Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Showcase: Margie from Tired Mom/Speaking on the Spectrum

Margie offers us this blog post to showcase:

Unexpected Dr's Visit Turns Emotional

About a month ago, I found out my kids' pediatrician, Dr Cramer, was leaving the clinic to pursue a new career. I was extremely saddened hearing the news, knowing I will never find another doctor like him! He has been an absolute blessing to me and my kids, and also completely understanding of their situation.

Where will I find another doctor who trusts and takes me at my word when I say, "My daughter has an infection" during a phone call, and instead of insisting I come in, simply calls in the prescription for me? Exactly - no other doctor I've ever met has done that. I must say, I've been spoiled during the last 5 years. Of course, our relationship did not start out this way.

Our relationship as mom and doctor to Beauty had its ups and downs. The first year was difficult since she was born with colitis and a severe milk allergy. I remember expressing my concerns regarding how my daughter seemed like she was in pain and she wasn't pooping every day. I also remember the doctor telling me, "Oh, it's ok if they don't poop every day and maybe she's just being a bit fussy." Of course, since I was a new mom and he was the professional, he had the last word. Until one night, when I took my girl into the ER, where they gave her a suppository, and all of a sudden "the flood gates opened."  It was determined she had an infection which was making it extremely difficult for her to poop. After that, at our next visit a few days later, the doctor said, "I am so sorry. I was wrong. You were right."

Since then, there were many visits for various ailments. Once it was determined my daughter had chronic sinus issues, whenever I'd call and say, "She's got another infection," the doctor learned to just call the antibiotics in. There was no reason for me to bring my daughter in, pay a co-pay, just to find out what we already knew. I always made sure to bring her in for routine check-ups and the yearly well-visits. As long as I did that, the doctor had no problems.

The start of the second year was where things really turned around. Long story short, I knew my daughter was having issues and the doctor kept downplaying them. He said, "Let's wait a little longer to see if she starts progressing."  By the time we finally got an evaluation and an official diagnosis of autism, she was 2 yrs, 5 months old. The next time we had a visit with the doctor, face to face, I heard the words again; "I am so sorry. I was wrong. You were right."

Fast forward to last Friday, June 3. This was the doctor's very last day in the clinic, and it just so happens that my kids were sick - again. He asked that I bring them in because he wanted to check my daughter for asthma (thank goodness, she does not have asthma). I didn't mind coming in considering I really wanted to say good-bye to him face to face, and to thank him for being so helpful and understanding over the years. I was NOT PREPARED for what happened next....

Dr Cramer walked into the room and my daughter greeted him: "There's the doctor! Hi doctor! How are you?" With a huge smile on his face, he responded, "I'm fine and how are you?" "Good, I'm good," she said, followed by "Hug please?" He gave her the OK, and she stood up and hugged him.That's when it happened. The doctor began to choke up. Tears began falling from his eyes. He looked at me and said, "She is incredible, and you are an extraordinary mother." I was kind of surprised by the comment so I wasn't quite sure how to respond, but before I could, he continued.... (obviously not verbatim, but this is the gist)

"You know, I always had a certain way of thinking. I always thought our children were supposed to be perfect; perfect examples for their peers and perfect examples of their parents. When I had to diagnose [Beauty] with autism, I didn't want to do it. I thought it made her less than perfect. Now I know that's completely untrue. She is perfect. There's a person in there. She sees and thinks and interprets the world differently and that's ok." THEN he said... (this is where I become completely speechless...)

"But what's really changed my thinking is how you love her. You love her unconditionally. You've stood by her and helped her. Your love and devotion to your children have completely changed my life forever. You truly are an inspiration to me."

O.O  Say what?!  O.O

Me? An inspiration? Are you kidding? Who am I to be an inspiration to anybody? I didn't know what to say in response. I was completely flabbergasted! (wow, a college word! lol)  But seriously, all I could do was stand there and shake my head.

The doctor said, "No, I mean it. The way you've never let autism affect your feelings towards her. The way you've loved and nurtured her in spite of her autism. I know other parents who are not that way with their child. You really are an amazing mom and Beauty is lucky to have you."

As if that wasn't enough, he then went on to tell me how he's been reading autism books, like The Horse Boy and Temple Grandin: I See In Pictures. He said he's obtained a new understanding for those on the spectrum and he's gained a great respect for them.

I think that last part is what makes me a bit emotional. Knowing that through his relationship with me and my daughter, he's done his own research about those on the spectrum. He's gained greater knowledge about autism that he can now share with other people he comes in contact with. For me, that's the best thing he could've told me. Not only is Dr Cramer aware of autism, but now he's understanding of autism.

It's very humbling to know I've touched someone's life like this. To know that I've changed their thinking when it comes to people with autism - that they're not less, just different - that's amazing! Ultimately, that is my goal for everyone I come in contact with, so with that in mind, I think I'll continue with my autism blog and I'll continue trying to educate others regarding autism spectrum disorders. Even if I never "change someone's life" again, at least I've changed one, and that's good enough for me!

Good-bye, Dr Cramer; we'll miss you!

1 comment:

Unknown said...

My favorite thing about this post is how the doctor was unafraid to admit what he didn't know. I wish more were like that!



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