A place to indulge my narcissism... and write stuff...

“Breakdown in humaneness…”

“I can,” was the curt reply to my request that she actually see Kyle walk. After an hour’s drive and a ten minute obstacle course pursuit for a wheelchair, Megan and I sat in the small examination room with Kyle and his Neurologist, a renowned practitioner in a major Boston children’s hospital.

Her examination resembled a scientific inspection of a petri dish full of interconnected nerves instead of a human moment. Tap this. Pull that. Push here. At the end of it she said my son was “at the same baseline” as he was two appointments ago. “He’s in a fucking wheelchair,” I replied sans the adjective. Her direction was for another full body MRI to detect any change in the spine long cyst running down his back, an exam with a Pediatric Orthopedist and a follow-up with her. Given the backup in the system, the former two dates won’t occur until some time in February. I hope my boy is still walking by then. When I asked her opinion on his recent degeneration, she cited stiffness in his joints related to what she believes is symptomatic of Cerebral Palsy. To that I had to ask her to re-prescribe Physical Therapy. I’m hopeful that bending the boy like a pretzel and getting him riding the stationary bike again will increase his flexibility and strength so walking will be easier. We’ll see.

In Michael Moore’s healthcare documentary, “Sicko,” there’s a reference to a “breakdown in humaneness,” describing our system in the US. I don’t know this doctor personally, and I cannot imagine the psychological impact of treating a parade of patients, many more affected than my Kyle, but doesn’t human connectedness matter in medical treatment? I do think that medical specialization is contributing to the disconnect. In this case, “missing the forest for the trees” is ignoring a young man’s silent fears of losing the ability to walk.

1 Comment

  1. Anonymous

    Dude – nobody deserves what this blow-hole gave you for your insurance dollar. CP is readily diagnosed. I would have left the adjective in your conversation and added a few for good measure. There are other very good neurologists.

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