The First Four

Aug 18 2014

The First Four

July of this year marks the 4-year anniversary of me being an actual pediatrician (the out-of-residency kind). To commemorate what has been a roller coaster of an experience, I have decided to start what one might call a blog.

Dr. B
Why a blog? You might ask. Well, I don’t think I am the next Dr. Oz (I know nothing about magical beans). In fact, I’m not a very experienced pediatrician. I consider myself new to this whole art of medicine, but I am constantly learning. So this space is meant to be one where I share the lessons I learn from my experiences in the field. This ISN’T a blog where parents should come to get advice about their children’s health. If you would like to get advice about children, you should visit the AAP website. They are actual experts. As for me, I am a goofy 8-year old, trapped inside a pediatrician.

Every moment of these first 4 years has been a blessing. I have somehow become a part of people’s families, and also learned to make babies stop crying (sometimes). Every once in a blue moon a child is actually excited to see me, which is confusing considering the amount of torture I put them through. All these moments together are a lesson in both humility and humanity. So for my first entry I thought I would share some of the lessons that I have learned over these first four years.

Lesson #1- It is courtesy to knock on the door when entering a patient room. However, there is no need to knock on the door when you are leaving the patient room (I mean sometimes you just start doing things by habit)

Lesson #2- You cannot be a pediatrician and be afraid of poop. My job is full of poop (I can’t type s*** because this is a pediatric blog), literally full of poop. Indeed, parents save diapers so I can see them, as if I were Nancy Drew and the missing clue were in the diaper.  Side note— in most cases I see the poop and say its normal, in which case I looked at poop for no reason.

Lesson #3- If you would like to try something fun, walk into the room of a 15-month old, wearing a stethoscope. They will respond like a scene from the exorcist (except holy water doesn’t help you in this case). Soon after this response you must then try and look in their ears.

Lesson #4- You can tell when I am not sure what gender your baby is. I would walk in the room and say “How’s the baby doing?” It is not my fault when someone names their child Cameron.

Lesson #5- You don’t have to ask kids if they eat Hot Cheetos. The answer is yes. Let’s face it, we eat them too.

Lesson #6- Sometimes I don’t know the answer. I’m a pediatrician, not Siri. Every now and then a kid walks through the door and has some rash that I have never seen before. Of course I don’t say out loud “Oh crap! I have never seen that before!” However it is ok to say, “I don’t know”. Patients want the truth, especially when it comes to their kids. They would rather hear me say I don’t know than guess if their child has eczema or lupus. There is after all, a slight difference.

Lesson #7- Kids say strange things, so just say strange things back. For example
Me: “How old are you Timmy?”
Timmy: “I forgot my transformer at home!”
Me: “Can we listen to your heart?”
Timmy: “I forgot my transformer at home!”
Me: “I should not have eaten that fried chicken for lunch”
Timmy has no response. I proceed to listen to his heart.

Lesson #8 and the most important lesson of all. Every once in a while , I leave a patient encounter and someone says, “thank you, Dr. BOLOGNA” And even though it is pronounced (BAY-LOONEY), that brief moment of gratitude makes it all worth it.

For all the negative there is in the world, such as planes disappearing forever or the endless suffering in the Middle East, there are brief  moments of levity everyday that give vibrance to our lives. I hope to capture that energy in these writings, so if you have managed to read this far, thank you!
Dr Ahmad Bailony is a San Diego native and a board certified pediatrician at Sharp Chula Vista Medical Center, Sharp Mary Birch Hospital for Women and Newborns. He is a partner at Bailony Pediatrics in Chula Vista. To follow his monthly blog posts, follow him at

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