Playing defense at the doctor
Posted on September 28th, 2015
I hate my daughter’s annual well-child checkups.
I used to like them–for someone who started life with a head the size of a large tangerine, pH is pretty darned big now. She’s dropped into the 75th percentile or so, and while her weight hasn’t changed in a year, her BMI is 17.30…which means I didn’t get a lecture on feeding her too much, like last year. (Feeding her. Too much. I swear she lives on air half the time. I laughed the first time the pediatrician said it. The pediatrician didn’t.)
Her pediatrician is a big deal. She is the person area doctors send their children to, and because we have lived here long enough and know enough of the medical community, we have really good, if not the best, specialists. It’s not like we’re any big deal but we knew people who knew people and there you have it: nepotism. We drive a long way out of our way to take her there.
Her pediatrician does not approve of me homeschooling. Her pediatrician probably can’t imagine living in a household where there are not two working MDs, either.
She brought it up right off, with the creepiest [male] PA student ever (I have deposed less-creepy serial sex offenders) in the room, and I talked brightly about grammar and decimals and multiplication and division and analogies, aikido, and swimming and Latin and Greek (pH threw in how I have to say the Greek alphabet backward every time I make her say it forward, which is not exactly how it works, but so what). I gestured at whatever Harry Potter book pH had brought along. School. I shrugged. I dropped the name of her psychologist, because we wanted to make absolutely sure she was doing well with homeschooling. He is the child psychologist in the area. Not some schlub in his practice: the guy himself.
I was not going to be defensive, so of course I was. (Although kH had to mention the tantrum incident, which meant I had to deal with explaining that–and the reaction of the psychologist, which was, “So what?” I could have kicked kH. He did redeem himself by explaining that the psychologist doesn’t think there’s anything wrong with her, she doesn’t need therapy, and that we mostly just consult with him when we have questions about parenting, which is all true.)
I was defensive because pH wasn’t comfortable, and I suspected it had to do with the creepy PA student. He didn’t introduce himself, he was cold, and in the not small exam room, he managed to put his ass in my face while looking over the doctor’s shoulder. (kH missed this, otherwise there would have been a short but conclusive end to that visit.)
I should have kicked the PA student out. I knew I had the right. I could have kicked him out at the start, when I had the first vibe. I could have kicked him out at any point in the exam. I should have. I felt like I failed my daughter because I didn’t–I could have shown her how to deal with men who make you uncomfortable, but I didn’t. (And she wouldn’t admit she was uncomfortable, but what kid would under the scrutiny of four adults?)
I was the mom. Moms are always somewhat hysterical, right? I was already off balance re: school. I was worried about perceptions. I’ve never objected to the presence of another clinician or student in my own exam (or come to think of it, baby pH, either) over the years, but I could have.
I’ve objected to motions, and that’s in front of an elected official on a dais with a black robe in front of clients and other lawyers.
So since the appointment, I’ve been kicking myself. kH concluded he was cold, but new and not very interested in pediatrics. I concluded he was a present or future sex offender (I had that vibe, that “I can’t stand to even look at you vibe” that I get around sociopaths and/or offenders). Also, he was a jackass.
I did the only thing I could in retreat, which was
have an anxiety attack email the doctor to say I wasn’t comfortable relaying this information in front of the PA student…but I wasn’t comfortable with him in the exam room, I think it was why pH wasn’t comfortable, and that sticking his butt in my face was not okay. (This was followed by: “Who does that?”) I did not mention I thought he was a future sex offender (pro tip: most sex offenders are generally never caught, but are where the children are) because although I have sued plenty of people who didn’t warn others about offenders, they at least had some proof, and a hysterical mom’s hunch isn’t going to cut it.
We went home. kH was fine. pH had free reading time, followed by reading comprehension, analogies, decimal addition, and vocabulary. She was motivated and knocked out a day’s work in less than an hour.
And I feel guilty, per usual.