dear parents

dear parents,

i do not have children of my own. i don’t know what it’s like to be anxious over my offspring. i have never had sleepless nights with a coughing toddler lying beside me. i have been spared the agony of trying to console a fretful child.

so no, i will never fully understand the kind of pain you feel when you see your sick baby having his blood drawn 2-3 times a day. i may take pity on your child and regret every procedure i do on him, but he isn’t a product of my love and he isn’t a permanent fixture in my life. i can feel sad when i see the tears in your eyes, but i won’t have the same stabbing hurt inside.

but those aren’t reasons for you to resent me, a doctor who takes blood for investigations that can help heal guide the team’s management of your baby’s ailments. those aren’t reasons for you to be angry at me, to take out your frustration on me, to make me feel worse than i already do. i suspect procedures are kept to a minimum not only to protect your baby but also because no one likes hurting a child. when i tell you to wait outside while i obtain blood samples, it’s because i know it’s painful to watch – i am only being considerate towards you.

don’t look at me like i’m torturing your kid. don’t tell me how to do my job. don’t threaten me with lawsuits. don’t come to me for help and then decide you don’t like the way i’m managing your child. i am one of the 99% of doctors who would rather not be invasive, who only do what is necessary, who want the best for you and your baby.

parents, if you bring your child to the hospital, expect him to be prodded, pricked, gassed and prepped for admission. if you think he’s not ill enough to warrant admission, don’t come and see me. if you’d rather he be admitted to an expensive, air-conditioned hospital which charges you triple of what you’d pay here, don’t bother dropping by in the first place. if your intention was just to test the waters, go see a private practitioner first…who will direct you to one of his buddies at a private hospital anyway because he gets commission for every patient he refers.

you are the reason i hate paediatrics, the reason i struggle to find joy in a baby’s smile. i want to be happy when you take your child home, but really all i feel is relief…and good riddance. it’s hard for me to do my best for you and your baby when you make me miserable, more miserable than the last time i got a good shelling from my superiors.

more miserable than i can remember.

yours truly,
the houseman whose feelings you hurt today.


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