Yesterday felt like Christmas morning.
But not just Christmas — that Christmas. The one where you got everything on your list, and both sets of grandparents showed up as a surprise, and Mom put dried cherries and pecans in the stuffing, and she made the frozen pumpkin pie that tastes like ice cream, and there was mince meat leftover for breakfast. That Christmas!
Actually, I never got that Christmas. But now I know what it would have felt like.
Oh, sorry. What did I do?
I took Girly Girl to her new doctor.
All? What do you mean all? Her doctor is amazing!!
The pediatrician we saw a few weeks ago referred us to the Down Syndrome Clinic at Stollery, and today we met the doctor there for the first time. (Ironically, my friend Linda told me about the Down syndrome clinic more than two years ago, but when I looked it up online, I didn’t see enough of a benefit to be worth driving into the city. Boy, was I wrong!!)
I knew I was going to love the practice when I learned they try to schedule all the appointments on the same day (hearing, eye tests, cardio, etc.) to avoid disrupting the lives of their patients and parents. But I was unprepared for the total infatuated, school girl SQUEEEEEEE! I carried away from the office.
First, the doctor was focused on my daughter, not on me. She directed most of her questions to Girly Girl, not to me.
Then after chatting with her for a bit, she turned to me and said, “Has she had a ton of speech therapy and intervention, or is she just naturally phenomenal?”
Who wouldn’t love a doctor like that?!
She told me at least three times that my daughter is amazing. “You do know that, right?” she added once.
I told her a little of our history — that I quit my job and school to work with her for hours at home after we got the diagnosis, that I pumped for eighteen months so that she could be breastfed even though she couldn’t nurse, etc. — and at least twice she gave us some of the credit for how high-functioning and healthy our daughter is.
She gave us a bunch of information about puberty, and then warned us that as high-functioning as Girly Girl is, she’ll probably have a boyfriend and even have S-E-X. She gave us tips about resources in the community, pamphlets on transitioning to adulthood (e.g. guardianship, applying for provincial aid), phone numbers to organizations that can help.
At one point, she asked if we’d used the series of straws to help develop GG’s cheek muscles (yes, we did), and the resident/doctor in training looking puzzled.
“We don’t like sippy cups in this community,” the doctor told her.
“Sippy cups?” the resident asked. “What’s wrong with sippy cups?”
I started to explain — how sippy cups too easy to drink from. The liquid just pours out, so the cheek muscles don’t get exercised and that affects speech. And the shape of the mouth on a sippy cup is unnatural … Etc. … and then I realized what I’d done. I had just stepped between a resident doctor and her supervising physician. I apologized and started to back-pedal, but the doctor cut me off.
“We bring children and parents in here so we can learn from them,” she said. “We learn from our patients and their families all the time.”
Then she added, “Keep going. You’re doing fine.”
It was, quite simply, a delightful experience. The doctor, resident, and nurse stayed in the room for most of a half hour. We were all completely relaxed — telling stories and laughing like they had all the time in the world.
I left the office with dancing feet and a singing heart.
Of course, it didn’t hurt that it was ten degrees outside (about fifty Fahrenheit), and we had all the windows open.
Best Christmas ever!