Back in June, I took Billy to a pediatric endocrinologist and then to a pediatric gastroenterologist following his regular annual physical. He, and all my kids, are falling off the growth charts. At my request, I was also referred to a pediatric nutritionist, since I was (and still am) convinced that his biggest problem is not eating enough.
After those three appointments and a bone scan and some blood work (which had some low, but not too low, numbers for iron and growth hormone), I thought we were done. But no sooner had the gastroenterologist concluded that a wait-and-see approach with some follow up blood work to check on the anemia was the best tactic, when the endocrinologist called and insisted that we go to a pediatric endocrinologist out here after our move. Had we been staying in the area, the Walter Reed team would have been pressuring us to try to stimulate the growth hormone and do some other tests, including an MRI to check his pituitary gland.
It's not that I don't want to know for sure that everything is fine with my child, but I don't feel that running every test available on a person, especially a child, who has all the appearances of being perfectly normal and healthy with no aches, complaints, vomiting or any other symptoms of illness, is a good idea. For a child, even a 7 year old, this might be somewhat traumatic. It certainly would be traumatic for me.
But I was happy with this referral, because there is no military pediatric endocrinologist in the area. We would have to go civilian. I think the doctors at Walter Reed are just fine, but they are a team. There is a group-think mentality. Oh, and did I mention that one of the doctors on the team was doing a study on smaller kids who have all the appearances of being normal and healthy? I don't mind my kid being included in a study if he needs to have certain tests run anyway. But I do mind doctors drumming up potential problems in order to scare me into running tests which are actually unnecessary.
In July, I followed up on this referral, and the resultant appointment was yesterday - finally. I took growth charts, lab results, and family history along with all five kids and drove more than a half hour to the specialist. As I drove, I prayed for a happy ending to this saga, and I rehearsed my speech about how much my kid eats and how I'm being vigilant in making sure he gets enough calories every day.
At this point, Billy interrupts my thoughts to inform me that he forgot to eat breakfast.
Well, thank goodness he told me that before I claimed publicly to be a good mother, huh?
At the doctor's office, on the line that asked for a reason for the appointment, I wrote that I was getting a second opinion. When I met the doctor, I explained that I felt the other endocrinologists were looking for problems where none existed.
"When most people want a second opinion, it's because they think something is wrong but they've been told nothing is. You're kind of doing the opposite..." he queried.
"Yes, I want you to tell me that my kid is fine," I admitted.
And then he did.
He does want to do another bone scan in 6 months. And keep an eye on him. But, for now, he thinks he's just a slow-grower. Like his dad. Like we've been saying all along.
And as for food and eating habits? Yes, scales are off from one place to another. But he weighed 39 pounds in May at the pediatrician's office, and he weighed 43 pounds yesterday at this office.
And that's without having had breakfast.