Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Wanna Play Doctor?

When we moved here a year ago I had to pick all new doctors. So when I was picking a gynecologist, I asked one friend to tell me who she used. Here you go random doctor lady, take a look at my vagina. When I was picking a dentist, I checked my insurance plan and picked the dentist on the list who was the closest to my house. Here you go random man in a face mask, please feel free to stick needles directly into my gums.

When I picked a pediatrician, well that was different and special. I asked a lot of friends who they use. Tons. I asked for references and feedback. I set up appointments to actually interview the various doctors. To be honest I had no idea what to ask. Schooling? Are you cool with kids watching Nemo a few times in a row on special occasions? Will you make me feel like a bad mother if I bring my child in with pencils shoved up her nose?

I made up a bunch of questions to make me look smart. I sat and tried to get the “this person is mostly with it” vibe. And I picked someone. Lovely woman. Sweet with kind eyes. She is cool with television and I don’t think she’d ever make me feel like a bad mother (unless it was wine bottles shoved up the nose). And since we started going to her I only have had nice things to say.

But I am getting a new pediatrician.

She did nothing wrong. Her office staff is fantastic. I can get past the crazy office hours. And I can get past the no windows in the office thing. A little trouble getting past her mustache (how can you get through medical school but not pass Waxing 101?). But what I can’t get past, what I can’t stop obsessing over, what is making me go through the whole arduous process again is the one question I didn’t ask. And when I finally did ask it, it was too late.

I didn’t ask her if she had her own children.

It seems silly. I don’t care that a man delivered my daughter. I figure he’s seen enough chinas to know what’s up. I don’t care if my dentist never had a cavity. He has seen enough people in pain to know that he better be careful with that needle. But you can’t truly learn what it’s like to have a child until you actually have one.

Granted, everyone’s experience is different and I’m sure she has seen hundreds of mommies and answered thousands of questions. But this is different. You don’t know what it’s like those first few months, when you are so tired and so questioning everything you do. You can’t understand unless you have seen a life you have created and nurtured come home from school with a 103 degree fever. It is a change in your life and in your being that no schooling can prepare you for. No exam. No nothing.

So I’m going to go a little nuts. I have a whole new baby on the way and I can’t take somebody seriously unless I know they at least marginally know where my brain is. I have a lot of phone calls to make, and a lot of questions to ask. I’ll get started tomorrow… right after my appointment with the podiatrist I picked out of the Yellow Pages.


Anonymous said...

I couldn't agree more. That was part of the reason why we went with our ped. And because in the "meet the doctor" session, he totally shut down the whiny mom to be who wanted to know if he would come in to the hospital to see her newborn if she gave birth on Thanksgiving or Christmas, both days when he was on a day off and not on rotation. I liked that!

I forget where you are located, but we are in NY and if you would like his info, I'd be happy to share...

Maya said...

That's funny--I insisted upon a midwife who'd had children of her own to deliver my baby. But my babysitter has no children, my two pediatricians had no children, and, though I didn't choose it that way, I like it. The first pediatrician actually had a baby when my daughter was 6 months old and, because she's a terrific mother, she had to cancel two appointments because her child was sick. And I'd feel awful knowing my babysitter was with my child if her own needed her.

Mahotma Mama said...

I guess everyone does what feels best for them. I would gladly miss a visit or 2 with my doctor for the knowledge that she will understand my state of mind when I bring my daughter in for a sick visit. All mommies need different things to make their brains feel better.
And thanks Gluckel! I actually am in MA...but sometimes I think I would travel great distances for a wonderful doctor! =)

Anonymous said...

Totally get where you're coming from Mahotma. I think it's important.

Joyous Jewess said...

Mahotma, if you're in the Boston area, contact me. I love my pediatrician and she's pregnant with her fourth... She works part-time because she's with her kids the other days, but I don't mind dealing with her schedule because she's warm and no-nonsense and just a great doc all around.