Thank You for Shedding the Costumes

Thank You for Shedding the Costumes

You know the ones. The stiff white coats, pressed and starched, a name monogrammed on the left side. Those same costumes prevent circumventing the dialogue that is strictly proper. The white coat creates an traditional atmosphere in which one is in charge and one should learn; teacher to child, Priest to parishioner, mechanic to automobile owner and so on. In this case, it may paralyze the voices of those who should be doing the teaching while the white coat should be listening carefully and learning. 

It shouldn’t have to be that way. It doesn’t have to be that way and I am thankful for the physicians that have shed their coats for Amos and I along the way. Pride is a terrible thing; I know from experience and it does little than to mask truth and the acknowledgement that to be a doctor is very much the practice of medicine. To practice to repeat an exercise in or performance of an activity or skill so as to acquire or maintain proficiency in it. I am but a mother but I know that I practice mothering each and every day, learning, growing, apologizing, and perfecting my imperfect skill.

My own admission of learning propels me to speak up on behalf of letting go of the formality between physician and patient, whether in name of addressing or clothes. Leveling the playing field may encourage someone less confident than myself to speak freely and who knows better than a parent, particularly a mother? My young son will be having surgery just next month, a posterior tongue release as it is called. Not that unusual but I have found no one in NC that is familiar with the procedure, it’s’ diagnosis, or treatment. We have traveled across our state looking for answers and turned up empty handed again and again. Not until we ventured up the coast to Connecticut did a specialist turn to me and say, “he can’t move his tongue and I can’t move his tongue.” Redemption to say the least.

A doctor the following day that told me he was thankful for the instruction he had received from the oral motor specialist and without her, he would not be helping nearly as many children. His colleagues at first were suspicious but there was no arguing with babies that could now nurse and gain weight, relieved mothers, and talking toddlers. He listened and learned and changed his way of thinking based on a speech therapist and mothers seeking answers from all over God’s green earth. How could I walk away and not do the same?

I came home and reached out to our pediatricians, speech therapists, the cranio-facial team at Duke, our ENT, and friends. I posted evaluation videos, wrote to other specialists, shared the latest research and the response, though initially tepid by some, was embraced by others. I received thank you notes from two physicians thanking me for sharing our story and sharing the latest in technique and innovations regarding a posterior tongue release. They shed their white coats and met me in the middle and for that, I am thankful. See, it’s really not that hard after all.

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