These are not questions pondered in a vacuum. No, events of this past week have given me enough fodder to fuel the fire of my passions. Alas, in either direction.
This past Shabbat, as I emerged from the sanctuary (for my thoughts and my prayers), to the business of meeting and greeting friends and neighbors, I was pulled aside by Ruth C. She told me that her granddaughter in St. Louis was doing very well. I racked my brains to figure out why she would tell me this. And then she reminded me how I had cared for and operated upon Cleo about 18 years ago. I remembered this child well. It made me glow to know she remembered me.
Three steps later I snuck a snuggle from nine week old Zach. Every time I meet this infant, I celebrate his birth as I continue to mourn his sister’s death in my arms only 20 months ago. The joy on grandma’s face and the warm hug from the mother tells me that she, my friend, colleague and former mentee, Judy, is looking forward.
Rewind to Thursday night. It is close to 10 pm. I am a sworn witness to recount the events of 8 months ago when I was called to the ICU to establish an airway in a very ill child. Though I was not on trial, the attorney for the medical staff, the medical staff to which I belong in good standing, lashed out at me, at my credibility. My website, my blog, and my gender equity work were quoted out of context to unfairly paint me as biased. No, I don’t think the process of these “fair hearings” is good, but to question my integrity with such vehemence (because I was once in litigation with the hospital administration, not the medical staff) was very telling at how much lingering enmity remains. How sad. I was not going to go back to that past.
And then smack in the middle was a great Friday. On call, it was punctuated by an emergency surgical procedure and an office removal of keloids on a teen who was denied medical care for a seriously deforming medical condition. The insurance company would not reimburse for this “cosmetic” procedure so I performed the excision and steroid injection in my office. Not easy, but her smile at the end was worth the additional effort not really covered by the small fee that was charged.
I then conference called with my team at Channel V media. We went over all of the upcoming exciting events: regular blog with the AAUW starting with a 6 part series about the Shriver Report, A Woman’s Nation Changes Everything. The launch of Dana’s and my new blog on NPRs Science Friday’s Talking Science website called Like Mother, Like Doctor. An invitation to blog this Wednesday, November 4 with the NWLC and other bloggers about how being a Woman is Not a Pre-Existing Condition. My upcoming lecture followed by a panel in Salt Lake City on the Gender Gap in pediatric healthcare. And an invited article on Women in ENT for ENT Today, the monthly clinical round-up from the Triological Society. All against the background of the publication schedule for my book.
Late Friday afternoon, after weeks of the worst case of telephone tag I have had in a long time, I connected to the executive director of the AAO/HNS. We had an excellent conversation as we shared our views on the ejection of my colleague and friend from the exhibitor’s hall. Two sides to every story. Opportunities for improvement. Sensitivity to the need to treat people with dignity even a rule is thought to be broken. I was glad I had followed up. I was thanked for my patience and the non-militant way I approached my concerns.
So as I write this blog, it appears that I have met my past and am ready to face the future. I can shed those past memories that will be of no help, and I must protect those experiences that have been and will continue to nourish me as I look forward to an exciting and impactful future. Stay tuned, we have only just begun!