Aren't doctors supposed to make you feel better?

I had always envisioned the perfect pediatrician as a cross between Mary Poppins and Maria Von Trapp. Unfortunately, Aetna had no doctor fitting such a description in their narrow list of approved providers in my neighborhood. As such my daughter's doctor is more like a combination of Dr. Evil and Mel Brooks doing a Yoda impression.

(Pause...get that picture in your head...)

Dr. F is the type who slept through the bedside manner lecture in med school but aced Advanced Condescension. While an excellent diagnostician and the doctor you want in your corner if something bad goes down, he seems to have little patience for new moms (read: new moms and their silly questions). When his kinder, gentler partner isn't available for an appointment, I reluctantly schedule with Dr. F instead. Each time I do, I find I'm talking myself into it, psyching myself up as if it weren't a routine pediatric visit at all, but a debut appearance singing the Star Spangled Banner at Yankee Stadium. A cappella. Naked.

This will be the time he realizes I'm smart! This will be the time I become his number one faaaaavorite patient.

"So what are you feeding her?” Dr. F asked as he typed in Thalia's stats, never turning away from the computer screen. This wasn't unusual. He rarely looked me in the eyes.


I squirmed in the folding chair where I sat holding the baby. What is this power that doctors have over us? Few other people have the ability to make me so nervous. John Cusack springs to mind, but only because he smelled that good in person. And was that tall. And because the mutual friend introducing us had threatened to present me as Liz who really wants to sleep with you. I challenge any of you to not be tongue-tied in a situation like that.

“Feeding her,” Dr. F repeated. “What are you feeding the baby?”

“Baby food?”

He turned towards me, eyebrows raised. I froze. Wrong answer? He flipped one hand over, palm up and gestured for me to continue.

I was drew a complete blank. What did I feed her? A series of quick MTV-like cuts flashed through my mind: The baby food aisle of the supermarket. CUT TO: Rows of identical baby food jars on the shelves. CUT TO: Our kitchen counter littered with baby food jars because we haven't yet made a place in the pantry for them. CUT TO: Blurry close-up of the baby food label from this morning's breakfast.

I could almost visualize it...it's coming into focus...a label...with an illustration...a picture of...

“Fruits!” I shouted like a retarded contestant on Family Feud. "I feed her fruits!" Toning it down a little, "and vegetables. Also cereal. A little. I mean, she's been constipated so um...”

“No meats?”

Was I supposed to be feeding her meats, I wondered? She has no teeth. Should she be eating pork chops? Oh my God, I can't even cook. What meat have I ever cooked? Fajitas. Helloooo, she's eight months old and I'm considering making her fajitas. Hey, here's a good idea--maybe if I wish for it very very hard, I will turn invisible right now.

"Pureed meat," he clarified, reading my expression perfectly. "Baby foods with meat. Like chicken. You can buy them at the store."

"Okay, meat. I understand. And for the constipation..."

"You're not feeding her bran? You should be feeding her bran."

"Just oatmeal and rice cereal. But like I said we stopped because..."


"Okay it's just that..."


"I know I just..."


"Well then!" I said brightly. "Meats and Bran it is!"

Dr. F said nothing further; he just turned and walked out of the office giving me a half-hearted little wave over his right shoulder.

"I guess that means the appointment is over Monkey," I told Thalia.

And then she leaned forward and put my entire nose in her mouth. I think it was her way of saying, don't worry mommy. I still think you're great. And she couldn't have picked a better time.


Blogger MrsFortune said...

Gawd Liz you crack me up. "A retarded contestant on Family Feud." I can soooo hear that.

At least your baby likes your nose. Maybe that will help with the constipation.

3/10/06, 8:16 AM  
Blogger Christina said...

Yikes, sounds like a lousy doctor. Our doctor is short in the bedside manner, too. He's very nice, but doesn't take any time to get Cordy to warm up to him.

I'm giving him one more chance. If he doesn't actually try to warm up to Cordy this time, we're switching. I know she wouldn't scream as hard if he took a minute to interact with her before shoving medical equipment in her ears and mouth.

3/10/06, 9:06 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That doctor sounds like an ass. What the hell does he mean, "bran"?

Now I'm paranoid because I've never fed The Boy bran. Then again, he has diarrhea so I guess he doesn't need it.

But most importantly...

YOU SMELLED JOHN CUSACK? I'm starting to hate you ;)

3/10/06, 9:08 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Those doctors can sure make you feel very very stupid. Probably to make themselves look very very smart. And to compensate for the lack of something else...

3/10/06, 9:10 AM  
Blogger Chicky Chicky Baby said...

Do you think that Mama noses qualify as "meats"?

And, about the row of baby food jars at the supermarket... Who can tell one from another? I once had a slight nervous breakdown in the baby food aisle after trying to decide which ones were right for my little girl from all the overwhelming choices in front of me.

I think I grabbed a jar of "meat" and ran.

3/10/06, 9:17 AM  
Blogger the stefanie formerly known as stefanierj said...

I have much, much pooping advice--probably you've heard most of it but if you want it, email me. My mom's a pediatric nutritionist and she has never been terribly impressed by MDs' advice on feeding babies. Our peed (stole the double-entendre spelling from Wood at sweetjuniper) was not so helpful, but hey, at least he was nice. Sheesh.

3/10/06, 9:20 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That is just awful. I really loathe the condescension aspect. I really like my son's pediatrician - guess I got lucky!

3/10/06, 9:31 AM  
Blogger Lumpyheadsmom said...

I'm getting an image to replace Dr. Evil and Mel Brooks as yoda . . . yes, there it is. It's bran-filled nose-shaped pureed chicken!

Now dripping with condescension!

3/10/06, 9:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That was pure perfection on a Friday morning. I expect nothing less.

And for the record, I hate ALL doctors. Give me a midwife, homeopath, and an acupuncturist and I'll be fine.

If I want to feel like a piece of meat, I'll just hit club row in downtown Philly - no need for me to wait in a germafied office for 2 hours...

I remember I visited the ONE of TWO peeds in town before I had Q and he was like "Why are you here?" and "Babies are like computers..." (what does that mean?). Plainly put, he was a total asswipe.

3/10/06, 9:51 AM  
Blogger Mom101 said...

Mrs C: Yes, I had that very same nervous breakdown. I suppose that's chapter two of the story.
stef: THANK YOU! While the bowel function does seem to be under control for the moment, I reserve the right to email you at any time begging for prune juice alternatives.
Daddy d and the rest of you: How awful that we now perceive doctors the way we do and not benevolent healers. The whole doctor compromise is entirely new to me - I used to be able to shell out for the out-of-network types. Now I save my money for Enfamil.

And RH: don't hate me! JC was more interested in the leggy blonde standing behind me. Now Jeremy Piven, on the other hand...

3/10/06, 11:32 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The best yet....dump the doc....plenty of others...you're not living in Katchwai for heaven's sake! Luv ur blog...keep it up.

3/10/06, 11:48 AM  
Blogger Movin Mom said...

OH MY- I actually found your site by your comment on megamom's site, But I branched off of her to create my own BLOG because I have 4 kids one age 7 boy-10-girl-13-boy -14 boy- Her oldest is 5 - anyway yours had me hysterically laughing -I loved it- I completely remember having my very own Dr. F and the insurance thing and the thought of how hard it would be to just have to change and fillout all of the paper work all over again. It was easier to just stay where I was. Fortunatly we moved and I ot a new pediatrician that way. My sis-in-law has a 1 year old and I know she would love your site-I will have to pass it on. You are a great writer I actually felt like I was a bug in the room with you, Thanks for the friday laugh!!!

3/10/06, 12:35 PM  
Blogger Lisa said...

I have the condescending gyno and pediatrician matching set! And after a visit to one or the other, I seriously wonder if I am in fact the biggest moron on the planet.

Thank you for that post. I can SO relate.

3/10/06, 12:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Doctors are tough!! I always hate it when they try to make you feel like you are not doing a good job! They are suppose to be supporting you!

3/10/06, 12:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good GOD! You're in Bklyn, right? Get thee to Sharon Watson in PS or Steven Turner in the Heights.

Kind and not at all condescending.

3/10/06, 1:28 PM  
Blogger Her Bad Mother said...

OMG you met John Cusack?!?!?

Now that that's out of my system...

A pediatrician once - not too long ago - made me feel so stupid and inept as a mother that I cried. In front of him.

Is it wrong to have wished - wished really, really hard - for the nerve to kick him in the nuts?

3/10/06, 1:32 PM  
Blogger Stacy said...

Ugh that is so frustrating. My ped. is the same way which is why it took so long to get J feeding therapy. What is it with docs these days. Do you think you would have a different experience if you had a woman?

3/10/06, 1:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm so glad Kristen pimps you out and I found your blog - I crack up everytime!

Good stuff - horrid doctor!

3/10/06, 1:57 PM  
Blogger Amy said...

We have that doc working in our ER here. He sent me away as "silly over-reacting mom" a few months back, when it turned out my little guy had croup (diagnosed 2 days later at our family doc's office, thank you so much). Good docs are so hard to find, and I imagine NYC is not the best place to shop around.

3/10/06, 2:00 PM  
Blogger ms blue said...

I'm so happy to have discovered your site. It's very entertaining. Plus my little baby was born in July 2005 too but I've never been so lucky to meat John Cusack. hee hee. Yummy.

I've found a baby jar of prunes can really help with constipation.

3/10/06, 2:11 PM  
Blogger Blog Antagonist said...

Been there, done that, sympathize a ton.

Pediatricians assume all women are illiterate morons. If they had any brains at all they'd realize that most of us consume every single parenting tome we can get our hands on before the end of the first trimester and overthink every single decision right down to what brand of diaper creme to buy.

That said...feed her what she wants to eat. It works. Believe me. Mine once existed on those disgusting pseudo-meat sticks (do they still make those?) and goldfish for six weeks.

John Cusack is hot. I'm totally jealous that you smelled him.


3/10/06, 3:15 PM  
Blogger Kristi said...

Jerk! In my expert opinion, of course.

3/10/06, 3:57 PM  
Blogger Jess Riley said...

LOL!!! I'm cracking up at "Meats and bran it is!" But wow, what a joik. I hate when people interrupt you all-condescending like that. Sheesh.

3/10/06, 4:17 PM  
Blogger Are We There Yet? said...

smelling john, smelling john, i can almost smell him...

have you tried a little flax seed oil mixed into any of her food? my daughter was quite constipated and a friend suggested it and it did wonders. just a few drops I think.

great blog btw

3/10/06, 5:49 PM  
Blogger IzzyMom said...

Meats? Bran? Who the fuck prescribes "meats and bran"???

You met John Cusack? Is there a post on this somewhere...you know, for backstory?

And I voted for you for CHBM Member of the Week ;-)

3/10/06, 6:26 PM  
Blogger Mom101 said...

Thanks Izzy...I can think of no one I'd rather have pass me that baton.

And John Cusack - maybe another post for another day. I have better stories than that. Like Dennis Rodman. All shall be revealed in good time, my sweet.

3/10/06, 7:01 PM  
Blogger Dawn said...

"Yeah, we tried the meat and bran diet, but switched over to the olive oil and crack diet, cause she liked it better"

He's lucky you didn't insert your foot up his ass.

3/10/06, 7:21 PM  
Blogger Redneck Mommy said...

Too funny! I can soooooo sympathize. Spent alot of time with many of those pompous asses. Next time he interrupts you, cut him off and tell him he is rude. They are not use to people calling them on their bullshit, and it generally sets them straight on the first try. Your time is no less significant than an over-educated jackass's.

After all, what's more important than the raising little people?

3/10/06, 9:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh God, have you ever smelled those jarred baby meats? The ham one had me running for the hills. I could never get any of mine to eat them; probably b/c I had a look of horror/pity/disgust on my face as I put the spoon toward their lips.

I hate your doc with that kind of anger that makes my hands twitch. Hope you find a better one. Or, at least, I hope she pukes bran and meat on him at the next visit!

3/10/06, 9:43 PM  
Blogger Movin Mom said...

It's me again.....I came back to enjoy some of your response comments and cannot believe I did not make a John Cusak comment. Especially because he is on my list
You know the -Honey if he ever knocks at the front door I get the go ahead list! Of course these are all people who I am pretty confident will NEVER ring my doorbell.
But you just made it seem all too real, as if it could actually happen. Smelling him !!!!!! As for Dennis Rodman-I do not have the slightest curiosity what he smells like- By the way what does John smell like?

3/10/06, 10:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow. I hope at least he had a decent bedside manner with Thalia. But you would hope a doctor would know how to listen to and be sympathetic with the parents too. Then again, the founding doc in our peds practice doesn't believe that parents should show any sympathy to kids if they happen to get frightened in the doctor's office. He says you should not make eye contact with your kids when he's examining them -- just hold them down and don't smile or talk to them, even if they cry. Fortunately, the rest of the docs in this practice are NOT that way.

LOL at your response "Meats and bran it is!!!"

3/11/06, 3:28 PM  
Blogger Mom101 said...

movin' mom: John smells a whole lot better than Dennis, that's for sure. Sort of like the difference between Chanel, and Eau de Guy who's slept with many loose women.

3/11/06, 4:32 PM  
Blogger Heather said...

Forgive me for sounding like a know-it-all, but I have never started my kids on meat before nine months because of the whole constipation factor. And plus, pureed meat is disgusting! Anyway, the only support I can offer is go with your gut instinct on this one. If she's eating cereal (there's iron in that, too!), fruits and veggies, she's probably doing well! Good luck!

3/11/06, 10:59 PM  
Blogger Mom101 said...

Heather: know-it-alls are always welcome where my child's bowel function is concerned. Thanks (and to everyone) for all the fantastic advice.

3/11/06, 11:22 PM  

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