Well it happened it again. Those of you in the club know what I am about to reveal. You must. After all, I’ve heard it more than a few times and I’ve just been added to the roster. I can’t even imagine what you magical, munchkin, veteran parents must have witnessed.
Okay, let me set this up correctly. I recently was referred to a doctor for some belly stuff. I never met the guy. He was a stranger with a stethoscope and we were in the ” getting to know each other phase.” When he started rattling off questions about my job, if I was married and had kids, I thought we were having a chit-chat. I returned the niceties and asked about his family as well.
“What do you got?” he asked.
I replied, “2 boys.”
He countered: ” are you gonna try for that girl?” ( man people have balls!)
Me: “No! We’re done.”
Then the Doc: “how old?”
Oh, my turn…(meanwhile, I was treading water, head barely above it, secret still safe) “3 and 7 months.”
Doctor Ballsy: “Oh they’re young you can still go for that girl.”
Me: “well I’m 41.”
Prying Doctor: “well what do we give up at 41 now?” ( what the hell is with this guy anyway) Next, the bombshell:
“the boys, they’re both healthy???”
Yes, yes they are!!! (that’s what I should’ve said)…Instead, “Yes. My 7 month old has Down Syndrome but so far he is very healthy.”
Then, out came the doctor’s compressed face, like he was smelling something bad… “ooooo”
(Nice, doc. Smooth as a scouring pad.) Immediately I went on the defensive. “He is just lovely and healthy and getting therapy and doing lots of amazing things”
(Wait for it) The Dr.’s response: “so he has a mild case” (I mean did this guy even go to medical school?)
My rebuttal: “yes so far he is pretty high functioning” …In my eyes it is not ignorant for the layman to think someone can have a mild case of Down Syndrome. In fact, I asked Judah’s pediatrician the same thing… You can’t, so you know. You either got the chromosome or you don’t…..BUT for a medical professional to ask? That boggles my mind. If I wasn’t so baffled I would’ve chuckled.
At that point came the dreaded question. The one loaded like a pistol ” Didn’t you have the test?”
You know what his question means? It means you must not have had the test because if you did have the test you wouldn’t have had the baby. You must not have had the test or it was wrong or something??? You can see it in the Dr’s eyes, coaxing, “please let that be it.” In that moment, I would’ve given a limb to be one of the great ones who found out early. I would have relished the look on the doctor’s face as I filled him in on how I had the test. Sadly, that is not my story. I wanted to direct Dr. Misinformed to my blog, to pictures of Judah, to present medical practice…. but I didn’t. I just answered :” no I did not have the test.” Inwardly, I pitied the ignorance of this medical professional. I felt bad that he would never “get” what a game changer my Judah has been…and I remember smugly thinking ” ha,ha I’m smarter than you.”
Unbelievably, this was not the end of my head shaking, cringe worthy experience with the Doc. As it turns out, the doctor wasn’t quite sure about my condition. So, he recommended a procedure and he boldly declared: “I mean, we don’t want to chance it. You took one chance and that didn’t work….you know when your son was born.”
Okay so I have really kept my cool the entire appointment, but at this point, I kept picturing myself leaping off the pleather table and wrapping my hands around his neck. After I envisioned that about seven times (all the while he was still obliviously rambling) I moved on. My next thought: wow is this going to be an exceptional blog to write. So, thanks for the material Doctor Unenlightened.
Now please don’t misunderstand. The doctor wasn’t exceptional and the experience wasn’t exceptional. The opportunity to shine this light, however, was most certainly exceptional. My very own primary physician told me he was “very sorry” and asked if I “had the test,” My OBGYN’s eyes darted everywhere but to mine as I spoke of Judah in his early days. My mother-in-law told her Doctor about Judah and that Dr. asked if we gave him up for adoption. Yet, after every story I am still surprised. How is the medical community still so gravely uneducated???
I want to make them hold my little Bubba. I want them to see that grin that stretches across his entire face. I want them to watch his therapy sessions and see how hard he works. I want them to smell that warm, sticky-sweet formula breath on their cheek as he gives you kisses…and then, I dare them to ask me if I had the test.
Since I cannot traipse all over Syracuse making doctors hold my baby, I write this. I hope and I pray that Judah is shattering perceptions. I know that he is breaking boundaries and conquering hearts. I know that we are winning . Something else I know… we still have a lot of work to do.