Tuesday, June 13, 2006

OK...I'm lost

Here's what I sent the doctor...

Thank you for calling with the test results. I guess I'm left with the big question...and I'd love to know what both you and Dr. E think...about the possibility of me ever being able to carry another baby to term. Is there any further diagnostic testing available to me now? I know you can't pinpoint what exactly caused Travis' death, but can you hazard a guess that would help me decide about the future possibility of children? My husband and I would really like to add to our family but, I'll be honest, my gut reaction is to feel as though the odds are now so stacked against me that it is pointless to even try to have another child. I know it wasn't likely to happen twice...but it did. Can I just presume that it is likely to keep happening to me? I know you don't have all the answers, but not being a doctor myself, I really don't know what to think at this point. Any information and/or insight would be appreciated.

Here's the answer he sent me...

Hi, Cathy,

My apologies for the late response. You’re right---this should not happen twice—and what makes it so difficult is not knowing why, leaving closure incomplete. I believe that God has a plan and that things happen for a reason, even when those occurrences are horrific. I don’t understand His plan, but the older I get, the more awed I am by how things turn out.

Cathy, I really don’t have an answer yet for you; best estimation is that an infection may have played a role---but we don’t have anything concrete to confirm that. I can’t believe that this will be your future, though. I think that it will require strength, faith and incredible courage on you and your husband’s part to try again. Children as you know, are a blessing---try to focus on that, not fear, to guide you in your decisions.

Yours,
Dr. A


I LOVE Dr. A...but...Did I miss something? Like maybe the answer to my question? Was it in there and I just missed it? Because it feels like I didn't get much of a medical opinion there, but a philosophical one. Am I wrong?

15 comments:

pengo said...

No, you're not wrong, there is no medical answer there. But he sounds like the most thoughtful doctor I've ever heard of.

Holley said...

Nope, definitely philosophical not medical. But I think it is because he genuinely doesn't know yet, if he ever figures it out.

Somethings about the human body are still a mystery and that stinks. I feel like in this day and age, we should know so much more.

I think he feels powerless too, and I think he actually cares enough about you to try to offer some caring and guidance.

You actually received an e-mail from a caring human being rather than just a doctor. I know that isn't what you were seeking, but it's pretty good. I know too many doctors who might never have responded to your e-mail, or just dealt with it abruptly if he/she did reply. I would guess that this was a difficult e-mail to write. He clearly really cares about you and your family.

I liked this part: "Children as you know, are a blessing---try to focus on that, not fear, to guide you in your decisions."

I don't know why I find that sentence touching but I do. I think I love your doctor too.

I'm still hoping that you will get some answers. You know he still hasn't given up trying to find those answers for you. He says he doesn't have an answer yet. I know that time has crawled for you and flown at the same time in that weird way that profound grief warps the time space continuum, but you and he are still waiting for some tests. Maybe you'll know something more concrete when everything is in.

Huge hugs.

Julie said...

If it's there, I missed it too. Wow. I'm sorry he couldn't come up with something better than that. (((hugs)))

Lorem ipsum said...

He gave you a guess based on his expertise. But no, there's no hard-and-fast medical answer there. I wish there were, Catherine.

I think more than anything he was trying to get you to believe, and try again. Not to give up. That may be religious for him, but he also sounds very compassionate and determined in general and if he had an answer he would have given it. But evidently he doesn't think that it's something chronic that will continue to cause heartbreak. Try to hang on to that.

lauralu said...

it sounds like he cares, but i was struck by the fact that while you realize you're not a doctor, he doesn't realize he's not a minister. maybe it's my own bias against all things religious of late, but i'd be pissed if my ob gave me that response. i want my ob to be professional - a medical professional with me - and spare me his philosophy. and yet he clearly has some compassion, which can be hard to come by. it still pisses me off, though; i'll try to get over it....

Grafted Branch said...

I'm sorry for your loss. Please don't let your pain consume you. Don't let it morph Samuel's mommy into a bitter woman. I, too, suffered the loss of two babies last year (ectopic in the spring and a miscarriage at Christmas). While I have three others and didn't have the bonding time that you did, there was still pain and lasting repercussions with which to come to term.

I think your Dr.'s answer was in there when he said, "I can't believe this will be your future though." I read that to mean he doesn't see any sure reason that it should happen again. The whole tone of the letter was compassionate and humble. It's rare to find a medical professional willing to be honest that medicine is not an exact science.

He's clearly a committed Christian. If that doesn't sit well with you, move on. But don't ask him to change that. It's too big. And true. And glorious!

You must make plans to move on now. How you do that apart from the One Who does have all the answers, I don't know. May the Lord bless you and envelope you with His love and understanding at this very difficult time.

msfitzita said...

Hmmm, I don't see an answer there either, but I do like the feeling of hope he seems to have. Not the philosophical God hope, but the "I don't see this as your future" kind of hope. I liked hearing that a lot.

Having said that, I'd ask again. I'd keep asking until you get the answer you need to hear - or at least hear that there is no answer.

This is an awful process. I'm just so sorry you're lost in the middle of it all.

((((HUGS)))

Jill said...

I have to agree with Laura on this one. As I read his answer I was hoping that he had good reason to assume you were a Christian and had not assumed that you were so.

I think a straight answer to a straight question isn't too much to ask from a medical professional. It was a yes or no thing. But he seems kind. And an answer like that would have had me running a mile - personally I prefer a science based approach to medicine although I appreciate that some folks prefer doctors to acknowledge they may not, in fact, be god themselves.

In the end, it seems another example of people just not getting it. At all. In any way. Understanding your pain is like trying to see the edges of the sky. I'd try asking again of you aren't too annoyed with his last attempt?

kate said...

I agree with Lauralu -- that response from an OB would upset me. Heck, that response from anyone would upset me...

With a cool head, i would say -- he truly doesn't know, and he says that. So at least he gets some credit for admitting that. Indeed, he knows that his admission is not enough, and he is trying to mollify this by his philosophical advice.

Gotta say that i disagree with the comments of 'grafted branch', and i will just leave it at that.

Julie said...

The comment that wormed its way into my bitter little soul was "children are a blessing"... so... what does that say? Religion aside, I have to credit your Doctor for being more human than most physicians. Very open and down to earth. I don't know of anyone who has email access to their doc, and to get a thoughtful reply is incredible. Sorry he didn't have a better answer for you though. I'm assuming that for legal/ethical issues, he doesn't want to give you a guess or presumption that could be used against him, medical-science wise. The presumption about a loving higher power, though, well... maybe he should just stick to the facts.

Sherry (Hallesmom) said...

From the tone of the email, it sounds like you and he have formed a good working relationship and that he truly cares for you, Steve, and your family. I am not religious, but I found his email to be honest and touching. It scares me that 'I can’t believe that this will be your future, though.' Is that medicine talking, or the compassionate human you emailed hoping for you? With all the pain you and Steve, and your families, have gone through in losing two children I personally would want a plan on how to prevent/monitor another pregnancy, if you went down that path. But that is me - I need a plan. I don't like the unanswered.

I honestly think he is saying he doesn't know medically, but he doesn't want you to give up hope.

Kathy McC said...

You know, my first instinct was to be pissed at his answer. But then I have to remind myself that not only is he a doctor, but he's a man. He truly cannot put himself in your shoes. I think this letter is a genuine attempt to comfort you and give you SOME answer, because he can't give you concrete medical answer. I don't think it was meant to hurt you...it was the best he could do. I think he's a good person for giving you that much. His spin might not be how we like it, but it's genuine. Maybe ask to have a face-to-face consultation with him in his office (not with a paper drape on!) and just talk to him. You might find that it helps more than what's on paper.

Hedda said...

You may never get answers. I never did. No answer as to why I had my son prematurely and no answer as to why he died. I know you are having a hard time with all the God stuff. I am a preacher's kid and I don't get God either. I have friends with stronger faith than I have.

I believe your doctor was just trying to be encouraging. Medicine does not always have answers.

I'm sorry for whatever you are feeling.

miraclebaby said...

How frustrating. I wish there were more answers for you.

Julian's Mom said...

UGH! I'm sorry, but I find that unscientific response unacceptable too, esp. from a physician. I'm glad you have a doctor who seems human, but I wouldn't appreciate it if my doctor crossed the line into religious territory, which I would find completely offensive and unwelcome. The truth is that you will probably never get all the answers you need, but I know that there must be more that they can tell you that is based on science and facts than on speculation about the supernatural.