Dr. Shaffer is pretty much a rockstar. She and Dr. Meyer must know one another. When Luke was hospitalized for spine surgery last April, she was the detective that finally figured out what all the hullabaloo was about. Luke and cephalosporin drugs do not get along. At all.
The first time he was exposed, we did a couple of blood transfusions; problem solved. The second time, several blood and plasma transfusions with a minor freakout from mom; problem solved. The third time, we paged hematology and did a litany of transfusions and blood draws. Major stress for Mom. But, still, we thought the problem was solved. It wasn’t until his kidneys almost shut down, his belly blew up like a balloon and he turned the color of the white sheets (that ain’t no lie) that he got the attention of a general surgeon, a neurosurgeon, an intensivist (ICU doctor), a hematologist, a charge nurse and his nurse.
When Dr. Shaffer and I first met, I remember I was sitting in a chair in the PICU, holding a sleeping baby. Luke had finally settled into a slumber after two really horrible nights of sleeping. Dr. S had her chart and was already talking about possible causes. It was the weekend, too. What are the odds that a hematologist who specializes in blood disorders was on call? I think she knew immediately what it was.
I love that everytime we saw her, she was so calm, cool and extremely knowledgeable. She didn’t dumb down anything for me. She talked all medical and I was able to keep pace. Luke did provide me with the steep learning curve – stinker.
I love that when we had our first office visit with her, she commented on my shirt (it was an old VBS shirt that I randomly threw on that morning). It opened the door to our faith talks which we enjoyed every visit. That was pretty awesome. She shared what she loved about her parish and I shared a bit of our work with youth, BC (before children).
At our last visit this week, Dr. S bounded into the room, beaming and said these sweet words, “Luke’s blood work looks beautiful!” “Beautiful or really beautiful?,” I said. “The latter,” she replied.
Even better, she told us that it would only be necessary to do blood draws at age 4, 11 and 15 – all of which could be done at our pediatrician’s office. In other words, she fired herself. I like a doctor who’s proactive.
Dr. S, thank you for grabbing that bottle of wine and so diligently looking through Luke’s old charts. If not for you, I fear that the unthinkable would’ve happened the next time Luke was given cephalosporins. Thank you for answering my 1,001 questions, I always came armed with at least that many. Thank you for being a woman of faith. A doctor who, no doubt, is in a tough specialty. For my non-medical friends, Dr. S is a pediatric hematology/oncology specialist. She sees heartache everyday. She wrapped up nearly a year of knowing her with a big hug and a squeeze for both me and Luke. Then, I teared up.
I won’t soon forget her parting words, “Faith is what gives me strength to do my job.” Amen, sister. A-MEN.