Calling Consults

A while back I was working in pediatric urgent care and had occasion to do something I have done many times since starting out in medicine. I called a consult. The reason, like many consults, was an abnormality on a study that required a specialist’s opinion. I paged the resident on call for this particular specialty. When they called back I was treated, right from the get-go, to some serious attitude. This was a legitimate consult and I had a question that I needed answered, so I pressed on. I also called him on it, which seemed to surprise him a bit. Now, I have a sense of humor and a fairly thick skin at this point. Feel free to point out something I’m missing or rib me a little good-naturedly. But I can’t abide downright disrespect. This isn’t just about a bruised ego. Doctors disrespecting each other or dismissing a request for help isn’t just rude, it’s bad for the patient.

But, I’m getting ahead of myself. Let me start from the beginning. Continue reading

Repetitive Microtrauma

7537238368_a0bf8fa717In my line of work the term “repetitive microtrauma” usually refers to a physical injury. Little League Elbow, for example. An injury caused by throwing pitch after pitch after pitch. Repetitive overuse that gradually leads to a more serious injury. Slow and insidious, it sort of creeps up on you.

Once in a great while, social media starts to feel, for me, like so much repetitive emotional microtrauma. Continue reading


IMG_6093My reading was on the slide. Maybe it was partly the books I’d been reading. Good, but not, you know good. Maybe it was time. A little, but not ever enough. But, I also started to wonder if it was how I was reading. Mostly ebooks. And, often loaded onto an app on my phone.  A great app, but still. I just never felt engrossed. It was too easy to start thinking about (or doing) something else. I couldn’t feel the pages in my hands, see my progress. Couldn’t dog ear pages or leave little pencil scratchings. It just didn’t feel right somehow. Continue reading

Why I Ask About Guns

I-ASK-Website-LogoThis Friday (June 21st) is ASK (Asking Saves Kids) Day. This collaboration between the American Academy of Pediatrics and The Center to Prevent Youth Violence is an effort to encourage parents to help keep kids safe by asking, “Is there a gun where your child plays?” Continue reading

What Are Those White Spots on My Child’s Face?

Tis the season. . . as summer rolls around I’ve again started getting questions almost daily from parents worried about scattered white spots that are appearing on their child’s face. Parents often worry that these skin changes are a sign of vitamin deficiency or some sort of infection, but they are most often due to a very common but somewhat mysterious skin condition called pityriasis alba. Continue reading

Learning To Be Still (Again)

IMG_1065 I’m not sure I’ve ever been great at being still. As a kid, I joined one activity after another. Not because my parents told me I should. I just liked it. Staying busy. But, I could concentrate. Quiet the mind. I’d sit and read for hours or close my eyes and listen to a cassette tape from beginning to end.  Even through busy high school and college years, a good hike would help me center. But, I had to work at it. Continue reading

The Magic of Imagination and Its Importance for Kids

calvin-hobbes-dinosaur-005There is a lion roaring outside our patio. A squirrel is under the bed. And, the trains and dinosaurs at our house are having some very cool conversations and adventures. Our son’s imagination has fully arrived. An amazing development- the emergence of imaginary play is certainly magical to witness as a parent, but it also serves important functions for kids. Continue reading

Time For Games: Why Playing Games Is Great For Kids

photoI grew up in a game-playing family. A love for playing cards and board games seems to be embedded in our DNA. Lazy summer afternoons were spent laughing over a game of Scattergories or Balderdash with cousins. I learned the ins and outs of Hearts, Canasta, and the “Dice Game” from grandparents, aunts, and uncles. In my immediate family we have a years-long Euchre rivalry (kids currently besting parents, if memory serves).  So, it is with quite a bit of joy and a nod to my game loving relatives that I’ve realized that my newly minted 3 year old really likes games.

As it turns out, games are good for him as well. Continue reading

What To Tell Kids When Bad Things Happen

This has been a very tough week. Scary and sad, for so many reasons. Terrible events are very upsetting for everyone. But these events, and subsequent media coverage, are particularly difficult for kids to process. Here are some of the best articles I’ve found regarding how to talk with children about tragedies. We’ve had all too frequent need of them lately. Continue reading

Kids In The Car: Essential Safety Tips

Many parents clearly remember that first car ride home with their newborn. I certainly do. Car seat buckles double and triple checked. Driving slowly, cautiously out of the parking lot. The weight of our new precious cargo heavy on our minds.

As time passes that anxiety fades a bit but still, three years later, I often have jolts of the weight of it. To sit behind the wheel of a car brings great responsibility, made even heavier when a child is riding with you. There are a number of things we can do as parent-drivers to make the ride safer for kids. Continue reading