The alarm buzzes and soon the Hartford house will be buzzing, too. Dr. Mia Hartford, a cardiologist in her seventh year of practice, loves her hectic routine. While she rushes the kids (one boy and one girl) along to begin their day, she stops for just a second to try and guess what's cooking downstairs for breakfast. Thank heavens for Mrs. Holloway—cook, housekeeper, and nanny extraordinaire. The Hartford house couldn't function without her.
Downstairs, Mia settles a quick but vitally important argument between her pre-schoolers over who gets to drink juice from the Spongebob cup this morning. Sigh. Note to self, find another Spongebob cup, ASAP. Add that to the million other things Dr. Hartford has going on. No big deal.
The kids are digging into their breakfast—cut-up fruit, lean sausage, and scrambled eggs—when Dad comes downstairs, briefcase in hand. "Morning! I'd love to have breakfast with you guys, but I'm going to have to settle for a protein bar and coffee to go. I've got a patient in the ER. See you tonight, though!'' Then he looks at Mia. ''I'll see you in the office as soon as I can. ''
Such is life in the Hartford house. Two busy doctor parents, plus two young children, plus one dog, plus one cat, equals a three-ring circus. Mia, taking it all in stride, looks at Mrs. Holloway and says, ''Guess I'm having breakfast here this morning.''
As busy as they are, the Hartfords try to make sure at least one parent is there for breakfast with the kids every morning. They could hardly preach balance to their patients if they didn't practice it themselves, right?
''I'll skip the gym for now and just shower and dress here instead. Hopefully, working out will work in to my schedule later in the day.''
By 8:15AM, Mia makes it into the office, after getting dressed, throwing her workout clothes in a bag, and refereeing two more versions of World War III between her kids. "What were they fighting about again?" she wonders while pouring herself a fresh cup of coffee. Oh, never mind. She has less than fifteen minutes before she sees her first patient of the day and she needs to begin checking files––now.
Some people can't understand how Mia and her husband, also a cardiologist, could work together. But it works great for them. They have another heart specialist in their practice, plus an imaging specialist to help out on mornings like this. If her husband has any echocardiograms (ECGs or EKGs) or stress tests scheduled before he gets back from the hospital, the three of them can cover it.
Mia's cell phone beeps with a text message from her husband. "ER patient ok. Consulting on another possible heart patient. Will complete rounds. Be there by noon."
Another advantage of two cardiologists being married? Taking each other's hospital rounds. Now that the hubby's going to do the hospital rounds to check on their patients who've had stents or a pacemaker put in to make their tickers quicker, Mia's got an extra two hours in her day.
Or so she thought. Those extra two hours disappear like a snow cone in July. Over the next four hours, Mia sees almost a dozen patients. More tests needed for patient #1; check the Physician's Desk Reference (PDR) for information on changing patient #2's prescription; write orders for an ECG for patient #3; etc., etc.
It’s a hectic, busy day, as always, but Mia loves to help people take control and manage their health. After several years in practice, she finds great satisfaction with helping others manage their conditions, as opposed to curing their conditions. Cures aren't always possible, but managing usually is.
Mia hasn't even had time to think about lunch as she finishes with the last patient of the morning. Walking the patient to the lobby, then saying goodbye, she turns to the receptionist and asks, ''Has my husband made it back yet?''
The receptionist gives her a sly grin and sends Mia to the conference room. There, her husband is waiting with lunch: two grilled chicken salads with all the trimmings. They eat, relax for a few moments, and then check files for the afternoon appointments.
At the end of the day, after the last patient leaves, Mia ducks into her office and quickly changes into her work-out clothes. She stops by her husband's office and drags his attention away from a new study showing positive results for paleo eating plans and heart-related illnesses.
''Hey, I'm heading to the Wellness Center to pump some iron.''
''Should I be afraid?''
''Not as long as you keep bringing me lunch like that,'' Mia laughs. ''I'll see you at home in an hour or so.''
Later in the evening, Mia pulls out a book after tucking the kids in bed. As she reads Everything Has A Heart to them, she wonders if she's subconsciously trying to brainwash her son and daughter into following in their parents' footsteps. Oh, well. They could do a lot worse.
By 10:00PM, Mia settles into bed with a book of her own: a travel guide to some of America's most beautiful spots. Her husband walks in and checks out her book.
''Planning a trip? Really? Dr. Dedicated wants to actually leave town and cardiology behind for a week or two? Cool. Where are we going?''
''I'm thinking deep in the heart of Texas.''
''Mia, that's not a place. That's an old kid's folk song.''
''Okay," she laughs. ''Seriously, I'm thinking Coeur d'Alene, Idaho. Where else would two cardiologists and their kids go?''