Big Man had a doctor’s appointment today with a different pediatrician in our group. His regular pedi wanted to get a second opinion on his ADHD medication regimen. He’s been on basically the same routine of meds since he was originally diagnosed at age 8. With teen years, and the immense difference between elementary/middle and high school, she wanted a second take on what we’ve been doing. We’ve seen this other doctor before – not for our standard physicals, ADHD, or asthma follow-ups, but when one of the kids is sick or injured, or when our regular pedi is out of the office.
Big Man and I were both excited to see the scale and height had moved up a bit even in the short amount of time since his last visit. The joy we felt at the (albeit small) gains was quickly shot down. Words I hate were said…..Failure to Thrive, and then a new one for us…Grossly Malnourished. The. Hell. I came *this* close to tears right in that very moment, with the doctor looking at me, and continuing to ask questions.
Big Man is not big. He never has been. He entered this world weighing two whole pounds, which was actually considered “big” for a 26-weeker. He didn’t hit the “normal kid” charts until he was three years old, and even then, he was on it by the smallest of margins. He’s always had his own rate of growth, but he always grew. Then a couple years ago, he fell off his own growth scale. That’s when all the fun started. But I have spent basically his entire life watching everything that goes into him – pumping up calories every way we can. We walk out of nearly every doctor’s visit with that pamphlet on ways to help your kid gain weight. He eats!!! Trust me, he eats. He eats better than my other two combined. Yes, he eats crappy snacks, which I don’t really worry about because they’re still calories and he can take it, but he also eats really healthy stuff every day, all day….eggs and oatmeal for breakfast, peanut butter and jelly for lunch, good helpings of chicken, pasta, tacos, steak, etc for dinner, fruit for snacks, and he’s a great milk drinker.
He’s had labels his entire life as well…micro preemie, very-low-birth-weight, developmentally delayed, high muscle tone, speech delayed, developmentally caught up, reactive airway, asthmatic, visual processing disorder, ADHD, failure to thrive, constitutionally delayed…..I’m used to the freakin labels. But Oh My, am I over certain ones. The “grossly malnourished” slayed me today. Let’s layer the guilt on mom, please? Just a little bit more? That stupid label makes it sound like I intentionally set out to not let my kid eat, grow, gain weight. It was a sucker punch I didn’t see coming, and it was tossed out there without a thought. My son looked at me as soon as it was said, and I think he knew what I was thinking, how much those words hurt.
I have spent sixteen years doing everything I possibly could to make sure that kid grew, gained weight, was healthy, well-fed, taken care of. I have fought hard for every single ounce since the minute I started bleeding. I still hold my breath every time he gets on the scale at the pediatrician’s office. I still cringe when I see him next to his peers – so thin, and still waiting to grow. My heart broke today. Enough with the medical labels, please? I get they’re necessary in some arenas, but us mommas don’t really need to hear or see them.