Dear Dr. ENT

I cannot stand when anyone talks to me like I’m…less smart than they are. Especially when the sole source of the offender’s proof of superior intelligence is that they have MD, JD, PhD, MS, or any assorted combination following their name. I’ve known too many people with lots of abbreviations that couldn’t fight their way out of a paper sack with a pair of scissors and a flashlight So, Dr ENT– you can shove that condescending attitude right back into the medical dictionary from whence it came. Especially since I actually do know that erythema is a fancy way of saying redness. And yeah, “a 49 year old male, suffering from diaphoresis” sounds all fancy-ified and complicated, but in English it means a guy with a sweating problem.

Okay- cue deep, calming breaths. As my final hoorah into why Elliot tops off at 24 lbs, before I start just snarking back with, “so he’s not obese; not being fat is an American epidemic?”, I scheduled him to see an ENT for a tonsils/adenoid check. It is reasonable that a swollen, inflamed throat (or pharyngeal erythema for you fancy folks) might cause eating issues. And since Zach was going to be with us anyway, let’s tag team it and look at Z’s throat/sinus/airway issues. You know, get some environmental allergy testing to figure out the trigger for Zach’s breathing events. My non-medical, Mom-hypothesis (shared by other non-medical Moms) is that allergies make the nose drip, the drip makes the throat sore, and the cough is the result of all that dripping and the general grossness of a 4 year old’s hygienic habits.

So this afternoon I woke them both up from nap (sob) and carted them–and $69 dollars worth (don’t ask, I’m still twitchy about that) of their medical records–to the ENT office. The medical records that they didn’t want copies of. Not even the allergy tests. Should have clued in, right then. Dr. ENT looks at Elliot first– his tonsils looks fine– but after about 10 seconds in each ear he says, “there’s a little fluid, let’s do a quick hearing test.”

I don’t even want to talk about how awesome a hearing test was with an Elliot who was woken from his nap. Strangers putting stuff in his ears? Yeah.

But before we went into the Testing Chamber of Tears and Rage, Dr. ENT took a look at Zach’s throat. Diagnosis? Z has medium to large (but not touching) tonsils and that combined with me mentioning that he’s a mouth breather that snores when he’s sick meant that the next steps was, obviously, scheduling a tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy.

Me: “Um… what about an environmental allergy test first? What other non-surgical, first steps are there?”
Dr. ENT: “Well, it’s obvious that it’s sleep apnea and we’ll just draw blood for allergy test while he’s under for the surgery.”

Obvious? Really? So all Small People that snore have sleep apnea? Or just all Small People who snore and have parents have really awesome Cadillac-quality health coverage?

I was done, however, when Dr. ENT came back to read E’s hearing test, saying, “see this line it? It should be more like a mountain.”
Me: “Oh, a bell curve.”
Him (with a sneer): “Right, a mountain.”
Me (with a raised eyebrow and return sneer): “Or… a bell curve.”

Dude, I get your analogy, but when I use the “technical” term of bell curve, I am demonstrating that I understand what a normal distribution looks like. Yet you continue to hold steady to your mountain analogy. This makes me want to shove that otoscope somewhere uncomfortable for you.

He continues with Elliot’s slightly-less than normal bell curve (without ever giving me a numerical range, by the way), and prescribes nasonex (another corticosteriod) for the ear fluid. Wh–attt? If Dr. ENT suspects an ear infection, wouldn’t antibiotics be the normal next step? But before I could even pose that question, he finished up with, “but he’ll probably need tubes; we’ll check back in 6 weeks.”

Nasonex? Tubes? Elliot has never–to my knowledge–had an ear infection, and he speaks/hears just fine. As a matter of fact, Elliot’s chief complaint about the world is not trouble hearing, but that everything is too loud. What, aside from that Cadillac insurance and your beach house mortgage, warrants even thinking about ear tubes? Dr ENT, our goal for your meeting with Elliot was to either identify, or eliminate swollen tonsils as an obstacle for ingesting food, thus normal weight gain. Now you are prescribing a drug known to suppress growth in children (an association you denied when I asked about it) and planning surgery?

I think not, Dr ENT. And by the way, can I get my $100 dollars worth of co-pay back? Yeah, I didn’t think so.