Thursday, April 7, 2011
An Apple A Day
Do you have a favorite doctor? How would you describe him or her?
As parents of children with disabilities, we see a lot of doctors over the years. Some good – some not so good. But along the way, we usually find one or two that we trust completely. When I meet a parent with a young child and they are searching for doctors and specialists, I’m always reluctant to make a recommendation because my criteria for ‘good doctor’ might be different than theirs.
So I’m curious. What characteristics do you look for in a doctor? If you have a doctor you love, what’s special about them?
I’ve met a lot of good doctors since I first adopted Ashley 14 years ago. Here’s some examples, and these are definitly doctors I would recommend to new parents:
Dr. G was the pediatrician I first saw the week after I brought Ashley home. He was quirky and wore socks with his sandals. He played games with his patients and talked to them, not just to me. He trusted my opinions, and even asked for my thoughts. When my mother passed away and Ashley was marginally ill, he noticed I was super stressed and had Ashley admitted to the hospital ‘for observation’. Really it was just to get me some help for a few days. Dr. G also testified at my due process hearing when I was fighting for ESY services for Ashley, and he was one of the primary reasons we won that ESY battle.
Dr. M was also in the pediatric practice Dr. G was in. My first encounter with Dr. M was when he was convinced that he could get Ashley to take her medicine, medicine that I struggled to administer 3 times a day, every day. He told me that I should not put it in her bottle. So, I asked him to show me how to do it. After 30 minutes and a battle that left him scratched and bitten, he told me it would be ok to put her medicine in her bottle :) Dr. M would go from that point to the point of being the most skilled doctor at drawing blood from Ashley. She would sign ‘good job’ after every time he drew that blood. He came to understand her like no other doctor has. He won her heart by letting her play with his watch every time we showed up for an appointment, and when he retired, he gave Ashley his watch to keep. She still has it in a special place to this day.
Dr. T also saw Ashley the first week I brought her home and continues to see her today. His bedside manner leaves a lot to be desired, but I always felt he was the best at his specialty. I opted to give up bedside manner for skill. Once several years ago, he decided that his gray hair was making him look old, so he dyed it jet black. Ashley went in for an appointment and was scared to death because he looked so different! A year or so later, I would have to convince Dr. T that Ashley needed an MRI to check for brain tumors. She had previously had 2 tumors removed and her increasing seizures had me worried. He didn’t think it was necessary, but ordered the MRI anyway to make me happy. The MRI revealed three new brain tumors. Dr. T called me just hours after the MRI and made all the arrangements for Ashley to see a neurosurgeon the next day. I could hear the worry in his voice, and from that point forward, he and I have an understanding. He trusts me and I trust him. He’s working on his bedside manner, but he has never wavered from being the most skilled doctor of his specialty.
Good doctors are sometimes tough to find, but no parent should worry about switching doctors when necessary. Your child will signal to you when they are comfortable or uncomfortable with a particular doctor. Let them be your guide...