By Sarah Teasdale, MD, EdM pediatric hospitalist at Children’s Hospital Boston
It was near midnight about a year ago when I noticed a gaunt young man in his early twenties walking toward me in the Emergency Department. It was a young man who, about a decade earlier, had threatened to kill me.
For nearly ten years prior to becoming a physician I was a high school teacher. That particular July, I was teaching English in summer school for students who had failed the class during the regular school year. It was a group of 15 surly teenagers ages 14 to 19, beaten down by a system in which they could not—or chose not—to succeed.
The young man—I’ll call him Andre—was my student that summer. He was a gangly, thin 15-year-old who often wore the same ill-fitting clothes day after day, rarely made eye contact and showed a level of fatigue in the early morning that was extreme, even for a teenager. Whenever I tried to talk to him, he would simply say he was “a’right.” He meant: Stop asking.
So I stopped asking. In doing so, I lost a chance to help him. …
Dixie Coskie is the mother of a child who lived through both a traumatic brain injury and cancer. In this blog post, Dixie writes about the stress that comes from being the primary caregiver of a sick child and the importance of taking care of yourself. Click here to read more of Dixie’s writing, including excerpts from her book, Unthinkable! A Caregiver’s Companion.
No one is immune to getting that phone call—the one that tells you something bad has happened to your family. Be it a diagnosis of a life-threatening disease or an involvement in a horrific accident, you never expect it to happen to someone you love. When it does, most of us are totally unprepared for the constant caregiving that follows and how it can impact your life emotionally, spiritually and physically. …