Thanks for following along on the health struggles that we had with our youngest daughter, Hailey that began when she was just a year old. I’ve been overwhelmed with the supportive comments and emails that I’ve gotten. I also had a lot of people ask me what I learned through that experience and what advice I would give to families going through a similar situation. So without further ado, I’d like to share with you what I learned through this entire process.
1) TRUST YOUR GUT!
I just can’t stress this enough to you. I absolutely knew that something was wrong with Hailey and I was not going to give up until I got some help. My gut instinct told me right away that something was wrong.
2) I KNOW MY CHILDREN BETTER THAN ANYONE, EVEN THE DOCTOR!
I am with my children more than anyone. I know how they act when they don’t feel well. In remembering Hailey’s story I hated the fact that I let Dr. M make me feel crazy. I was able to stand up to him eventually, but I wish I had been firmer with him from the very beginning. After going through everything we went through with Hailey and later with Skylar being diagnosed with autism, I am adamant with doctors when I believe something is wrong. For example, over the past 8 years, Skylar has had pneumonia 4 times. I know exactly how she presents with pneumonia. She can look and act totally fine one morning and start running a fever, develop a horrible cough, and be so excessively whiny that I think my head may explode. When she starts showing these symptoms I know that she has pneumonia. The last 3 times I’ve been to the doctor/ER this is what happens:
Me: My daughter has a history of pneumonia and I know that this is what is going on now. I need you to do an x-ray because she is not going to take deep enough breaths for you to really hear what’s going on in her lungs.
Doctor: Well, her lungs sound ok, but I’ll go ahead and do the x-ray because of the high fever, cough, & history of pneumonia.
Doctor (30 minutes later): Wow! You were right. She has a pretty bad case of pneumonia going on in there. You sure do know your kid.
Me: I sure do. Thanks for doing the x-ray.
3) RESEARCH YOUR DOCTORS
Being a military family we move around quite frequently and because of this I have to choose a new pediatrician, neurologist, and GI doc every few years. I receive a list of providers from my insurance and I just start researching. I check the following things:
-where were they educated?
-do they have children of their own?
-what is their past experience?
-what do others say about them?
-for our neurologist, I searched for someone who specialized in developmentatl disabilities and/or epilepsy.
-for our GI doc I searched for someone who specialized in acid reflux.
I am happy to report that my research paid off as our pediatrician here in Prescott is wonderful and our neurologist and GI docs in Phoenix are extremely thorough and wonderful as well. I’m confident that we will not need to change physicians while we are here, BUT I would not hesitate to change doctors if I felt that it was necessary.
4) THROW RANK OUT THE WINDOW!
*This one is specifically for my readers who are military/military dependents.*
I was blessed enough to have a father who was able to step in and be firm with Dr. M. Unfortunately, this is not the case with the majority of military families. This is one thing I’ve thought about over the past 9 years. What would have happened if I hadn’t had my father to step in? It shouldn’t have had to get to the point where rank had to pulled on Dr. M.
When dealing with your military provider, you should be able to advocate for your child without fear of repercussion against you or your spouse. Your child’s health and wellness should come before any consideration of rank by both you and the child’s provider.
I hope that these things I’ve shared will help you in some way when you are searching for and dealing with your child’s, or your own, health care providers. Our wish is that no one ever has to go through what we went through with Dr. M.
Blessings to all of you!