The Last Straw: Ann Arbor, Day 3


After our restful night in a hallway, we had to pack up the crew and get down to a special team visit. We were going to see half a dozen specialists and they were going to answer all of our questions!

Or we were going to be put in a tiny room for 8 hours to have people come in occasionally and ask me the same three questions the last person asked me, and then they would leave us.

In Ann Arbor, that is about par for the course and I was just thankful they didn’t have us MOVING from specialist to specialist. I have a feeling that would have been an even bigger disaster.

First the boys had their hearing tested, then we saw their plastic surgeon, then an orthodontic specialist, then a speech pathologist, then an orthopedic specialist, then Satan.

Here is what I learned from the specialists:

1. They do not communicate with each other. At all. Ever. (I was going to snap if one more person asked me, “Now, your form says you have concerns about Robert’s sleep. Have you considered having a sleep study done?”)

2. Our plastic surgeon is wrong. He thinks Peter holds his tongue out of his mouth because he is “lazy”. Speaking from 20 years of experience with a big tongue before corrective surgery, it has NOTHING to do with laziness and everything to do with it being TOO BIG FOR HIS MOUTH. But, I am not a surgeon so, I clearly have no idea what I am talking about.

3. French Canadians are impossible to understand.

4. The paper that covers exam tables makes excellent confetti when shredded by five year olds.

5. I may just have to start making shoe lifts in the back yard because no one addressed my main concern about Robert’s hemihypertrophy. So glad I drove 9 hours for THAT to be ignored.

6. I know I shouldn’t judge a profession by one bad egg, but I hate neuropsychologists.

Let’s delve further in to that last point. The neuropsychologist, also known as the Prince of Darkness to her friends, was the last person to see us that day. We had been cooped up in a tiny exam room for 8 hours at this point. Even I was getting a little squirrelly. The boys were wild as all heck. They were tired of being in the room, they were showing off for all the doctors, and were were ALL sleep-deprived.

She took one look at them cackling in the corner with their robot grabber toys and told me there was nothing she could do until I got their behavior under control.

According to her 5 minute assessment, I was an inconsistent parent and their behavior issues stemmed from my incompetence.

I told her that the extreme behaviors they sometimes exhibit were the problems we wanted to get some help with. We’ve tried different systems of behavior modification and my husband is a freaking preschool teacher. This isn’t our first day at the rodeo. I wouldn’t have asked to see her unless I thought there might be some other issue with their behavior. (Some people have suggested ADHD or autism spectrum for the boys because of some tendencies and I was really hoping to get a professional opinion.)

She told me I needed Super Nanny because I am doing it wrong, and left.

She must be making some serious cash to be able to know our whole life stories and style of parenting in five minutes… without ever meeting my husband, without asking how the boys are at home, without asking how we normally deal with their behaviors. Nope, because they were in an unusual place acting like fools, she KNEW it was all my fault. 5 minutes with her was better than 5 years experience with them at home.

Can I get that job? I can walk around pointing fingers aimlessly and making sweeping judgements about people I don’t know. (Is she a neuropsychologist or is she running for congress?)

Needless to say, I left in tears. And I only cried harder as we walked through the hospital schlepping our heavy bags. No one told me when I would hear results, no one asked if they could help, no one asked if everything was okay. I just got blank stares from staff as I sobbed my way to the car.

After I calmed down a bit, we drove to Detroit to stay the night with friends before making the long haul back up the state. We had a good time catching up with old friends and NOT sleeping on a floor.

The next morning I threw the kids in the car before they were awake enough to notice and drove like mad. We were an hour in to the drive before they noticed we hadn’t yet had breakfast. I tossed them some food from our supplies and kept going, praying they wouldn’t notice I was trying my darnedest to not stop the car.

Halfway up the state, Robert asked for McDonald’s. I told him we would stop at the next one we saw, hoping there wouldn’t be any obvious ones until we got across the Bridge. Every time we went past an exit that had some golden arches, I would pray that he wouldn’t see them. Thankfully, he missed all of them so, I could keep my promise AND make good time.

We stopped after the Bridge for lunch and then cruised through the UP to set a new family record. Detroit to Marquette in 8 hours even! AWESOME time for us.

After we were home and out of the car, I made a decision. Never again. I am done with Ann Arbor. We will be doctor shopping for Robert’s orthopedic issues.

That hospital has made me a State fan.

Go Green.



9 thoughts on “The Last Straw: Ann Arbor, Day 3

    1. The family doctor will refer us places, but she is not overly involved with this. She will be soon, though. I need to pick her brains for new doctors.

  1. Also, I am reminded of a friend of mine who went to medical school at the same time that I was studying psychology. We often talked of how doctors are not trained in how to interact with their patients. In fact, the doctor-patient relationship is considered an unfortunate side-effect of the facinating career of practicing medicine on human biological systems. Of course, some doctors are naturally better at human relationships than others, but you usually see those doctors in family practice, because geeks will be geeks; specialists will most likely have high technical skills and low people skills. Keep in mind that these people are technicians, on par with nuclear physicists. Just because they work on biological systems does not make them good with people.

    I am so sorry that you had to go through with this. There should be some kind of support system for young families that have to deal with this. A team. There are so many of us; the thought of you walking through the hospital crying and then driving upstate — man. I am so sorry. I know that you are over it now, but. *hugs*

  2. Gah!! That is really frustrating. We stopped bringing Lily to those clinics because, well, you know why. It was too hard on her. And it’s only a five minute drive from here! We sought advice from her developmental ped about her sleep issues and were given advice STRAIGHT out of supernanny. It really made me angry. I could read that online for myself. I’m asking you, a MEDICAL DOCTOR, if there is a MEDICAL reason why my child, who is a complicated case to begin with, doesn’t sleep. Grrrrrr. Do you have other places you can go?

      1. Is there a reason you can’t go out of state? To Chicago or Madison or Milwaukee? Aren’t those places just as far as Ann Arbor? I hope you find someplace that is more helpful, if not closer. XO

  3. Doctors do need to learn how to interact with patients, patient families, and the world in general. I have been in this situation a time or two over the years, and I no longer put up with it. You get one chance. If you blow it, I move on to find someone who respects me and treats me like a human being. No one deserves to be treated as less than human!

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