Not The Formula For A Successful Doctor

, , , , , , | Healthy | October 27, 2018

(My daughter is born almost three months early and spends the first ten weeks of her life in the hospital. The day she is born, I start using a breast pump, so that I can take milk to her. Shortly after she comes home, we quickly realize that breastfeeding is an unpleasant experience for both of us, so I decide to continue pumping, but to supplement with formula during the night. It takes three weeks after she gets home, and me jumping through hoops and making phone calls daily, to get her insurance pushed through and active, so I can finally get her to her first pediatric appointment. Because I do not have a running car, I make an appointment at the office just down the road, and my mother is generous enough to drive us there. We arrive about ten minutes before the appointment, but we end up waiting more than half an hour after the scheduled time to be called back. The nurse calls a name that is somewhat similar to my daughter’s, but is incorrect, and is often used as a last name. After she calls the name two or three times, and neither of the other two families in the waiting room move, I ask if she is calling for [Daughter]. She nods and waves her hand and tells us to follow her. Once in an exam room, we wait about another twenty minutes before the doctor comes in.)

Doctor: *not looking up from her paperwork* “So, what formula is she using?”

Me: “None. I currently give her breast milk.”

Doctor: “All breast milk? That’s great!” *goes on about how great it is that my daughter gets exclusively breast milk, and about the benefits of breastfeeding*

Me: “Thanks. I wanted to start giving her formula once in a while, but I’m not sure what kind would be best for her.”

Doctor: “Oh.” *suddenly less enthused* “Okay. So, he’s five months old, right?”

Me: “No. She is three months.”

Doctor: *pulling the blanket down from my daughter’s face* “Cute. Let me wash my hands.”

(I then receive a lecture on germs, about making everyone around my daughter wash their hands, and about not only keeping her away from anyone sick, but just not taking her outside at all or letting her around family. A few minutes later, while examining her:)

Doctor: “She’s cute. What’s her name?”

Me: “[Daughter].” *internally alarmed because did this doctor not even look at any of the papers*

Doctor: “[Daughter].” *sarcastically* “Hmm. Unique. So, how’s the breast feeding going?”

Me: “I pump, and then we give her a bottle. Since she spent the first two and half mo–”

Doctor: *interrupting me* “She has a suck reflex. She can breastfeed.”

Me: “We’ve tried a few times, but it just hasn’t worked out well. She does better–”

Doctor: *interrupting me again* “She can breastfeed.”

Me: “She falls asleep every few minutes, and I have to wake her up continually.”

Doctor: “That’s fine.”

Me: “After an hour or two of nursing, she still hasn’t had enough to be a meal.”

Doctor: “That’s fine. Just let her keep doing it. It’s good practice.”

Me: “Okay, we will nurse here and there for comfort or a snack between feeds, but I’m struggling with my supply, hence the formula. But for the most part–”

Doctor: *interrupting again, this time very forcefully* “There is no reason not to breastfeed! You need to stop using the pump, and your supply will increase. You don’t need the bottles. She can do it, so do it!”

Me: “Fine.”

Doctor: “Okay. Did the hospital give you a packet about [vaccine]?”

Me: “Yes. It’s in my bag on the chair.”

Doctor: “Get it for me.”

(Keeping my fingertips on my daughter’s leg, I stretch over and grab the packet. As soon as I stand up:)

Doctor: *scolding* “Don’t do that! Don’t ever do that! Don’t ever turn your back on your baby or look away! That’s how they fall off the table!”

Me: *defeated, flat* “Okay.”

Doctor: “I’m going to prescribe a formula for preemies; it has extra calories. You’ll get it when you go into the WIC office and give them this form.”

(I’m not on WIC, nor have I applied.)

Me: “Okay. Can I get it from a pharmacy? I have a bit of a transportation issue and may not be able to get there for a few days. Is there anything I can give her in the meantime?”

Doctor: *ignoring me* “You can take it there today, or tomorrow, or whenever is convenient.”

Me: “Where is the this office even located?”

Doctor: *waving me off* “Ask the receptionist when you check out. I want you to set up an appointment two weeks from now at our location in [City 30 minutes away] to get her next vaccines; I don’t do shots. Also, I want to see her back here next week so that I can check her weight. Does she have any other follow-up appointments?”

Me: *internally cringing at the thought of seeing this lady again* “Yes. She needs to see an audiologist. I just got the contact information for them yesterday. I was going to call them today, once we left here.”

Doctor: “Call them. She needs to go to that appointment. What about her eyes?”

Me: “She had her eyes looked at earlier this week at [office]. They gave her eyes a clean bill and said they don’t need to see her again.”

Doctor: “Do they need to see her again? What did they say?”

Me: *internally sighing* “They said her eyes are fine; she doesn’t need to go back.”

Doctor: “Good. But what about her hearing? Did they say anything about that? Do you have an appointment? Who with? When is the appointment?”

Me: “I haven’t made the appointment yet. I just got the information yesterday. I’m going to call them today.”

Doctor: “Make the appointment. Call them. She needs to go.”

Me: “Okay.”

(This went around and around a few times, with me confirming over and over. When we got to the checkout counter, I told the receptionist what the doctor said, and she was surprised. I asked if we could see someone else for the next appointment, and was told that until the doctor released my daughter as a patient, we had to see her again. The entire next appointment, unless I interjected or physically placed myself in front of her, the doctor directed every comment, question, or concern to my mother, who simply gave her a deer-in-the-headlights look. I assumed this was because though I am in my 20s and married, I look younger and the doctor assumed that I was some high school kid that got knocked up. Feeling frustrated, and still needing to get formula, I called the NICU that my daughter spent the first weeks of her life in. I explained the situation, and the charge nurse was very understanding and apologetic for my experience. She told me what formula they generally send preemie babies home with, and told me that I could pick it up at just about any grocery store with a baby section. I looked it up so that I could get a picture of the container to ask my husband to bring it home. Then, out of curiosity, I checked the paperwork with the prescription formula that the doctor gave me, and it was the same thing! I am currently looking for a different pediatrician.)

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