To quote the wise King Solomon: “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens.”
Back in my days of residency at Mount Sinai Medical Center, a wise attending doctor from a private practice told me that to truly appreciate pediatrics, you have to practice for a full year to get a taste of everything. Ten years later, I have to say she was right!
Of course we have our constants: New babies being born and the questions and concerns we address regarding their care; stomach viruses and strep are ever-present on our schedules. But what other specialty in medicine has such a variety of concerns that rotate around the calendar year? Like the Jewish Holidays arranged to fall in their appropriate seasons, our challenges in the world of pediatrics correspond with the time of year.
Is there a favorite season? I guess that depends on the mood.
Fall is frequently a pleasant time. Summer camp is over and the children are just back to school. It gets a bit quiet in the office as everyone is consumed with the new school year and the children haven’t been back in the classrooms long enough to start spreading around the illnesses that bring them in for a visit. The High Holidays always make scheduling a bit tricky. It’s hard to be a full-time pediatrician when the Holy One Blessed Be He is asking me to work a part-time schedule!
Winter means a packed waiting room with colds and sniffles. The dreaded flu always likes to rear its ugly head. Wheezing infants with bronchiolitis and asthmatics triggered by the cold weather mean a few sleepless nights for both the parents and the pediatricians who worry about them. I take a few things seriously and breathing is one of them. Patient volume is definitely up and it means longer days in the office, but it also means you get a little more satisfaction treating sick children who need your help. Yeshiva Week/winter break is always a nice topic to discuss during the check-ups, and one can get a sense of how things at school are coming along.
Most people think spring would be a calmer time as children are finally getting outdoors again with the weather warming up and school nearing an end. The opposite is usually true! The arrival of seasonal allergies and the rush to get all those forms filled for summer camp makes it a busy time. And it’s not always easy to tell the difference between a cold and seasonal allergies. Trying to manage a severe pollen allergy can be quite a challenge. Preventative medicine is best. It’s always better to start your allergy medicines before the season starts and to continue them throughout the season rather than waiting for symptoms to start.
Finally, we get to the summer. Things are just different then. Day camp is keeping the younger children busy. The teenagers are packing up for college or a year in Israel. Families are spending more time with each other at the pool or the beach. The family vacation plans I get to be privy to during the check-ups are always interesting—if you ever need a pediatrician to assist you on your cruise to the Bahamas or a few weeks in Israel, please feel free to take me along! I don’t eat much and I pack light. Don’t get me wrong, we still have our summer viruses and plenty of summer injuries. Coxsackie (Hand Foot Mouth disease) spreads like wildfire through the day cares and nurseries. The weekend phone calls about the fall off the swing set or a bang in the park keep me busy. Tick bites and the worry of lyme disease (use that bug spray!) are not uncommon. But I get to enjoy myself just a bit more. No leaving the office in the dark, even after a long day. I can spend just a little more time with families during the office visits and the mood overall is just a bit more relaxed.
And that’s a good thing as I need to gather my strength for the cycle to begin anew. I’ve heard we’re getting our first shipment of flu vaccine for the upcoming season in late August...
Dr. Joshua Menasha currently practices at Tenafly Pediatrics. He completed his Pediatric Internship and Residency at Mt. Sinai School of Medicine and is a graduate of Mt. Sinai School of Medicine. Dr. Menasha is also an Attending Physician at Englewood Hospital and Medical Center, Hackensack University Medical Center and The Valley Hospital. He is Board Certified in both Pediatrics and Human Genetics. Dr. Menasha worked as a Pediatrician for several years in Bergen County prior to joining Tenafly Pediatrics in 2012.
If you would like to make an appointment or have a medical concern that requires attention, please contact your physician’s office at the following numbers:
Tenafly: (201) 569-2400
Fort Lee: (201) 592-8787
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Oakland: (201) 651-0404
Park Ridge: (201) 326-7120
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By Dr. Josh Menasha