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Diagnosis: Pregnancy

5/16/2007

The pregnancy books spend a fair amount of space discussing the pros and cons of small versus large obstetric practices. Small practices offer close relationships with the doctors and staff, while large practices offer the latest technology and a wide variety of opinions and availability of appointments. We decided that the relationship with the doctor was the most important thing and fortunately Jenny found a doctor in High Point in a solo practice she really liked months before she actually got pregnant. He was the one who confirmed the pregnancy with a very early ultrasound (5 weeks) and is the one who will be there when the baby is delivered and that’s what we wanted.

Speaking of doctor’s visits, we like the “first in the morning” appointments. Although we’re not really morning people, we’re waiting people even less (Sherrill’s the impatient one). The great thing about getting the first appointment is that the only thing you have to wait for is the equipment to warm up! Early in the pregnancy although we had that coveted 9:00 AM, we seemed to be waiting longer than expected. Turns out, one of the negatives of the solo practice is that the mothers in labor get priority treatment. When it’s our turn we’ll be glad that he’s in that delivery room with us and running back across the street (literally) to check blood pressure. But in that waiting room at 20 weeks, we weren’t thinking about that, all we were thinking was, “when’s he coming back?” After the 3rd month of waiting, it occurred to us that all of our appointments had been on the day of a full moon. Although it’s old fashioned wisdom, recent NIH statistics say the correlation is non-significant, and the doctor kind of chuckled when I asked to move our appointments off the lunar cycle, we’re not waiting anymore. In the last 5 months we’ve been in and out in the same amount of time it took us to get in the first 3 months. Go figure.

Dr. Dorn is a down to earth, patient, sensible sort of fellow who is willing to listen to even the most minor complaints. A great example of this is at the 8 month check-up Jenny went in with a list of her recent aliments “my legs are cramping, my feet are swollen, and I have serious heartburn”. His considered response, delivered through a sideways grin, “My diagnosis, pregnancy.” This kind of humor, interlaced with some very creative suggestions for how to cure common pregnancy issues, has been a memorable trademark of working with him. Constipated? Ever try eating an entire can of collard greens and staying that way? Head cold and can’t take cold medicine? Drink hot soup laced with as much hot sauce as your mouth can stand.

You’ve really got to feel for obstetricians, they have people who have a predictable sequence and range of what would otherwise be fairly serious medical issues (edema, constipation, weight gain, increased blood pressure, muscle pain and weakness) with only one diagnosis and very limited pharmaceutical options. I think it takes endless amounts of creativity and patience, it really makes Sherrill glad he’s a college professor.

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