Thursday, July 24, 2008

doctors make bad patients, but their kids apparently are worse

Cal's Peds visit went...OK? I don't know how to classify it. We accomplished what we needed to get done (basically to get this form signed confirming that his immunization record is up to date, that for some reason could only be signed by a GA-licensed physician--which, it occurs to me now, typing this: couldn't Joe or I just have signed it? No matter, that's probably not allowed anyway, and if it's a hoop for school, I will jump through it) and the visit didn't take overlong, but man. Cal was...not compliant. I wouldn't say it's time to call in the behavioralist or anything like that, but he does not like going to the doctor. Or the barber. We still have not booked our first visit to the kiddie dentist yet for fear of what might happen, but given past experience, my guess is that there will be great unhappiness in the land.

As noted yesterday, we didn't even need to do anything this visit--no shots, no procedures, just the cursory check, and, of course, the logging in of the past vaccination schedule into the record. But oh, there was screaming. He screamed so long and so loud that there were actually petichiae scattered over his face when we left. I was, frankly, a little embarrassed. I kept seeing it from the other side, remember what it was like to be the pediatrician and land a screaming, writhing three year-old in the exam room, and these were...unhappy memories. We were That Patient. And Pediatrician was probably relieved to be rid of us, as indicated by her hasty retreat after two failed attempts at an abdominal exam (who knew Cal's abs were so board-like when he's attempting to escape from a two-man hold?) and exit line shouted over her shoulder, "OK then, see you when he turns four! Byeeeeee!" Translation: don't come back for another year. Believe me, lady, I hope we won't need need to either.

Someone yesterday asked what kind of patients doctors make, and I would say that it really varies based on the person. I've certainly had doctors as patients that REALLY wanted everyone to know that they were doctors, to the point that "Dr." was entered as part of their name into the chart, like you'd enter "Jr." or "III". I had one patient in the ICU that INSISTED (in kind of an asshole way, might I add) that EVERYONE address him as "doctor" when speaking to him, and...well, not be be an asshole back, but the guy was a general dentist. So that's one tactic that doctors as patients have. Making sure that everyone knows that they're an US, not a THEM.

However, I would say that overall, most doctors as patients are pretty low-key. I think I fall into this camp. I don't bring up the fact that I'm a doctor unless specifically asked, for example (though I do usually get asked--most medical forms make you state your profession), and I don't harass or nitpick or pimp my practitioners to make some point. That said, I don't try to pretend I'm not a doctor either--for example, when asked to describe symptoms or disease progression or a rash or whatnot, I will use medical terminology, not to be all Smarty McSmartpants, but because I think that medical vocabulary is more accurate, and that it's the best way to communicate that kind of information effectively. But I don't do it to be all exclusive or anything, or to prove some point. I think that most doctors would agree that they go to see other doctors because they need specialty care in one thing or another, and you don't exactly want to make the other person feel uncomfortable.

I do think that doctors take a little more care or pay a little more attention when taking care of other doctors or their family members (maybe because they know that someone is double-checking their work), but I still can't say for sure that that's a good thing. One of the strange phenomena that I've found is that if you need to be hospitalized and are affiliated with the hospital in some way, something will go wrong during your hospitalization. I don't know if there is a real increased incident of adverse events, or if it just seems that way, but I don't think it's crazy to think that when you start doing things differently from the way that you normally do them, things will go wrong. I'm not saying that I'm above pulling strings here or there--for instance, I'd already thought out who I'd request to do Cal's anesthesia in New York if, god forbid, he ever needed surgery; ditto for my parents--but I think that "special treatment" can bite you back sometimes.

Anyway. Thank you, Cal's new Pediatrician. See you in a year.