Dentist vs. Doctor

Last week we went to Fiona’s well child check up. It was perhaps the most unmitigated disaster of a doctors visit I’ve had the misfortune of having to endure with her.

To be fair, we didn’t actually see a doctor, just a nurse practitioner. Now, I know that these professionals are often overworked and underpaid for what they do, but this particular lady ticked me the something-edited-off.

First off, let me explain that Fiona actually likes doctors. She likes the attention. She likes saying “aww”. She likes the stethoscope and all the measuring and checking. She enjoys going to the doctor. Because of this, and her normal charm, doctors typically like her.

Her last pediatrician would walk into the exam room, greet her by name (before me), and let her listen to her own heart with his stethoscope. He was amazing.

Let’s contrast that to last weeks experience where the nurse ignored Fiona to ask me a million questions about Fiona’s food, development, and history. She ignored her until she couldn’t find a medication in her computer system; then she stepped out to talk to technical support for twenty minutes.

By the time she came back Fiona was bored. She was idly playing with the curly cords on the little devices that they use to look in eyes and nose. She wasn’t pulling them down, just stretching them out and releasing them to see them bounce. The nurse snapped at her to leave them alone, then based on that and on my report of Fiona’s sleep habits told me that we needed to start a discipline routine. She actually recommended locking Fiona in her room at night.  I was appalled.

Fiona summed up our visit once we were in the car, “That was a not good doctor. We need a different doctor. Let’s try again.” Then she cried. See, she’d been really excited about going to the doctor. She likes them. Mostly they like her.

Let’s compare all this to yesterdays visit to the dentist. Yes, the dentist. Fiona doesn’t really like having her teeth messed with, but I explained what was going to happen and off we went.

It was like a night and day experience. The dentist and hygienist were amazing. They talked to Fiona and told her what was going to happen. They played with her, giving her rides in the chair, and told her that they liked her clothes and hair.

In turn, she cooperated. She behaved perfectly, letting the hygienist take x-rays of her teeth, and letting the dentist examine her teeth. On our way out they told me she was the best behaved three year old they’d ever seen.

The feeling was mutual; by the time I was tucking her into bed last night she told me, “Mommy, I had fun at the dentists.”

Suffice it to say, in this months competition of doctor vs. dentist, the dentist wins. Also, Fiona is perfectly healthy, if a little on the small side,  and her teeth are great.



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