Julie sent in this update to her daughter’s journey. Many thanks again, for sharing! You can read more of Julie’s writing at Balancing Mama. – Ann Z
I have learned a lot about personalities this year, especially how different personalities can affect our medical journey through strabismus and surgeries. Physicians, believe it or not, are people. They each have their own personality, their own way of doing things, and a uniqueness in communicating with others. When it comes to strabismus and other pediatric eye issues, personality can be as critical to a good outcome as ability.
I shared our confusing and frustrating journey a few months ago in this post: Measure Twice, Cut Once. We first visited a Pediatric Ophthalmologist based on our regular pediatrician’s recommendation and his close location to our home (we’ll call him Doc #1).
Doc #1 is very skilled and well known. But as we quickly found out, he is also extremely confident in his abilities and not much of a talker. He knows what he wants to do, and he just wants to do it. When we thought that we were going to have one surgery and be done with it all, this was fine. We liked his go-get-‘em attitude and overflowing confidence. But as surgery number one failed and number two was scheduled, we began to be uncomfortable with his technique. Medically, he is brilliant. But we could not freely ask questions without receiving very short answers. I have some background in research and analytics and my husband is an engineer – we are the type of people who ask a LOT of questions. We want to understand every step of the process. This doctor seemed to think we just did not “need” the details.
So along came doctor #2. I found him via online searches. He has the same qualifications and associations as Doc #1, plus he had a few glowing reviews on a website or two. His office is less convenient to our home, especially in city rush hour. But oh my, what a difference he made! Doc #2 is never in a rush. He spends a long time with us in his office and patiently answers all of our questions. He is generous with details. His compassion is obvious and puts us at ease. He is the physician who suggested glasses before diving into a third surgery. He takes his time. He measures over and over and over again.
We know now that a pediatric ophthalmologist will be part of Amelia’s life for a while, so it is crucial to have one whom we really like and trust. We are in a relationship with him. We need to be able to trust him, he needs to be able to listen. He needs to see things through our eyes, and we need to be able to hand our sweet girl over to him.
My husband and I handed her over to him last Thursday for surgery number three. It was still a difficult thing to do, but we were more confident this time than ever before. Because he explained. And because he cares. He even called me twelve hours after surgery to check on his patient. I could barely talk, I was so surprised. Doc #2 had reassuring words for me and many cheers for our brave girl. I will happily drive to future check-ups, knowing I have the right person to care for this little lady who holds on to my heart.
— Julie is a part-time working mom, mother to 4-year-old Amelia, and the blogger behind BalancingMama.com.