When Kristin and I were thinking of a pediatrician for Julia, we looked first in our Little Lavender Book. There was only one family practice doctor listed in the book and no pediatricians. So I called the clinic that was listed for the doctor and asked if they had any female pediatricians there. Kristin and I felt very strongly that Julia have a female pediatrician. The clinic didn't have any female pediatricians. In fact they had no pediatricians at all. They were all family practice doctors. But I had a long conversation with the nurse of the doctor who was listed in the Lavender book and asked her if she knew of any gay-friendly female pediatricians in the valley. She, in turn, got the doctors at that clinic involved and they all put their heads together and couldn't come up with any female pediatricians that they knew were gay friendly. So, I thanked them for their help and Kristin and I decided that we would keep looking for a pediatrician for Julia.
When Julia was born, the pediatrician who had been there at her birth was very friendly and open and helpful. She told us she would love to have Julia as a patient. So we were happy. We had ended up with a female pediatrician who was gay friendly just by the luck of the draw. BUT, this pediatrician was actually only a resident in a very busy clinic attached to a teaching hospital. It was a pain to drive there, a pain to park, the waiting room was small and crowded and full of sick children. And the clientele of the clinic that we met were... crass. Rude and pushy. When we took Julia in for her 2 week check-up, Kristin was still recovering from her c-section and there were two women with 6 kids between them taking up the very large area in front of the registration windows. Kristin sat down on a chair in the first row behind them, and one of those women got out of line to yell at her and call her a bitch for stealing her seat. We weren't comfortable there, and we never saw our doctor. She was always gone even though we made appointments specifically with her. We had at least 2 appointments with a man who was VERY uncomfortable with our family. All in all this was not the kind of doctor's experience we wanted. We wanted to be able to get to know a doctor, to have that doctor know Julia. This... this felt so impersonal, we never knew who we were going to see, we had to fill the doctors in on her medical history each time, explain our family over and over again. We could never get same-day appointments when Julia was sick. When we brought Julia in for her reflux we felt like we had wasted the doctor's time...
At one point we felt like we needed a second opinion on Julia's reflux. But we didn't know where to take her. Then we remembered the clinic in the Lavender Book. Let's call it Clinic O. Even though clinic O hadn't had the female doctor we wanted, they were very friendly and accessible over the phone and we had been left with a positive impression. And they aren't far from our house. So we called to see if one of the doctors there could see Julia. They got her in that day. And even though the doctor agreed that Julia's reflux was not bad enough to need medication we didn't feel stupid for bringing her in. The doctor didn't make us feel like we had willfully wasted his time. We left the doctor's appointment feeling listened to, and, having had all our concerns taken seriously first, we felt comfortable with the doctor's diagnosis. But still, we wanted a female doctor, so we continued to use the hospital clinic.
The final straw with the hospital clinic came when Julia got very sick last winter and we were worried that it was RSV. Even though we told the clinic that we thought she had RSV, the clinic couldn't get her an appointment for over a week! So Kristin drove herself and Julia over the the O clinic and even though she didn't have an appointment, they fit Julia in and checked Kristin out, too (she wasn't feeling well herself). We decided then and there that quality of care and an atmosphere of ease and comfort and respect was better than having a female pediatrician at a leading clinic. Not only did we switch Julia over to the O clinic, but Kristin and I started using the clinic as well.
We're known there. We're liked there. Even when we bring Julia in and it turns out she's only teething we are always told that we did the right thing by bringing her in, that they're always happy to see her. The clinic's building hails from the 1960's and hasn't been remodeled since, so it doesn't have that bland, antiseptic look so many doctor's clinics have. And it has its own lab, x-ray, and surgery. Everyone is so friendly and practical and warm. AND we got the pleasure of seeing one of our doctors half-naked in a feather boa and mardi gras beads at the Pride Festival!
And now they've finally hired a female doctor! We saw her for the first time a few weeks ago when I took Julia in for an ear infection. She apologized that she was running late! And she actually meant her apology! It wasn't just one of those automatic apologies! I liked her, she was great with Julia. And then, when Kristin took Julia in on Tuesday afternoon for her diarrhea she saw the same doctor. The doctor recognized Julia right away, but was a little confused by Kristin, so Kristin introduced herself and explained our family. Kristin loved her, too.
And then, last night, the phone rang. I saw that it was the O clinic, and answered the phone thinking it was a call about billing or appointments or something. No. It was the doctor! She said she'd just gotten off her shift and was thinking about Julia and wanted to call and see how she was doing, was she keeping food down, were the blisters continuing to heal, how was her mood, etc...
I. Was. In. Shock.
Wow. I've never had that happen before. Well, I've had two dentists call me -- once when I had my wisdom teeth out, and once after a crown replacement. But never a doctor calling to check up on the progress of a stomach virus and an antibiotic reaction!
I love our clinic.
PS - Julia is doing much better and is back at daycare today, cheerful as usual.