It’s So Hard to Say Goodbye to My Patients

4 Sep


It’s taken me a lot longer to write this than I had hoped it would but I also wanted to do it right and say what was important for me to say.  It’s kind of hard to do that when you’re moving, starting a new job and trying to get a family of five adjusted in a new place.  I fell asleep on the couch watching TV at 8 PM and slept till my alarm when off at 6 AM (somehow I made it upstairs to my bed but I don’t think I woke up so it counts).

I think I’ll start with the very beginning.  Two weeks before I started work, I was touring the hospital and getting introduced by everyone up there and was told that I had a new mom who was about to deliver that had picked me as their new doctor.  WOW!  I was floored.  Our first was about 3 months when we made the move to Abilene and we knew we were only going to be in Houston for a few months after he was born but we still stressed about what doctor we would choose for that time period.  So to be chosen before I had even really started was a huge honor and one that I didn’t take lightly.  Then again, as I think about it, it’s not only that special patient that chose me to help care for their children but every one of my patients who agonized and gave me that honor. 

So, thank you for that…now I’m going to list the things you’ve taught me along the way:

1)       Be prepared for any question…I’ve heard lots of them along the way, some of the more common “off-the-wall” ones: Will she ever read if she walks before she crawls? (Cue grandma who is a reading teacher…”That’s true.”)  How do we treat this cradle crap?  Is my boob supposed to look like this?  Wait a minute, mom, not my territory.

2)       Have fun with the kids.  If you’re too rushed or don’t enjoy interacting with kids, you won’t enjoy being a pediatrician and you won’t be successful.  There’s nothing more fun than interacting with my early families that were bringing in their 3 and almost 4 year old towards the end of my time in Abilene.  It’s so great to get to watch them grow up alongside you guys and feeling like I played a very small part in getting them to where they are.

3)       Leave a job you love sooner rather than later.  There were about 6 months from the time I decided it was time to leave my job at Pediatric Associates.  Way too long.  I had to say goodbye to people I had shared so much of their lives during the time I was there.  And then, they came back again in the mean time before I left and I had to say goodbye to them again.

4)       Never assume that parents know everything or know nothing.  I have been surprised in both directions by parents that seemed to have it all together but were clueless (you know who you are) and those that seemed to be beside themselves but in reality had it all under control.

So, good luck to all you guys as I move on and you move on.  Know that you will all be missed beyond measure and that I pray daily for my patients in Abilene.


4 Responses to “It’s So Hard to Say Goodbye to My Patients”

  1. September 4, 2013 at 8:31 pm #

    Justin, I am so enjoying your posts. Your Mom posted the link to one on her FB Timeline. After reading it, I was hooked and subscribed to be notified each time you right a new one.

    Please note: message attached

  2. Patty Neal September 4, 2013 at 9:26 pm #

    I’m only grandma, but I felt so confident with you as Karsyn’s Doc. I new you could figure out what was wrong and get her started on the road to recovery. You’re the greatest baby doctor I’ve seen. Good Luck.

  3. Jay Gordon September 12, 2013 at 1:32 am #

    Where will you practice next?

  4. A Haaland September 19, 2013 at 3:57 pm #

    My son is ready for his 12 month visit, so….. when are you coming back?? We can wait for a little bit, but not for too long. You are already missed here! Thank you thank you for all that you did for my family- you are awesome! Keep on doing what you do. God has blessed you with such a gift. Thank you for allowing Him to use you to educate and serve others. Prayers for you and your family as you adjust to this new chapter in your lives.

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