Saturday, March 05, 2005

Teaching Tomorrow's Doctors

My son and I were used as guinea pigs yesterday when we went for his well checkup at the pediatrician. Interestingly, or maybe unfortunately, when these young medical students are sent in to "play doctor", the patient is not asked for feedback on the performance.

A haughty, unfriendly man introduced himself with a serious visage when he entered. He did not smile, I kid you not, the entire visit. This man, who most likely had no children, quizzed me on a mundane list that I am subjected to each visit, and which though I find it boring and overdone, realize that they are just doing a job and perhaps someone might not find the information so obvious.
Does he wear a carseat? Yes, yes.
Can he draw a circle? Yes.
Are you teaching him colors? Yes, of course.

When he began to ask my son, at that tender stranger-phobic age, to perform for him, I began to lose my patience.
"What is your favorite color?" he demanded with his intimidating stare.
"No," my son refused to participate. He does know his colors, I said, somewhat intimidated myself. We were failing the quiz.
"Can you hop?" he stared some more.
"No," my son replied.
Taking matters into my own hands, I got son to do stupid pet tricks like hop, stand on one foot and open the door. I minded the performance, but it was more the man had the demeanor of a dead fish.

Was he potty trained? Oh, yes, number two since he was two years old. But not number one yet. I know that ds does not yet have the muscle control for that. Play Doctor suggested that I try taking him more often, even when he doesn't ask. Hair is now starting to rise on the back of my neck. I've potty trained two so far, I am thinking, how many have you???

How much milk does he drink? Juice? Oh, 8 oz. a day milk. Not much juice. I sense disapproval. He eats lots of broccoli and spinach, I offer. Okay, now it comes down to - do I admit I'm one of those weird people who believe in extended nursing? Not yet. It's none of his business, but then maybe it is and shouldn't I educate him?

We continue. My son is 15% on height, so Play Dr. predicts he is going to be short. But, that's only a prediction, right? I've been told before it is too variable and that height prediction is difficult. Okay, now I'm getting on Play Dr.'s nerve. He's here to tell me stuff, not listen to my weird ideas. Perhaps if he drank more milk......I am now getting the idea that I don't care what he thinks of me.

"So I see from your chart that you haven't been here for a whole year? He hasn't been sick for a whole year? No ear infections, nothing??" Well, I venture, he's still nursing, and so he gets my antibodies. Play Dr. says not a word. Silence fills the room.

He checks son over, worrying that he's not "descended" to the point I was on the verge of telling him THAT'S ENOUGH! when he gave up and said that perhaps the boy was just cold. Duh! The goosebumps MIGHT be a clue.

This whole thing did make me realize how wonderful our pediatrician is. She is like visiting an old friend. Perhaps I will write and tell her so. As for Play Dr., I hope that he is headed towards a successful career in Pathology.

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