paying attention part 3: starting line

 So where do you start?  You think you’re child has ADD, so who do you call for help?  I guess it should have made logical sense to me, but it didn’t.  I guess I had a little bit of the whole “deer in headlights” thing going on.

“The pediatrician,” the Golfer said.  “Call the pediatrician.”

So that’s what I did.  The receptionist answered.

Uh, yes.  Hi.  Um…I was wondering…well…we have reason to suspect that our son has ADHD–Inattentive.  And we wanted to see if we could come in and discuss things with the doctor, preferably without our child present.

“For what?  Why do you want to see him?  Oh, well, I’m fairly certain that the doctor no longer sees patients for that condition.”

She called it a “condition.”  I could almost see her making the quote marks with her fingers through the phone.

“And besides, we don’t ever see just parents without the child present.”

We can’t come in and just discuss our concerns with the doctor?  No?  Really.  Okay…well, then if he doesn’t see patients for this “condition” then who the…(pause)…who are we supposed to see?

I was trying to stay calm, but it was hard.  I had only been on the phone for 20 seconds at the most and this lady had already pissed me off.  I know that she is only a receptionist and not professionally trained about bedside manner, but didn’t she get it?  Didn’t she get that making this phone call made my heart beat faster?  That I was pacing the room while on the phone?  That this wasn’t an ordinary call about my kid having Strep throat?  She didn’t get it and most likely, didn’t care.

And seeing the doctor without our son present, when did that become forbidden Obviously, we had not discussed this “condition” with our son yet, and we certainly didn’t want to freak him out if we didn’t have to.  The Big Cheese is our sensitive boy.  Our tender-hearted little guy.  He has anxiety when there’s a candle lit in the house.  Going to the doctor to discuss a “condition” that we didn’t officially even know that he had would certainly send him over the edge.

“You just need to call the mental health number on the back of your insurance card,” she said.

I said thank you.  I tried my best not to mutter, “yeah thanks for nothing” before I hung up.

***

When all you have is a stack of books, the Internet, and no official diagnosis, bad things can happen.

“It’s my fault,” I told the Golfer.
 
“I was so sick when I was pregnant with him and I could never take my prenatal vitamin because it made me throw up.  And all I ate was KFC chicken and Jamba Juice and Pepto Bismol.  I mean, really, he should be bright pink for all of the Pepto I drank!  Oh, and the one time that I ate a whole tube of Sweet Tarts.  And the T.V.!  I let him watch way too much T.V.!”
 
The moment the crazy words left my ranting mouth I realized how irrational it all sounded.  But the guilt.  The mommy guilt was too much.  In 9 years of being a mother, I’ve experienced mommy guilt many times before, but this was on a whole new level.
 
I remember when the study came out several years ago when the Cheese was still a toddler saying that watching too much television could cause ADD.  The thought ran through my head as my toddler stared at the screen watching Elmo and The Wiggles and Blue’s Clues, Maybe I shouldn’t let him watch so much T.V. ?  And then I quickly dismissed the idea because after all, it was Elmo.  Elmo can’t be bad.  Elmo doesn’t cause ADD.  Elmo would never do that to our children.
 
The Golfer comforted me with sweet words and told me the things I wanted to hear.  I calmed down and allowed rationality to return.
For a few minutes anyway.
***
Who knew that getting an appointment with a doctor would be so difficult?  I mean, you have an issue so you pick up the phone and make an appointment.  Right?  Not as easy as it sounds apparently.
I did as the lovely receptionist had suggested and called the mental health number.  Mental Health.  Those two words suddenly bothered me.  Those words conjured up images that I didn’t like.  But when I once again stepped away from the emotions, I realized that was actually what was going on.  Something was wrong with my child’s Mental Health; the health of his brain was in question.
The lady on the Mental Health hotline gave me the lowdown.  I appreciated her and her explanations.  She seemed to…care.  She gave us names of some doctors–child psychologists and psychiatrists–in our area for me to call.  I did what research I could online (gotta love that Internet) about which one was best and decided it was a crap shoot.  I gave up the research, called all three and left messages.
I waited a few days.  Then I waited some more.  Nothing.  No return calls.  What kind of a doctor doesn’t call someone back?  And what about three doctors that won’t call you back?  I did the only thing I could.  I called them back and left three more messages and waited several days for no one to return my calls.
I was already tired of dealing with this whole thing.  And we were only getting started.
:: read about part one and two here and here. ::

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