Doctors can be admirable people, but they can be the dog we kick too.  When my 9 day old son died this September, I learned that nurses and doctors might be able to do some good, but when they do not listen, when they ignore signs that they are given, their humanness shows.  They believe they know everything.  They have confidence in the answers to your questions, even though you doubt them.  Still, you want to believe they know the answers.  And because we are taught that nurses and doctors DO know everything, as they themselves believe, we don’t kick and scream.  We don’t tell them we think they are wrong.  We don’t say they need to think harder and do their research.

Recently my almost 3-year-old son had a visit to the doctor for a check-up.  Two days later the doctor called me to inform me that he is anemic.  She stated he must have iron supplements.  I had to stop her when she was ready to hang up so I could ask questions, for example, about how anemic he was.  “Kids his age should be at 11, he’s at 10.6,” she says.  Wow, and I was ready to freak out?  That put things into perspective.  But because he used to throw up after I’d give him liquid iron supplements and vitamins when he was a baby, I was hesitant to try it and instead tried to cut down his dairy intake and up his iron through food.  When I finally decided to give it to him, he reacted in a similar way, throwing up and then running a fever through the night.  I called the Doctor the next day and left a message.  We played phone tag.  She and the nurse left me messages that he needs to take his iron supplement and this was just a coincidence.  That’s what she said when he was a baby.

It got to the point where I told the secretary what I thought.  Along the lines of:  Nobody in your office is listening to me.  I KNOW this was not a coincidence.  This is what they told me when he was a baby and I had to learn for myself it wasn’t coincidence.  If your doctors don’t take me seriously I will be looking for another office.  Someone there needs to research this if they don’t already know about iron supplements making some people sick.  The Doctor thinks her knowledge from 20 years ago is always the answer?  No!  If no one is going to look into this, I don’t want to take my son there!   And when she asked which doctor I wanted to speak to, I said, WHICHEVER ONE WILL LISTEN TO ME AND TAKE ME SERIOUSLY.   And when I got the call back from a different doctor moments later, she agreed that YES, some people have stomach issues with iron supplements.  Change his diet.  Then she tested me to see if he was still on the bottle or the sippy cup!  What?  Then, have him lower his dairy.  Have him eat things like spinach.  Interesting, I thought, since I read that spinach like dairy inhibits iron intake, which I confirmed with my brother who is studying to be a dietician.  What about red meat, I asked?  “Oh, red meat and children are like enemies,” she replied, “They don’t like red meat.”  “Well, my son loves it,” I said, thinking this doctor really thinks she knows it all.  I tested her about iron, and she gave surface answers.

Maybe I have anger towards doctors that think they know everything, but I think I’m also breaking out of the blind faith in doctors that society has engrained in us.  Neither doctors, nor nurses, nor surgeons, nor any medical professional is all-knowing in their specialized field and especially not in other fields.  Doctors should not talk about nutrition if they don’t know that spinach does not supply iron.  They should refer us to a dietician.   And while I admire the dedication that one must have to their profession in the medical field, with the grueling schooling and the long days of work, I admire that they are no better than I am.  And so, I, like anyone else, should have trust in my own intuition, my thoughts, my feelings.  I should be able to question a doctor.  If they do not listen, I will kick and scream until they realize that there are answers to questions that they just don’t have.  Refer or please, please, do your research.