And on it goes.
Pediatrician Pia Fenimore of Lancaster Pediatric Associates is ready to silence the nagging health concerns that keep parents up at night. Through the new "Ask an Expert" forum on LancMoms.com, Dr. Fenimore will directly answer parents' questions about their children's health. It's an online service that may allay parents' fears, as well as give them valuable information for their children's well-being.
"This column will give people a starting point," Fenimore says. "It's perhaps the first thing [parents] can do."
Over the years, changes in the health care system have diminished the amount of time doctors and patients spend together during appointments. Non-vital health questions are often left unasked, Fenimore says. It's these types of issues that she especially hopes to address through the online forum, as well as through a monthly column in LancMoms Magazine.
"People often don't feel connected with their health care provider." she explains. [Doctors] feel it too. We want to be there for our patients, but the system is not perfect. And this [column] is one way to bridge the gap."
No question is off-limits, Fenimore emphasizes. Her frank discussion of puberty, to appear in the March 12th issue of LancMoms Magazine, is one example of her intention to create an open dialogue about all health issues.
The conversations Fenimore encourages in her work extend well into her family life. Dinner times ("completely underrated in the world," she notes) are opportunities to discuss pediatrics with her husband, Mitch, and two young sons, William and George. James Buchanan Elementary School - where her sons attend - has been a place to share her medical knowledge with students. And lunch is a chance to talk shop with Dr. William Boben, Jr., her father and fellow practitioner at Lancaster Pediatrics. "It's one of the best perk of the job!" she declares.
While some people draw definitive lines between work and family, Fenimore, a native and resident of Lancaster, continuously blurs those boundaries, and likes it that way. She does not feel guilty taking work calls at home - she has banished the word "guilt" from her vocabulary - and feels her children benefit from her commitment to her job.
"When I'm at work, I'm doing something for my kids.," she says. "I'm confident, happy ... I get validation from my kids when they brag about what I do. They understand that it's important."
So as a parent who is ready to give online advice to worrisome parents, one has to ask, does Dr. Fenimore worry about the same things other parents worry about?
"No," she says with a smile. ‘I don't worry about serious illness in my children. I don't spend nights looking at my boys with a fever, thinking they have meningitis. What a gift not to worry about that! I try to educate parents so they can stop worrying too."
And with a click of a mouse, that's just what she intends to do.
More about Dr. Pia Fenimore ...
Hobbies: She loves to ski, garden and, most passionately, travel.
Fun with the family includes: watching things explode and fizzle with home chemistry experiments; tending to their backyard veggie garden; hiking; and dancing in the living room to any type of music.
An interesting and random fact: There is always a bag of Swedish Fish in her desk drawer. And, she is unlikely to share them.
Some advice from the doctor: "Let your children know you value what they say and think by listening to them. We don't always need to solve their problems. Just listen."