Mom, Chief Medical Officer of the Family

Dr. Mehmet Oz has some simple advice for women in a recent Time magazine article. He acknowledges that it’s the woman in a patient’s life who he speaks with during office visits. “When people come to my office from a distance, it’s always the women who bring them, not the men.”

Isn’t it the truth? And keeping up with everyone’s health isn’t easy. Consider the unheralded mom-duties:

  • Gathering blue forms for school and camp registrations
  • Decidng which symptoms warrant a doctor visit (what mom hasn’t felt conflicted upon hearing a child has a virus that will run its course – I blew a co-pay for this?)
  • Providing amusement for the kids during long office waits – pure torture
  • Insisting that our husbands go for medical treatment beyond occasions involving blood and sirens
  • Checking in on parents; are they taking their medications as prescribed?
  • Navigating the hospital/medical complex parking deck (ticket validated? cash for attendant?)

Now factor in our own health, which is often neglected and requires more attention as we get older. Just about the time we get the kids off to college, it will be time for our reproductive systems to get stingy with estrogen and force us to turn our attention back to ourselves.

Since apparently it’s our lot to be the caretakers of the world (according to Dr. Oz, there are 25 million caretakers in the U.S. and they’re almost all women), we need to deal with it.  Among Oz’s recommendations, some of the most compelling are for us to model a healthy lifestyle, provision the cupboard with good food choices, and plan health appointments in advance.

In short, being Chief Medical Officer of the family is a big job. Fortunately, BirminghamMoms are near some of the best medical care available, including health screenings, lunch and learn programs, and experts willing to educate us through hospital or medical center programs. Let’s not take these opportunities for granted – our family’s health depends on it.