Thursday, July 26, 2007

the pediatrician

i met my children's pediatrician when my firstborn was three days old - the day after we brought Sam home from the hospital.

i knew when I was prego i was supposed to research and even interview the pediatrician i wanted to use. all the baby books tell you to do this. some even offer a list of interview questions to ask. and as crazy vigilant i was as a mom-to-be, this is one thing that did not get done.

and as fate would have it - i needed one as soon as i got my daughter home - she was jaundiced and she wouldn't poop. and rule #1 with a newborn is that what goes in must come out.

so i was panicked. completely. and hormonal. FROM HELL.

so i looked up a pediatrician in my insurance information booklet near my home. i called. he was no longer in practice. a new dr had bought him out. yes, they still accepted my insurance and yes, they could see my daughter right away.

i had a pediatrician.

i clearly remember my first impressions. her office waiting room was quite small and unassuming. nothing flashy, glossy or expensive in sight. and i remember thinking - we'll just get through this poop/jaundice thing and then i'll find a "proper pediatrician." one with Dr. Seuss murals on the wall and child size chairs in the waiting room.

after making my judgements about the Dr's office, i looked down at my tiny baby and my RAGING hormones caught up with me. i told my mom - through tears - "if i can't talk when we get in there, if i get upset, you'll have to tell the Dr. what's wrong with my baby." my mom just nodded.

in the exam room, waiting on the dr., imagining the absolute worst with my daughter, the tears start. again.

directly, this hugely alive, beautiful, impish, dark skinned woman glides in. i automatically and without reservation hold up my baby and offer her to this woman. she says "no, no, no. you hold her and i'll examine her in your lap."

and that's just what she did. kindly. gently. expertly. all the while asking me questions. reassuring me. and she put us on the right path. that day. to get Sam on the mend and pooping.

i never, ever, not even once considered changing pediatricians again. not even after we moved to the country and were a full hour drive away from her. and the year we lived in mississippi - so Sam could attend a specialized preschool - i had the mississippi pediatrician make copies of everything on each child so i could send back to her to put in their files in her office.

every single time i phone her office, i have gotten in that day. no runaround or delay of any kind. ever.

she phones me on nights and weekends to check on sick children.

she takes my calls in the middle of the day or returns them immediately.

she has referred me to umpteen specialist over the years. and she knows how to prepare me for each one. warns me if i will not like their bedside manner or if i will appreciate their direct approach or use of new techniques. she knows me - what i like, what i expect and what i will sacrafice and tolerate for the sake of my children's care.

she will walk out of the exam room - during an exam - and call a specialist on the spot if she has a question about treating one of my kids.

when smith was deathly ill earlier this year, she called me on my cell several times a day and often ended up speaking to the ER doc's on my cell phone.

she has held our hand, been directly involved and encouraged us every step of the way in all of sam's medical, speech and behaviour issues.

she gave ME (made me take) a flu shot one year when i had not had mine - and the kids were getting theirs.

she listens to me. she encourages me. she praises me and she tells me where i need to do better.

she is meticulously detail oriented. whenever I take the kids in for their yearly check-ups, I spit-shine every square inch of them. Teeth, clean. Hair, washed and brushed. finger and toenails, clipped and cleaned. not a speck of dirt on them anywhere - which is a real rarity with my kids. i just don't want to be busted for any small transgression...

yesterday was such a visit. school physical for Sam, yearly check-up for Savvy. and i promise you, she spent 45 minutes with me and my kids. right after she started with us, she looked up and says, "you don't mind if i go take care of the family in the next room, do you? They will be out quickly and then i won't be rushed with you." of course i don't mind.

she was back in a few minutes and each girl got a thorough interview and exam followed by a hug and a kiss. next to me - this woman knows the most about my kids. i tell her everything.

she sends the girls out to hang with the nurses so she can talk to me in private. wants to know how i am doing. how's the move going? anything i want to tell her while the kids are not there...

i LOVE this woman. i do.

if you are ever in Dallas and need a referral for a ped - gimme a call.

i've learned a lot about being a mother since my first visit to her office.

and still, at first glance, her office ain't much, but after a few visits, it feels like the Taj Mahal!


buddha_girl said...

I want her name if only to copy this post and send it to her so she can see the impact she's had on you and your children.

All too often pediatrician's receive the snub treatment from fellow physicians/surgeons because pediatrics is considered a 'nothing' field to many doctors. Little do they know that children and their parents are the MOST challenging clients doctors will ever have.

Like you, I adore my son's pediatrician. I also loved his very first one who cried when she broke the news to me that she and her husband were moving. *sigh* We're blessed, Cole. Definitely.

Incredible post.

Anonymous said...

I am like you about our ped doc. He wasn't the first one we had, the original even after the "interview" failed to let's say, "MESH" with my daughter and my husband and I. At 6 weeks old, we moved Loud Girl to a new doc and I thank the Big Guy upstairs every day for it. He's saved us so many times I can't count. LOVE HIM, LOVE HIS PARTNERS.

You should share this post with your doc!

Glad the visits went well!

Lots of love,


Big Pissy said...

She sounds absolutely wonderful.

If I ever have grandchildren, I hope they have a ped half as good as yours.

p.s. why are you so mad at me? ;-)