making decisions.

Yesterday I took Elliott to a follow-up at the Gastroenterology clinic. It was early in the morning, and Elliott happened to choose that morning to sleep in. Any other day, great! But today, I was taking time off of work to get him to this appointment and I needed him to be crying for his bottle at the normal time. After a few gentle nudges every 5 minutes for a half-hour, I scooped him up, changed him, and gave him his bottle while he was still half asleep. Loaded that kid in the car, along with all of his belongings to get dropped off at Grammy’s house after so I could go to work. A thirty minute drive, a stop to get gas, and there we sat waiting at the doctor’s office, for an hour and 15 minutes. Elliott cried most of the time, wanting his bed, more food, to be at home snuggling with his giraffe. Not waiting an hour in a stale, offensively bright room for a doctor that was clearly overbooked. 

The appointment with the doctor was pleasant enough. Elliott’s growth was fantastic, he looked good, was tolerating his feeds, and, oh yeah. He was going to reorder the abdominal ultrasound they were supposed to set up for us three months ago. 

“I’d like to see him back in four months,” Dr. GI said. 

“How's about we actually get this ultrasound underway and we’ll catch –up with you after?"

I don’t mean to sound whiny, but all of these specialists visits are starting to turn into more of a pain than they are a productive learning experience about Elliott’s health. I am getting a lot of looks good, let’s run more tests, see you in a few months messages from doctors. And these messages are beginning to sound an awful lot like looks good, let’s run up your insurance bill, see you in a few months. I have been noticing a pattern. I make an appointment for something, I sit forever in the office, I don’t get any results and then I go home with a cranky kid who’s been broken of his routine for the day. And yet, I am paying my co-pay, spending money on gas to drive 30 minutes to the specialist’s office, and using up my sick or vacation time. Is this the necessary evil of having a kid with special needs? No, I don’t think so. I am quickly feeling like we are being taken advantage of. 

With a follow-up appointment to the High Risk Infant clinic looming next week, I made a decision. I asked my husband, “hey, do you think that High Risk Infant Clinic appointment was helpful when you took Elliott last time?”

“Did I take him to that?"

“Yes, in December.” 

“To be honest, I don’t remember anything about that appointment.” 

And there was my answer.

I left a message for the HRIC receptionist that afternoon that was very honest. I am canceling this appointment, I am not going to reschedule, it seems like a waste of our time and resources. And the voicemail I received from that receptionist today? “Yes, looking at his chart, I don’t disagree with you. Can you call me back to make sure we get Elliott set up with Inland Regional Services, though?” Elliott is already getting weekly visits from a teacher from Inland Regional. The doctor recommendations to go see this clinic, it seems, was unnecessary.

The moral of this story: I am going to start weaning out some of these specialists. I am again reminded (see this post) that a doctor’s recommendation does not have to be taken at face value. It is simply a recommendation. While we are absolutely going to go by all of his cardiologists recommendations, seek advice from our pediatrician, continue with Elliott’s developmental teaching from Inland Regional, and get his speech therapy set up, I think we can start to decide for ourselves what other visits/tests/treatments are really necessary. I want to be proactive and do everything right by my little boy. He deserves it. What he doesn’t deserve is to feel cranky and tired after a pointless visit to the GI clinic. And I don’t deserve to deal with it. It is a mother’s obligation to do what his best for her child, and it is her right to decide what “best” means. In this case, more time at home snuggling, less time at home with the doctor. Only the important doctor's from now on.


  1. Good call. You do know what's best, after all. :) And I love your kitty snuggled on the pillow. My gray kitty does that, and it's the sweetest. (My black kitty is far too large for pillow sleep.)

  2. Cheers to you! I love that you are questioning things and weighing the real cost and benefit of your appointments. When I was reading this post I was literally cheering you on! What a wonderful Motherly moment to question rather than continue to accept without consideration!

    Yay to more snuggles and less horrible waiting rooms!


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