I was recently in the market for a new pediatrician. We moved and I didn’t really like the one we had before anyhow. I ran into these characters along the way:
Dr. Horror Stories
Dr. Surfer Dude
Dr. Old School
Being suspicious of many recommendations of the American Association of Pedatrics, I thought up three questions to help me determine if a doctor was going to help me or guilt trip me for going against the status quo.
1. When should I wean?
2. How do you feel about alternative vaccine schedules or skipping some vaccines all together?
3. If my kid cuts his face wide open, what doctor in this practice would do the best job sewing him up his pretty little mug?
Dr. Horror Stories:
The first doctor I interviewed had tortoise shell glasses, a fountain pen and an endless supply of dreadful anecdotes for every question I had. None of these stories had a happy ending and the moral seemed to be: “If the parents had just…*insert trendy new medical recommendation here* everything would have been fine”. His answers to the questions were:
- You should give solids at four months and wean completely by 12 months. Here’s a schedule.
- Give your child a little stick now and avoid a horribly mangling and or fatal disease later. No, there hasn’t been a case of polio in years, why do you ask?
- In this scenario, has your son been hurt during office hours or during the evening or weekend?
Dr. Surfer Dude:
The next was Dr. Surfer Dude. Oh, he was adorable. Ponytail, hemp necklace, rumpled shirt. Problem was, he was what my mentor from college called a CBW: Charming, But Worthless. His answers:
- AAP recommends weaning by 12 months. Any longer would be kind of weird, don’t you think?
- You should get your kid vaccinated because everybody is supposed to get vaccinated. Like, it’s our social duty.
- Um, Dr. Old School has been here the longest so he’s got the most experience I guess.
Last up: Dr. Old School. I never got the chance to ask my questions. I took a seat opposite him at his huge, official looking desk and listened to a twenty minute lecture on how I needed to start my 9 month old son on solids yesterday because he would soon hit a growth spurt and I wouldn’t be able to produce enough breastmilk to adequately feed him. Dr. Old School also gave me a handout. Apparently he missed the fact that my son was the size of a preschooler and clearly doing just fine on what mommy’s boobies where supplying.
The Normal Doctor:
I finally did met a normal pediatrician. He suggested weaning gradually as my son showed a natural interest in other foods, and alternative vaccinations were fine. After some thought, he also replied: “The ER is the best place for emergencies. They’ve got the most experience.”
I think I’m going to skip the pediatrician all together and start sending cookies to the ER. Apparently, that’s where they keep the real doctors.