Lynn Sussman-Orenstein marchesYou could look at Lynn...


June 06, 1993|By Mary Corey

Lynn Sussman-Orenstein marches

You could look at Lynn Sussman-Orenstein and say she does more than her share. A nurse in the AIDS unit of Johns Hopkins Hospital, she not only cares for patients but also speaks at their funerals and comforts their families.

Why, then, does she feel compelled to spend today -- one of her precious days off -- participating in AIDSWALK, a 3 1/2 -mile trek through northern Baltimore that raises money for area AIDS services?

"Nurses are advocates," she says. "It's important that we be the voice for patients who are too tired to fight."

In more ways than one, she won't be alone.

Since she began walking five years ago, her 9-year-old dog, Abe, has been her constant companion -- and clever sales tool.

She credits her 15-pound pet (part Pekingese, part poodle) with helping her raise $2,500 this year, a figure that puts her among the leading pledge recipients.

"I even take him to visit patients sometimes," says Ms. Sussman-Orenstein, 40, who lives in Hampstead.

She joined the unit in 1987 after learning of the nursing shortage for AIDS patients.

"When I first started, I was really involved in the idea that I was watching people die," she says. "But then I realized that's not the way to think about my job. I have to take it day by day, hour by hour." Therapist Brad Sachs often falls captive to the tales of new parents who are struggling through marriage apres baby. His book "Things Just Haven't Been the Same: Making the Transition from Marriage to Parenthood" (William Morrow, $20) looks at the rewards -- and difficulties -- of what he calls "an exquisitely difficult time" to be parents.

The 36-year-old Columbia psychologist, who also writes a column for American Baby magazine, believes that today's economic and social pressures are pushing each parent to accomplish what both parents together were expected to achieve during the 1950s.

"Women are supposed to be in love with motherhood, instinctively know how to deal with any parenting issue and have a successful career," he says. "Men must not only succeed at breadwinning but also risk more intimate contact with their children in a way their fathers never did."

He finds marriages often suffer when couples expect super-parenting from their spouses as well as from themselves.

"Men need to remember that women can be just as confused or irritated or resentful about parenting as men are."

While Dr. Sachs works on a new book, he and his wife, psychiatrist Karen Meckler, do field work in parenting with help from Josh, 6; Matthew, 3; and 4-month-old Jessica.

Linell Smith

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