Ah, yes, today I almost lost my temper. I normally can be cool and calm about all things related to my daughter. I can take the judgmental stares. I can tolerate the snide comments. What I cannot tolerate is professional people dealing with my daughter in an unfamiliar environment who have NEVER met her before, turning and being condescending to me acting like I’m just another overprotective mom. Here’s an open letter to today’s culprit.
Dear X-Ray Techs,
When you came to get me today with my daughter, you asked if our doctor was “part of your network”. I answered you as truthfully as I could. I was fairly sure she was as it was part of the system. When you asked me again, rephrasing the question like I didn’t understand the first time, again I answered you, even citing her primary office location which is definitely in the system. Yet, you stopped by the administration office, interrupting her to ask the question a THIRD time. To which she told you that yes. And when you questioned no order, I thought she was going to wring your neck telling you it was a scheduled x-ray therefore it was FINE.
As we continued on our way, we met up with Mr. Obnoxious technician and I felt like we were intruding into a conversation that should have been had prior to getting us regarding the “wall/shield” that protects in x-ray rooms. See this may have been my daughter’s first x-ray, but it certainly wasn’t mine. You asked Emelie several times about stairs or elevator and she did well in responding to you saying elevator each time. Yet you didn’t hear until I told you, “she said elevator”.
Once we were down in the x-ray room, we realized she had to change. I didn’t know when I sent her to school and I went to work today that we were going to get in this quickly, let alone today, when they told me they had to schedule this x-ray. So change her we did. She got into the extra large backless gown and we shuffled her into the x-ray room again. To which you looked at me very poignantly and told me that I could wait outside. Miss Obvious Tech was setting up the x-ray and you, Mr. Obnoxious Tech told ME, her mother, I could wait outside the room.
It took everything in my power to remain calm. I rationally explained to you that this was her first x-ray AND you cut me off to tell me it’s ok. When I continued as though you didn’t say anything, that should have been your first clue to SHUT UP AND LISTEN. Instead of hearing me say she has Autism, sensory issues AND anxiety (which I had told them when I scheduled the appointment), you heard “mom is overprotective and just worrying too much”. You pretty much pushed me out of the room, telling me that “she’ll be all right.” Really? And you know that how?
Let me explain to you Mr. Condescending Obnoxious Tech WHY I wanted to stay in the room. You wouldn’t let me tell you then, I want to enlighten you now. Emelie has Autism, AND Anxiety AND Sensory Issues. She has NEVER had an x-ray that I can remember beside the tube when she had pneumonia at under a year. Never been exposed to what that room does. New environments can sent her into a meltdown or stimming frenzy. What you don’t know, is I see the red flags before the meltdowns start. What you don’t know is what those red flags are. You have never met my daughter before today or read her file to know what to watch for.
You are telling me, the primary caregiver, it’s going to be ok and you have it without having all the facts. You didn’t know she was stimming. You didn’t know that her excessive “hyper-ness” as you called it when you came out is a HUGE red flag. You didn’t know she was tired and fell asleep in the van on the 25 minute ride from school to there. You didn’t know jack. And how dare you tell ME “it’s going to be ok, we got this”.
Now, Em did manage ok. And apparently you forget that your voice carries and the walls are paper thin. I heard the whispering to Miss Oblivious Tech. I heard the arrogance in your voice in only what could be complaining that I wanted to be there. I heard you tell Em she did a great job. And then you made it a point to come and tell me, “She’s good and waiting”. Whether you intended it to be smug or not the way you said it came across as such. So when you told me I “could” go in by her, I returned the visceral tones in my comment reiterating that “she’s fine”.
You walked back to Miss Oblivious and told her, “Mom’s pissed.” Really? Did you expect anything less? No, I should be happy that an ignorant jerk is working with my daughter’s x-rays. You tried to make me feel bad for looking out for my daughter. You had no clue who I was and yet expected to make everything good by not listening to what I was saying. How should I feel?
You cannot reassure someone if you don’t know what the issues are. In this case, all I wanted was to stand in the door until JUST before you took it, to watch for a meltdown. I wasn’t hindering your job. I wasn’t getting in your way. I wasn’t taking any space up that you needed. I wanted to stand IN the door watching HER.
I was thrilled to hear you and Miss Oblivious go over the x-ray with Em showing her the spine and mouth and intestine and why she could see one and not the other. I was thrilled the Miss Oblivious took even more time to make sure Em could ask her questions. Yet, I wonder if roles had been reversed or you had to deal with this in your daily life, you’d have acted the same way towards me.
Em was telling me all about it while she changed to leave. She was crashing and I knew I couldn’t deal with this then and there as much as I wanted to. I had to swallow it all and be good for her. Mr. Obnoxious was gone when we came out.
Then Miss Oblivious walked us out. There was plenty of “small talk” on the way out. Mainly fostered by Miss Emelie regarding what she learned. I kept my thoughts to myself. Had Em not been with me, I’d have asked for the administrator’s office. Alas, I save that for a call for tomorrow. Because, Em is unique and while she managed to cope, the next child and parent may not.
Next time my advice to both of you, Mr. Obnoxious and Miss Oblivious, is to stop and listen to what someone is telling you. They may have the answers to what you are facing or seeking without even realizing it.