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Physician personalities

December 23rd, 2003 · No Comments

When I was a kid, I didn’t notice my pediatrician’s personality. Perhaps that is because I only had one doctor. Or perhaps because my brother had too many.

Or perhaps I am noticing more about personalities . I think this is yet another angle to the on having babies discussion, an aspect I had thought about but forgot to include when it came time to typing….I did not know how strong or how innate personality is, how different two people can be, until I had two children. Michaela made it very clear early on as an infant that she was different from her big sister!

Maybe it’s this season of life, as a parent, where I’m interacting a lot more with my physicians. Personality plays a bigger role when I’m concerned or skeptical or have a lot on the line, like my child’s health. Going to the doctor when I was a kid was about getting balloons and lollipops. Now it’s more about getting prescriptions and a clear diagnosis, most of all having a good dialogue, feeling that we were able to communicate well.

Dr. S., our San Jose pediatrician, was some combination between father figure and football coach. As first-time parents, I think we appreciated his toughness and experience, in an almost old-fashioned sense, calming our many concerns. He had more “wait and see” and less worry.

Dr. N, our current pediatrician is a bit vanilla to me. Perhaps he’s just young. Or finding his way. Or maybe that’s his personality. It’s not quite like talking to a textbook but he doesn’t automatically give me the warm and fuzzy feelings either. Maybe its his habit of hand-shaking – seems too formal to me.

Dr. O. our usual pediatrician, is more matronly. She’s like an aunt you’d like to have or someone in the neighborhood you’d run to for advice. She gives you space as a parent but as an islander and mom she has opinions to share too. As many doctors do these days, she likes to check out her concerns.

Dr. “G”, the guest doctor we saw on Saturday had her own personality too. It’s funny what you can tell from the moment you meet a doctor who wears a blinking menorah pin on her white coat.

And yesterday we went to see Dr. E, a pediatric ophthamologist. This is Michaela’s third visit to this type of specialist, but the other two were with another doctor. Of all the specialists I’ve experienced (not too many, I must confess), pediatric opthamology seems like one of the more fun ones. You get to have lots of toys and a row of animated ones, fuzzy doggies and funny monsters, to play with so you can test the children’s vision.

This doctor too has Blue’s Clues all over the walls (one reason why I think our friend recommended him – their little girl loves Blue and Magenta…), lots of toys in the waiting room, and nifty sunglasses and other treasures to take home. Michaela got a pair of the “Six eyes” glasses – sunglass lenses flip up for open glasses – and stickers. (“Stickers and sunglasses. That’s all I wanted, ” she said contentedly as we were going home.)

Dr. Epley walked into our room in white shirt and big red bow tie – looking like something out of our library book “I Want to Be a Clown”. Almost made me want to laugh and ask: where’s the red nose and big shoes? Perhaps that’s what he’s after, helping us have a sense of humor in it all. He didn’t make a lot of jokes, not as many as some doctors I’ve known, but he did interact with Michaela well, and I’m sure he has a lot of kids during his days to keep happy…..

I was impressed by his manner with Michaela, how explained things to me, and how efficiently their clinic operates. Not a clown at all. I was impressed enough to consider staying with him. And impressed enough to include Dr. Epley’s web site here . Apparently he does on-line consultations. I haven’t tried it, but that’s what his site says his patients can do. I appreciated the information he has on his site too. He told me he had an article there about Michaela’s condition. Reading it – and looking at the pictures – reassured me, helped me see what the problem is, and helped me know that there are other children out there with her same diagnosis. No, not a clown, but more computer-savvy than other doctors I’ve seen so far, maybe a bit eccentric fashion style, but so far he looks like a good fit for our family.

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