Taking a kid to the doctor can go one of two ways: without a hitch, or in the worst of ways that's bound to end in tears for all involved. Good doctors — the ones who make you feel more like family than another appointment on their schedule — can be hard to find, and even the good ones can make you feel awkward at times. And, unfortunately, there are some seriously creepy things your baby's pediatrician will probably do that will make every visit a goddamn chore.
My daughter's first pediatrician was a kind, naturally maternal doctor who, at least in my opinion, performed some pretty strange exams. Of course, my partner and I were new to parenting and had no idea what to expect, but still. For example, there was a time when our baby was obviously ill, but the only free appointment we could snag was on a Friday afternoon. So after we waited, and after a brief checkup, it was concluded that our daughter either had pneumonia or mononucleosis (mono). The two can have similar symptoms, but what what I found to be most peculiar was the treatment — or lack thereof. The pediatrician explained to us that getting an X-ray wouldn't yield results until Monday, and, by then, it wouldn't matter what our baby actually had. At least, that's what we were told.
As it turns out, our baby was very ill for well over a week. She did nothing but sleep, and her fever reached near-dangerous levels a time or two. But every call back to the doctor resulted in someone telling us just to wait it out. I appreciate the slow-reaction to prescribing antibiotics, but there are some illnesses that call for them. And because there were no prescriptions called in, no instructions to go to the emergency room at any point, and no apparent cause for concern, the whole scary situation left my partner and I completely baffled. If you can't trust your pediatrician to help your children, who can you trust?
Thankfully, that isn't normal practice for all pediatricians or doctors. We eventually left that particular provider and found someone who's standards were slightly different, and that pediatrician was a much better fit. But through a substantial amount of trial and error, we took note of the creepy things pediatricians do, including the following:
When They Liberally Prescribe Antibiotics
I'm thankful that the pediatricians that have treated my daughter aren't quick to write a prescription. I don't want a doctor to be handing out prescriptions to get us in, out, and on with their day. I'd find it bothersome if we had one who quickly scribbled an Rx without hearing, or caring, about the extent of a potential illness. I certainly don't want my kids developing a resistance to antibiotics, either.
When They Deny You A Referral
Second opinions (and third opinions and fourth opinions) save lives. Doctors are humans who sometimes make mistakes. So if your gut is telling you to seek out another opinion, it's not your doctor's business, or right, to tell you not to. Only creepy pediatricians will refuse your request for a referral, and it should serve as a red flag.
When They Ask Questions About Your Lifestyle
Unless your lifestyle directly reflects whatever's ailing your child, it's not appropriate, nor conducive to diagnosing or prescribing treatment, for your doctor to ask specific questions about how you live your private life. If your pediatrician comments on your physical appearance, your job, your relationship, or anything else that has nothing to do with the visit, I'd say that's creepy as hell.
Don't get me wrong, though. I think a friendly doctor who genuinely wants to know how things are going in your life isn't the same as a creepy doctor who repeatedly asks about your breastfeeding routine.
When They Shame Your Baby
Damn those milestones, my friends. Damn them straight to hell. Even though both my children were considered in the 90th percentile for both height and weight, I felt an unbelievable amount of mom guilt at every single pediatrician appointment. Kids hit milestones at different times, so to have a doctor ask about my kid's progress with, say, crawling or walking or talking or counting, only to have to give some answer that makes the doctor raise their eyebrows and say, "Oh, well every kid is different," is not my idea of a good time.
When They Only Suggest Alternative Medicines
So, my daughter's first pediatrician didn't prescribe traditional medicines very often if, well, at all. I had no idea this was her way of practicing medicine until I was faced with the aforementioned mono/pneumonia incident, but looking back, I see all the signs. There are great alternative medicine doctors out there — one of which helped my son's irritable bowel — but sometimes a care provider can be concerned with staying the "natural" route, that they may put your baby in danger instead of intervening. If I could do it over, I'd have researched a hell of a lot better.
When They Make Snap Judgements
You know the doctors who diagnose you the moment you walk in with something generic — "it's just a cold and it'll pass in 7-10 days" — because they have too many patients to see? Those are the ones who'd rather not connect with your baby, the person, because connecting is time-consuming. It's a total creep move. Your baby deserves a devoted pediatrician who won't immediately write you off to quickly move on.
When They Ignore Boundaries
Some pediatricians are friendly to a fault, and as a result they're not entirely aware of their actions and how they can make patients feel. They may not mean any harm, but by forcing your kid to give them a hug, high-five, or anything else, they're ignoring your child's right to consent. Even if your baby isn't old enough to speak, there are doctors who ignore physical cues and boundaries. Yeah, that's not OK.
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