The Good, The Gross, and The Weird- Stories of a Pediatrician

As a child I used to go to the beach with my family every weekend. I would take my friend to the edge of the shore and point to the ocean and say "Look! Shark!" There wasn't actually a shark present; I just thought the ocean was called shark for some reason. As an adult I've grown into a pediatrician, and while I now realize that there is a difference between the two things, my life continues to be full of moments that recall my confused childhood days. The following are examples of such moments. 
A whole bunch of shark- Photo by Me!

  • A Somali patient between the age of 3 and 4 came into my office one day, and I asked him, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” He replied (or at least I thought I heard), “A pirate!” Confused, I awkwardly interjected, “Oh, I don't know any good pirate jobs out there.” The mom then interjected: “Uh… He said PILOT!” I subsequently went on to feel like a terrible racist, especially considering I had just watched Captain Phillips.

  • One day I was recuperating from a viral upper respiratory infection while I was seeing a young patient with asthma. I wanted the kiddo to cough for me while I listened to his lungs, and so I demonstrated a fake cough for him. When I did this, a bunch of actual green, slimy stuff filled my mouth. I noticed the mother was watching me, and I didn’t want her to know about my situation, so I tried to talk with “the stuff” in my mouth. I thought it was a good decision, but the look on her face told me otherwise.

  • I once asked a kid, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” With a wide-eyed smile, he replied: “A doctor!” I then said, “Great! Now we’re going to listen to your heart, do you know where your heart is?” He said, “Yup!” and then proceeded to point his stomach. I subsequently asked, “So... you’re sure you want to be a doctor, huh?”

  • One morning, as I walk into the medical office building where my clinic is, the lady at the reception desk (who sees me EVERYDAY) says, "Yesterday, I was watching the news and saw an Ah-med Bologna." I reply, "Yeah, that was me." She responds back and says "Oh, really? That was you?" Obviously, I do not make a good 500th-time-seeing-me impression.
    Me on the News- Photo by Laura Fox
  • I walk into a room of a 15-month old girl, as soon as I enter she looks at me and starts screaming and bursts into tears. I stare back at her, and pretend to cry really loudly, and then I march out of the room. I wait one minute for her to calm down, and walk back inside the room. She once again reacts as if she had seen a demon. I think to myself: “Stupid Ahmad, you just wasted one minute.” I also learned that I have no idea how to outsmart a 15 month old.

  • I asked a 4-year old female patient how old she was, and she replied: "Three". So I asked again, and the second time she replied "Two,” proving, once again, that you can never trust a woman when she tells you her age.
    The greatest superhero of them all, my nephew- Photo by Me!
  • A 3-year old boy comes into the office, and his parents tell me: “He has been so excited to come here this entire time; all because he wants a Thomas the Train sticker.” I fumble around in my pocket, and hand the kid a Spiderman sticker. He looks at it for a second, and then shouts out loud, “Yay! It's Thomas!!” I fail to grasp what any of this meant, but I was glad I didn't hand the kid a Batman sticker.

"There is an answer in a question
and there is hope within despair
and there is beauty in a failure"
Death Cab for Cutie


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