Deb: Dedicated, Excellent. Bad-ass doc. Deb.

Deb is my son’s pediatrician. She’s been with him—with us—since Calvin was three weeks old, since we transferred from Maine Medical Center, where he was born, to our local hospital shortly after he was released from the neonatal intensive care unit. We took up residence in the labor and delivery ward for nearly four more weeks while Calvin practiced nursing.

Deb: Dogged. Encouraging. Brilliant. Deb.

Nearly every day while in the hospital, it seemed, Deb came to check on us in the morning. Usually, I had very low spirits having tried nursing Calvin with little luck since he was born six weeks early and having not yet developed the suck-swallow reflex. The nurses assigned to him would, every feeding time, weigh him on a sensitive gram scale before I nursed and then again, after, to determine how many grams of my milk he’d ingested. Then he’d get the remainder of his caloric requirement through a nasogastric tube attached to an inverted syringe full of my pumped breast milk. Deb was our cheerleader, and as such she coached us and assured us that Calvin would one day get it, would one day be going home. Without her I’d have fallen much earlier into the depths of despair because of my child that was failing to thrive. Without her I’d have had little hope.

Deb: Determined. Empathetic. Blue-ribbon. Deb.

But I did have hope because she gave it to me, and when Calvin was seven weeks old and barely six pounds, we brought him home. Since then Deb has made us feel as if Calvin is her only patient. I can’t quite wrap my head around the amount of time and effort she spends at work and then at home scouring stacks of books, medical journals and the Internet beefing up on my son’s conditions and afflictions and how to best treat them. She continually fields my copious emails, squeezes us in early for urgent appointments, speaks to us at length on the telephone long after her last patient has gone home, hugs us, at times cries with us, empathizes with us and has even made house calls on more than one occasion.

Deb: Down to earth. Extraordinary. Benevolent. Deb.

It’s difficult, if not impossible, to imagine what caring for Calvin would be like if it were not for Deb. She’s a rock. She’s Superwoman. She’s a caring individual and an indefatigable advocate for my son and my family. She’s the best pediatrician I can imagine, and though we don’t hang out together, I feel honored to call her my friend.

Deb. This one's for you.

photo by Michael Kolster

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