to find a way to gracefully decline, but in the meantime, keep in mind I will simply have to Unfriend you.

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