What in life gives you your greatest pleasure?
Playing golf, watching the Steelers play football, and my family.
What angers or frustrates you?
Paperwork. It gets in the way of taking care of patients; and I guess, inefficient communications, primarily at work.
What pleases you?
When my patients get better. It's so nice to see a really sick kid get better and smile.
Who has most influenced your life?
My mother, (Dr. Ann Louise Buck, a radiologist), my father, (Dr. Rudolph Buck, a cardiologist), and my brother (Dr. David Buck, also a radiologist); I guess because our home environment was incredibly stable and predictable. People were surprised to find out that both of my parents were doctors and we had such a normal life. I thought it was normal. We did a lot of things together ... had dinner at the same time every night ... watched baseball.
My life now is the result of the influence that I had then. My parents got up and went to work every day. That to me, was an expectation. They went out and did something good with their time ... helped people and took care of their family, and watched sports on the weekend. That's pretty much what I do.
Who are your heroes?
"Babe" Dedrikson-Zaharius, Roberto Clemente, and Mark Bruener. I love sports ... but I find it to be a very selfish thing to do. I think these people actually did more than just be sports stars. They did or do other things to make a difference.
If you could have a conversation with anybody, living or dead, who would that be, and why?
There's a million, but I gotta say Pittsburgh Steelers coach Bill Cowher and John Wooden, former coach of the UCLA Bruins basketball team. It's an honest-to-God answer. I always joke about calling Cowher and talking about the offense and throwing the ball to Mark Bruener more, because God knows he's always open because nobody guards him because he's a big guy who lumbers. I'd talk about football and I'd talk about Pittsburgh, another one of my big obsessions, and I'd talk about his kids. He has two daughters who are teenagers.
Coach Wooden is just a real gentleman and a basketball genius.
When did you know you wanted to become a doctor?
In high school. Really, the only thing I could ever see myself doing was sports or being a doctor, and truly, that was because of the way I was brought up. Not because I was forced in either one. I can assure you, the last thing my parents ever wanted me to do was be a doctor. But that was all that was talked about at dinner. I played basketball and golf in high school. I was a guard on our basketball team that played twice in the state finals, but never won. I still play basketball with some friends in the morning.
What's the best and worst things about being a pediatrician?
The best ... my patients. I just like to talk to kids. Many of my patients aren't even sick. I just like to see them. They are amusing and genuine. They'll talk to you about anything ... and some things that don't even exist. If I'm out in public, I'll talk to kids I don't even know.
The worst thing is when a kid dies. It's terrible. It's not right. Kids aren't supposed to die before their parents. Fortunately, it happens infrequently.
What's the most important skill you bring to your job?
I feel that I am able to talk to kids in a very nonthreatening way and examine them very efficiently. Often when I'm examining them, they think I'm just someone's mother, and don't realize I'm a doctor, so they don't have that anxiety of some guy in a white coat with a tie on.
How do you balance your career with being a wife and mother?
For me it's normal ... it's how I was raised. Also, I'm getting better with that little word which is 'no.' You can only do so much.
Where do you go to get away from it all physically and mentally?
Exercise ... is my total mental vacation. I either play basketball or I ride my exercise bike. I rarely jog because I hurt my knee a couple years ago. If I'm getting really crabby I know I haven't exercised.
What is there about you that even your close friends may not know?
I am extremely competitive ... which I try to temper. Also, I take great pride in my perennial flower garden.