My daughter was up yesterday morning just as I was getting out of the shower. She burst into the bathroom as I was toweling off, tears streaming down her face.
“Mmmmoooommmmyyyyyy!” Sob. “I’m sick! Hold meeeeeeee!!!!” Another sob.
Once I fixed the naked thing, I had to hold her snotty, coughy, mucousy cuteness to my chest until she calmed down. By then I was running super LATE!
So, I was not my usual put together self when I arrived at clinic.
Hair? Hah, hah!
Clothes? They might have been nice but if you have ever tried to get yellow preschooler snot out of your silk blouse… It sticks like glue.
Jewelry? Didn’t realize that was missing until halfway to the office.
So, I saw patients all day like that.
But here is the thing: Even if patients say nothing, even if they are not even aware of it themselves, they are judging me.
That is not necessarily a bad thing but it certainly makes being a mommy physician difficult.
Here is an interesting article from JAMA last year, “Physician Attire in the Intensive Care Unit and Patient Family Perceptions of Physician Professional Characteristics”
When I had babies who liked to up-chuck on me, I carried scarves. I have a whole closet full of those things in any color you can imagine because in a pinch it could hide a ton of nasty curdled yucky spots.
The white coat helps some for really bad issues, like when your toddler hits your coffee hand on the way out the door. Your skirt can be turned around backwards under a long coat or jacket. Suit coats and jackets can be peeled off or put back on.
Some days, though, you just cannot win. Like yesterday.
So the next time your female doctor’s appearance looks a little frazzled just know she didn’t actually want to look that way. Ultimately, it was the kid’s fault!