The Chief Medical Officer

I am so thrilled to have been asked to contribute a piece to Daily Worth — a site dedicated to the empowerment of women in all respects. They describe themselves as “a place for ambitious women who want more: money, success and personal growth. A thoughtful, smart approach to personal finance and better living.”

I chose to “opt out” of my teaching career — a choice that I now know wasn’t anything close to a choice at all..

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“Mrs. Krug, as I’m sure you know, your son has had a traumatic injury to his brain. This can effect him in many ways…”

I have asked the genetics fellow at this regional teaching hospital about the findings of my son’s recent MRI and whether there is a genetic component in play. I have worded my question carefully, but have clearly been dismissed as yet another one of the parade of uninformed parents this physician comes across daily. He is speaking slowly and down to me, and when I can no longer listen to his patronizing tone I cut him off, impatient to have my questions answered straight up, rather than the watered-down version he is attempting.

“Listen, I really appreciate that you’re trying to help me here, but I understood all of this already. What I’m trying to discern is if you know of any genetic anomalies that would have led to the bilateral congenital absence of my son’s Arcuate Fasiculus.”

He looked at me slack-jawed for a moment.

“Oh, I didn’t realize you were in the medical profession.”

“I’m not.” I responded. “But I’m an expert on my son.”

I never had any desire to be in the medical profession, and yet here I was the CMO — or Chief Medical Officer – of my family. This title was born out of gallows humor in the throes of a crisis, when my son had a stroke in utero and all of the plans we’d made for him, for our family, for ourselves, went out the window in the moment we received the news. My husband is the CFO of his company, and I felt that I deserved an equally illustrious title considering my own high-pressure, high-stakes job and all of the important work I was doing at home. I don’t know that I truly believed it then, but I have grown to in the years since.

All of Owen’s dozen or so specialists had their perspectives and opinions about what was best for Owen, and while I truly believe that they all had his best interests at heart, few of them were communicating with each other or considering the whole picture. That part was up to me, and if I was going to do it well, I had to do some pretty fast studying to catch up.

So I did.

To read the rest of the article, please go to Opting Out Is Not Always A Choice on DailyWorth.com

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