When we moved to our community over a year ago now, I had to leave my family doctor behind in the Big City. I wasn’t that worried as I knew it wouldn’t be long before I was pregnant, and I really had my heart set on seeing a midwife! So when I was accepted into their care, I didn’t worry about finding a Dr. right away.
There is a Doctor shortage here, especially in rural areas, so finding a family Doc, can be difficult. And usually after you find one, it takes quite a long time before you get in to see them. Luckily a hotline has been set up to help you find a Doctor who is accepting new patients based on your area. When I was 36 weeks pregnant I called and was given the names of two doctors in the small city an hour from home.
Behind Curtain #1, Dr. F
I chose Dr. F., simply because she was a woman, and I thought I would be more comfortable with her over a male Doc. I booked an appointment for 2 weeks later, and went in. After months of hour long midwife appointments, I was so disappointed when I was in and out of her office in under 3 minutes (no exaggeration!) I was expecting her to take my family history, and ask questions about my health, but instead she seemed put off when I told her about my dad’s heart disease and my mom’s battle with breast cancer. She gave me the instructions to make an appointment for after the baby was born, and I left. I was underwhelmed.
After Baby Bumpkin was born we waited a whole month before going in for his first appointment with Dr. F. We were still being seen by our midwife weekly, so I wasn’t in a rush to get him to a doctor. I actually booked back to back appointments with the Doctor and our midwife so that we wouldn’t be making 2 trips into the city. The Dr. weighed Arthur with a wet, cloth diaper, and fully dressed. The weight she gave us turned out to be more than 8oz heavier than he was naked at the midwife’s office. After a quick exam, she encouraged us to rub “Wassaleen” (I later found out she meant Vaseline, but only after Hubby Bumpkin filled me in. I barely heard what she had said) on his face to clear up his baby acne, not something I was concerned about, or interested in trying. To wind up our much longer, 7 minute, appointment, she told me to book him in at 2 months for his shots. She literally had her hand on the doorknob when I asked her if she’d be open to using an alternative schedule. Dr. F sighed dramatically, and said that if I didn’t want to give him vaccines at 2 months, she would just start the regular schedule at 4 and go every 2 months from there. Not allowing me to explain my interest in following a month to month schedule. By now the door was open, so I very quickly asked if it was possible to separate any of the combination vaccines and she said “no” before walking out the door.
If it was just me I was seeking care for, I may have stayed with Dr. F, but because I would be primarily visiting her for Baby Bumpkin’s appointments I wasn’t feeling like this was the best option. I was hoping for a Dr. that would be interested in working with me, and discussing multiple options before deciding what was best or on a course of treatment. I am doubtful this could have happened with Dr. F. And when it comes to Baby Bumpkin, I decided to keep looking.
Behind Curtain #2…..Dr. S
At this time the only other Doctor I knew of accepting patients was Dr.S at a different clinic across town. I booked an appointment for myself and for Arthur when he was 8 weeks old. I decided after further research, and Hubby Bumpkin’s confidence, not to push the delayed vaccine schedule and just accept what was offered. (Province to Province the vaccines offered are different, and my Province has one of the most selective schedules I’ve seen). I drove the hour into the appointment by myself, as Hubby Bumpkin was busy with something that day.
When we arrived, I learned that I was early! A DAY EARLY! Oops. Luckily they found time to fit us both in with absolutely no delay. First it was time for my appointment. We discussed my personal medical history, and how the delivery of Baby Bumpkin went. I explained that I had been under midwife care, and had just wrapped up with her the week earlier. I told him that she wrote me a prescription for IUD birth control and asked if he’s able to put it in. He said yes, but it’d have to be another appointment because I hadn’t picked it up from the pharmacy yet.
For Arthur’s appointment, he had me bring him to another room to weigh him. Unfortunately there was a sticky note on the infant scale letting us know the batteries were dead. So he suggested I stand on the regular scale with Arthur and then without him to figure out the baby’s weight. When it was time to stand on the scale alone, I turned offering Arthur to Dr. S. to hold. He quickly pointed at a pile of medical supply boxes stacked about 5ft high. These were the length and width of a case of beer…. I was not about to place my 8 week old baby on top of some boxes. Suck it up Mr. Doctor Man and hold my son! I just said, “I don’t think that’s very safe, would you mind holding him?” and passed him off before he could object further. Dr. S held Arthur with outstretched arms and placed him on the boxes, holding him there. Inhale. Exhale.
He asked me to remove Arthur’s clothes and diaper so he could examine him, but never once did he touch him, just looked him over and then told me I could redress him. Dr. S then told me to book another appointment for Arthur’s shots. “And, a second appointment to put in my IUD?” I asked following up on our previous conversation. “No” he said “I won’t do that, you must see your OB”. I calmly explained that I don’t have an OB and he was suddenly very confused how I delivered by baby without seeing an Obstetrician (might I add, that OBs are not available in the city we were currently in, only in the Big City do you see an OB for your prenatal care. My options at the hospital were a GP, or midwife). I repeated to him that I was under a midwife’s care, and she told me to see my family Dr. to have the IUD placed. He refused, and told me I must see an OB. I asked for a referral, knowing it would be at least a few weeks and a trek to the Big City 2 hours from home to be seen by one. I never got it.
After all was said and done, there was no way I was going back to this guy. He was difficult to understand, but that wasn’t a deal breaker for me. I knew I could always have him repeat himself until I was confident I knew what he was talking about, but I couldn’t fix that he acted like he understood me, when he clearly didn’t. Or worse, didn’t care. I ended up cancelling our follow up appointment for Arthur’s shots, and as a result, we are delaying his vaccines until he turns 4 months after all!
Last but not least:
A friend, who happens to be very happy with her Dr. in the same small city, took her kids to the walk-in clinic because her regular Doc wasn’t available. The Dr. she saw was brand new, a young female, Canadian born and raised AND accepting new patients! My friend was impressed with her, and thought that I might like to give her a shot. I phoned the clinic that day, and got us in! The down side is that our appointments are scheduled for the end of September, but I am believing that good things come to those who see multiple dud doctors…or no.. right, Good things come to those who wait!
Regardless of how our appointment goes with the final Dr., I plan on sticking with her. I don’t believe that we have to agree on all topics, and it’s unimportant to me, her views on things like feeding my baby etc. It is important to me though that we are able to have a conversation about what our options are and what we each feel is the best way to take care of my little Baby Bumpkin. I’m confident that she will be a good fit for us, based solely on my friend’s recommendation and I am really looking forward to being done with our Great Doctor Search of 2013!
Tell me this is easier for the majority of people! Do you love your Dr, or are you just more tolerant than I?