Microblog_MondaysI posted a completely unscientific poll on my Facebook page recently asking a simple (but maybe complicated) question:  do you think that your doctor/specialist needs to have personally experienced a disorder to effectively or compassionately treat you for it?  Does your answer change based on the type of specialty/disorder?  The answer on my page, unsurprisingly, was overwhelmingly and unsurprisingly, NO, a doctor needs to have experience treating a disease or disorder, but does not need experience treating it (exception:  pregnancy; best if an OB has experienced pregnancy and delivery if they are going to be a woman’s OB…. I vehemently disagree as nearly all my ob/gyn’s have been male except the ones who have been hoisted on me by virtue of who has been on call at delivery time, but that’s another story and falls outside the confines of “microblog” Mondays).

Interestingly, if you pose the same question in a disorder-specific forum (say, migraines, or infertility), you get the polar opposite answer: migraneurs feel overwhelmingly that neurologists must have direct, personal experience with having migraines and infertiles… while not an overwhelming majority, still have a small margin on the side of the majority who at least feel that fertility specialists who have at least some personal connection with infertility (a family member or close friend who has struggled with infertility) makes for a better physician.  Personally, I find this to be an extremely curious thing – and probably based solely on confirmation bias and nothing else.  The problem is that we all have an extremely small sample size -those of us who have had wonderful physicians without personal disease experience will argue vociferously for the side of not needing direct personal experience, but rather a great deal of treatment experience; but those of us who have had compassionate doctors who have shared personal stories will argue that this is what made them know that this was the doctor for them.
But when you apply this logic to other diseases, the logic starts to break down.  Do you require that your neurosurgeon have had a brain tumor or aneurysm in order to operate on yours; or that your general surgeon have had pancreatic cancer (which will surely kill him, as it has a very low survival rate) or an appendectomy (which requires very little empathy on his or her part but does require the raw technical skill of a surgeon); do you require your anesthesiologist to have undergone general anesthesia before s/he puts you under?  These may seem ridiculous questions, but if they do, then why do patients insist that a neurologist must have experienced a migraine before they are qualified to treat a migraine?

What about you – do you think your doctor needs to have experience suffering from [migraines/infertility/other] in order to treat you and is there any specific disorder for which you think there is an exception?


[yes, I realize that was nine sentences and that I cheated by using a lot of semi-colons to make for run-on sentences; WORK WITH ME HERE!]

I won’t try to catch up on the last several years of not blogging just now.  I will, instead, jump into Mel’s #MicroblogMonday and hope that this jump-starts me back into blogging in general.  I just got back from a long trip to Cape Canaveral to see my father, which included a side trip to Orlando to visit Cinderella and Magic Kingdom (all that was by myself with the kids – then Seth flew in to help with the last leg) and a drive home so we could stop in North Carolina for the bar mitzvah of the son of Seth’s friend of over 30 years.  While in NC, I met my 6th cousin 3 times removed, and had a lovely reunion with my former high school orchestra director, which I found to be truly inspiring and was perhaps the true highlight of my trip.  I will write more about meeting up with Scott in my practice blog when I’ve had some more time to process the visit.  It’s so good to be home again, as I definitely pushed myself beyond my capacity and have long since run out of spoons, but I’m so grateful that I was able to take the kids on the trip.  It was a terrific experience for them, with many beautiful photo ops, and wonderful opportunities to catch up with friends we haven’t seen in ages.

Now for the recovery.  The kids start school on Wednesday, though, so I need to spend the next two days cracking the whip and getting them to write those summer book reports on the books they were supposed to have read this summer….  (they DID read the books.  They just didn’t write the book reports!).

Happy Birthday, Tobie!

Three years ago today, my miracle baby, Tova Lieba (meaning “kind heart” or “loved one”), was born. It was the end of a hellacious pregnancy with the sweetest, most beautiful five pound reward at the end. Every day with her is a joy, which probably means her teen years will be hell. I’m so honoured to be a mother to four amazing children. So very lucky to have been given this fourth chance to be called “Mommy.”

My Little Princess, then and now:

Tobie 2010

Tobie 2013

My team is 1/3 of the way toward meeting our March of Dimes March for Babies fundraising goal. We need your help to support this important organization. CLICK HERE TO DONATE OR SIGN UP TO WALK WITH US.

Many of you know about the great work and research that is supported by the March of Dimes. This year, the March of Dimes is celebrating its 75th Anniversary. Founded by Franklin Roosevelt in 1938 to find a cure for Polio, the March of Dimes succeeded in its original mission, and since then has focused on finding the cause of prematurity and elimating birth defects. The March of Dimes is working toward a world in which all babies are born healthy.

All four of our beautiful and miraculous children were born premature. We were lucky to have generally good outcomes, but much of the medical science that kept my babies healthy before and after birth came from research supported by the March of Dimes. We are indebted to the March of Dimes and feel strongly about giving back to this wonderful organization.

With that in mind, our family will be walking in the annual March for Babies event on April 25th. Please consider supporting our fundraising efforts for this important and valuable organization.

Please help by donating or signing up to walk today!

The mission of March of Dimes is to improve the health of babies by preventing birth defects, premature birth, and infant mortality.

Update on ChezPerky

I’ve been pretty lousy about updating, but I should get back to it, so as usual, I’ll just dive right in.

My health hasn’t improved significantly, but it hasn’t gotten significantly worse, either.  I’ll take status quo.

Sam’s ASD diagnosis has solidified, but he’s doing really well and we’ve got a great support team.  He’s adorable and sweet, and we know he’ll do well in the long run.  We’ve been struggling a bit with his ADHD medications, which has actually not been a bad thing, because it gave his teachers an opportunity to see behaviors that we knew were there, but they didn’t.  It strengthened our argument at our IEP Planning meeting, so it ended up being good timing.  Lemonade out of lemons, or some such thing.  We are so lucky to have an amazing support structure in place for him and I couldn’t ask for a better kid, to be honest.  He’s sweet and kind, and full of love.  I wish we understood a little better what’s going on in his head, but who doesn’t wish that of their kids anyway?

Ellie is such a gem.  She’s excited to learn, wants to please everyone, and she’s generous and is extremely attached to Mommy and Daddy. She’s in the same Pre-K class with Abby, but had over a week in school without Abby when Abby was sick and THRIVED.  She was so excited to tell us all about everything that she did in school those days:  “Guess what I did in school WITHOUT ABBY Today!?” and “I had such a good time at school WITHOUT ABBY!” etc.  Uh, suffice it to say, we’ll be separating the girls’ classrooms next year!

Abby is also adorable.  She’s independent and unique, loves to make cards and pictures for people and is turning into quite the little artist (well, by a five year old’s standard…).  She just got diagnosed with “primary generalized epilepsy – absence type” because she’s been having pretty obvious absence seizures for over a year, but in the last few months, they’ve been occurring so frequently that they’re starting to interfere with her ability to make it through activities (at *least* 8-12 per day).  The neurologist was able to give  adfinitive diagnosis without an EEG (though we’ll still be doing an EEG) by provoking seizures in the office.  Apparently, you can provoke absence seizures by inducing hyperventilation (in a kid who’s already getting them).  Sure enough, she had three seizures right there in the office.  I didn’t love the doctor, but the PA was fantastic.  Another bit of our little adventure, right?  At least we’re never bored!

Tobie is simply precious.  And precocious.  She loves to dress up and pretend and have princess tea parties.  She likes do “Dance with my Daddy” whenever she can.  She’s snuggly and sweet and far too smart for her own good.  She’s also extremely opinionated.  She’s adorable and she knows it, which isn’t great.  She doesn’t like to settle for anything less than exactly what she wants, which is becoming quite a challenge.  Truthfully, she mostly gets what she wants- she’s pretty spoiled, I admit, but if you could see her and be around her, you’d know why!  She’s hard to resist.  Even my nanny who is VERY no nonsense (in a good, and loving, way) has a soft spot for Tobie.

Seth’s still working out of state and doing well with it, but we miss him.  His contract goes through June, and we don’t know what we’ll be doing after that, but I’m sure we’ll work it out.

Hopefully I’ll be better about updating from this point on so that I can update about real things instead of just catching up all the time.

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Diving back in

I haven’t been blogging for a long time – and I’m not sure whether I’m ready to dive back in or not. Nevertheless, something’s been nagging at me for months about it, but I haven’t had the energy for it. So I’ll give this a try and see where it goes. I expect a large number of entries will be password protected. The password hasn’t changed, but if you need it, email me. Note that with the exception of my husband, if you are an immediate relative, I probably won’t give it to you.

So… catching up.

Well, first the kids: The triplets are at what I consider a very trying age. Actually, it might only be Ellie who is at a very trying age. They just turned five, the whole world is ahead of them, they are learning at an incredibly rapid rate, but social skills allude Sam and plague Ellie. Abby is a naturally gifted socialite and I have no idea where that skill comes from. Not from me, that’s for sure. I worry about Ellie. She whines all the time. She shrieks. She is prone to bouts of hysterical tears – frequently. I am worried about her social development. None of the kids in her class like her (though they all adore Abby). She is frequently in tears over social issues. When she and Abby went on a playdate, I asked her if she had fun and she said “No. C and A were playing together so I couldn’t play with them.” While I don’t know C very well, I know Abby very well, and I find it unlikely that it was entirely about C & A excluding Ellie explicitly. I’m fairly certain that Ellie doesn’t know how to integrate herself into a play group dynamic of more than 2 kids. This is a frequent complaint of hers. “Well, Abby and Tobie were playing together but *I* wanted to play with Abby and I couldn’t!” is a very frequent (and tearful) complaint I hear from Ellie. I am, I admit, puzzled about the next steps for helping her through this. So I’m calling in the cavalry. I’m talking to Developmental Pediatrician Extraordinaire (DPE) tomorrow, and have a message in to the school director. Hoping to have some strategies soon.

The other kids are great. Abby draws incessantly and constantly provides me with portraits of me (if my scanner were working, I’d post an example!). Sam is thriving in the collaborative classroom that he’s in this year. He loves his teacher, but is still wary of the fact that she’s “new” – as opposed to the teacher he had the past two years. Tobie is amazing. I can’t get over her extraordinary gifts. She’s smart, funny, and interactive in a way the triplets never were at her age. I’m sure some of it comes from having older siblings, but some of it is clearly just that she’s a very different kid.

How’s the Husband Extraordinaire Doing?: Seth’s great. He started working in North Carolina in July on a year-long contract. He’s working hard, but we miss him. He leaves every Sunday afternoon and comes home late Thursday night. The job is great, but it’s hard on the kids (and me) to have him gone every week. Still, it’s a fantastic opportunity and it’s giving him some time to figure out the long-term career things he needs to figure out, without worrying in the meantime about a steady income. This week he’s in Vegas at his Annual Mid-Year conference for his field. I hope he’s having fun, because we sure miss him!

And, inevitably, me: My health hasn’t been great since I last posted. I’ve been in and out and in and back out of the hospital several times since I last wrote. I have a number of things to say about the specifics, but I’m exhausted so I think the specifics will wait for their own blog post. Nevertheless, I did get the Gastric Neurostimulator placed in October – I wish I could say it’s been miraculous, but it has not. More details later, but the good news is that I’m currently home, not in the hospital, which is a huge improvement and a great gift that I should not underestimate.

And you? How are you all doing?