I used to believe we should leave medicine to the doctors and faith to the Church. I didn’t really understand that my pediatrician would become a personal mentor for me as I navigated parenthood. I didn’t really consider that my pediatrician would become a private confidant of my children, discussing sensitive issues behind closed doors.
A patient came to my ER after noticing green slime coming up the straw from her Juicy Juice box. Her mom cut open the box – and brought her straight to the doctor. Here’s what we found in the unexpired juice box:
On the night of January 21, 1995, Azim Khamisa’s life changed forever. While delivering pizza, his 20-year-old son, Tariq Khamisa, was shot and killed by Tony Hicks, a 14-year-old gang member. Set to be married to his girlfriend, Tariq would never see his wedding day. Neither would his father. Days and months went by, and Azim struggled to get out of bed, to even take the simplest steps towards the next day. But as life dragged on, Azim began to sense that something extraordinary would have to occur in order for him to survive, and thrive again. He would have to forgive his son’s kill
Enterovirus has hit St. Louis early this year, and it’s hit us hard. Enterovirus causes the common cold– a runny nose, sore throat, and sometimes fever, abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea and muscle aches. We usually see a surge of patients with viruses like this each fall, shortly after school starts, but this year the virus has hit early and hit hard.
HPV, or the Human Papiloma Virus, is epidemic in the United States. A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that 24.5% of females in the United States aged 14 to 19 years are HPV positive. Among women 20-24 years old, an astounding 44.8% were positive. Given sad statistics like this, it’s no surprise that many people pushed hard for the development of the HPV vaccines Gardasil and Cervarix.
But now that we have vaccines, a raging debate has grown up around them. Parents especially express concerns about vaccine safety, parental autonomy, and the financial interest of vaccine manufacturers. So many parents ask me the question, “Why expose your child to a vaccine when virus can be prevented by abstinence?”
“When society is made up of men who know no interior solitude it can no longer be held together by love: and consequently it is held together by a violent and abusive authority. But when men are violently deprived of the solitude and freedom which are their due, then society in which they live becomes putrid, it festers with servility, resentment and hate.” — Thomas Merton
Something has changed in the past five years-- pot isn’t really considered a street drug anymore by my patients. Marijuana use isn’t anything they feel a need to deny or hide. With increasing frequency, my adolescent patients openly discuss their marijuana use in front of their parents. Some adamantly deny alcohol use yet don’t hesitate to discuss their regular marijuana use.
Just a few years ago, this wasn’t true. As soon as I mentioned the need to get a drug screen, my patients would get a nervous look on their face, often confessing marijuana use before the test results came back and begging me not to tell their parents.
My patients now recognize marijuana as a drug-- a medical drug, that is.
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