I found our pediatrician when I was expecting Woo. Finding someone was not an easy task, largely because I didn’t have a family doctor to refer us and there were very few doctors in Ottawa who were actually taking patients. She was the first that said yes and I signed up without a second thought. I knew something was off during our first visit when we felt we were rushed, and our very valid, brand spanking new parent questions and concerns were brushed aside in an apparent effort to get us through the appointment within our allotted time. I should have just trusted my gut.
Over the five plus years that we have taken our children to see this doctor, I have grown increasingly frustrated by her bedside manner and the way that she has treated our family in general. It seems that every time either of us leaves her office we have yet another story to tell. In our tenure with her she has: told us to book a second appointment time if we have questions to ask; minimized my concerns about my child’s development; told me that one of my children’s behaviour was “just strange” when I asked about it; told me that my four month old was OBESE; gotten mad at me for not calling her when Woo and I fell down the stairs and he fractured his skull; doubted that my children could speak when I told her how much and how early they were talking (possibly because they were too scared to talk in her presence); shushed my infant who was happily babbling; scared both of my children by ripping their shirts up and jamming a cold stethoscope on their back, then getting mad at them because she could not hear when they were crying… I could (and have been known to) go on. We have stuck with her, though, partially because it is still hard to find a pediatrician in Ottawa, and because it seems that every time that I get irked enough to just stop bringing the lils to her we have a good visit; where she is caring, attentive, and charming with the littles. Normal even.
There have been two instances where I absolutely should have switched from her, but didn’t. Yet. The first was when Woo had peanuts for the first time. He was two, and we gave him peanut butter on a cracker. He loved it, but his body did NOT. He started coughing, having trouble breathing, swelling, hives, all the classic signs of a reaction. We rushed him to the hospital, where they confirmed that it was an anaphylactic reaction. They treated and advised that we avoid all nuts and see his doctor for a referral to an allergist as soon as possible. I made an appointment the next day, and she did not believe that the reaction was allergic/anaphylaxis and didn’t want to refer him to an allergist. She thought it was VIRAL. I insisted, and we were referred. Our allergist was quite ticked when he got the referral, on which she had written a snarky little note saying the referral was being made “only because the mother insisted.” It was a classic case of anaphylaxis, and Woo has quite a serious peanut allergy. We should have switched.
The second, and last time that she has really ticked me off, was during our visit last week. I had the lils in for a post-India check-up, and was meeting with her about Woo. Early in the visit she made some remark about him being four and a half, so I politely corrected her because he is five and a half. She questioned me, in an “are you sure” kind of way, and then CHECKED THE FILE to verify his age. Cleary I wouldn’t know how old he is. We moved on, and I mentioned that he was still experiencing constipation, sometimes for prolonged periods. She immediately told me that this must be behavioural, given that it had just started. I explained that it was not always severe, but that this was something that he had been experiencing from the time that he was not yet two. At this point she started flipping through his file, reading his history. When she was finished, she looked at me and told me that he did not have a history of constipation, as she had no note of it in the file!
I was livid, but Woo was in the room with me, so I managed to keep my cool. I hate the insinuation that she knew my child’s history best, based on four pages of notes that cover the last
four five years of his life. The bottom line is that we know it is not a new “behaviour”, we are both certain that it has been mentioned at each and every check-up type appointment that he has had, and at some point the doctor needs to believe what the parents are telling them. She set up a follow-up appointment, but I have since cancelled it because of a conflict. I hope that I don’t have to rebook it with her. So, anyone know of a GREAT pediatrician** who can take on two more low maintenance lils?
** EDIT – We are looking for a doctor – family doc or pediatrician!