[full of it]

The dreaded pedi search

Posted in Uncategorized by susieyarbs on September 23, 2010

It’s time to find ourselves a pediatrician.  It’s proving to be a gigantic headache.  The problem is – dundunduuuun – vaccines.  I still don’t know exactly how we’re going to play the whole vaccine thing, but I know for certain that I’ll need a pediatrician who is super flexible if we decide to do none at all.  I don’t know, the more I read the less willing I am to follow a schedule, even a delayed one.  It’s one of those things.  I can’t sit across from a doctor and argue, in their language, why it makes me uncomfortable.  I can’t spout statistics.  How do you explain to a doctor that “it just doesn’t feel like the right thing to do”?  Then I become a silly little mommy who’s endangering her child because she’s fallen for the propaganda.  And for the record, my concern is not solely autism.  Every other day there’s a headline about some new study that says there’s no link between mercury and autism.  Yeah?  So what?  If it isn’t the mercury, maybe it’s the aluminum.  Maybe the formaldehyde.  Maybe it’s the elicitation of the immune response itself.  I’m sure if you exposed a two month old to polio, pertussis, diptheria, and tetanus in the same day their immune system might go a little nuts.  But I digress.

Some of my apprehension comes from my own medical history.  No one will tell me that my RA was caused by a vaccine, but no one can tell me that it wasn’t, either.  From my dealings with my rheumatologist, the one big thing I’ve learned is that no one knows anything when it comes to our immune systems.  Not a thing.  He’ll say well, the general theory today is that most auto-immune diseases are caused by an abnormal reaction to a virus.  Ok.  A virus.  Why not a vaccine, then?  You’re telling your body you have the virus, even though you don’t.  You’re introducing the virus in an extremely unnatural way – why wouldn’t it follow that sometimes there’s an abnormal reaction to an unnaturally introduced virus?  And that sometimes that abnormal reaction is an auto-immune disease?  I mean, isn’t that just logical?  But no, without a study, we just can’t say.  And since no one will listen to people like me, who knows when or if there ever will be a study.

Back to the pedi search.  We started out with the guy our midwives recommended.  He digs homebirth, does a home visit, and although he’s pretty persistent about some vaccines, he’ll have no problem going along with whatever parents choose.

NOPE.

We left the interview (which really just consisted of him talking for 40 minutes) and John said, “Are you shaking?”  It was pretty bad.  He talked for a LOOONG time about the craaaazy anti-vax people and how they just think the drug companies are trying to poison them with mercury, and how very silly they are.  Some of the more memorable moments:

“Yeah, well if you’re planning on living in an igloo for two years and your kid’s never going to be outside or around strangers, not vaccinating is fine.”

[after finally asking our opinion on vaccines and hearing that we’ll at least delay and cherry-pick] “I don’t kick people out of my practice, you won’t have to worry about that.  I can’t force anyone to get a vaccine, either.  I wish I could, but I can’t.”

SERIOUSLY?  And this is apparently one of the more flexible doctors.  No thanks.

I’ve called probably a dozen different offices on different peoples’ recommendations.  A lot of them aren’t accepting new patients, some don’t do prenatal interviews, and a lot are part of “buy-in” practices where you pay an (outrageous) annual fee just to be a patient.

Today I visited with a doctor at the other end of the spectrum – she’s an ND (naturopathic doctor).  I really had no idea what that even meant, and I was hesitant anyway because, crunchy as I may be, I’ve never put a lot of stock into homeopathy.  I may not want antibiotics every time I have a sniffle, but if I have a bad head cold I’m reaching for Dayquil, not the little blue homeopathic tubes.  But I figured we’d be on the same plane as far as vaccines, and I was especially intrigued because on her website she mentions that she has RA herself and has devoted a lot of time to researching immunology and virology.

I actually really liked her, and I may see her myself after the baby’s born to hear her recommendations on controlling RA (she’s been controlling hers without conventional medicine for 5 years).  But as the primary care doctor for our baby?  Probably not.  She doesn’t have hospital privileges and she doesn’t have prescription authority.  She also recommended giving baby probiotics on day one, and that sort of rubbed me the wrong way.  When we talked about vaccines she said, “Yeah, if you aren’t comfortable with regular vaccines, I do naturopathic vaccines.”  First of all, what the fuck is that, and second of all, no.  Christ, even the crunchy pseudo-doctors push the vaccines!

When I got home from that visit, realizing that I’ve pretty much exhausted my reco list from both the midwives and the chiropractor, I just did a search for “pediatrician + DO + SF.”  Unlike NDs, DOs actually operate on the same level as MDs and can specialize; their schooling just involved a more holistic approach to healthcare.  I figure this is my best bet at finding someone who will be truly flexible on the vaccine front.  So now I have an appointment with a DO whose office is one bus stop or a 30 minute walk away.  I found him on Yelp (I heart you, Yelp), and he had crazy good reviews, including one from a mom who said that he had no problem with her not vaccinating until her baby was 12 months old.  I literally held my breath after asking the receptionist if he was accepting new patients.  Fingers crossed on this one, the interview isn’t for another two weeks.

Then my fall-back is one of the buy-in practices.  She comes very highly recommended from my chiropractor, and her buy-in fee is way lower than most of the others I’ve seen (it’s $225/year as opposed to $900 for the other one she recommended.  NINE HUNDRED).  And that $225 gets you a lot – it keeps their practice super small, so you get same-day appointments, email communication with the doctors, follow-up phone calls, 24/7 phone access to an actual doctor, not a hotline.  Still, that will only be worth it to me if I feel like I’ve exhausted all my other options.

It doesn’t help at all that the panicky nesting feeling has sunk in and I feel like I need to get everything in order NOW.  I’m due in NINE WEEKS.

NINE WEEKS.  Which means I’ll be considered term in SIX.

W
T
F
.

Also, here’s what I look like today, 31 weeks:

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2 Responses

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  1. Emily H. said, on September 23, 2010 at 2:52 pm

    For the record, I go to a DO, and I LOVE her. She’s the first doctor that’s ever really listened to me and given me a choice in my care. While I don’t have a ton of experience with them, I really get the feeling that they’re trained to awesome. 🙂

    Best of luck–finding doctors is always hard. Hope the third one’s the charm.

  2. Rachel Austin said, on September 27, 2010 at 7:30 am

    I’m so proud of you lady, sticking to your guns about what is important to you! Good luck with the doctor search, and OMG you’re having a baby!


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