Way back in the day when Olivia was an infant, we saw the pediatrician who cared for Alyssa. He was a great doctor for diagnosing strep and ear infections. To his credit, he even opened his office for me one Saturday morning to test Alyssa for strep when I called the emergency line to report she had a fever and a lacy rash all over her upper chest. Yes, it was strep.
But…he wasn’t convinced there was anything wrong with Olivia. He finally diagnosed her with reflux when she was four months old. This diagnosis came along once she’d developed a dry cough, the result of the acid irritating her throat. He hadn’t been convinced by the months and months of our appointments at which I’d report that Olivia cried all the time. He told me often (as in at every single appointment) that she probably didn’t really cry that much more than your average baby, but instead I was a very tired mom, caring for an infant and a preschooler.
Ugh! What the hell ever. Obviously, this still pisses me off.
Anyway, this doctor not only poo-pooed me about the crying due to reflux issue, he also told me, over and over again, that Olivia was just a little delayed, she’d catch up eventually and we didn’t need to worry. He was never, ever proactive. When she was nine months old and still wasn’t holding her head up, let alone sitting on her own or close to crawling, he only went along with an MRI to appease me.
This is the same doctor who didn’t seem concerned at all when she was two years old and not walking. I don’t think he actually rolled his eyes at me when I requested a referral to Riley Hospital for Children but I think he might have wanted to.
My step sons take their kids to this doctor. And you know? It’s fine because these kids are healthy and like I said, Dr. H is great at diagnosing regular childhood illnesses. He just sort of sucks at figuring out rare chromosomal disorders that don’t present in a typical way. The problem he had with diagnosing Olivia is that he wouldn’t look past her physical beauty, her facial features that presented in a typical way and look at her actual symptoms. Her cat cry at birth, her low birth weight even though she was nine days overdue. He didn’t see her low muscle tone or her obvious delays. He saw a very pretty baby who was a little floppy and he looked at me and saw a nervous, overwrought mother.
Tom talked to D, his younger son last week. D’s son, N just turned a year old. N isn’t quite walking yet and he’s not talking much. But…he’s a year old. He is walking behind push toys and grunting while pointing. He has a three year old brother who talks for him. Typical second child stuff.
D told Tom that at N’s one year checkup, Dr. H told D and his girlfriend that when he (Dr. H) sees N at his 15 month checkup, N needs to be walking independently and talking in full sentences. When we saw Dr. H for O’s one year checkup she wasn’t sitting up, she wasn’t crawling and obviously, she was nowhere near walking. She wasn’t babbling either. He said she was fine, that she was a little behind but he was sure she’d catch up. I had to ASK for a referral to an early intervention program to start Olivia on therapies. He gave the referral and sent us on our way.
When Tom told me about N’s appointment and what Dr. H wanted to see from N in three months, it made me laugh. But then, it kind of pissed me off.
Then I gave it even more thought and wondered if maybe, just maybe, Dr. H learned from me and Olivia. We were still seeing him as our regular pediatrician (for ear checks and weight checks) when we finally got Olivia’s 5p- diagnosis. He admitted that he was very surprised by the results.
He also had to be reminded at every single appointment that she was his patient with 5p- syndrome.
I hope he learned from her and from me. I hope he takes his patients and their parents more seriously these days. We don’t see this doctor anymore because we moved and now the girls see the doctor I’ve seen for years. This doctor delivered Alyssa and he was the one who was there when Olivia was born. He was the one who admitted that he couldn’t care for her and sent her to a bigger hospital with a NICU. He still often needs to be reminded of O’s syndrome when we go in for regular checkups or for sick visits but I’m used to that. Olivia doesn’t present with 5p- in a typical way so she’ll probably always have to remind her doctors and I’m learning to be okay with that.
I really do hope he learned from us. I think it’s a good thing for doctors to continue learning and growing and if his experience with our family helps him be a better doctor to his current patients, well, all is not lost.