Friday, October 23, 2009

Dr. Mom vs Dr. Dolittle

Over the past couple of years we've seen a doctor or two... Give or take a couple dozen.

I don't profess to know more than the doctors do about medicine, or illnesses, or physiology, or any of the many other things doctors go to school for.

(Pick your jaws off the floor. Yes, I said it. Doctors are smarter than I am. Most of them...)

I do, however, profess to know more about my son than anyone else on the face of this earth. That's my job. I do it annoyingly well.

And maybe that's why doctors' appointments are so frustrating sometimes.

Take today, for instance...

Wait, let me backtrack to the beginning of this story...

Dax has glasses, right? Extremely nearsighted. Also has a horizontal nystagmus (where the eyes dance back and forth uncontrollably) and a strabismus (lazy eye.) I know these things because I pay attention, and I listen. Again, it's my job.

So, with Dax's eyes dancing back and forth, he can hold his head a certain way and it will cause his eyes to stop dancing. When he holds his head this way he can focus on things because his eyes are still. When we first went to the eye doc he held his head to the side a little. Over the course of the past few months, this focal point has moved and he now has had to hold his head down and look upward to keep his eyes steady.

When he does this he is looking over his glasses rather than through them.

We thought at first he might just prefer looking at things normally rather than the increased acuity through his glasses, but he does it with his glasses both on and off.

So I sent the eye doc an email. I wanted to ask about maybe getting goggles rather than glasses. Also had some questions about vision therapy and maybe patching to strengthen Dax's weaker eye.

I got a call from a resident a few days later. I just missed it so it went to voicemail and I called him right back. He tells me he's just shut down his computer so he can't look at Dax's chart and that he'll call me back the next day.

He does.

He asks what is going on... I repeated the contents of the email. "You need to tighten up his glasses," he replies.

You're not getting what I'm saying, dude. Not an eyeglass problem. Eye problem.

He repeats that we need to tighten the glasses. Seriously, not the issue.

"Well, what are his eye issues?" he asks. (So why did he need the chart in front of him?) I go over his eye problems.

"What kind of strabismus does he have?" Okay, seriously, I don't know. You have his chart... And you're trying to be a real eye doctor one day, why don't you tell me?

"Well, we don't recommend vision therapy for anyone. there's no scientific research behind it." Okay, that's fine. Can you give us some exercises to help strengthen the muscular eye issues?

"I need to talk to the doctor. I will call you back tomorrow." Okay. Thanks for all your help.

Two days later I get an email telling me they've set up an eye appointment. Yay!

And it was today.

We got there early to go to the optical center to get our glasses tightened up :)

We sat in the waiting room for a while and filled out paper work about why we were there. On there I wrote something to the effect of "Due to nystagmus Dax is looking over his glasses and getting no use out of them. May need goggles?"

A very nice nurse takes us back and completes an eye exam. We tell her that Dax is holding his head down with or without glasses due to his nystagmus and not utilizing his glasses. We might need goggles? She completes an exam and confirms.

We wait for the resident.

The resident comes in. We tell her Dax is holding his head down with or without glasses due to his nystagmus and not utilizing his glasses. We might need goggles? She completes an exam and confirms.

We wait for the doctor.

The doctor comes in.

"Why are you guys here today? We just had an appointment three months ago."

Phew, boy am I glad we sent that email and talked to the resident on the phone and filled out that paperwork and talked to the nurse and to the resident about it. Way to go, efficiency! And, remember, I just asked some questions via email. You set up the appointment. But I digress...

We tell him Dax is holding his head down with or without glasses due to his nystagmus and not utilizing his glasses. We might need goggles? He completes an exam... Then tells me to turn Daxton on my knee so we can both look at his eyes at the same time. He brings out the light...

"You see how his eyes dance back and forth?" he asks? Uh, yes. "That is called a horizontal nystagmus." Oh, really? "See how he holds his head down and looks up?" Ummm, yeah, I had noticed that before. "When he does that it allows his eyes to focus better. His eyes are steadier that way." Well no kidding. "When he does that, he's actually looking above his glasses, and he's not getting any use out of them at all." Whoa, seriously? "With his vision loss, he really needs to have glasses he can use. I think you may want to consider getting him some goggles."

Boy am I glad we got all that cleared up.

When I asked him about patching or exercises to strengthen the eyes, he told me that what we needed to do was make sure he had things to look at. That's good eye exercise.

Oh, so we need to buy him toys? And books and stuff? And stimulate him? I guess keeping him locked in the closet isn't an option anymore. So glad he told me.

So I do like any good patient and tell him thanks for his time and his help, when what I really wanted to tell him was thanks for setting up an appointment to tell me what I already knew and for wasting my entire day.

Even just some acknowledgement, maybe? A "Hey Mom, you were right," or a "Good catch," or anything to show that he has some minimal hearing abilities. But, no...


Mothers. The most unappreciated medical personnel alive.


Leanne said...

Oddly enough this sounds like what I experienced at Vandy many years ago with my husband and his eyes!! So it won't get any better as Dax gets older. I wanted to commit murder about halfway thru that post so i really commend you for keeping it together. I honestly don't know how you do it. :) You need to be writing all this in a book. These little short stories about your struggles are great!

shamimar said...

How bout' Dr. Mom vs Dr's Dolittle and Listenless...

Tiff-E said...

Great blog! I laughed out loud about the keeping him in the closet comment.

Jennifer said...

Hilarious as always! I'll say it, "GOOD JOB MOM!" You truly are the mom bomb.

Cyndi Hendrickson said...

Oh my goodness you are the comedian, aren't you? Laughing at things that could really tick you off - so smart! I've only read this one entry but I like you already. :-)

Thank you for your comment on Chloe's blog about Dax's respirator experience. It actually did make me feel better.

jannette said...

Ok, I had to laugh here too. It sounds so much like some of the appointments we've been too. Isn't it awful. I haven't figured out why they have you fill in the paperwork before the appointment. They never look at it.