Two nights before his appointment, I tried figuring out what to expect for the first visit to the pediatric neurologist. I couldn’t find information on my specific practice, but on forums many moms mentioned several forms, discussing milestones, child play time with the doctor, and an exam.
I wish I hadn’t thrown out the paper I had written down L’s milestone accomplishments and illnesses on for his first Early Intervention visit. I had a hard time rewriting that list.
Because the neurologist’s office was early in the morning and about 45 minutes away, G went to my in-laws for an overnight visit. I went back and forth on the necessity of this, especially because the boys had spent a weekend with them just two days prior, but in the end I think it worked out well. L and I had most of the day to ourselves and no distractions (his brother) meant I could focus on only him. He was trying to say more. I heard a few more words, not just sounds. By the end of the day I think I heard him say 10 words, the number that the pediatrician and physical therapist ideally wanted him to be able to say at 18 months.
We were early for our appointment, but were taken back quickly so a nurse could get L’s vitals and ask Mr Boots and I a few basic questions: Why are you here? Who is the pediatrician? How long has this been going on? We did have to wait a while for the neurologist. L spent a lot of that time waving to the other patients and flirting with the ladies at the reception desk.
I was a little surprised when a student doctor came in to do L’s initial assessment. He asked a few questions, but by now L was through with the neurologist office and wanted to leave. It was hard getting anyone to listen to what I had to say while L tried escaping or protested when we had to take off his shirt and shoes.
The neurologist came in and spent about 10 minutes with us. She asked if we understood why we were in her office and before I could answer, Mr Boots said, “I don’t know. It’s what the pediatrician wanted.” The doctor took that and ran with it, telling the student to type “Parents don’t understand why they are here” in L’s chart. I was livid. Mr Boots and I really haven’t agreed on what to do with L and he didn’t really agree with the neurologist visit, but I felt he could have at least let me answer that question myself. I did my best to get the point across that I understood and I was concerned with L’s language and slight developmental delays.
The neurologist thought L looked great. She wasn’t concerned with his vocabulary because he was within range and he’s a boy — boys can take longer than girls to start speaking. She recommended lab work to determine an underlying reason for his low muscle tone and that L go to physical therapy weekly. She said that she wanted L back for a follow up in January.
There weren’t any extensive health history forms. There wasn’t much playing either. We spent about 15 minutes with the student doctor and neurologist combined as we tried our best to tell them L’s story as he protested and they hung back to watch him walk around and play with their medical instruments.
We decided to get the blood work done when we got back to town since G wasn’t with us and Mr Boots was around to help me entertain L, who was tired and hungry but wouldn’t really eat. We had a long wait here because the nurses had a question about one of the labs the doctor had written in on the request form. They had called the neurologist’s office for clarification but hadn’t received an answer. After a Google search they felt pretty confident they figured it out themselves, but told us if they heard back from the doctor and they were mistaken they’d call us to come in for another draw. Luckily we never received a call from them.
L had a great time flirting with the elderly patients as we waited. The only meltdowns he had were when Mr Boots left the room to use the restroom and when one nice lady kindly declined drinking from his sippy cup. He received many “ahh’s” and “what a cutie!” for both.
When it was his turn, L proved, once again, that he’s a champ at getting his blood drawn. Sure he cried, but he didn’t squirm or make it too hard on the nurses.
We are still waiting to hear back about his lab results. I’ve emailed and called, but haven’t received a response from our point of contact at the neurologist’s office. I remember being told that the pathology test of our first pregnancy could take about a month, so I’m hoping that the lack of communication stems from the genetic screening taking longer than the others. If everything comes back negative then hopefully I can start letting go of this feeling that something is wrong and start believing what everyone else is telling me: L is doing things on his own terms and timeline.