A Thank You Letter to Our Pediatrician
Walking through the wooden door on the left, we are greeted with a friendly smile. I was big and pregnant expecting our first child. The painted animals across the walls give me a familiar feeling. I was never your client as a child, like the many others throughout this great city, but I’d been here before, just not for this. My husband was your patient, along with many other Tampa natives since birth and was still clinging on to you when we started dating. He was no longer a real “child”, at twenty two years old, but you allowed him to visit your practice because of your good grace. I had to drive him to your office because he was “too sick”. I had no idea we were going to be walking into a pediatrician’s office. The kind secretary looked up at me and politely asked where my child was and I laughed as I pointed to him, the grown man sitting in the corner. She giggled lightly and went about checking us in. I could tell then this was not her first time plugging in someone of this age demographic. I could tell, she had done this before. At some point insurance would not cover my then boyfriend, of nearly twenty five years old. So finally he left your nest for a “grown up” doctor but the bar had been raised so high, it was hard for him to settle.
Years later approaching my due date, I explained to my husband that the book says we need to interview our soon to be pediatrician. Laughing off my comment, my loving husband took pity on me and so there we were to “meet with you”, just like the book said to do. I could tell right away the humor of the situation in your room. The thirty plus years with my husband alone, all the birthday parties, the swimming at the beach, the many occasions we were around you, it really was quite silly. I knew you must have thought I was crazy. You never judged me though. Humoring me with all my new mom questions, with all my thoughts and concerns, when exactly do you start clueless types of questions. You were so patient and kind. As if you could see right through me, that I just needed someone to say I was going to be fine. Motherhood will become second nature, you will know what to do.
Less than a week later our first child, a son, was born unexpectedly early and so we met again in the hospital. He was healthy and strong, just early. “Didn’t expect to see you guys so soon, he looks great though” you said. I was still worried with him being premature but you were right, he was fine. So our regular visits began to your office over our son’s first year, check ups and immunizations. Gathering his measurements and vitals, asking how he was doing, how I was doing. You were so helpful and always so accommodating. The day finally came when he had his first cold. Runny nose, low grade fever and slightly clingy. I explained to you how off he seemed, with every fear in the world running though my head. With deep conviction and as if this was the first time you had ever seen something so bizarre, you examined him. Looking him over with the most thorough and microscopic sincerity. Eyes, nose, throat, diaper, ears… yes ears. What I thought was going to surely be a near death experience, turned out to be an ear infection.
With some help from the antibiotics and lots of snuggling, my son was just fine, yet again. I started to learn from all your advice. It’s hard not to think the worst with all the things that can go wrong, but you reminded me of all the things that can go right. Soon I began to trust in myself, my motherly instincts. I knew that they were always there but I needed someone with experience to say that it was ok. Someone who studied and practiced in the medical field, with letters next to their name to say, you’re doing just fine. You told me once “no matter what any thermometer or scan says, you often worry more when a mother says they know something is wrong”. “Mothers just know, it’s my job to figure out what”. Before I knew it, I had my own pocket full of tricks and most importantly, I had confidence.
We were blessed once again to welcome our second healthy child into the world this past fall, a little girl. I have a lot more faith in myself these days, although I’m certain I will find plenty of things to worry about over the years to come. Our daughter was fortunate enough to be able to call you her pediatrician, for the last few months of your extremely long career. Your fifty-first year and both of our children along with my husband, will forever be able to exclaim that you were their first Doctor, their pediatrician. The one, the only, Doctor Reina.
We thank you from the bottom of our hearts, all four of us!!