We switched pediatricians today. Our former doctor was great. She is a very no-nonsense, but friendly, type who was in and out of the room very matter-of-factly. I loved that she talked to me mom-to-mom as well as doctor-to-mom. I never felt rushed by her and I thought she did a good job taking care of Dean.
Then we met one of her partners.
Last spring, Dean had a bad eczema breakout and our usual steroid cream wasn't cutting it. We called for an appointment, but our regular doctor was out with a sick child of her own. The receptionist asked if we'd like to see a partner and we said that would be fine. The doctor we saw that day is wonderful . In fact, he reminds me of my own childhood doctor, a great man whom I still remember very fondly. He has a gentle, quiet voice and he smiles a lot. Most importantly? Dean LOVES him. He talked about him for DAYS after we saw him.
By chance, we the same doctor again over the summer and Dean was on the best behavior he'd ever been on at the doctor. More importantly, Marcus and I were extremely happy with the slightly more aggressive treatment he recommended for Dean's asthma, a treatment that has made a world of difference in his day-to-day comfort. Again, Dean talked about the doctor for days after the visit. Any time we mentioned a doctor, he asked if he got to see THIS doctor.
For a while, I've wondered when the time might come that Dean would prefer a male doctor. I, personally, have a female OBGYN and a female Internal Medicine doctor who take care of me. I really like them both. I like that they can relate to me as a woman and there's a lot less awkwardness during those pesky visits where you're required to shed some clothing. I'm not sure exactly when modesty will kick in with Dean, who currently still strips at random times, despite whomever may or may not be in the room with him, but I don't want him to be embarrassed. We've never talked to him about it because, frankly, I don't think he's old enough to get what we're saying and I don't want to give him a complex about his body. However, I would like to establish a relationship with a doctor he trusts before these issues present themselves.
I wasn't quite sure how to bring up the subject of switching doctors. Should I write our former doctor a letter explaining the situation and thanking her for her years of care? Should I just mention it to the receptionist? Do I owe an explanation? Marcus constantly reminds me that the medicine is a service industry, so it is our right as the consumer to choose which doctor we want to treat our child. (Also, thank you health insurance that gives us that choice.) The decision was made when Dean got sick last night and was wheezy this morning. Marcus said, "You're taking him to the guy doctor, right? He likes him." So I called for an appointment. When they asked who his doctor was, I asked if it would be possible to switch to the preferred doctor. Without hesitation, they answered, "Sure, no problem. He's great."
And he is great.
His exam room has pictures of sleeping babies and angels on the walls and Dean gave him a high-five when he came in to examine him. Our choice was justified when, for the first time since Dean's original diagnosis of asthma last year, the doctor ordered a pulse ox test. He even took a moment to explain in "kid terms" why Dean's ribs are sore today. (from coughing last night)
I left the office feeling like I'd done the right thing by switching doctors and Dean left with 2 Scooby Doo stickers and a pretty big crush on the new doctor's nurse.
Maybe it wasn't such a tough call after all.