Friday, May 6, 2011
Finding a Pediatrician
Let me tell you that from the moment I found out I was suppose to do this, I have been dreading it. I don't know why. I'm sort of like that with things like that. I don't like making business type phone calls. I hate it actually. I try to get Michael to make as many of the calls as possible.
That being said, I've sort of been dragging my feet on the whole issue. Like if I just ignored it, it might go away! ha! :) I finally decided about two weeks ago that I probably should get on it. I didn't want to end up having the doctor of my choice not available because all the new client spots got filled. The hospital had given us a list of pediatricians that had privileges there. Going off of that list, I highlighted all the ones that were in my specific city and were also a woman. Say what you will, but I really wanted a woman doctor. Then I started researching them on the internet.
There are all sorts of questions floating around out there that you are suppose to ask a potential pediatrician. Again, I had no clue that people actually went and interviewed 4 or 5 pediatricians. That's actually the recommendation. Um, no. I don't think so. I don't even want to interview one, let alone four or five. (Some baby websites actually have interview sheets you can print off!?!) The questions are all valid--do you take after hour calls? do you charge for said calls? is there a separate sick waiting room vs well visit waiting room? do you have weekend hours? are calls returned the same day? And on and on we go. Don't get me wrong. The person that will be taking care of my child and helping me make medical decisions is important to me. I just think, for the most part, all doctors have the same sort of policies... with very minor variations. It's going to come down to bed side manner, do your personalities click, etc.
There was really only ONE thing I cared about in the whole decision making process. I want to do a delayed vaccine schedule. I've heard and read a lot about it, and I thought most doctors were willing to work with you (the parent) on this issue. WRONG! I had no idea how controversial or against this idea some doctors are. I know a lot of people who have done this with their children. I thought it was becoming more of the norm. As I began to research doctor after doctor, I saw that immunization was most definitely a hot topic. I already knew that. Unfortunately, the hot topic was not leaning in the way that I wanted to go. Some doctors were very blunt on their websites. They would only follow the traditional schedule. Some flat out said they wouldn't see unimmunized patients. (It is not the law that you have to be immunized, so this kind of was crazy to me.)
Wow. That sort of narrowed it down. So I began a nice little google search trying to find a doctor in my area willing to do the delayed vaccine schedule. One name kept popping up. It's actually a doctor that was already recommended to me by someone at the church. I was sort of trying to avoid her because she is a holistic doctor. The lady that recommended her said, "Sometimes I get frustrated with her because I just want her to give my kid an antibiotic and she sends me to the health food store." This is not exactly what I had in mind. As I researched though, more and more people kept recommending her.
It came down to... deal with her holistic ways and be allowed to do a delayed vaccine schedule, OR go to a "regular" pediatrician and do a regular vaccine schedule. Some may call me crazy, but I really do believe that there is a link between vaccines and autism. Not that everyone who gets a vaccine will get it, but that if you have immune system issues you are susceptible. Even if you do have a normal immune system, the amount of junk going into a small babies body at one time is just too much. I really don't care what ANYONE says. Those are my opinions and they will not change. (Especially not after physically seeing a normal talking, laughing, making eye contact little boy get vaccinated and come to my 2 year old class a few months later banging his head against the wall, screaming and not saying a word.)
Plus, I also believe that food can play a part in a child's behavior. This doctor won't prescribe ADD/ADHD medication until an alternative diet has been tried. As a knowledgeable teacher, I can respect that. I have also heard stories (followed a blog) where food dyes drastically changed a child's behavior (if allergic, but generally the behavior is blamed on other things). I think I'm well enough informed that I'm willing to give this doctor a try. I'd much rather try alternative ways to helping my child then to just shove them full of medication every time something comes up. I don't think of myself as a hippie, but I do consider myself reserved when it comes to medical interventions. I feel like medication is handed out left and right to kids these days and sometimes it's just not necessary.
All that to say... we went to a meet and greet for new patients yesterday and we now have a (holistic) pediatrician! :) I actually liked everything she had to say, not just the delayed vaccination part. If using garlic oil drops cures ear infections, then why not try that over antibiotics (which really aren't good for kids) or eventual tubes? I also didn't know that the root of things like ear infections, eczema, etc. could possibly be traced to undetected food allergies. The more I sat there and listened to what she had to say (some of which are things I have been saying for years but are on the "controversial" side and some of which I had no clue since I'm a first time mom), the more at peace I felt.
Not only does she do a delayed vaccine schedule, but she doesn't just follow the one in Dr. Sears' book (in which she is one of the five Dr.'s in Texas he recommends). She will individualize it based on your child, your family history, your wishes and concerns, etc. If you want to follow the traditional method, she will do that. If you want to opt out of vaccines all together, then she is alright with that too. If you want to wait on a certain vaccine, she's alright with that as well. Someone asked about the MMR shot. It is one of the most controversial shots out there because it is the first live virus put into a child. It is the one that is suspected for causing autism. There were rumors that you could get it split (and I've actually read people say they did), but she said she doesn't think that it's going to happen anytime soon. She did say that she will not give it with any other shot (it's usually given with like 4 or 5 other ones--ridiculous!). She also said she won't give it before the age of 2, but usually not until the age of 3 when everything is developed as it should be. It's usually given around age 1. Someone asked if there was ever a time she gave it at age 1. She said, "No, not since I gave it to a little boy who walked into my office on his own, with big bright eyes, smiling and giggling, and literally couldn't walk out and became autistic." WOW! You don't hear many doctors admitting that. She said he ran a 105 fever for days, lost all milestones he had reached, and they immediately took him to a detox center to flush what they could out of his system. After some intervention, he is apparently fine today. THAT is why I won't give my kids the traditional shot schedule. Honestly, it's lucky we are giving our kids shots at all!
She was a traditional pediatrician back in the day. She did that for a while and then had her own health issues. After 9 neck and back surgeries and getting breast cancer, all in her 30's, she changed her approach. She is a Christian, and she says she believes those things happened for her to be on this path that she believes God wants her to be on. We got in the car an hour later and Michael said, "I'm sold". That pretty much sums it up. I feel really good about it. All my worries about being sent to the health food store for remedies went out the window. I am not one to just blindly follow or listen to what a doctor has to say. People forget that they are human too... and sometimes they base things on their opinions or they blindly follow whatever is being told to them. I am not a trained doctor. I realize that. But I also have opinions, life experiences, and enough sense to sometimes question what is being said. I already had plans to buck the system in some ways, but I don't feel like I'll have to be doing much of that with this doctor. :)
Side note: I once again recommend you read Jenny McCarthy's books on autism if you haven't yet. Some of the facts are staggering. Even if you are past the point of concern for your own children, it's good to know what other parents are going through.