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What the Doctor Didn’t Say Out Loud Meant So Much to Me

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We spent most of Good Friday in the ER, the first time we have needed a trip there since October. Eden had some scary symptoms during the week, and we needed to see if they were a part of the “normal” disease progression or an infection that would require antibiotics.

We try to stay out of the hospital if we can; we prefer to be home and the hospital has too many germs! And often, an ER trip means visiting with an attending who doesn’t know us, and requires lots of negotiating to be able to bring her home and not admit her.

When our attending walked into the room, I said, “I’m so glad it’s you!” It was the same attending we had in October. I was so happy because I knew that she would be very thorough in her examination, and I wouldn’t have to fight to keep Eden from being admitted.

She said, “I know you! This is my favorite family. I know I am not supposed to have favorites, but you are my favorite!” She did tons of labs and an x-ray, and we waited for the results to come back. She sent for more bloodwork after getting the initial results, just to make sure nothing was missed.

After all the initial results were back, she came into the room and sat with us. “All the results are good. The kids with asthma are having a harder time right now, so that could be part of it. But it is also likely it is from her disease progressing.”

That is what she said with her mouth. The doctor-response that she is required to give: let me know what is going medically, and that there is nothing we should be doing differently.

But what she said with her eyes, I won’t forget: You are an amazing mother. She is a beautiful little girl. This is not fair. I am so sorry for your pain. I am so sorry I can’t make this better. I wish I could fix this. I am so sorry I can’t.”

That. What she said with her eyes. That is what meant so much.

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Originally published: April 8, 2015
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