The Doctor by the Pool

This afternoon I took my son to his summer swimming lesson and I saw Dr. N. at the side of the pool.  Dr. N. is the neo-natal specialist who presided over the care of my children in the NICU for two and three months after they were born.  It wasn’t a big surprise to see him because his daughter, who is a year behind my kids in school, went to the same kindergarten as Jio.  We run into him occasionally. 

I remember the first thing Dr. N. said to me was “Twenty-six week baby very difficult, but I will do my best,” and how I hung on his every word after that.  And I remember how he would open up books for me, and make sketches, and try to speak in English so that I would understand what was going on.  I remember how, the first time we went into the NICU, he reached into a bassinet and pulled out a baby.  “He was less than 1,000 grams at birth,” Dr. N. said, “Look at him now.”

Today, after watching my son splash around in the water, Dr. N. said that Jio looked very healthy, and he is.  I imagine that he is proud of how my son turned out, and that he is one of Dr. N.’s success stories.  I wonder sometimes how he feels when he sees Lilia in her wheelchair.  Does he see her as a success, too?  Or does he think that maybe he made a mistake?


4 thoughts on “The Doctor by the Pool

  1. Oh, Suzanne, that’s such a sad thing to write. From what you’ve written your daughter is a sunbeam. How could any sane person ever think saving her life was a mistake?

  2. The first time I looked up cerebral palsy on the Internet, the first thing that came up was the name of a lawyer, implying that CP is the doctor’s fault.

    I truly believe that Dr. N. and the others in the NICU did their best, and that things could have turned out much differently, but I read an essay by an NICU doctor once, in which he wrote that sometimes doctors made mistakes that didn’t turn up until later. In the essay, he was criticizing a careless colleague who probably wouldn’t have to see the result of his errors because those doctors deal with newborns and don’t necessarily see the kids when they are older.

    I think that my husband believes the hospital was at fault. He asked me once if I wanted to sue them, and he seemed kind of grim when I told him about seeing Dr. N. at the pool. Then again, maybe he just doesn’t like to think about the NICU.

  3. Oh, I see. I didn’t realize there were issues involved that would make your husband think the hospital was at fault. 😦

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