Thursday, October 11, 2012
Remembering the transition
I was watching a film recently called "Becoming Christopher" about a boy going through the transition of going from a pediatrician to an adult CF doctor. He is 22 in the film. It reminds me of my days moving from the pediatrician to the adult doctor. There wasn't a video then showing patients how the transition should go and my doctor's office did a lousy job of making the transition smooth for me.
One morning I wasn't feeling great so I went to my CF pediatrician. They told me I could not be seen. I felt like Rosa Parks being thrown in the back of the bus. "What do you mean you can't see me?" I asked. It turns out I was over 25 now and was too old to go to a pediatrician. When I was growing up, Adult CF Centers were like unicorns. You did not see them anywhere. At this time, my doctor had fled the practice for another opporunity out of state. I wasn't even told until I got to his office that day that he'd left the practice.
I felt helpless and lost. I never liked going to the doctor and now apparently the doctor felt the same way about seeing me. I made some calls and was able to get an appointment at the Emory Clinic where I met my new adult CF doctors. Eventually Dr. Lindy Wolfenden became my doctor. We became pretty close as a lot of CF patients become with their doctors. She had a good sense of humor and told me how it was. I didn't always like the latter but I believe it made me tougher. Sadly, Dr. Wolfenden died of breast cancer a few years later. A new transition for me.
In hindsight, it was time for me to get out of the pediatrician's office. I was sick of being amongst kids and walking into rooms with toys and children's books. I was also tired of going in for X-rays and having the receptionists ask me what my kid's name was. "I'm the kid," I always had to say.
While I understand why the change had to be made, I didn't appreciate the way I was made to feel. I felt alienated which was a feeling I was all too used to feeling because of my CF.
I'm just glad I've got a good staff at Emory that I work with now. I hope other patients have a smoother transition.