“Daddy, can I have antibiotic for my sore throat?”
People think it must be great to have a doctor in the family. They imagine a doctor spouse as a free and infinite source of medical information, a compassionate, calm presence in the face of a family medical crisis or someone with an ‘always-on’ bedside manner. They even get to bring them on holidays.
Of course for medical families, particularly mine, the reality is rather different. Although I like to see myself as a reasonably competent, rational doctor, when faced with a sick family member I am, as my wife reminds me, ‘useless’. I tend to either worry excessively (absorbing the patient/family’s anxiety as my own) or adopt a protective shield of denial or indifference — not taking the medical problem as seriously as I should.