Author: Karen Mickley-Gomez

Mother (hardly) knows best….

Over the past decade, I have worked hard to become a good nurse. Initially quite cautious, over the years I have developed confidence in my abilities, and now pride myself on remaining calm while fielding acute crises. Clinical judgement is equal parts education, training, experience, and common sense, and virtually no one is blessed with all of these components at once. It is imperative that medical personnel learn to separate the personal from the professional, so that our ability to provide excellent care is never compromised by our own feelings and fears. Luckily, this is something I have been able to master.  In fact, I’ve become so good at separating church and state that I can now completely forget that I have any relevant training when my own pets or children have medical issues. Web MD is currently the most popular bridge to misdiagnosis, however I have no need for such things.  My own head is fertile enough ground for cultivating worst-case-scenarios, especially where my loved ones are concerned. My first rescue dog Tucker averaged two vet visits per week. He was 12 when I adopted him, and suffered from multiple significant conditions – however, his biggest barrier to health and happiness was his owner. Malnourished when I adopted him, I promptly set about getting him “on track.” Within a few months, he was double the recommended weight for a cocker spaniel, and had an ass like Jennifer Lopez. Noteworthy, but not necessarily...

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Modern Family

Midway through the second trimester of my pregnancy, we went on a family trip to Philadelphia. While it may not sound as glorious as a tropical vacation, I’d lived in Philly for years after college, and it still feels like home to me. It’s a great little city with many kid-centric activities to entertain my 5-year-old stepdaughter, and wonderful old friends welcomed us into their home for a long weekend. We had a fantastic getaway, but just hours before departure on the last day, things suddenly went south. While killing time at the playground before a museum meetup, Lili landed off-balance dismounting from the monkey bars and fell. Jeff and I both saw her elbow hyperextend and bend backwards, and knew it was not good. Supremely brave, or shell-shocked (or both), she barely cried. Instead, she cradled her broken wing across her midsection and stood stone-still, eyes closed, complexion suddenly more vanilla than its usual mocha frappe. I called Anna to update her that we had to forego our playdate in favor of an x-ray, and asked where the closest urgent care clinic was. “Why would you go to urgent care when you’re a mile from CHOP, Karen?” she asked, clearly a seasoned local parent. I’d forgotten we were a stone’s throw from Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, the best in the country. My sister also worked as a pediatrician...

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A Baby Story

  I was not one of those “glowing” pregnant women.  Not even close.  The only potential for glowing would have had to come from the millions of highly combustible particles orbiting my miserable, furious, fat head. My pregnancy gave rise to the greatest joy of my life, but the months up to the arrival of my son were the most stressful I have yet to experience.  Little man is now turning 2, which I hear means I’m in for a world of hurt in the very near future.  As of this moment, however, pregnancy was the hardest thing I’ve been through, both physically and emotionally. I found out I was pregnant less than five minutes after being advised that we’d been rejected for a mortgage. While waiting for one line or two to appear on the freshly-christened pregnancy test wand, I flipped through the mail and came upon a letter from the mortgage company.  We’d found our dream house, and were hoping to get the mortgage settled and close on the house within several months.  This would allow us to move from our adorable but itty-bitty rental house to a sprawling ranch with a lovely yard for the dogs, and multiple bedrooms for visitors and children.  We’d been waiting to hear about our application for weeks, having provided notarized document after affidavit after signed authorization. As soon as I saw the first sentence, I knew it was was not good news.  “Dear...

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