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We Have A Paradox

“My name is Tom Robey, I’m the ER doc who will be helping to care for you today.”

So goes my introduction to every patient–at least to every patient who can talk or hear me.  I’ll be blogging here for a while, so I figure you will want to get to know me a little better.  Like many conversations in the ER, there must be a lot of meaning conveyed in a short amount of time.  So I choose not to add hierarchy to my introduction and emphasize my service caretaker role.  My challenge is to connect with all 15 people I see on my shift, and that first 10 seconds is key.  

So how’s my intro going?  After dissecting my intro script, what else do you need to know?  If you want to know my CV, you can review my LinkedIn profile or my Doctorpedia bio.  All you need to know are the following:

  1. The degrees that represent me intellectually are my history and philosophy of science BA and my bioengineering PhD.
  2. I’m an ER doc because I saw that as the best fit for my interest in helping homeless and otherwise destitute people.
  3. The greatest thing to come out of my MD/PhD training is meeting my wife!

Also an MD/PhD, my wife lives the physician-scientist life.  She studies the host response to viral infection in her basic science lab and signs out SPEPs and does other laboratorian work for her clinical job.  And yes, I texted her when I was first allowed to reveal the first CoViD-19 patient in the country was at my hospital.  She had an IRB approved in a few days so that she could start a study.  So she gowns up in a BSL-3 lab (a lab with one of the highest levels of biosafety security) and is now studying the host response to coronavirus infection while working with clinical specimens to help characterize just how this virus works.  Now that you know what amazing stuff she’s doing, you’d probably prefer to read her blog.  Sorry, she’s too busy with grants and manuscripts to write a blog …

But this leads us to the path I’ll be taking on this series of blogs: balancing work and family after CoViD-19.  We have a “pair of docs” paradox.  We’re both working to help beat a disease that in the end will require measures to stay at home, flatten the curve, and reduce overburdening the health care system.  And through it all, we have two school-aged boys (9 and 5) who thrive at school and have boundless energy.  Hopefully a little of what I write will help you, or at least spur some conversation that you find useful.

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