Sunday, September 09, 2012

The doctor is in - Part II of Isn't Healthcare Fun

Yesterday I talked about my process for finding good doctors (such as it is...)  What's more challenging is finding doctors to work with T. Most of the ones that are "pediatric" specialty are pretty good with kids, and their offices are set up for even the littlest ones so our luck has been pretty good there. The first allergist we saw was the one we stuck with, and we may be done seeing him (hooray!) as she passed her last skin test for dairy.

Her pediatrician is simply awesome, has 3 kids of her own and also works part-time, which means for sick visits we've often seen others in the same practice, and have not yet been disappointed. By a stroke of luck, Dr. T also had a really-late-walking kid which was really helpful when we were concerned about T's gross motor skills (proactive, not alarming!).  This was just dumb luck on my part, as I found a nearby practice with lots of women doctors, and picked one who was accepting new patients.

T has seen some regular dermatologists with little success, but Dr. F the pediatric dermatologist was a freakin' miracle worker.

I'm feeling 'meh' about the pediatric eye doctor.    At first her eye issue was diagnosed by our family eye doctor, and I was worried because the office wasn't set up for kids at all.  T did fine, there, though.  Dr. P wanted a second opinion, so her referred us to a local pediatic optometrist.

We had a resident working with us first, and it was clear he wasn't used to little kids. But even when the regular doc showed up, it was still not the best experience - the whole appointment was 3 hours (for a 2 year old, really??) and they expected a lot more of T's cooperation than was appropriate, and T is pretty focused and chill for her age. We have a follow up appointment in a few weeks, and if we need to go back yearly, I'm probably going to try someone else. The doc obviously knows her stuff - she increased T's glasses prescription 3-fold, and now we never see the eye-crossing issue. But the office visit was just too long and unpleasant.

So my list for finding kids' doctors is slightly revised:

Bedside manner - this is for both T and myself.  Can they deal with kids in an age-appropriate way?  Do they treat the parents as overly paranoid and dismiss my concerns and observations?  Do they get impatient when the kid acts like a kid?  (yes, this happens more often than you think.  sigh.)  Do they understand that if I have to wait with my toddler for 30 minutes *before* the appointment, the chances that she'll cooperate during the appointment are slim to none?  Duh.

Availability and Office Support - same as on my previous post, with the added "bonus" of new unfamiliar docs needing to be understanding that some kids are not comfortable with them and need a little bit of time to warm up.  Special bonus for offices set up for kids with lots of toys and age-appropriate videos to watch.  Age-appropriate being the key here - as silly as it sounds, I don't think Tom and Jerry is appropriate for all 2 year olds.  Mine is not a fan and it freaks her out.

Diagnostic Ability - this is totally different.  In T's case, I'm mostly happy to comply with non-invasive tests that don't hurt.  I like having the options laid out for me - we could draw blood *or* do another skin test, and what the accuracy might be.  T had a BAD experience getting blood drawn so I'm not anxious to repeat that.  Special bonus for docs who consider time/hunger/tiredness in what might work.  For medication, we always ask for chewable tablets, which T will happily take, unlike liquid meds.  Some doctors are willing to adjust for this, and others have more of a "suck it up" attitude, which frankly doesn't work for me if I have to administer them multiple times a day.

Yeah, I know, I sound like a Mama Bear on this.  Spending time in a doctor's office with a baby or toddler is NOT fun, so I try to make sure to set us up for success ahead of time - I don't schedule visits during nap time, make sure she's eaten beforehand and slept well.  So when the office visit blows all of that (see 3 hour eye doctor appointment, above), I'm not going to repeat that again.  Even lab rats learn from their mistakes! 

Like with my own doctor, most of these come from trial and error or pediatrician referrals.  I don't find other peoples' opinions super helpful, but often the "reviews" have factual pieces I can use to evaluate, such as "the doc is always behind schedule", or the waiting room isn't set up for kids, or the doctor's manner is kind of brusque and businesslike.

Now, your turn.  How do you find great docs for your kids?


  1. I adore the kids' doctor and she's Mike's doctor as well. My beef is that due to health crap and whatever, she can't be my doctor. Many moons ago I was on Medicaid and that was tickety boo for this doctor. Now I'm all married and (shit....sorry) she can't see me. Why??!! Give me the NHS any day! Seriously!

    1. Leah - our healthcare "system" is totally broken, for sure. That really sucks that you can't see her anymore. Another friend of mine was also telling me about how where she lives, LOTS of doctors don't even TAKE any kind of insurance so it's hard to find one that will. Hugs to you.

  2. This is very timely as our GP who we really like has left and we really do not love the locum there. We found a great doctor when we first moved here but the nurses were rude and far from gentle with our then infant daughter. Back to the drawing board I guess.

    1. It is hard to find a good one! But sometimes being *forced* to is actually good. That happened with my OB/GYN once, and I really liked her replacement. But then she left the practice too :(

  3. [complete stranger and fellow PNW transplant who "knows" you as a regular commenter on AskMoxie butting in]

    A friend of ours is an optometrist in Kirkland (Totem Lake) - she sold the practice to one of the other doctors last year but still sees patients a few days a week. Dunno if that's too far for you and T to travel but you might consider checking them out - she is a gentle soul and, if they're not the practice for you, they can probably recommend a good place for you.

    My husband goes there as it's near his work. The rest of us would go, too, if it weren't too far from our home in Maple Valley. (I soooo feel you on the long appointment for toddler "WTF???" reaction.) On that note, i absolutely love our eye doc here - so good with kids. I fled to him after a weird/bad experience with another eye doc when my oldest was 3 and haven't looked back. So if you're desperate, i can share that information, too, but the long drive might be as bad or worse than a long appointment. :)

    Hope you all find a satisfying solution and soon.

    1. Hey! Thanks for the input and we'll definitely check out the place in Kirkland if we decide to switch. It really depends on how the recheck goes, and how often we need to take her in.

      And thanks for stopping by too - always nice to hear from other folks nearby!!


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