How my forever moments have shaped me as a doctor
Parent. My wife and I had our first child during the end of our residency training in Philadelphia. Our daughter was born prematurely and needed urgent support of her breathing. While in the neonatal intensive care unit, an air pocket formed around one of her lungs, making it difficult to breathe. To allow her lung to expand, a small chest tube was placed between her ribs to drain air out of this pocket for a few days.
After the first tube was removed, a second pocket immediately formed and she needed another chest tube. It was a struggle for my wife and me to remain positive each day when our daughter seemed to improve one day and then worsen the next. Seventeen days after she was born, we were finally able to take our daughter home with us. She appears blissfully unaffected by the experience, her only reminder the small scars from her chest tubes. Our daughter’s hospital stay did, however, create forever moments for her parents. Remembering them helps me better connect with how family members feel during prolonged, invariably stressful hospitalizations of their loved ones.