When I chose this date for our blog, I pictured a million ideas and an easy essay regarding the holiday season or New Year’s resolutions. However, attempting to write, I found myself searching for topics attempting to be innovative in a department and hospital known for innovation. Struggling, I turned to my wife for inspiration; her advice: “Write about us.” I initially shrugged off this suggestion, but it did get me thinking.
At the time of this post, I will have been working here for almost one year (about one week shy to be accurate). My employment started with a less than desirable commuting process, as I would frequently drive immediately post call to my home in North Carolina, only to drive back the following week or two for my weekly overnight duties. Being an absent dad a week at a time was not ideal, but required, as we wanted our daughters to finish the school year with their friends and it allowed us time to build a house for our family.
We moved as a family into our new house September 1, a full eight months after my start date. Building a house is a process that can only be understood by those that have gone through it, but we did, we have it now, closure. A house that has everything, right? Rhetorical, as we all know the house doesn’t make the home. Though, as the year closes, we find ourselves putting the finishing touches on it and finally getting situated.
Moving multiple times in the past 5 years, we understand it entails so much more than obtaining a rental van and transferring possessions. Once again we found ourselves meeting new colleagues and friends. Furthermore, we needed to transfer medical care. Of course, all of our children are special to us, but our youngest (our son) did have some unique needs. He was born with craniosynostosis, a condition in which the sutures in his skull fused prematurely (more can be found at https://www.cincinnatichildrens.org/health/c/craniosynostosis). We noticed at a young age that his head was not “molding” appropriately, and immediately sought care. After a bit of a process, he underwent surgery on his skull at the ripe age of 4 months (not something any parent wants to see their child go through). In transferring his care, we found a new surgeon here at Cincinnati Children’s to monitor his development, as we now have scheduled follow up this time of year, which is a new anniversary of sorts for us. I met with his new physician recently, and not knowing who I was or anything about us, my son was immediately engaged with his doctor, and I was treated as I would treat one of my own family.
After a few minutes, the doctor asked what brought me to Cincinnati. I expressed to him that I was once a fellow here, detailing my experiences and my desire to return. We spoke about the hospital, my colleagues, my department as a whole and all the staff that supports everything we do. Per my wife’s suggestion, I realized that writing about “us” not only pertained to my immediately family, but also my hospital family.
In addition to the above interaction, I recently shadowed some of our imaging technologists at the Liberty Campus. As I work nights, the people I observed knew little of me other than I was a physician in the department. Even though they did not know who I was, I was taken under their wings for a brief time to “walk a mile in their shoes.” The people I observed took great pride in their work and took time to meticulously care for their patients while at the same time making sure I got to see the job from a new perspective. The time was enlightening, as every patient was treated with the care and comfort of an ill family member.
This past year with the department, I experienced how we strive to progressively better ourselves in regards to those we care for, becoming active participants in the lives of every patient seen. Not only did I connect with my colleagues, but I also connected with various patients throughout the year. The participation throughout the department is now etched in my mind and attitude. An evolving definition of “us” now envelops the culture that I live and experience every day at work and home.
With the year ending, both the calendar and my first work year, I find myself reflecting on the past 52 weeks. Though it started with some difficulty, it has ended with my renewed confidence in making the correct decision in choosing Cincinnati Children’s. I am grateful for the opportunity to work with the amazing staff throughout the hospital system, and I prepare for numerous collaborations in the years to come. Further, I look forward becoming a family member to both the people I work with and the patients I care for.
Thank you, and Happy New Year to all (our family) that read this blog.
Contributed by Dr. George Koberlein and edited by Glenn Miñano, BFA.