Saturday, October 31, 2009

Oh, To Be A Doctor.....

A funny thing happened Thursday morning. At precisely 9:30 a.m. the doorbell rang. Not expecting anyone, I didn't answer it. About a minute later, it rang again. This time I looked out the window but did not recognize the car in the driveway. Unless you are a really persistent door-to-door salesperson - in which case, you shouldn't be ringing my doorbell anyway, due to the "No Soliciting" sign posted directly next to the button - or some creepy stalker who can't get a clue to leave, two rings is usually the limit for any normal person. That is the norm, right? Or am I just ignorant and rules of etiquette proclaim one ring to be the proper number?

But no, the doorbell rang a third time.

This time I actually walked to the door to find our service coordinator, Tracy, with First Steps (This is the organization through which Milla receives speech therapy and in other parts of the country it is called Early Intervention), standing there waiting for me to let her in for our quarterly appointment we scheduled weeks ago. Yes, it was in my planner. Yes, I kept reminding myself all week long, but apparently only up until the day before the appointment and then it somehow escaped my thought process never to be recovered again because, by around 9:34 Thursday morning, I was about to wail on someone for ringing my doorbell so many times and not leaving me alone.

Embarassed and apologizing all over the place, I opened the door and poor Tracy came in.

This post isn't about my lovely fifteen minute appointment (nearly five minutes of which was taken up by my avoiding the doorbell ringing) with Tracy and all the paperwork we ran through in that short period of time, but rather, what followed afterwards. However, it was a bit humorous and worth mentioning the thought that I had an unexpected arrival of a serial killer or serial salesperson or serial stalker and how I was avoiding opening the door to such a person when, all along, I should have remembered it was the person who was clearly marked in pen on my planner for that morning at that specific time.

That said, I do need to mention one piece of paperwork that is pertinent to this story. One of the items Tracy brought was a diagnosis sheet that I needed to sign off on that would then be sent to our family doctor for him to confirm that yes, Milla has developmental delays and her need for speech therapy services is warranted.

Now I need to backtrack a little bit here because this is the part where I thought it was odd that Milla's doctor needed to sign off saying he had diagnosed her with these delays because 1)He had never diagnosed her in the first place when we began getting speech services several months ago and 2)Her need for services was first determined and is determined by the speech and occupational therapists who serve as evaluators for First Steps.

Are you confused yet? Basically, when we first started to notice Milla was not talking at a level as a typical child her age, we contacted First Steps. They sent two evaluators (whose degrees are in speech pathology and occupational sciences) out who sat down with Milla and I for around two hours and determined that Milla did indeed show some weaknesses and delays in enough areas to qualify her for services. Our family doctor was never involved in the process.

BUT - there is always a "but"....

But despite the fact that the two evaluators felt she needed services, in order for Milla to receive services, our doctor had to sign off on this one sheet I am talking about. Apparently, around six months ago, our doctor did so with no questions asked.

Fast forward to this week and the phone call I received yesterday from Tracy telling me that she had been notified by Admin Girl at Milla's doctor's office that our doctor would not sign off on the form because he had not seen her in over a year. Hmmmm.....he had no problem with not seeing her six months ago and confirming her diagnosis as "developmental delays." But now six months later, he needs to see her in order to sign off???

Why has she not seen him in over a year, you ask? Well, after we began determining that Reiss has autism and that we felt his vaccines played a part in it, we stopped taking Milla to the doctor. If she was not sick, why bother? We didn't want her shot up with the same bunch of crap. And she has never been sick (aside from a spell where she kept vomiting but we were pretty certain that was an intolerance to a particular food and the problematic food has since been eliminated). If you're taking a child to a Well Baby appointment and not getting her/him vaccinated, then what is the purpose?

So this morning I called the doctor's office and told Admin Girl, who answered the phone, my situation and why Milla has not been seen in over a year in their office. I asked if there was any way we could just come in for an appointment and have Milla seen so that the doc could sign off on the form. Without it, we cannot get speech services. And I made sure to include that in my plea.

Admin Girl told me that even if we are no longer vaccinating Milla, she still needs to be seen for Well Child visits so that the doctor can determine whether she is meeting her developmental milestones or has developmental delays present.

I wanted to say, "Um.....excuse me? Do you mean the same developmental milestones that I kept bringing to the doctor's attention every three months when I thought that my son was not hitting them? The same milestones that the doctor reassured me that children reach at different periods and it didn't matter that my son wasn't right on target? The same milestones that we persistently kept bringing to the doctor's attention that we were extremely concerned about and he told us not to worry? Do you mean the same milestones that, when missed, can indicate developmental delays and even autism? Do you mean the same milestones that six months ago, without seeing Milla in person, the doctor signed a form stating she had missed them and had developmental delays present? Those? Are those the same ones? Because, if those are the same ones you're referring to, the doctor missed them altogether with our son and dismissed our concerns and it was only after we began talking to parents of other autistic children that we found that there was concern there all along."

But, of course, I didn't say that.

I politely accepted an offer of an appointment for next week and we'll get our little signature and things in our world will be righty tighty again. And all because of a bunch of bureaucratic paperwork that requires a scribble from a doctor who missed it all the first time around with child number one.

The irony makes me want to vomit.


tiffrutherf said...

I wanted to make sure you got this: Heres something that will blow your mind..little off topic its about vac. I'm a member of the Baby-center community and we were discussing vac. You would not believe how much people trust the Gov..Never question them or their children's doctors..1 poster put "I trust the Gov. has our best interest at heart"..WoW!! They don't think autism could happen to their child. I was talking about mercury in vacs. and on pregnant poster said "I just ate a can of tuna did i give my child autism?"..

tiffrutherf said...

Oh and she put (LOL) at the end! Its just a joke to them...

This comment has been removed by the author.

Yep, it's all a joke until it ends up being your own child.

I visit a local mom's message board sometimes (not quite so much anymore though!) and the ignorance astounds me. Actually, I can kinda understand where some of these moms believe vaccines can nothing to do with autism because if you would have asked me five years ago, what I thought, I would have agreed with them. I would have thought people like the person I have become were just plain insane and brainwashed by some far-fetched theory.

However, what angers me so much is how people can be so ignorant and yet, still argue so persistently. They think they're looking at "all" the evidence and it's "unbiased" because they trust the CDC, AAP, and the FDA. What many of them don't understand is that the AAP is funded very heavily by pharmaceutical companies. Even the nurses out there are all blind.

Oh, I'm not even going to get started this morning but suffice it to say, I know exactly what you're talking about. Sometimes I almost wish I could be at such a low level of ignorance as the majority of the population, because then I wouldn't be so frustrated by said ignorance....because I wouldn't know any differently.


Okay, forget proofreading skills are lacking this morning. I give up. You know what I mean so I'm not even going to delete my comment again and repaste it.

:P Just hope this is not a sign of what is to come for my entire day today. LOL

tiffrutherf said...

Me, too, I just gave up..I feel I did my job in putting the "bee in the bonnet" after that its up to you to kill it or let it let it sting you!

M said...

Oh MY so I found you from commenting on another blog and I thought my brain would explode reading this. I have a 4 year olv on the spectrum and a 2 1/2 year old on the who knows what. I was lucky enough she'd been in THE SYSTEM for her brother for so long that when she STILL wasn't hitting milestones we were able to easily get through things.

And drs. Oh drs. They can kiss my freaking youknowwhat. That's all I can say in politeness. It cracks me up that I had to go "behind my dr's back" to get my son evaluated and she basically did no eval for my daughter so I went behind her back again to have her checked out. And we're STILL fighting. Ugh.

I hate hoop jumping it's just...infuriating. I do hope it gets resolved easily.

And, um, yeah, I may not be firmly anywhere on the autism & vaccination debate but I'm not a fan of multi vaxes or low risk illness vaxes at all and the ignorance is outrageous. Yet the ignorance is placed on parents who make the choices. As if most parents who make alternative choices just do so BECAUSE. Quite the opposite in my experience!

Caeseria said...

Our first doctor was worried because my son's head was large, but had no clue in the slightest why my son who couldn't swallow safely was getting speech therapy. (EI had set it up without even involving him, he needed services in place to leave the hospital). The first visit, the week after discharge, we went in with the list of what he was getting and why, and the doctor was just really confused! "Rice cereal in his formula? Why are you doing that?" Took me maybe two months to figure out that I just needed to call the SLP with everything. The doctor was a nice enough guy, but knew NOTHING. We went to the well-baby visits, but didn't bother updating him on how services were going. He mostly signed stuff and stayed out of the way, so could have been worse.
The SLP, on the other hand, I could still dial her cell in my sleep if I had to.