Andrea has been an obstetrician/gynecologist in the Metro Detroit area for nearly 25 years. Through her many years in women's health, she has shared in countless intimate moments of her patients, and shared in their joys, heartaches, secrets, losses and victories. In her writing, she captures the human side of medicine and what doctors think and feel in caring for patients. She has documented her stories on her blog www.secretlifeofobgyn.com. She has been a contributor in Intima, A Journal of Narrative Medicine and Pulse, Voices From the Heart of Medicine. Andrea is also a guest rotating blogger on KevinMD and Doximity. Andrea holds a Doctorate of Medicine (M.D.) from Wayne State University School of Medicine. She is also board certified in obstetrics and gynecology and a fellow of ACOG (American College of OB/GYN).
“Sorry, I’m running late … sorry, to keep you waiting.” How many times a day do I say that? Sometimes it is every time I walk into a patient’s room as if it is a normal greeting. Sometimes patients respond with: “Oh, you aren’t late” or “I haven’t been waiting long.” I can be so obsessed with not being late that I don’t realize I’m actually running on time! But I know it is a common complaint that patients “always” have to wait to be seen by their doctor. One of my senior partners at work used to say “waiting for a good doctor is like waiting to be seated at a good restaurant, it is worth the wait,” and never worried about time. I admired how thorough he was with his patients — I don’t think any of his patients felt rushed or not heard and came to expect waiting for his care.
Fear can show up at inappropriate times uninvited and unexpected, like a knock on the door in the middle of the night. We have all felt it. Sometimes, it can stop us from an adventure or getting into trouble. Sometimes, it can prevent us from living up to our potential or considering a new path. Sometimes, it can stop us from taking care of our health.
Walking through the dark construction zone of my now demolished kitchen, I made my way to the garage and out into the still, hot, humid July night. The air felt so thick, it was hard to breathe. At 1 a.m. I was headed to the hospital for a patient that just arrived in active labor. On the drive in, I had the air conditioner blasting to cool off the car and to wake the slumber from my head. By the time I reached the bright lights of the hospital 20 minutes later, I was fully awake. It was time to work.
She pushes her cleaning cart into the bright room. “Looks like the usual mess,” she mumbles to herself, pushing a loose piece of hair back into her blue cap. Methodically, she cleans the room beginning with the operating table, stripping off the bloody sheets. Then cleaning the floor of blood-stained shoe prints, amniotic fluid and bits of paper, needle caps and such, that managed to escape hands and land on the floor. She leaves no traces of the previous surgery. She sets aside the surgical instruments to be sterilized for the next case, mindful to keep the set together. When all is done, she arranges the room for another C-section. Just as she finishes, she is called into a different room.
Seeing patients in my OB/GYN office this morning, I try to stave off the mild nervousness rumbling inside of me. My good friend Monica is having a C-section this afternoon, and I’m performing it.