Given that my kiddo had his ADHD appointment and flu shot on Wednesday and I had my flu shot/pneumonia shot yesterday, the subject of doctors is fresh on my mind. I thought I’d share some things I’ve learned in having to find doctor’s and specialists for Daniel. As always, your experience may vary.
[+] Do your homework. Generally, most medical practices have a website and they usually talk a little bit about the doctor’s education, what their passions are with regard to medicine, if they do anything outside of the clinic like medical missions trips, etc. Read up on all of this so you can ask intelligent questions.
[+] Look for doctors who can think out of the box a little bit. Daniel hates doctors. He HATES them and part of it is that he hates being stuck in an exam room or restrained for an exam. Dr. Phenomenal, his pediatrician at UC Davis, used to have them schedule us for her first appointment of the morning when part of the clinic would be empty. We’d go for a walk around the empty part so that Daniel could open/close doors to his hearts content and she and I could have a conversation about whatever was concerning me. We’d pop into empty exam rooms every so often so she could do things like check his ears or listen to his heart, but she was more than happy to let him run. In return, he was slightly better about her messing with him to check his ears.
Dr. Awesome, his pediatrician here in Washington, is similar in that her approach is not to mess with him unless she has to. She lets him play with the automatic paper towel dispenser and turn off the computer screen for her which probably makes him like her because he *NEVER* gets to do stuff like that when it’s just me in the room!
[+] Find a balance between respecting their education but also not letting them speak down to you. Remember that your technical degree or bachelor’s degree in the humanities is not equivalent to their medical degree. This means that while you can ask questions about that blog post you read on the Wheatbelly blog that talks about how all gluten is bad for us, they’re going to tell you that only around 1% of the population actually *HAS* celiac disease and the Wheatbelly people are quacks and you should *LISTEN* to them. (Dr. William Davis is a cardiologist, not a gastroenterologist. There’s a difference.)
By the same token, don’t settle for doctors being condescending to you. You know your kid and they need to treat you with respect, even if you come across as a hysterical mom. One of Daniel’s pediatric neurologists had a resident working under her who treated me like I could only understand one-syllable words. Later, I mentioned to the neurologist and her entourage that Daniel was starting an ABA preschool program and Dr. Condescending asked me what ABA was. The rest of the entourage was similarly clueless so the neurologist asked me to explain it to them. It was fun watching their faces when I told them that “ABA is a methodology of working with kids with autism in which you achieve the desired behavior by modifying the antecedent.” They looked at me as if to say, “oh crap… she has a brain!”
This is all for now. Leave me any questions you have.