In the waiting room with my baby daughter, that old feeling haunted me again.
What if this pediatrician won’t be the right fit?
My oncologist recommended this new pediatrician, and I kept thinking of his words to me, “I guarantee you that you will have a good experience with Dr. Gold [name changed to protect the innocent].”
I breathed a sigh of relief, as I trust my oncologist with my life, and his recommendation is as good as gold. He has never been wrong with his many recommendations of the many doctors that I eventually hired.
As we were gently ushered into one of the cheerful examining rooms, I gained confidence. And when the pediatrician walked in, I knew she was the one.
What a difference a pediatrician makes!
Dr. Gold spent one hour — I repeat: one hour — with us. She examined my child from head to toe, backwards and forwards. Unlike the first doctor, she told me that my child did need immunizations, and she thoroughly explained why. The result: Eight immunizations in five shots. But I knew they were necessary because the doctor knew her stuff. She didn’t dismiss China’s immunization records, but she did understand how vaccines work in terms of shelf life.
She was also well-versed in a child’s development and told me that I was doing an outstanding job as a mother. I couldn’t believe my ears: a doctor who pays a lot of attention to the mother as well!!? She told me what to expect in terms of Ari’s language acquisition, social development, and, well, everything else. Unlike Doctor No. 1, Dr. Gold checked my daughter’s heart and lungs with….yes…a stethoscope!!
No kidding. I saw a bonafide stethoscope.
Dr. Gold was GREAT. Beyond great. Fantabulous. She answered questions before I had a chance to ask them. At the end of the appointment, she asked me if I had any questions and sat down next to us as if we were friends.
I had no questions. None. She was unbelievably competent, and if there were an Olympics for best pediatrician, she’d get the gold medal.
I thought back with gratitude toward my oncologist, for it was he who recommended her as a must-see. Yes, I used a specialist as a gateway doctor to pave the way for my daughter to have a competent pediatrician.
And it paid off.
My daughter deserves the best.
If you are unlucky enough to have a specialist and lucky enough to have a great specialist — whatever the specialty — you are most likely to get recommendations to other quality physicians.
This experience has reinforced what I’ve been preaching throughout my blog column: The saying “Birds of a feather flock together” is so true when it comes to doctors. Great doctors don’t associate with bird brains; great doctors know and form a community with other great doctors.
I’m glad I got an eagle instead of another vulture.
Beth L. Gainer is a professional writer and has published numerous academic and magazine articles, as well as an essay on her breast cancer experience in the anthology Voices of Breast Cancer by LaChance Publishing. She writes about a potpourri of topics, including motherhood and her Chinese adoption experience at http://currents-living-discovery.blogspot.com/, and her cat Hemi blogs at http://www.catterchatter.blogspot.com/. Beth teaches writing and literature at Robert Morris University in the Chicago area. She has a guest posting on The World’s Strongest Librarian at http://worldsstrongestlibrarian.com/3597/sharing-a-loved-ones-pain-guest-post-by-beth-gainer/.
She can be contacted at
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This blog posting is an excerpt from my book in progress, Calling the Shots: Coaching Yourself Through the Medical System. Stay in loop for when it comes out. Subscribe to the blog in upper righthand corner.