Louisville Medicine Volume 67, Issue 9 - Page 14

REFLECTIONS REFLECTIONS: PEARLS, ANYONE? AUTHOR Teresita Bacani-Oropilla, MD A t twilight, he came to the door of his parents’ home carrying his 5-month-old son in a baby carrier. “We are spending the night here,” he announced. “My wife is on call.” A medical resident in his late twenties, the couple were alternating care of their baby between the consuming demands of their work. Raising children at the same time required resolve, energy, flexibility and perseverance. How do young doctor duos survive? In a modern society where many extended families have disintegrated into nuclear ones, thus living geographically apart from each other, help from kin can no longer be relied upon. Couples have to be innovative, using a patchwork of daycare, babysitters, part-time or full-time nannies and childrens’ schools. In a previous generation, it was unheard of for a 2-year-old toddler to go to school. Now they do! These require precise schedules of pickups and transfers, however, so the child is never alone. Contrast these with some professionals who, having halfway raised their children in other parts of the world, come to the US and experience the realities of personally caring for every little detail and need of their child. It comes as a jolt and taxes their human ingenuity. 12 LOUISVILLE MEDICINE In the Philippines and other Eastern cultures, vestiges of a system of hierarchy still exist where children are cared for by live-in helpers who become part of the family. These “yayas” help raise the child, sometimes from babyhood, taking care of their needs with close supervision from their parents, so the latter can go about their professional and sundry activities unencumbered. This reassures them their child is safe and progressing well. Most yayas leave when the child becomes self-sufficient, although many are given the opportunity to pursue their own careers for a better status in life. Every day, people have to make choices. Some are banal and affect daily living and style. Others are so momentous however that they set the course for their futures. Some are time sensitive and have to be made right here and now. We must not make the mistake of missing the opportunity when the time comes, lest we regret it. The resident physician bringing his sleeping baby is of this modern society and generation. Although raised with loving attendant yayas at his beck and call, he now had to do the raising of his own by the new circumstances of America. But lustrous pearls are always bought at a great price, to then keep and treasure for a lifetime. That’s their value! Pearls, anyone? Dr. Bacani-Oropilla is a retired psychiatrist.