Yesterday's Facebook Status:
"Londyn turned three, more than 5 months ago and I still haven't gotten up the courage to call and make an appointment for her 3 year well child check. The thought of going back to the clinic and the hospital instantly make me reach for Diet Coke. I finally got the push when her preschool teacher asked for immunization records... so this morning I did it. I called. I heard Rachel's voice, the same voice of the girl who answered hundreds of my calls and questions about Zoe's fevers, shallow breathing, color changes and O2 saturations... the same voice that I heard at least twice a week. Lulu's appointment is tomorrow. I think I can... I think I can..."
What is the patients name?
Ummm... Londyn. Londyn Armitage.
What's her date of birth?
April 11th, no July 2nd, 2012... no July 2nd, 2009.
Has your insurance changed?
Uhhh... do you have the card?
Oh yes, sorry. Let me find it.
What is your husband's name? ... What is his date of birth?
Uhmmmm... You know what, I can just look all of this up. Go ahead and take a seat.
Feeling like a basket case, I stumbled over to a chair and heard Londyn go on about something having to do with the toy bus they had to play with. I thought... I just need to sit down and get it together and everything will be fine. Right as I started to sit, I hear "Londyn... Londyn Armitage." Seriously? The one time I want to sit for a few minutes in the waiting room, they decide to call us up right away?! I immediately recognized the nurse. She didn't look at me differently or say anything. I didn't know if she knew or just didn't know what to say. She acted like she had never met me. I tried to act bubbly and make a big deal about Londyn's height and weight checks... but held back the tears as we walked into room 16. I have sat in room 16 many times with Zoe... hauling in my big bus of a double stroller with the oxygen tank or the feeding pump. But this time it was just Lulu and I. All I was carrying was my small purse. A purse without diapers or wipes... gauze... tape... homemade butt past... without a pacifier, toys, thermometer or list of meds. If a stranger looked in my purse, they would never have any idea that I once had a tiny infant in my arms.
We waited about 5 minutes and in came Dr. Green, a new pediatrician to the group. I was drawn to her bio on the clinic website when I read she was a heart patient herself who had a very rare heart defect as a young child. I was comforted knowing that maybe, just maybe she would understand. My first impression was that she was very kind. She immediately started talking to Londyn, asking her questions and complimenting her jeggings. Out of my character, I was very quiet... not knowing whether to just blurt out how difficult it was to even be sitting in that very room because my baby just died, but she did it for me. She looked at me and said, "I hope this isn't overstepping my bounds, but I read through your charts and I am so deeply sorry for your loss." That was it. I lost it. I don't remember what she said after that but I do remember her offering me tissues several times. We talked for a bit about Zoe and how Londyn is coping. I explained why I chose her as our new pediatrician and she opened up about how she has been battling with breast cancer for close to a year now. I couldn't help but think about how much this woman has been through and that if I could trust another doctor with my only living child, she was making a very convincing first impression.
I told her how I had tried to get Londyn in with the Dougy Center but had yet to hear back from them. She offered to call them personally and see what she could do. I was so impressed by her supportive and comforting nature.
Londyn's exam went swimmingly. She weighs 39 pounds and is 39.5 inches tall. She is growing like a weed and everything is functioning just as it should. It was a relief to be leaving the clinic without fear or "homework" as I have in the past.
As Dr. Green was leaving, she looked me straight in the eyes and said "I just want you to know how honored I am to be caring for you and your family. I will do anything I can to help you through this."
So there you have it. One step in front of the other. One day at a time. One reminder of Zoe at a time.
I can do hard things.