Louisville Medicine Volume 69, Issue 9 - Page 11

HOPES , DREAMS AND TUMMY ACHES Valerie F . Briones-Pryor , MD , MHA

HOPES , DREAMS AND TUMMY ACHES Valerie F . Briones-Pryor , MD , MHA

It ’ s 6:30 a . m . and I ’ m wide awake . I ’ ve been wide awake since 5:00 a . m ., trying to figure out how to stay home from school . My favorite band is on the morning show today , and the VCR is on the fritz , so I really want to watch it . It ’ s not like I would be missing much at school today , so it ’ s a perfect day to stay home and watch the New Kids on the Block rock it out .

I take a deep breath , rub my eyes until they ’ re red and watery and head to my parents ’ room , making sure to clutch my stomach as I walk through the door . My mom is already giving me a look , so I need to focus on dad . I plead my case that my stomach is really hurting , that it awoke me from sleep , and no , I ’ m not constipated . I lay on the bed while they go in the other room to confer . I ’ m listening intently as they go back and forth listing all my possible diagnoses , but I have no idea what any of it means . My dad is asking my mom to check me for a fever , but I already know if I have a fever , which precludes me from going to dance class this evening , and I don ’ t want to miss dance . My “ illness ” needs to be self-limited .
They come in to check on me , and I make sure to curl into a fetal position and whimper to let them know I just had a stomach cramp . My mom is taking my temperature and my dad is tapping on my belly . They go back in the other room to talk . My older brother is now standing in the doorway , watching with a smirk on his face , waiting for the verdict .
They both come out and tell me to get dressed to go to school . Darn ! My brother laughs and tells me I should have gone with the fever .
Growing up as the child of two physicians had its challenges , but at the time , I didn ’ t think my childhood was any different than my friends with non-doctor parents . When I was young , I did not recognize that my mom was a physician - she was , and is always , Mom . She was the one who got my brothers and me ready for school , was our taxi driver until we could drive , and took care of every need we had . The reality was that she worked full-time as a family medicine physician and was the long-time Medical Director at a local hospital . On the other hand , my dad was the doctor . He was a traditional internist seeing patients in the office and hospital . He worked long hours and worked all the time . Dad took us to school in the morning , but we did not see him again until dinner and he was always late . It wasn ’ t until I , too , became a physician that I realized how much my parents helped influenced my path to medicine and in life .
That path came with many twists and turns . My parents made it no secret that they wished to leave a legacy of serving others through medicine to their children . However , being the only daughter and Daddy ’ s Little Girl , all those hopes and dreams really laid with me . “ I want to be a doctor ” was my canned response when people asked
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