Well you never know what people are going to say...
In my last post, I shared the very hurtful example of experience v. expertise that an online presenter used. She compared studying pediatrics and working with children (her experience) to being a parent (when she said she actually became an expert). Insert eye roll. I already ranted in my last post. There were hundreds of online attendees. You know that woman hurt, annoyed, and/or offended many people, not just me. She also hurt herself because she is trying to grow her online business and she just turned off approximately 1 in 8 people in her audience.
That was one of the most egregious examples of pronatalism that I've heard in quite awhile.
So imagine my surprise when I was at work last Friday...
First, some background info. I have really been struggling. This pandemic is hard. I am beyond grateful for my new home, but 18 months of not going to restaurants or parties or community events is starting to get to even this homebody.
My family lives in other states and gives me no credit or validation for what I am going through. (Typical. Standard operating procedures there.) They all go out to concerts and restaurants in their various parts of the country. They think I am overreacting.
Also, there's a TON of stress at work at the hospital. There's regular work stress; then there's the covid stress, the anti-mask/anti-vax stress, and the stress of my pediatric patients cancelling their appointments because they tested positive.
It's really a lot. Too much stress. It all adds up.
So I woke up Friday morning and I was totally not feeling it. (Actually, I went to bed Thursday night pretty upset and slept for 12 hours. Also not normal.) But I woke up Friday and knew I needed to take a mental health day. But I also knew that there was a kid on my schedule that was coming in for his first appointment after his initial evaluation over a month ago. I really wanted to see this kid.
So I got up, got showered, got dressed, and got myself there. I kept myself busy with paperwork until it was time for his appointment. He showed up and we hung out. It was great. I liked getting to know him better and I was thankful for the opportunity to be able to work with him.
His mom was in the room so I was explaining what I was doing and why in case she was curious. But... And here's the point of this whole post... She just smiled and said, "You're the expert!"
"You're the expert!"
Here was this woman trusting me with the most important thing in her life, her son, and she didn't question a single thing. She considered me to be knowledgeable and capable and she viewed me as an expert. She never asked me if I have kids. She doesn't know. She might think I'm 40. She might think I'm 30. Hell, with a mask covering half my face, she might think I'm 25. She might NOT think about it at all. Because it doesn't matter!!! Not my age, not my childbearing status.
I have the education, the licensure, and, most importantly, her son's trust. He came to Friday's appointment willingly and without argument and that was good enough for his mom. She trusts me. She's counting on me to help. She sees me as an expert.
I'm not gonna lie. It felt damn good. Just one week after hearing the opposite (which was quite hurtful), I loved being told, "You're the expert."
I'm still committed to lifelong learning. There is still SO MUCH more to know. I want to know how to help all of my patients and their families with whatever they need. It will take years to build the practice that I want to offer.
But I'm doing all right in the meantime. This mom trusts me with her son's care. She explicitly said so. And that means more to me than she'll ever know.