Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Can You Hear Me Now?

When Dakota was given the hearing test at the hospital back when she was first born, she failed in one ear. We were told that this is pretty common because of fluids that build up in the ear etc. but that we’d need to have her re-evaluated in a few weeks.

Her evaluation was today, and let me tell you, it couldn’t have gone much worse.

The doctor we were recommended to wasn’t a pediatric audiologist (I don’t even know if that exists, but maybe?) and it was very clear that he’d never worked with infants before. I’m not even sure if he’d ever seen an infant before today…

I don’t know the first thing about his job or how to test infants’ hearing, so bear with me as I try to explain what happened.

The first thing he did was try to insert a probe into Dakota’s ear that would emit a sound and then gauge and record the movement of her eardrum. The opening of her right ear is extremely small, so it took him several tries to fit the probe, and she was very irritated every time he messed with her. She started to cry and that’s when he decided to try to shush her. He very loudly began saying SHHHHHHUUUSSHHH, SHHHHHHUUSSSHHH, and when that didn’t work he just looked at me with exasperation, like what the hell was wrong with her? I just held her close and did my best to calm her so that he could try to conduct his exam. The probe just wouldn’t stay in her ear though, and after a few minutes he decided we should just go in this booth so he could test her a different way.

He had me sit in a chair while holding her, and he sat outside the room and said her name repeatedly over a microphone and I was to let him know when she turned her head towards his voice or made eye movement that seemed to indicate she could hear him. Of course, after the first test, she was wide awake and moving anyways, but I did my best to judge because I just wanted the damn thing to be over already.

She did seem to turn her head slightly at one point and he wrote his notes and then came into the room. Next, he examined/looked inside her ear (only the right) and then conducted some other kind of test that Dakota found very annoying and cried about. He assured me he wasn’t hurting her, and I assured him that I knew he wasn’t hurting her only irritating her. But, when she wouldn’t settle quickly enough for him, he began shouting “Dakota, Dakota” in her face and doing the very loud obnoxious SHHHHHUSSHHHING thing again. It was at that point that I thought I might freak out on him. Luckily, he decided that he’d had enough of us at that point and told us to come out into the main room to discuss his “results”.

Basically, we are exactly where we were to begin with. He never even attempted to test the left ear, and he was incredibly impatient while testing the right. He said we have to come back in two weeks to retest her, and that if he wasn’t able to get better results we’d be advised to take her to either St. Agnes or John’s Hopkins to have her tested since “they may have better methods and more time to work with her”. He also informed me that this type of thing could take all morning, ha ha.

As we left I did make our second appointment, but I was able to make it with a different doctor. It still upsets me to think of how terribly she was treated while we were there, as if she was being fussy just to piss him off or something. My only regret is that I didn’t just pick up our stuff and leave, especially once he began shouting at her.

I plan to let my pediatrician know about how we were treated so that they’ll possibly reconsider when recommending other people for these exams. This doctor should not be working with infants, and I hope by letting my pediatrician know about our experience I'll save some other family from dealing with this weirdo.

*My apologies if this doesn’t all make sense…I just don’t have to terminology to explain it all! 

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