Last week I took Parker to see the neurologist for his usual 3 month appointment. I always find myself needing to ready myself for these appointments. Not just with making sure the notebook is ready, but, I need to be mentally ready for the verbal fencing match that always ensues. I guess it is mostly just a neurologist issue because I don’t get this nervous feeling before any other doctor appointment. It is not just this neurologist either. Parker has seen over a half dozen different neurologists and they have mostly been fairly similar. They tend to have a rather harsh way of speaking and they don’t ever have time for anything beyond the scope of their specialty. If you are not ready and on your toes, be prepared to get run over. It took me awhile to figure this out, but, now I am armed and ready when I arrive on the scene. In fact, I was particularly proud of myself at this last appointment. She always asks how he is doing and have any changes taken place and how I measure the changes. I am usually ready with an answer and this time was no different. I told her how well Parker has been doing with his gross motor skills and she was very happy. I added that his speech teacher and I have recently discovered that he is probably color blind which I expected her to be interested in. This was my first opportunity this visit to match wits. She looked at me and nonchalantly said that that is irrelevant to what we are doing here. She started to move on and I spoke up over her and said that it is very relevant because Parker knowing his colors has always been a guide for us as to how he is doing educationally. It is one facet, but, nonetheless, a part of his repertoire to help us gauge his progress. Score one for Mom! She backed down and acknowledged what I said and its importance and suggested we find a new device to monitor. Really, you think???? I’m glad she suggested that, it never would have occurred to me!!! At first she dismissed my point and then talks to me like I am an idiot. Neurologists!
I must admit, at this point I was feeling pretty good about myself and my ability to keep up this mental battle of wits. The next battle was when I was discussing a website that I had found that upset me because it presented the VNS as troublesome and leading to more cases of death. I just wanted to get her opinion face to face. I had heard her opinion second hand already, but, the face to face would definitely alleviate any residual worries I still had about it. She wouldn’t let me finish what I was trying to tell her and kept talking over me and my concerns. I let her go on for awhile and finally I spoke over her and said no, that was not what I was going to say. I finally finished what I had intended to say and then got my answer and it was as expected. Even so, I felt much better about the situation and now I can put it to rest.
One time, while seeing the neurologist, I was pouring out my heart about how badly Parker sleeps and how desperate we were feeling. I was hoping and praying for an answer to get him to sleep better. We never got an answer in California and I was hoping since North Carolina had so far been the state with our answers, we might get another one. I was trying not to whine about the situation, just give the facts and make it clear how difficult life has been for us. I just wanted her to understand that an answer would be so enormously appreciated. When I finished speaking, all she said to me was that she could give me a list of group homes. I was flabbergasted at her response and I just said no to that and became very quiet. At this visit, I hadn’t learned the game yet. I had several more of these sarcastic, nasty remarks at subsequent visits and slowly I became versed in the game of wits. Now, I must say I am about as good a player as she is and I am getting better each visit. I never would have expected to have to learn to be quick on my feet to keep up with nasty remarks from a doctor, but, here I am and I do what I must. I am still respectful because she is my son’s doctor, but, I am not a good advocate if I am not getting my answers and not getting my information relayed.
After seeing Parker’s first neurologist at 5 months old and having her examine him for about 5 minutes and look at me and say that he would never walk and never talk, I walked out and told Tim, Parker’s Child Development Specialist, that I didn’t like her or her manner. I added that I would not go back to her or her group of doctors. Tim told me that there is a running joke that when doctors are going through medical school, the ones that fail a personality test get ushered into the specialty of neurology. I now know what he is talking about after going through 7 different neurologists. Crazy me, I thought that if a person chose pediatrics that meant that he or she would have a terrific bedside manner and would have a particular love for kids. I expected sweetness and got, Yikes! But, at least now I am prepared for battle upon arrival and we are getting results. The process may not be pretty, but, results are the key.