November 5, 2009

The Good Doctor

Carter had an appointment with his Pulmonologist today to discuss the results of his sleep study.  After I left, I started to think about how much I really appreciate her and everything she does for Carter.  It's a long drive home, so I had a lot of time to process what had happened and how I felt about it. 

It seems like ages ago that we were sitting in the hospital room with a doctor who looked like he couldn't be more than twelve years old.  This doc was pretty much telling us that Carter needed a Tracheostomy, and he needed it now.  Many of the reasons he gave were valid, but we just couldn't bring ourselves to take that step quite yet.  I'm not even sure that this particular doctor ever even used Carter's name.  It seemed as though he was more intrigued by Carter's genetics than by Carter himself.  It was at that point that we made a turning point in our parenting style for Carter.  Up until then we had taken everything that the docs had told us almost as the word of God.  It didn't matter that we didn't really think that he needed a heart cath....we agreed to it because the doc told us it was the right thing to do. After nine days in the hospital (because of the heart cath) we knew that we absolutely had to stand up for what Carter needed.  We had enough of the hospital treating our son like a guinea pig because of his genetics.

That wasn't the only time that Carter was treated that way.  After his cleft lip/palate surgery, we had a resident who was going over Carter's history with us.  Granted, Carter's medical files can be quite overwhelming especially when it's the first time you get his case, but he was only supposed to spend one night in this unit before being discharged. As this resident checked him over, I did not get a warm fuzzy feeling AT.ALL.  She kept drilling me about all of his medical problems and asked me over and over what was being done for each and every.little.thing.  After her exam (when I started getting a bit nasty with her), she told us what her "plan" for Carter was.  She acted like she was taking on the role as his new Pediatrician and wanted to change his feedings and such. Instead of one more night in the hospital, she was acting like he was going to be there for a few more weeks while she put her "plan" into action. Then she proceeded to tell us "obviously I can't fix everything that is wrong with him on this visit, but I'll do what I can".  What?!  Carter had been doing wonderfully and just needed to finish recovery from his surgery.  We weren't there for anything else. This experience just made us even more protective of him.  The point I'm making is that I can't stand it when some of these doctors act like Carter is just a giant folder of medical history.  He is a person too.  Yes, his genetics are a little different, but he is a person and deserves to be treated as one.

I know that this is probably not making any sense, but it is something that I thought about as I took my long drive home today.  We had such a good visit with the Pulmonologist and I realized that part of the reason was that this doctor treats him like a person.  She continually played with him during the entire conversation.  She kept telling him how cute he was and how proud of him she was. She couldn't wait to see who he would grow into and couldn't believe how far he had come.  After reading his sleep study, the doc decided that Carter just needs a little more Oxygen while he sleeps.  We're upping him to 1 liter at night, and she told me that we could take him off of the O2 during the day as long as his saturation stays in the 90's.  For the most part he can do room air while awake, so we just need to get him used to it a little more.  The doc did tell me that she thought that some other docs might not care for her decision to not try him on CPAP, but she was looking out for Carter and truly thought this is what is best for him.  She told us to come back in ONE YEAR (wow!) for another sleep study UNLESS anything came up that we needed her for.  She told me that she is always there for Carter. Oh, and she also said that she expected that his next sleep study will have improved significantly over this one.  Only time will tell.


Rachael said...

Good for you Heather, I know we are not Dr's but we are their mothers and sometimes we are smarter than them. We know what's best we always have and we always will. Don't ever feel bad for choosing your children over someone else's feelings or egos. Glad he is doing well.

Shannon said...

It's so good to find a doctor who listens to you and values you. It's so easy to just follow what doctors say blindly because they are the "experts." I love reading about Carter's progress and am inspired by you and Mike's example as parents.

Phyllis said...

Oh those good doctors can make all the difference! It is such a journey but it sounds like Carter continues to get bigger, stronger and more independent!