The lollipop syndrome

When I am in the doctor’s office, I feel rude asking questions or challenging a diagnosis. Yet I know that it’s crazy not to. I’m not sure where the fear comes from. I don’t really believe that they will withhold treatment if I presume to question them. Maybe I’m still trying to earn a lollipop on the way out. Who knows.

I took Sarah to a very nice eye doctor yesterday. Given some of Sarah’s reading issues, we thought it made sense to check her eyes.

And of course, they found something—nothing terrible and nothing permanent. It seems that the muscles in her eyes are out of alignment, causing her to tilt her head and skip lines when she reads. The doctor prescribed glasses to correct the issue until she grows out of it.

English: Reading glasses. ‪中文(繁體)‬: 老花眼鏡
Image via Wikipedia

Sarah is delighted. She looks adorable in the frames she chose and can’t wait to wear her glasses to school. She also believes (based on an anecdote I wish the doctor had shared only with me) that the glasses will make reading a breeze, and I REALLY hope she isn’t too disappointed if they don’t.

I have mixed feelings about the glasses. Of course I hope they will help her, but I also think that (paraphrasing my friend, Tricia) if you go to a bicycle store, they’re going to sell you a bicycle. We’ll see.

The good news is that I questioned the doctor thoroughly, about what we can expect from the glasses, about what is behind her diagnosis, about what she would have said if Sarah hadn’t mentioned skipping lines (which I don’t think happens that often). I asked her to repeat herself, which she may not have liked but which I needed so my non-sciency brain could assemble a full picture.

It’s a little scary how late in life I am coming around to the idea of questioning medical authority. I trust doctors, but no one should accept medical advice without question.

No matter how cute you look in glasses.

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24 Responses to The lollipop syndrome

  1. gojulesgo says:

    I have the same issue! I think for me it’s this deep-seated need to be polite, and I think of questioning someone as being rude, when obviously that’s silly.

    Bravo to you!

  2. Muff says:

    They are used to it. Don’t fret. It’s your obligation as a mother to grill the doc…I am confident that the glasses will help!

  3. winsomebella says:

    A doctor is an allly but you are your health’s best advocate…and your child’s. I hope the glasses help her eyesight and reading too…specially since she looks cute in them:-)

  4. Elyse says:

    Yes! Good for you — you are braver than about 90% of patients by my estimate. Of course I made it up, but still…

    You need to question anything that doesn’t make sense and even some things that make sense but that you think you might not be able to remember properly later on (like when you have to explain it to her Dad).

  5. notquiteold says:

    I am always just a tad awestruck at the doctor and his many degrees. But I come to my senses when I get home. I write up a list of question and call him.

  6. I am always intimidated by doctors and mechanics. Of course, now I arm myself with a lot of “facts” about my condition from the internet before my appointment. I think that impresses them even less than my silence.

    • Once I diagnosed myself before going to see a really nice doctor. He listened to the details of my diagnosis and then quizzed me like he would a med student (or at least the way I’ve seen med students quizzed on medical dramas) and eventually got me to point out the flaws in my diagnosis. He was amused, but in a nice way.

  7. Elyse says:

    Do NOT be intimidated by doctors. I once worked in a research facility with some of the brightest doctors in the world. When a secretary passed out at the Xerox machine, did they crowd around her, examining her, checking her vital signs and diagnosing her problem? NO. THEY CALLED A NURSE.

    To quote Dave Barry, I am NOT making that up.

  8. Jodie says:

    It’s wise to question. I know my brothers were prescribed glasses, and made to wear them, only to find out from a different doctor that the didn’t need glasses at all. The lenses were so thin then didn’t actually do anything. Bravo for asking. 🙂

  9. Before we left NYC I went to the eye clinic. I was told that I was far-sighted. I was surprised, since my entire life I had perfect vision. But they insisted. Fast-forward a year-and-a-half later and I go to the eye doctor here in Sao Paulo and I’m told I have perfect vision.
    I asked the doctor about the glasses and he kind of stumbled around… use them if you are really tired, or if you are reading underwater, or if you are drunk, or if you have a concussion….
    You should always question, and maybe get a second opinion if you are unconvinced. Most insurance companies will allow for one second opinion… they don’t want to be paying for unnecessary stuff either.

  10. Tori Nelson says:

    I do the same thing! Thank God you’ve given a name to it. I recently waited months and months before finally telling my doctor I wasn’t sure if he was correctly treating me. Turns out it wasn’t a head cold but severe pneumonia. I was uncomfortable to dare question his medical judgement, but thank goodness I did that time!

  11. I just saw a public service commercial last night that said what you’ve said so well here — that we need to become comfortable with asking important questions of our healthcare professionals. I’m not yet because I hate their look of wanting to get away from me quick. I’ve always wondered if many of them don’t want to talk to us much because of that old fear of lawsuit.

    I’m amazed anyone wants to be a doctor. Except for surgeons. I get that power trip.

  12. I am curious as to whether or not you have noticed any difference since this event in her reading??

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