Will Need Therapy After Dealing With This

, , , | Working | December 29, 2017

(I take my second daughter to a recommended nurse practitioner for her well-child check-ups, since our insurance won’t cover our previous doctor any more. My daughter is slow about wanting to crawl or walk, but she is making progress otherwise and is healthy, so I never worry about it, since she is still within the realm of “normal” milestone developments. Our nurse practitioner, however, doesn’t think so:)

Nurse Practitioner: *very worried* “Her feet seem… I’m not really sure how to describe it. Her ankles look… well, floppy.”

Me: “Erm… floppy?”

Nurse Practitioner: “Yes. Sorry, not sure exactly how to refer to it. Her feet flop down instead of staying straight up when she’s laying down. See? And the rolls on her thighs aren’t even. The creases should be symmetrical. There’s one here and two here, see? It might not be anything, but it could be a sign of something worse that might need therapy to correct. I want you to take her to a free pediatric orthopedic clinic coming up.”

(She then sees my panicked look, and tries to ease my worry, but still sounds like she’s worried herself.)

Nurse Practitioner: “Oh, I don’t mean to worry you. It’s just a precaution! But you do need to get it checked out just in case, so we can get started early.”

(A couple months later, I take my daughter to the clinic for the appointment. We wait over an hour to get in. When we finally see the doctor, he asks what’s wrong, and basically laughs at me when I tell him about her “floppy” ankles, and says his own daughter took forever to walk. We spend five minutes, tops, in his office while he checks her legs and ankles for muscle tone and flexibility, then sends us on our way. When we leave, I am FURIOUS that I wasted an hour and a half of my time for this, not to mention the couple of months I spent worrying about my daughter’s well-being, or if I was doing something wrong, and what it would cost if there was a serious problem. At the nine-month appointment, our NP asks me how it went. I tell her the doctor said it was nothing to worry about, that she’s just taking her sweet time.)

Nurse Practitioner: *in an unconvinced tone* “Well, if someone smarter than me says so, I guess she’s fine.”

(Later in the appointment, she asks if my daughter is taking steps or pulling herself up to stand. I tell her no, but it’s not because she can’t; it’s because she doesn’t have the interest to try.)

Nurse Practitioner: “Hmm. Well, if she’s not standing by herself and taking steps by her 12-month appointment, I’ll have to refer you to therapy for her.”

Me: *in disbelief* “Really? Oh, um, okay…”

(After the “floppy ankles,” I knew I wouldn’t put my kid through unnecessary therapy, so I started looking for a new doctor. Thankfully, a month later, my husband got a new job and new insurance, so I immediately called our old doctor to make an appointment. At the one-year appointment, my daughter still wasn’t remotely close to taking any steps and wasn’t interested in standing, so I was really nervous about what the doctor would say. I asked, but he said there was absolutely nothing wrong, and repeated what the clinic doctor said: she was just taking her time. He was shocked when I told him the NP had suggested therapy so early on. It’s been a year now since that “floppy feet” appointment, and my daughter is walking and climbing like any other two year old, no therapy needed!)

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