Letter From the Editor: Educating One Another

First let me thank you all for your fascinating, educational comments on my previous post. I had no idea this whole pox-vax-sitch was so common and am annoyed my doctor told me otherwise. My annoyance of doctors has been all to common as of late. The arrogance and "know-it-all-ism" makes me nervous and feel vulnerable. All the money spent on healthcare and it seems to be a masturbation-fest for the doctor while the patient smiles and compliments his/her cock. It's always more about the "facts" than the parent/patient's feelings and I'm already fed up. Perhaps if the facts measured up but no, they do not.

Medicine is as imperfect as anything but for mistakes to happen so commonly? I'm sorry but there is no excuse. There is no excuse for not circumcising my son correctly. There is no excuse for ignoring me over the past year when I have made it clear that "this is not what a circumcised penis looks like." There is no excuse for the having to put my son to sleep so you people can re-do what you messed-up. There is no excuse for insurance not to cover this and for us to have to sue to get the money, money we will not see for many years. There is no excuse for shooting my kid up with shit that's half-assed. No excuse.

The problem is, of course this is my problem. It is my problem and it is your problem and we all live in a yellow submarine.

I tossed the baby books away the minute I started this blog because for one, I'm not a fan of the text book. I'm into winging it. I will not waste my time reading what my child should be doing at this age according to an "expert" with a PhD as suffix. Most importantly though, I can read real Moms who do not have editors to thumb through their experiences and say "Nah. Let's omit this." I can hear your stories, told with your voices, frustrated, exhausted and without getting paid to write about it.

A book strives for perfection. A blog is the plain-ol naked truth and when it comes to educating myself, I want the uncensored, unedited, typo'd version. I want the flesh and fat and cellulite of the truth because that, my people, is not what the doctors give you.

Your comments in my last post made me realize that although we are made to think mistakes are "uncommon" they are more common than we think. So what to do? We must educate ourselves. Tell our stories and pass the word on because when shit happens "now we know." And now I know not to ask for the pox vax and to go to a Mohel to circumcise my sons instead of letting an arrogant "I'm the king of circumcisions" doctor do it wrong. Now I know to ask a zillion questions and to challenge the doctors. Now I know that understanding the risks in everything is as important (more, perhaps?) as understanding the benefits. Malpractice and "uncommon" medical mistakes are brushed under the rug and it is important to speak-out so the truth can find it's way.

I will never be anti-vaccine. My mother wasn't vaccinated and ended up with Polio, BUT I am afraid that medication and vaccines are handed out without caution and proper education. It is up to the mother to look into EVERYTHING. I have seen too many children over the past three years at my job who have almost died from malpractice and mis-diagnosis.

It's big business. Vaccines and medications and take this tablet to sleep and eat and function and walk and be thin and happy. Stay awake with this, swallow this to think less. This one will make your nose run less, this one will turn into a toxic-butterfly and make you smile in your sleep. This shot will cure that and that will do this and state laws say so, and here, take this if he has a fever afterward.

Blogging can be a pretty thankless job so I would like to thank you. All of you. You are my education. Continue to share your experiences. Continue to tell your stories. . You, I will listen to. The doctors? Eh, right now, not so much.



Gina | 12:00 PM

I like your style. We can all learn a lot from this post!

Anonymous | 12:14 PM

Healthcare in this country is a mess. And I'd like to think that docs don't want to treat people like idiots - but rather, for the most part, they have no time or energy.

However, it makes me very unmotivated to seek their assistance in any matter.

I try to educate myself as best as I can.

Anonymous | 12:15 PM

GGC, has he developed new spots, or are the existing ones starting to scab over (without new ones coming out)? I hope so.

In our case, it was really strange because Tacy was vaccinated back in NJ (over 2.5 years ago), but the outbreak happened here in CO at her day care. Multiple children who had been vaccinated in a variety of locations were affected. That's why our doc cultured one of Tacy's blisters (inconclusive results) - to see if it really was the pox.

Anyway, I am just cringing about the botched circ. I'm so sorry about the pain that all of you guys are enduring. I posted about circs several weeks ago, and one of my commenters said that a mohel is the way to go. I wouldn't have thought of it myself (if we'd had a boy and decided to circ), but at least now I can recommend that route to others.


okay, i am the first in line to say fuck you to the medical profession. the know-it-all-ism, the my-time-is-more-important-than-yours-and therefore-you-will-wait-ism, i-speak-the-one-and-only-truth-ism, the show-me-your-insurance-card-first-and-*then*-we-can-talk-ism, the ten-seconds-per-patient-ism, the cram-meds-down-your-throat-for-everything/nothing-ism, and the go-find-somebody-else-if-you-don't-like-my-bad-bedside-mannerisms-ism.

i am a firm believer in vaccines, too, but you can go find yourself a perfectly great naturopath (so i've recently learned) that will actually give a shit when you speak up, and vaccinate your kid when he needs it. i'm over doctors who doctor. these days i'm into doctors who actually *care*.

i am so sad you all are going through this. the ripple effect of one shitty thing like this can totally take it's toll on all the peeps, as you know i know. between your good humor and your positive attitude, you guys will get thru it. i hope you blog that fool's name when it's all over so he doesn't hatchet-job some other little penis.

Christina | 1:27 PM

I totally agree with you. My mom has worked in the medical field all my life, and I'm now going to school for nursing, and I can say that many doctors are simply too busy to give the care they should, and it's a crime.

I advise looking for a new doctor, if your doesn't take the time to explain everything fully. Look for a D.O. instead of a PHd. D.O. doctors are trained in both standard and holistic medicine, and are usually trained to spend more time with their patients and consider the whole person and not just the symptoms.

toyfoto | 3:16 PM

**Sighing large sigh of exhaustion.

It's such frightening issue: There's experiences some doctors don't have. They can't feel their patients pain (some try their best not to) and they don't know everything but they have to act like they do. They HAVE to instill some confidence. When that tightrope act doesn't have a net though, it's a disaster.

Finding a GOOD doctor is like finding a needle in a haystack these days for sure, and the hardest part, especially if your in a hospitalization situation, is getting the story straight.

They tell you to ask questions, but really it's tough to know what you should be asking without any knowledge whatsoever.

The best thing that ever happened to me in this situation was when a doctor asked ME what I understood about what all the doctors from emergency to admitting had told me. When I told him what I was thinking he explained where and how I was mistaken, and it was like someone lifted a weight from my chest.

But its a tapdance for sure. You have to know HOW to work them. You have to be careful not to step on their toes, lest they disappear and leave you alone in your agony ... afterall, they don't REALLY care about you. That's what I keep telling myself in these situations, anyway.

*Sighing again. The thought of it makes me depressed.

Anonymous | 3:24 PM

Damn, you are so far ahead of the game if you have figured this shit out with your first. Interview your Doc. Find one who will be a partner with you in the care of your child. You know your child best.

When we decided not to vaccinate out 3rd until he was 3, and then just polio and MMR, our family practice Doc disagreed. But she agreed to read my info and I agreed to read hers. And then, because she acknowledged that we were informed of the risks and had educated ourselves, supported our plan. Our forth did not receive any vaccinations until she was 4. Before you freak out, she is in a low risk (no child care) population. Find a caregiver who will be on YOUR team!
One who is willing to learn and grow with your family.

Educating ourselves as health care consumers and as mothers is vitally important. Not every book about birth/parenting is worthless. Having read them all, no fooling, I can vouch for a few of them as being "good reads". (yes, I did blog about this recently with my top picks!) But when the shit hits the fan, you know your child best and must follow your heart, often in the face of negative advice.

Mel | 5:19 PM

Ohhhhhhh, man.
I have two things here: first, I vaccinated my girls because I didn't take the time to educate myself about the pluses/minuses of the vaccinations; however, nothing negative came out of it for us. I don't regret the vacs, but I understand that I may have been lucky, considering some of the risks that are inherent to the process.
Second, an anecdote: my husband, when he was much younger, was a big motorcycle/dirt bike rider. Also, he had the worst luck a human could have when it came to breaking bones, okay? So he knew what it felt like to break a bone, having broken almost every one he had. Well, one day he was riding his bicycle down the street, got hit by a car, and got a nice compound fracture (bone sticking out of skin) on his arm.
He tells the paramedic, "My arm is broken," and the para. smarmed at him, "Why don't you just let ME decide what's broken."
Then, they get to the hospital, and again, he tells the doctor, "My arm's broken, just remove my jacket sleeve and look." And again, he got smarmed at! In all, it took them forty minutes after he was checked in to actually listen to him and remove his damn jacket.
I don't like docs much. Grr.

Anonymous | 9:51 PM

I totally agree with you. I have like a love/hate relationship with doctors. The last few years of my life, most of the decisions have been made by doctors and I haven't really had much of an input about anything. Sometimes, I wonder if one of those decisions could have totally turned everything around.
What if they tested me for leukemia in the first place instead of diagnosing me with a million other things first. I mean my sister did have it so it should have been a red flag. What if they would have admitted me back into the hospital when they thought I relapsed instead of just sitting back and watching what happened? What if they continued me on chemo instead of stopping it because that was "the best decision"?
It is partially my fault for not speaking up when I disagreed or thought they should be doing something else. All the doctors said they did everything they could and tried their best but sometimes I don't know if I agree. Some of them did try their best.. but some of them made some shitty decisions. And maybe those decisions could have changed everything. But anyways, enough of that lol. Love you tons!


I love you too, Scar.

carrie | 2:44 AM

You are so right. on.

Best of luck with the circ repair, I'm crossing my fingers for both of you!


motherbumper | 5:46 AM

GGC, I grew up in a medical household and worked in the Canadian system myself for years and there is one thing I learned: (1)docs are just human and some have god complexes. OK there are two things I learned: (2) always question your doc and if you don't like the answer get a second opinion (which I understand is not easy in the US system sometimes). My dad taught me that and he's a doc. You have come to the same conclusions and your "solution" is by far the best I've heard. We are all in the same trial (for lack of a better word) and we learn from each other (it takes a village etc.). Ask Moxie is my fav site - I go there all the time. If I don't get an answer there I go to Wednesday Advice Smackdown - OH WAIT - that's when Bumper's foundation is looking pasty and I need to know how to make it more natural looking... ANYHOOOO - we need to listen to our age old instincts and each other and we really do need to trust that deep down we know what is right for our children and we must make the systems work for us (what a freakin' run on sentence!). I could go on for days but I won't. I love this post and am in total agreement with what you say. Modern Medicine is not to be shunned but it should be questioned on an individual basis because we aren't cookies and we don't need no cookie cutter solutions. Sorry that I hijacked your comments. You rock as a mom GGC (and for everything else for that matter). Ciao for now.

Amy | 6:05 AM

Sorry about the chicken pox, and the circ, oh my. I've been hesitant about vaccines with my kids, but have gone ahead with most of them, in part because of what was required to have them in daycare.

And I've learned to much more about childcare (and women's health) from other moms, compared to what I've learned from the damn books.

We're lucky to have a great family doc, but I've seen some doozies in the ER, and my sons had two ridiculous mis-diagnoses in our ER in the last year.

Jessi Louise | 7:18 AM

I've had so many bad experiences with doctors in the past 5 years that I delay going as long as possible. We're military and it seems like the military doctors only have a few responses and prescriptions that they give and they just use those over and over and over. I've got them all memorized.

One example (sorry this is so long - didn't realize i had so much to say) I was supposed to have a c-section with my 2nd child and when we went to the ER because I was having contractions they actually told me to take a tylenol PM and go back home. Jack was born a few hours later NATURALLY shortly after we rushed back to the hospital in the nick of time. The whole experience was just crazy.

Anonymous | 8:22 AM

hi there. yeah, you should call hard copy about the botched circs!! i opted not to get it done for my son, but i really had to go through a lot of criticisms from family and friends because of it. but i won out, although my hubby still bothers me to this day. medically, it isn't necessary, but that is a whole different issue so i won't get into it. i have no problems with moms who chose to get it or not.

anyway, i totally agree that you should not let your doctor bully you. please don't be scared to voice your opinions to them. (you don't have to tell them that they're stupid (heehee), but just tell them your concerns.) i am serious! i am a health professional myself (i will not specify) and it is very important for you to do what you think/feel is right.

i have so much to say on this subject, but i don't want to make it too lengthy. i challenged my OB not too long ago on a decision she made, then actually had to sign papers to say that i was not going to follow her recommendation... i stood firm and i am so glad i did. i also switched doctors.

i was just reading the comment by mother bumper and i almost mistook it for my comment! i agree with her wholeheartedly: get a second or third opinion if you have a feeling that something is not right. like all humans, doctors make mistakes. that being said, doctors do have their place, and many are very helpful and actually CARE, so we need not be completely disillusioned by the profession.

as for the vacs, our family friend got the chicken pox after the vaccine as well. my son developed a high fever and rash all over his body (including face) one week after his 1 year vaccinations.

Andrea | 9:13 AM

I've been very lucky in my life to have found doctors who seemed to care, and the ones who didn't I didn't hesitate to dump. But I have been increasingly frustrated by my current doctor (mine, not the child's) because, while she cares, she seems to be falling back on excuses. She can't see me for two complaints at once and I have to make an appointment for each one, so they can ding my insurance twice. Her excuse? She's the youngest doctor in her practice with the fewest patients and has very little pull in the partnership, which dictates this rule. She tries the drugs first and the tests later. If the drugs don't work, THEN she tries to figure out what's really going on. Isn't that backwards? Then it doesn't help that my insurance tells me who I can and can't see. If I choose the insurance that give me more doctor options, the ins. company will only pay 80%, and if it's anything more than a routine visit, I can't afford it. It's a rackett. I'm fortunate that my family and I have been relatively healthy. I shudder to think what would happen if we had to see doctors with more regularity. I made sure to check into pediatricians carefully when I was pregnant. Took no chances there, and I still often get frustrated with the hurried, get-to-the-next-patient mentality.

Summer | 12:09 PM

I'm very sorry to hear about your little man's pox and botched circ. What an ordeal for you guys to face. I wish you all the best.

I had an AWFUL experience with my first childs pedi....she(the baby) started coughing , hacking, wheezing at about 6 months. It continued and nothing we did helped. Her dr kept saying oh it's just allergies, it's just allergies and I, like a dumbass believed her and kept dosing my baby up with all kinds of allergy meds. After a year of this, I finally realized the ridiculousness of the situation and took her to a specialists who promptly gave her an allergy test and guess what...no fucking allergies. Asthma.....shit. While it sucks, at least we have an answer now AND a new dr that takes her time, asks me lots of questions, will ask me repeatedly if I have any questions, and tries everything she can to figure out what the problem is without drugs. She does one vaccine at a time and we can come in whenever we feel like it's time for another one. I feel very blessed to have found someone so compassionate and caring. Good luck finding someone for your little family...there are good drs out there it just takes some time to find them.


For sure. Thanks everyone for sharing your stories.

Anonymous | 10:20 AM

I couldn't have said it better myself. I'm pretty anti-doctors these days too. After weeks of "are you sure his poop should be green" and "yeah totally normal" to "I don't think this is right" "yes it's fine" "dude there is blood in it" "oops, guess there is a problem." And don't even get me started on circs...thanks for telling me I need to pull the skin back for the rest of his life or it will readhere and we'll have to do it again. It's frustrating when there is an issue you feel you have nobody to turn to other than yourself and a handful of bloggers. I don't even bother going to the doctors anymore (within reason) but I never bring my list of questions like I did the first month. Why bother?

I had already decided not to do the Pox vac. but I always second guess myself. Thanks for sharing your story b/c now I feel comfortable in my decision.

I'm sorry for your experience but sharing it will help many.

Anonymous | 11:01 PM

Oh, I am so sorry Archer caught the pox! I hope he (and you) feel better soon. I have to agree with a lot of the above comments. I think educating yourself is key; and even after you've educated yourself, still question (that goes for ALL sides, too). I admit, I think I've been lucky with doctors but I kind of go in asking all sorts of questions (even ones I know aren't really related). I also ALWAYS ask for the statistical data. One doctor's "uncommon" could be 1 in 5000, while another's could be 1 in 50... and that's a big difference. Especially since I've suffered those "uncommon" side effects. (My amnio was kind of ugly. I haven't posted about it because I didn't want to scare anyone, since in this case my side effects truly were rare. But it just goes to show you that no matter how great the odds are someone out there has to be the "1" out of whatever number. Isn't that why we all play the lottery?)

Kristen | 7:15 AM

I have major problems with the medical community, too...I agree that drugs are given out too easily, taken for granted without enough explanation and education to the patient.

One of my biggest complaints is that going to the doctor requires a lot of pre-work on the part of the patient if the patient wants to be sure he/she receives a diagnosis that takes all the legitimate concerns into consideration (as opposed to walking in and saying, "I feel depressed" or "I have a sinus infection" and walking out with a pocket full of anti-depressant samples or anti-biotics, five minutes later).

Anonymous | 9:00 AM

yep, and when your child is sick, who will you be rushing him/her to??? Not some new age guru, but yes, a doctor.

These kind of "doctor-bashing" generalizations that all docs are money-making egoists, is what is wrong with blogsites like this. "Challenging" the doctors: that's funny....what do you do for a living? Would it be appropriate or necessary for me to "challenge" you on every work decision you make, regardless of how much education or training you have had??? Of course not: yet instead of being a smart, informed patient, you suggest "challenging" ALL doctors....um, they did go to medical school and I assume you are seeking them out because you want a medical opinion.....

Sure there are lousy doctors. There are egoists in all walks of life (even some moms I could name. . . ) so why wholesale abuse heaped on a profession that is trying only to help you and your child?

Good luck to you. I do hope you child never is sick enough to require medical care.