Are there any thinking doctors anymore? Really a tale of the health insurance game, I think

So, spring is upon us and the smell of baseball, dirt and green grass is increasingly obvious! Gotta love it.
This year Erica, age 5, begins her long illustrious career in soccer and she started off with a solid performance!
For those who have read my words before sports at young ages is for fun not winning but my little girl…while she’s gonna need a way to pay for that medical school education! LOL! Also PLL began and Knox will be playing for the White Sox. A big step up for him to the highest level, majors, but he will do fine.

Knox brings me to the question where are the thinking doctors? By thinking I mean common sense, good bedside manner, you get the picture, right? During the winter the little league tryouts took place at an indoor facility (weird but it is 2010 and they want to get it all in by mid March) that was packed with 9,10 and 11 year old boys and girls hoping to make the Majors level of Peabody Little League. This would mean a double jump for Knox but he was willing to give it a go I digress for a few… So, Knox had trouble seeing the ball while at the plate. Not unusual I figured, a higher level of ball should be tougher to hit and such. However, soon the headaches and dizziness started hitting with more regularity than the typical headache. After a few visits with primary care we went to the ophthalmologist (cannot spell it, thank God for spell check!) for a full eye check up.

I sort of thought I was getting ot the point of “Sportsdad Craziness”, going to the eye doctors because my boy didn’t see the ball coming in to the plate! My day of hypocrisy had finally arrived! Well, first thing we were told was that he probably would never need glasses. His eyesight was extraordinary, a good thing for a parent to hear! Then it happened. You know the moment the doctor was supposed to release the child to the waiting room or ask the parent to stay behind for a sec…but that was not the case. Ms. Eye Doctor then went on to explain that there was a possible issue with Knox’s optic nerve. The nerve bringing the eye and the brain together. On the right side it was slightly swollen and she wanted a second opinion. Instant Q and A while waiting. I had no answers but to say we will wait until the doctor comes in.

The second doctor, Mr. Eye Doctor came in introduced himself and then went at it. Looking into the eyes of my 10 year old type A, ultra intense boy. After review he immediately swirled around and said, “…Yes, there may be a problem here…” . I am listening and notice that Knox is way to focused! Damn, didn’t these people learn that when there is a prospective issue you talk to the parent without the child present?! Apparently not. So, let’s get it on was my thinking. As it was told we would need to get an MRI because the nerve on both sides was swollen. It was explained that the nerve should be shaped like a washer , round and flat but these babies were bloated like jelly filled donuts! That was the real analogy given to us. Perfect for his understanding.

We left and I had to answer a host of questions with rhetoric and wonder myself. I explained that the MRI would give the docs all the info they needed and we would go from there. Now here is the kicker:
My son is an avid Red Sox loyalist …GOD BOY… I hear you saying, thank you! He has a list of minor league players that he watches diligently. Last year we went to see one Ryan Westmoreland play a few times. He was a 19 year old phenom that the Sox would not allow to be a part of any trades. He was the future of Boston baseball! Then strangely this past winter they found an unusual brain tumor that needed immediate removal. He was whisked to AZ to be operated on by a one in a million brain surgeon. Success was the outcome and we were all very happy. On opening day there he sat in the Team box high above Fenway Park looking like… a 19 year old boy who just had brain surgery and not the 225 pound stud running the outfields of the Lowell Spinners! It was great sight to see him there but a sad vision to see what was… you know one of those “YAY! He’s alive, but the poor boy will never be the same” moments.

Well the doctor said nothing about a brain tumor but you cannot control the running imagination of a smart 10 year old boy, nope can’t be done! We had the MRI and the results are as follows:
Everything seems alright based on his eyes but we strongly suggest that you speak with the Pediatrician about seeing a Neurologist. Okay, I can accept that. These dudes are eye docs and Nuero’s handle the brain stuff. So, I ask, why are the nerves swollen? The old one in a million answer was given. And as you learned in grade school don’t put pressure on the temple area. As he is a growing boy the pressure may be increasing on the temple causing the headaches and dizziness. This I got from my eye doc, he runs the facility and his name is at the top of the listing so I go with it. Hey the fast balls are a little faster in the majors, right?

I just wonder what has been going through his smoking brain these past few weeks? He won’t say anything. The relief is he can play ball and be alright… we think We now wait on the Neuro appt and still need an answer on the headaches and dizziness as it continues to get worse.

I look back at all the times in life the doctor had something to tell my parents…diabetes, epilepsy, surgery etc… I know somebody else, like my grandparents knew before I did. Yes, it is 2010 but 10 year old boys are 10 year old boys still!
The technology we have may have changed many things but I know my slower talking childhood doctors would have handled this a lot better. As I sit back and ponder …it all seems to come back to the health insurance issue doesn’t it? These doctors didn’t have the time to think about the child in the room because they had other patients in another room, the waiting area, on the phone who knows. Instead of giving a patient and parent a little time we were just a roll by that needed a brief on what may or may not be… this is what medicine has become …drive through!

God Bless Chuck Graham, he would never have let this happen. EVER!

Dr. Charles Graham was the head of Pediatrics at the Joslin Clinic when I was a teen. He was the official camp doctor. Chuck would mosey on up to a group of campers, of any age, and know each of their names, their parents names (and usually what the parents did for work), their most recent b/g or urine test results and a whole host of other non essential to the rest of us. But those who learned from the great Dr. Chuck learned there is nothing more important than making that boy, that patient the most important person in the world at the time. Patience and grace…

These dudes today need to look back on what their childhood doctors were like and make some adjustments. They have the skills, the high technology and the brains but it is the interpersonal skills that make a doctor/patient relationship. Let me ask all of you … what team does your Endo follow the most? Mine, grew up in Brooklyn during the sweet times. He had the Giants, Braves, Mets and the Yankees as a kid to go and see…Mantle, Mays the whole shebang! Bottom line he favored the Mets! So, force your doctors to get to know you and you them it makes for a better understanding of everything else…and Chuck Graham, he never missed a Red Sox game in all the years I knew him!

When my daughter was diagnosed with a brain tumor the doctor was spouting all the side effects of radiation in front of her. It included lowering her IQ and causing another brain tumor. It terrified her and I wanted to kick the doctor (a radiation oncologist0 right in the keyster.

Hey man, great post, and dead on, unfortuneately… my first Endo, from Joclin was really good, she took the time. My latest one does seem to care some, but is always late and rushes through the appointments… Good luck to your son, hope you do not have to wait long for the neuro appointment. (as an aside, i’m beginning to find more folks from Mass (i grew up in Danvers) here, i’ve only been a member ofr a week, are there really this many D’s in Mass! something in the water maybe??

Jeff and Kathyann -
Thanks for the comments!
Jeff, this is a great place to meet people and get some good contact with folks who got it !
Thank you again and I’ll keep you posted on the updates…

Kathyann -
First my prayers are with you and your daughter! A kick to the keyster is probably not exactly whee it was needed! I am just so surprised at how doctors and people in general think our kids are made from teflon. Like everything will just roll off them. It boggles my mind.
Please tell me your lil girl is doing well (no assumption here, I believe all daughters are little girls for life to their parents) I wish you good fortune and God’s best efforts …