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August 14, 1998     Cape Gazette
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32 - CAPE GAZETTE, Friday, August 14 - August 20, 1998 HEALTH &amp; FITNESS Pediatrician likes challenge of adolescent medicine By Rosanne Pack If not for an annoying allergy to cats, Dr. Nancy M. Gideon might have been greeting furry, four-legged patients when she opened her office hours earlier this week. However, that allergy didn'tdampen her desire to pursue a career in medicine. When her interest switched from veterinary medi- cine to pediatrics, she found that her reac- tions to children are much more predictable and enjoyable than the ones that follow ex- posure to cats. The new pediatrician recently joined Dr. John Ludwicki at Lewes Pediatrics; she be- gan seeing patients thisweek. She and Lud- wicki are part of Beehe Medical Center's Physician Network, which now includes five pediatricians. A graduate of Hahne- mann University of Medicine in Philadel- phia, Gideon completed her residency this June at Eastern Virginia Medical School, Children's Hospital of the King's Daugh- ters, Norfolk. She is eager to treat children of all ages, but she has a special interest in adolescent medicine. "When I looked at groups that need to be served, it seemed that there is definitely a gap to be filled in working with adoles- cents," Gideon said. "I feel that people that age, especially female adolescents, might be more comfortable talking with a female doctor. 'I have the interest, and I think that there is a real need to work with adolescents." The doctor said the physiological and psychological changes that adolescents go through, coupled with the risk factors that the age group must confront, make treating them especially challenging and rewarding. "There is so much potential to engage in risk behavior," she said. "They are tempted to experiment with sex; they are exposed to alcohol and other drugs; they might want to start smoking., "This is an age where eating disorders might start; of course, there is access to all kinds of junk food. There is just a whole host of potentially harmful behaviors. There are a lot of preventative measures that can be taken." Gideon said that the pediatrician who works with adolescents has to prepare to treat the whole person; she said the Coun- seling component is very important in that aspect of a pediatric practice. The societal changes that take parents out of the home more also have bearing on the role a physi- cian must fill. "I take a combined approach to young people and their families," Gideon said. "I definitely want to include parents in dia- logue, but I also wantto encourage kids to talk openly withL me andknow that what they say to me is confidential. Ultimately, I want kids to go back andtalk to their par- ents; I want them to open lines of commu- nications within the family." Gideon said she has always enjoyed working with children. While in medical school, she created and worked with pro- grams for children from elementary school age to high school. She co-directed an ado- lescent substance abuse prevention project and volunteered for other programs for youngsters in high-risk situations. Her vol- unteer efforts took her into a clinic project for homeless people and into programming in a Boys &Gifts Club. "Working with the age span in the Boys & Girls Club was an eye-opening experi- ence," Gideon said. "What these kids know...or think that they know!" The new physician always thought that she wanted to go into pediatrics,and her pe- diatric residency convinced her that she was right to follow her instincts. She said that she did plan on veterinary medicine un- til a summer internShip in an animal hospi- tal brought the cat allergy to light. "Actually, veterinary medicine was my first choice, but then, I realized that this was going to be a real problem," she laughed. "When it came down to making a decision about a specialty, it was definitely pediatrics. And, I've never regretted it." Having patients that are, for the most part, healthy, is a big plus for Gideon. She said the potential for educating and guid- ing children so that they protect their health before it is damaged is very ex- citing for her. She said the opportunity to educate parents is also one that she looks forward to. "Prevention is one of the most important aspects of pedi- atrics," she said. "Sometimes with older patients, all you are doing is manag- ing conditions that they come with. When you can literally start with a new ba- by, and be part of the health program that helps prevent conditions down the road, it is a very good feeling." Gideon said that new and established medicines and vaccines are helping the health field treat and prevent some diseases and conditions that were once regarded as inevitable and almost a necessary part of life. She said a full compliment of inocula- tions can protect children from measles, mumps, chicken pox, hepatitis B, tetanus, polio and pertussis. "Some diseases, such as polio, are almost eradicated," she said. "Pneumococcal vac- cine is being given to youngsters with or at risk of sickle cell anemia; we expect to have a vaccine for Lyme disease soon. "And there is a new, exciting vaccine for rotavirus that is very promising; it could make life a lot easier and safer for many in- fants and. their families." The rotavirus causes inflammation of in- testinal lining and can cause severe diarrhea that can lead to dehydration. Present in fe- cal matter, the virus is spread when it is in- advertently picked up from a diaper or oth- er clothing and then passed on by touching the mouth or something that goes into the Ben Sowden o Dr. John Ludwieki welcomes Dr. Nancy Gideon to Lewes Pediatrics. mouth. "It is highly contagious, and it can go through a day care center or early child- hood center," Gideon said. "Some children have such a severe case that they have to be hospitalized. This vaccine might be effec- tive enough that it will be included in the routine inoculations." The pediatrician said that family histories are very important in completing a patient's history. With a-comprehensive record of parents' health, conditions such as high cholesterol, heart disease, asthma and obe- sity might be prevented, or at least, kept un- tier control. She said even risk behaviors in parents, such as smoking, drug abuse and overeating, can signal the potential for problem conditions in young patients. "There are just a lot of exciting things happening every day in pediatric medi- cine," Gideon said. "'I look forward to my practice here, I look forward to becoming part of the community!" Gideon is a native of Annapolis. She is married to Dr. Jeffrey Hawtof, a family physician who will practice at the new Beebe Health Center/Long Neck. The cou- ple expects their first child in January. Lewes Pediatrics is at 400 Savannah Road. Obstacles may prevent good listening Take a look at some of the com- mon obstacles to active listening that typically interfere with healthy communicationi Learn to recogniz e them when they are happening. And remem- ber that obstacles can usually be removed. To have good commu- nications, roadblocks must be rec- ognized and removed. See if yo u use any of the following tech- niques to block communication: Being judgmental When you have already made a negative judgment about some- one, you will stop listening to what they have to say. You may listen only to gather evidence that supports your negative opinion of the other person. Unfortunately, if you are not able to listen to the totality of what the person is saying, you will stay locked into your nega- tive opinion. Rehearsing Your mind actively creates your argument against the speaker's point of view as it is being pre- sented. This implies that you have your own established opinions and that you are closed to what the other has to say. * Filtering You will hear some things that the other person talks about, but HEALTH TOPICS not everything. There may be some topics, like the speaker's Joel Vanini, L.C.S.W. anger toward you that you simply block out because you aren't as Joel Vanini has a private ready to deal with them as the oth -. practice in Georgetown, She er person might be. is available at Bridge Coun- Filtering may be helpful when it is used to lessen the impact of bringing up an avoided topic, but continuing it for very long usually means that it might be best to ex- seling Center, 856.9190 or by e-maik <bridge@ee.net>. amine the meaning behind your need to attend selectively to infor- mation. Advising Sometimes people just need to be heard. We don't have to fix every problem the other person talks about. Giving advice instead of just listening may make us feel needed, or it may be a way of dis- tancing ourselves from the other's true feelings. To tell others how they should feel or behave is away of belit- tling or telling them they are not to be trusted. Unless advice is asked for, it might be best not to give it. Mind reading You may disregard what your partner is saying and try to figure out what he or she is really trying to say. You are acting like an expert on your partner's feelings, but this deprives your partner of the abili- ty to communicate freely and with candor...and for you to understand your partner's stated point of view. Pleasing You are so concerned about be- ing nice, keeping the peace and placating that you'll jump in to agree just to keep everything hap- py and smooth. It may be helpful to look at why you feel impelled to do this and what it might mean for your rela- tionship. Pleasing prevents you from hearing what your partner really needs to say. Deflecting Whenever a certain topic is brought up that makes you un- comfortable, you redirect the con- versation to something else. You'll tell a joke or change the subject, even if the topic is of gen- uine concern to your partner.