Am I a doctor or a mother first?

It is a little after 9 a.m. I am about to start the second of a long list of endoscopy cases when my phone rings. I glance briefly at the caller ID to confirm it isn’t my office or the hospital calling about another patient, and am quickly overcome with dread as I see the screen reads, “daycare.”

Intuitively, I know why they are calling. My four-month-old must have a fever. He had received his scheduled vaccines the previous day and had been febrile all evening. In the morning, he seemed his usual self, so my husband and I sent him to daycare, fingers-crossed.

“I am very sorry,” I tell the patient and the circulating nurse, “this call is about my son. I have to answer and will be back in just a minute.”

I step into the hallway, answer the phone and am not at all surprised when the daycare director tells me my usually calm baby has been crying inconsolably all morning and is febrile again. I feel terrible but am not surprised.

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