Do your friends and family ever treat you like the local expert when it comes to needing advice about their children’s medical situations?
Just yesterday, someone asked which ear, nose, and throat doctor I would recommend at Children’s Hospital & Medical Center in Omaha. The truth is, we really have seen a lot of doctors over the years.
However, when Cooper was first diagnosed, he was assigned one main doctor. She was the doctor on call that week: Dr. Jill Beck.
Striking Gold In A Hospital
While all the doctors at Children’s are wonderful, Dr. Beck has been a special kind of wonderful for our family. I joke that she was a gift from God, because her laid-back demeanor is the perfect anecdote for my often high-strung tendencies, and her sense of humor has helped us through some hard times.
It was nice to have a doctor who could calm my nerves. However, that wasn’t the most important thing when it came to Cooper’s treatment.
Qualities That Set Apart A Great Pediatric Oncologist
What we have found in our relationship with Dr. Beck—and what we have come to expect from all doctors—is the ability to have open, honest communication with the person who is caring for our child.
When it comes to Cooper’s doctors, I need to:
1. Feel Like I’m Being Listened To.
Without a doubt, I need to know that the doctor heard what I said about Cooper. It might be totally irrelevant to Cooper’s care. However, without a medical degree, I am not always aware of what is important and what is not.
I can only report the facts and what I have observed about my child. I need to feel like the doctor is always listening, because sometimes, what I say might be extremely relevant to Cooper’s care.
2. Be Confident The Doctor Believes I Know My Child Better Than Anyone.
It’s true that doctors have the medical degree—and thank God for that. However, when it comes to our own children, we are the experts in many different areas.
Parents know their kids, and sometimes, we just have a sense that something is wrong. It’s important to have a doctor who will take that seriously.
3. Have All My Questions Answered—Even The Crazy Ones.
There’s a lot of information to take in when your child is fighting cancer—or any medical issue, for that matter. It can be overwhelming, but there is still a need to feel like, to the best of our ability, we understand what is happening with our child’s care.
Often, that means asking a lot of questions. It is important to have a doctor who willingly answers our questions, because the better we understand what is going on, the more capable we will be in participating in our child’s care.
Now, about those crazy questions—the things we worry about in the middle of the night (like my Candy Cane Theory). It’s important we feel comfortable enough with our doctor to ask these questions, too.
Whether or not they’re medically significant or accurate, they are real concerns to us. Having a doctor who always does her best to answer questions—without first evaluating the level of their sanity—can help us feel open to asking them in the first place.
So, in the end, maybe our personality will jive with our child’s doctor, and maybe it won’t. However, it is the ability to communicate openly that makes the big difference when it comes to feeling confident in the care our child receives.