M has pink eye. How we had managed to go for over seven years unscathed by this lovely bacteria, I am not sure. Actually, I think we might be fairly average in this regard, (I've never had it in my 37), but my pediatrician's shock over it made me wonder if it was that unusual to have not experienced such joy as of yet. His chuckle-y reaction got me thinking about how we are perceived by the doctors we visit who aren't traditionally the ones who see kids on the spectrum or with other special needs very often. Do they assume that with all the other craziness we seem to embody that our kids are likely to get every ailment under the sun compounded with their unfortunate tempting of the odds to have their chosen disability in the first place?
We live in a smallish town that requires one to drive over a small mountain (or a large hill--whichever optimistic/pessimistic approach you'd like to apply to this road that winds up and then down) if you want to go to any of the big box stores. And if you want to go to really good doctors...well, the word on the streets is that you should drive over the hill for that, too.
We do drive over the hill for most of our doctors, and even for a developmental pediatrician that also assists us with our biomedical intervention. However, I also wanted an in-network pediatrician nearby for those times when my kids are sick and none of us has the desire to sit in a car 30-minutes each way; not to mention a doctor who only charges us a standard co-pay rather than the full amount of a visit up front that we must then wait to get a meager reimbursement for...oh, the expenses we hopeful parents must endure!
This was the doctor we saw yesterday. He truly is a lovely man; a youngish doctor who is genuinely trying to set up an old-school, small town practice where he gets to know his patients a bit better than in the bigger towns. There are plenty of kids in our town with disabilities, but I get a strong sense he doesn't see many of them on a regular basis; and the ones he does see, I suspect are a bit easier going about doctor visits than poor M is. Whenever we go to see him (which is rarely, thank goodness) he sort of looks at me like 'how do you want me to go about doing this?' In fact, for the required school health check last year, he literally did say to me, 'What of these required items do you think I can check?' I suppose I always respect a person who is willing to admit when they don't know something, but I am so frazzled by the time we are five minutes into most appointments that I haven't even got an idea of why we are there or what my name is.
We got out relatively unscathed yesterday. I only had to wrestle M's very, very strong 62 pounds during an under-the-arm temperature scan and when the doctor was checking his ears and nose. But the times when we have had to do strep test swabs...fuggedaboutit. On those occasions I leave sweat-colored and exasperated; unnecessarily apologetic and embarrassed. I know that the doctor likely takes pity on me more than he does M. He practically said so yesterday with his comment that he felt bad for me because he knew this was going to get even more difficult as M gets bigger and stronger. It left me with a sort of unease because I am in a transitional phase with this hopeful parenting thing; a phase where I am trying my hardest to stop feeling sorry for myself and projecting that sorrow onto other people. I realize that until I can allow that transition to fully happen people-doctors included-are going to continue to put their focus on me and not necessarily as much on M.
As M's Mom and main caregiver and advocate, I have to continue to seek out the best doctors to treat and understand my son. But above and beyond that, I have to find doctors that care about him and want to get to know him. These are the gems we have to seek out to become members of our children's very important teams.
Mama Deb rambles at This Is My New Normal.