We have taken Sophie to the same pediatrician since she was born. Her doctor was affiliated with a very large, very well respected local medical entity (hint: it rhymes with Sean's Bobbkins) and at first that was very appealing to us. We liked the security of having a doctor attached to an organization with a century long reputation for medical excellence, not to mention the world of specialists at our fingertips.
But I would be lying if I said that I was delighted with our experiences, really from the very beginning. There was the time they sent us to the emergency room, where we sat for four hours with a mildly sick two month old only to be told we were overreacting to a normal condition. There were the layers we had to go through to actually speak to a medical professional on the phone. There was the complete lack of personal engagement. We were a number. Sophie's doctor never remembered her from one visit to the next. Ultimately, I just never felt a chemistry with her. We tried other doctors in the practice but didn't feel any better about them.
Meanwhile, Neil and I have been going to a family practice for a couple of years now and we have loved our experiences there. It was our plan to take Sophie there as soon as she completed the two year study that she was a part of through her old doctor. I had scheduled a well child check up, but unfortunately illness struck first. So her first visit was a couple of weeks ago when we had a chicken pox scare. It turns out it was some other chicken pox-y rash that had us on lockdown for a week, and it completely sucked, but it gave us an intro to the pediatric side of our now truly family practice. I was overwhelmed by what a positive experience it was.
The doctor was engaging and friendly. He sat and talked with us. More importantly, he listened. We had a real conversation. I didn't feel as though he was just playing the role of concerned doctor like I typically did with the last one. It was so refreshing. So when we brought her back in for a follow-up/well child, I was nervous that we would be seeing one of the other doctors in the practice. But if it is possible, I love her even more. I felt a real connection from the minute she walked in to the exam room. She's not much older than me, and unlike our last pediatrician, she has her own children. It even turns out that we had similar pregnancies and deliveries. When I expressed my concerns about the flu vaccine, she was very understanding. Our last pediatrician practically accused me of child abuse for not wanting to vaccinate my daughter. And not once did she refer to the growth chart! Sweet baby cheese, was that a breath of fresh air on a hot day.
I knew that I didn't like Sophie's old doctor, but I didn't realize how bad it was until I saw how good it could be. I think we forget sometimes that there is more to medicine than fancy diplomas and big names on the door. I'll take the small practice where the nurses play with my daughter and give her a lollipop any day of the week.