My Letter to the Doctors

Dear Dr. H - and Dr. B -,

Hello! I am writing to thank you both for the patience and good care you gave C- during last Thursday's appointment. I know it wasn't easy! Although we "aborted the mission" on Thursday, I'm confident that the appointment actually set the stage well for the long-term project of maintaining C-'s oral health. I can think of several factors and possible next steps to consider. What thoughts do you have? Let's talk by phone after the holidays.

Factors to consider about C-:

  • This was the first time in six years that C- has had a medical procedure done without general anesthesia and the first time in his life he's had a Novocain shot in his mouth. The last procedure (that he was awake for) was a series of very scary and painful spinal taps done during the year he was going through chemotherapy. No wonder he was so scared on Thursday!
  • Since C- was diagnosed with cancer at age five, we've known there were two battles to be fought: one against the physical disease and the second against the emotional damage that can happen when a child experiences life-threatening cancer, chemotherapy, a heart transplant, and the myriad of other traumas that go with these illnesses. We've taken on the project of maintaining C-'s emotional health through it all and have been trained over the past eight years by some experts in this field. They taught us to use three simple guidelines, whenever possible (that is, when there is no immediate life-threatening danger to C- involved):
  1. We encourage C- to be an active partner in his own care. For example, he gets to say when we're asking too much of him too fast.
  2. We let C- have and release feelings as he goes. That way he unloads the fears instead of stockpiling them - avoiding phobias, ulcers, etc. Given enough time, he actually clears them out and is then able to think rationally again and be his normal, cooperative self. It's amazing to see!
  3. We give him, as you did on Thursday, as much time and patience to do numbers 1) and 2) above as we can. When the urgency is removed from the situation, a lot of unnecessary stress is removed also. With your help, all three strategies were used Thursday. He got rid of a chunk of fear, and that will help us the next time around. This approach has worked with C- time and time again. In the short run, it takes more time - and can feel quite exasperating. In the long run, things go easier and better.

What's next?

I think it makes sense to keep moving C- toward this procedure. I think a few weeks break will help before we start working on it again at home. Let's talk after the New Year. I hope this background information is helpful. We appreciate having you as partners in this project!


Last modified: 2019-05-02 14:41:35+00