Thing 3

The One Where I Feel Really Dumb.

(Should I stop falling on that Friends titling gimmick? Does anyone even get that anymore? If you don’t know – every episode title of Friends started with “The One…” And often I used that gimmick on my blog because I loved Friends but is that reference outdated now? DOES THAT AGE ME? I am so old.)

Okay! So, here’s a funny story. Yesterday someone ask why I didn’t go to my pediatrician first in regards to Wesley’s behavior! Isn’t that funny? I mean…of course not! Why would anyone start with their pediatrician in regards to their child’s health?

Oh. Wait. I am an idiot.

Seriously. The more I think about it the more part of me says, “Duh, Kim. Of course that’s where you should have started. You might be the dumbest person on the planet.”

I mean – how much stress would that have saved me? First of all – referrals probably help a whole HELLUVA lot when it comes to dealing with insurance. Second of all – she probably would have been able to tell me exactly what type of doctor we needed (we are avoiding medications, so we’re nervous about psychiatrists) or what services to go through.

But, the defensive part of me also thought: No one told me to see my pediatrician first!

And you know what? I’m guessing the reason why no one told me that? THEY ASSUMED I HAD ALREADY DONE THAT BECAUSE IT’S THE MOST OBVIOUS STEP IN THE WORLD.

So! Before we go around thinking “Kim’s an idiot!” – I do feel like I should clarify. Here’s a few important notes regarding me an pediatricians:

  1. My Dad never took us to doctors for anything, so I have a weird perspective on when you go to a doctor. I went for an ear infection once as an adult and the first thing the doctor did after looking at my ear was say, “WOAH. This looks really bad. Why did you wait so long? If we had treated this when it first started you wouldn’t have needed pain pills. But now you obviously do.” No, doctor. I didn’t come earlier because I’m still not sure how much pain/illness is appropriate for doctor’s visits because my Dad never took me to a doctor for anything ever.
  2. Our first pediatrician we had for the little ones had a waitroom time of about 2 hours. We loved her, but you had to just about ask for half of a day off just to take the kids in to the office, so we saved it for last resort until we found a new pediatrician 3 years ago!
  3. But the new pediatrician had a snarky voice/attitude and three separate times made me feel REALLY stupid and so I kinda stopped wanted to ever see him…ever.

So…those three things combined show that my natural instinct is not to call my pediatrician first. We even have a new one! So you would think reason #3 and reason #2 are null and void! But did I think of it? No! Partly because reason #3 may have burned me forever. I still can’t stop the voices in my head that says, “The doctor is going to think you’re stupid.” But also because reason #1 is still so ingrained in me. I think my logic was that I knew I needed a mental health care provider and I knew my insurance wouldn’t cover just whichever one I chose (I learned that one with the first search) so I knew I needed to talk to my insurance before making an appointment. But it never occurred to me that my pediatrician could be a help during any of that searching/referring.

Part of me really wants to laugh at my own idiocy.

But then, you know? I don’t feel too bad because I know the majority of the problem was I’ve never really established a good relationship with my pediatrician. But the good news is that I have a new one as of about 6 weeks ago so…maybe this is just a good reminder of what a good relationship can do, and a good motivator to build a good relationship with this doctor.

So! Monday I’m calling the pediatrician to make the annual checkup appointments for my kids. (We hadn’t done the last yearly visits at the old doctor yet because we had kinda grown to hate him, and were hoping we’d find a new one. So, they’re both overdo.) I’m going to go to try to go into this leaving all of my old baggage at home. I’ll remind myself a million times that this doctor is NOT the same as the last one and will NOT make me feel stupid with every little problem. (Once my old pediatrician actually snarked to me when I told them that my daughter’s last “fever” check was 99.8, “Um. Do we need to talk about what is an actual fever? That’s not an actual fever.” I still cringe a little in shame when I think about that moment. I mean…that wasn’t her only symptom! I wouldn’t have brought her in for a 99.8 fever if that was the only thing off! ARG. I STILL FEEL DEFENSIVE AND SHAMEFUL AND THAT WAS TWO YEARS AGO.) I need to leave the OLD doctor baggage behind and try to build a relationship with the new doctor that is NOT tainted by my fears of feeling like an idiot every time I walk through the door.

Be honest with me now…how many of you assumed I had already talked to my pediatrician about Wesley’s behavior issues? Or how many of you are like me and totally would have started with the insurance first? I’m trying to gauge on a scale of 1-10 how obvious it was that I should have started with his pediatrician. (10 being “OBVIOUSLY”, obvious and 1 being where I fell on the spectrum.)

36 thoughts on “The One Where I Feel Really Dumb.”

  1. It didnt occur to me either! I think it’s a great idea, but never occured to me when reading those posts .

  2. I just want to say that I LOVE our pediatrician. He is kind, knowledgeable and always leaves me feeling reassured. So a good relationship is possible.

    Recently, my 3 month old was refusing to take a bottle. I have to go back to work soon and I cried every day at the thought of her being hungry at daycare. We bought every bottle on the market, read everything I could find on the internet and as a last resort made an appt with our pediatrician (I should note that we happened to be in for something else and saw another pediatrician in the same practice who, when I mentioned our issues, suggested trying more bottle types). Anyway we saw our favorite pediatrician who had a solution and gave us a plan and it worked! And now I still can’t believe that he wasn’t my first stop! But, like you, I kind of thought this wasn’t really in his area of expertise.

    Good luck!

  3. If it makes you feel better, I didn’t think of it either until you mentioned it. And in the past when I needed something out of the “norm” for myself I started with insurance instead of my doctor too. And lastly, I would consider 99.8 a fever – is that wrong? I mean I would consider it a minor one, but…Huh. Maybe I better start googling it.

  4. It never occurred to me. I would have done the exact same things as you!

    I’ve been a long-time reader of your blog, and I rarely comment. But the post about how hard it was to try and get mental health help really resonated with me. I went through a horrible time after having my youngest child, and was never able to get help. So I just wanted you to know, that while our problems were different, our struggles are the same.

  5. I didn’t occur to me either. I would have done the same things you did (including crying on the phone with the insurance people).

  6. I’m a long time reader but have never commented.

    I totally resonated with your post yesterday. I recently moved for work and finding all new Drs that work with your insurance is a total nightmare. I have wanted to find a new therapist but have given up multiple times. And I haven’t even started to try to find just a general dr. So off to the minute clinic I go.

    Anyway, I wanted to say I don’t think your an idiot for not thinking about your ped dr first. The first time I decided I needed meds for my anxiety I spent all this time trying to find a psychiatrist and my friends were like “um just go to the regular dr. ” I had honestly no idea.

    This just proves your point finding help for mental health care is hard. We as a society need to make this processes clearer and provide easier access.

    Hoping you have a great experience with the new dr!!

  7. To be fair, I don’t have kids. But the pediatrician didn’t even occur to me. I’m like you–when I know what kind of doctor I need, I just look one up.

    But I have baggage, too. Because my GP once referred me to a really, really terrible neurologist, so now I’d rather just find the specialist I need on my own.

  8. Oh yeah, and I love Friends and still watch it all the time. Using the “The One…” title system will never get old!!

  9. My oldest had a behavioral issue – violent night terrors that lasted 3 hours each night for YEARS. It never occurred to me that I should ask someone about it. Finally when I saw her pediatrician, a light bulb went off that I had been avoiding professional help for many of her issues. I chalked it up to being a first time single parent but who knows. I still went on to avoid help for her for a few other things before I finally got it. Worried = ask for help.
    And it held that I now have a spouse that insists on seeking help the moment an issue arises, BC my fall back stance is still to ignore at first.

  10. Kim, I had assumed either one of two things after you had talked about the growing pains situation.
    1. You didn’t feel comfortable talking to your pediatrician about the behavior.
    2. You asked but were told it was just “normal child behavior” and so were going out on your own to find help.
    Either way, talking to the insurance seemed totally reasonable to me.

  11. A – now that Friends is on Netflix (where everyone can see the episode titles) it’s going to become relevant all over again. Basically everyone I know, including me, is rewatching Friends.

    B – I don’t have kids, but I had my own minor health issue a few months ago, and having not been a doctor person myself (and despite my mother STILL encouraging me to see doctors more often and being much better about it herself now- come on! We never did this when I was a kid unless I had an ear infection!) I had no idea what to do about it. I turned to doctor google to figure out what was wrong (I’m one of the rare people who can resist being convinced I’m dying by webmd) and where to go, and the only reason I realized I needed to see a GP first was because the website for the place that dealt with my thing specifically said “you can make an appointment yourself but your insurance is much more likely to pay for it if you’re referred.” That was enough convincing for me, so I finally found the doctor I’ve been promising my mother I would find. So long story short – health cafe is complicated and it’s not obvious to everyone and Google will save you. 🙂

  12. It occurred to me but you had posted about how the last doctor acted before so I assumed you hadn’t asked and were figuring out other options without him. (((hugs))) I hope you are able to find help for Wes.
    ps. I will always get the Friends references so keep doing it! One of my favorite shows!

  13. it might have crossed my mind if the ped had ASKED me about behavior at a well-child visit. It would never have crossed my mind to go there when I knew the kid needed therapy. Not in a million years.

  14. Unless you have an HMO that requires a referral to see a specialist, I wouldn’t see any need to see a pediatrician either. Maybe they could refer you to a good doctor, but I wouldn’t be very confident that they’d have very much helpful info for you. So yeah, I fall on the side of thinking you should feel stupid, because it’s not that obvious. Not to me, anyhow!

  15. Ahhh – that was supposed to say “SHOULDN’T” feel stupid. Geez. Worst typo ever. I DO NOT think you should feel stupid, at all!! 🙂

  16. I figured you hadn’t seen talked to your pediatrician because your old pediatrician was such a jerk. I am so glad you have a new one!

  17. As I commented on my previous post, I talked to our pediatrician first when we were having behavioral issues with my daughter. However, I didn’t think it was weird at all that you didn’t start there–I have a lot of trust built in with our ped. and I knew she’d be able to help. From our experiences with our first ped., who was super condescending and made me feel like an idiot, I know that kind of thing is hard to come by.

    I hope your new pediatrician is GREAT and turns out to be a good resource for you guys.

  18. Never give up on the Friends references. It occurred to me but only because we have been through the process of trying to find a therapist for our son who has ADHD and our pediatrician was really helpful with references. I had assumed things were different where you live, that’s all. For the record, I left a pediatrician for that exact kind of snarky attitude. Never went back. Sounds like you have a plan and for me, that is half the battle sometimes. Hang in there. Hugs

  19. Your last pediatrician? Sounds like an asshole. Not everyone is cut out to be a doctor. I don’t think it occurred to me to tell you to go to your pediatrician; when I was looking for a shrink it didn’t occur to me to see my primary care doc first either. I guess because I didn’t grow up with a doctor who was “mine,” so I didn’t think about that being something you go to your doctor for.

    TL; DR: don’t feel too bad, I wouldn’t have thought of that either.

  20. I don’t think you’re an idiot at all for not going to the ped first. While consulting the ped would probably have been high on my list, it wouldn’t have been the first thing on my list.

    And I totally get your issues with the dr and him making you feel stupid. I had a recent incident with an ER doctor and my 16 yr old ds needing a couple of stitches.

    He wasn’t going to bleed to death, but it was deep enough that I could see the insides of his arm that you shouldn’t be able to see. It was 10pm on a Saturday night. Where else was I suppose to take him? The dr made me feel pretty stupid for bringing him in and now I second guess myself with every dr appt I make. I’m pretty sure someone will have to be unconscious before I visit the ER again.

  21. I’ll be honest and admit that I didn’t assume that and wondered why you hadn’t done all this through your pediatrician. But I also wasn’t going to point it out because I assumed you had reasons and it was kind of too late for it to be helpful since you already had something scheduled.
    BTW you do have pretty legit reasons to not have gone through the old one! He sounds like a judgemental meanie.

  22. Never would have occurred to me. TBH, I would have started by asking friends for recommendations.

  23. I love my kids’ pediatrician. As in we want to move out of state, and out trust and respect in her caring for our kids is one of the only things that gets put in the “reasons not to move” column. So I would have checked with her if we were in the same situation. But say, I was needing to see someone/ a specialist, I generally just start calling and seeing who takes my insurance and can get me an appointment. I don’t think either way to do it is wrong.

  24. Hi Kim– I’m in human resources so have some benefit familiarity. Pardon me if someone mentioned this already, but does your husband’s employer offer an Employee Assistance Program aka EAP? If so, you may be able to get professional help for your son at no cost. Many plans let you have 3 visits w/ an affiliated provider for no cost to you. They can be an excellent source for referrals. Also, this situation is likely impacting your own mental health– the 3 visits is generally per covered family member. Please look into it if you haven’t already. Best wishes to you-

  25. Never ever would have occurred to me. I would have gone right to mental health providers. Seriously, don’t beat yourself up for this.

  26. I went to our pediatrician first when I had a straight developmental concern (speech), but I honestly wouldn’t have for mental health. My (totally unfair because I’ve never tried) assumption is that they have minimal training in mental health and would just offer a medication. (In my former work I saw a lot of kids on the wrong psychotropic meds because a pediatrician had just thrown meds at the problems, but that probably has as much to do with the population I worked with as anything else.). I really consider mental health a separate thing from medical care.

    But, thinking about it, how do you sort out mental health and developmental growth in a young kid? And, MDs definitely do a rotation of mental health and have familiarity with it, certainly enough to help you find the right specialist. So, why wouldn’t you start with his doctor? It’s not like you have to take the needs and/or her advice if you get blown off or otherwise feel it’s not right for your kid. Fingers crossed that she can give or get you to you some help.

    p.s. – At my pediatrician, if all you ask for is a well child check, there’s often a long(ish) wait. But, if you let them know something else is going on, too, they’ll get you in sooner. I also gave the person scheduling the appointment a heads up that I needed a minute to talk with the doctor away from my child about her speech, because I wanted to be able to speak bluntly to him. They may be able to shuffle the order so that you can speak privately with the doctor while the nurse gets weights, etc. (Or, they may ask you to bring Donnie or someone to sit with the kids while you talk to her.)

  27. Oh dear, I hope my comment didn’t make you feel bad. My mom is a pediatrician and we have a good relationship with our doctor, so that was my first thought , and I just suggested it because I thought it might give you some more local options. In any event, I think you are an amazing mom and give you tons of credit for seeking out help.

  28. Hi Kim,
    I’m a long time reader and I think I’ve commented a few times…. Your problems with Wes reminded me of problems we had with our stepson many years ago. He was prone to violent outbursts on a dime. One second he was the loveliest kid ever and the next he was thumping on the closest living thing. When he started setting fires at his Mom’s, (he was 5) I decided he was no longer welcome in my home until we figured out what was going on. His dad (at the time we weren’t married) did not want him medicated or labeled with the ADHD/ADD tag. So I dug in and did some research. First thing I learned was at the time, there was no standard for ADD/ADHD. Diagnoses were opinion based. I discovered that the only consistent difference being found between ADD/ADHD kids and other kids was a difference in EEG patterns during sleep. Then I drew on my own experiences. I am a celiac and I was a miserable bitch until I was diagnosed at the age of 27. (that’s a whole other story). With raised eyebrows, his father allowed me to do 2 things, one was a sleep EEG and the other was testing for food sensitivites. Both non-invasive. The EEG came back normal, but the food sensitivity test came back with a sensitivity to milk. I immediately removed all milk and milk products from the family diet. Within 3 days I saw a marked change in behavior. No more outbursts, even when obviously frustrated. Success! In the aftermath, we tried to look at it logically. I make a less than politically correct conclusion. Small kids, much like animals lack the verbal skills necessary to tell you whats going on. Along with that, if a sensitivity has existed since birth, they have no idea what it is to feel differently. Just as an unwell animal will lash out, so will an unwell child. I suspect that the reason it’s directed at you is because you are Mom and you make all things better…
    Anyway, that’s my story in a nutshell. I hope it helps.
    Be Well!

  29. Don’t feel dumb, and also don’t put up with this nonsense from ANY doctor. If you feel like they are treating you like an idiot, then tell them – Look, I am not an idiot and I don’t appreciate you treating me like one. My healthcare is a partnership between me and you, my healthcare team. If you cannot treat me with respect, then I need to find a new team.

    I work in medical education, and the team aspect of healthcare is absolutely part of our curriculum.

  30. After you wrote about it I thought “oh yeah, the pediatrician!” But it didn’t occur to me otherwise, probably because when I started going to a therapist I started with insurance, not my doctor.

  31. I had a doctor tell me snottily that they don’t consider it a fever until 100.8. But my kid generally has a body temperature in the 96 degree range, so by the time he hits 100.8. he’s actually two degrees higher than someone who is generally at 98.6. It really irritated me.

    I don’t know that I would have thought to start with the pediatrician either.

    And finally, Friends post titles forever!

  32. I think there are two types of parents in the world: those who go to the doctor and those who don’t. I’m the latter, We never went as kids unless we were very ill. We never stayed home from school if we were very ill, either. I tend towards that in my parenting as well. I wait and see before I call. Basically, that means my kids see their doctor once, maybe twice a year. Because of that, I don’t view doctors as a working relationship to be maintained or consulted over every day stuff. You go them when body parts are falling off, the end.

    tl;dr I never would have called my pediatrician, either.

  33. I was 2 weeks post partum with my THIRD child and my C-section incision was open and weeping (just imagine- it was gross). I spent 4 hours waiting in Urgent Care with a 2 week old before the doctor saw me only to be told that he wouldn’t look at someone else’s surgical case. And, why hadn’t I called my own doctor? Um, what? It never occurred to me that I could call my doctor’s office. Not once. I just figured it was the weekend, they were closed and off to urgent care I went. In my (weak) defense, no one asked me in those 4 hours (the receptionist when I signed in, the nurses at intake, etc.) if I had called my doctor. It happens. And, given the reasons you listed, I probably wouldn’t have called my pediatrician either!

  34. If it makes you feel any better, I was dealing with some Sensory/Vision/Auditory issues with my son when he was four years old, and I had planned to talk to the pediatrician about it at our well check-up. EVERY person that I told about my plan was confused about why I would talk to our doctor about it, and not an eye doctor/ENT/occupational therapist. I was just starting with our pediatrician, because I’m lazy and was overwhelmed and didn’t know where to start. So, I think it’s pretty common to not know about starting at the pediatrician.

  35. It never occurred to me to check with a pediatrician. So, not dumb. My childhood pediatrician was our go-to for everything, we used him for advice for everything. My mom and I even got our ears pierced there when I was 13. However, my experience being a mother with pediatricians has been… less good. I don’t know why, but I seem to keep having duds, and advice and information I’ve gotten from them has been useless. Hopefully your new pediatrician is wonderful. (One of my best friends is married to a pediatrician and he is wonderful so I don’t think pediatricians as a whole are bad, just to be clear!)

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