Like @TT said, every healthy kid is a success story. But there are certain cases that make me want to do victorious air punches.
- •I finish seeing a patient and don't even realize they were a micro-preemie (born 3 months or so early).A lot of my doctoring is in-hospital, so the majority of the micro-preemies I see are in the NICU and still very sick. They're on loads of meds, sometimes ventilators, and look very fragile. To make it past my initial sweep when I see them in a different setting without detection of their difficult beginning means they have become so much closer to a healthy kid and makes the NICU seem like a much happier place.
- •Getting to tell a parent their kid is not as sick as they feared.More specifically, whenever it's not cancer.
- •A kid grabs my stethoscope and demands that I call them Doctor.In addition to being really cute, it means they're not scared of me, plus they can see themselves doing something other than professional sports as a career.
- •A premature baby finally gets themselves on the normal growth chart for age.Related to that first win; this is often the first step along that pathway. Some babies do it easily, but for some, it's a long struggle with formulas not working, reflux (basically severe spit-up), and feeding refusal, so it's very rewarding when it finally works.
- •Calming a fussy baby with a good swaddling.This is especially satisfying if there's a nurse nearby stink-eyeing you for waking the baby.
- •CHAMPAGNE TAPThis is a term for when you do a spinal tap (aka lumbar puncture) and there are no red blood cells (errant blood, even microscopic) in the sample. Usually your attending or superior will buy you a bottle of champagne. YOU FEEL SUCH TRIUMPH. I think this is universal across all medical fields.
- •Curing a kid's constipation.Constipation is such a pain in the ass (pun INtended) and kids struggle with it all the time. Unfortunately, the more uncomfortable it is to poo, the more scared kids are to go, the more they hold it, and that just makes it worse. GI problems make kids (and parents) really crazy--it's hard to grasp how much of life is made up of eating and pooping until one of those goes wrong. So it's often an uphill battle, and very relieving (pun also INtended) to all involved when resolved.
- •Getting a kid well enough to be out of the hospital by their birthday.Not always possible, but always 💯
- •Remembering mg/kg dosages off the top of your head.Unlike adults, kids rarely get a flat dose of medicine. It's usually weight based, and that means it's always a different end dose. Some of the staples are easy/necessary to memorize (ibuprofen, common antibiotics), but if I can go a whole shift without looking anything up, that's a total win.
- •A patient who I've seen for a while becomes a teenager, and is a good kid.I get to be proud of this child I've cared for because they've grown into a responsible young adult, talking about college and alcohol and safe sex maturely (especially because this is often against all odds where I practice medicine). Plus it makes my job a ton easier because I don't have to spend hours counseling them not to be stupid and talking to social work and trying to pick battles and supporting them while chastising them, etcetera. Basically, it's a tiny microcosm of parenthood.