My daughter and have hit the appointment circuit again and we’re doing pretty well as far as social skills are concerned. Mostly because there is nothing better than taking serious things lightly. And because I’m easily entertained by my own humor.
Why are you REALLY here?
We showed up for the referral appointment for her Asperger’s testing. A nice young man greeted us and explained that he was a physician’s assistant (PA) and that he typically works with people who have ADHD, or depression, or a host of other things.
My daughter stared into the abyss in front of her and probably wondered if she was going to be subjected to the same questions she’s already answered.
I thought the same thing, but nodded politely and mumbled something vaguely social and adult-like, such as, “Is that so?”
He put her chart in his lap without looking at it as we sat down and leaned back. “So, why are you here today?”
I looked at my daughter then back at him. “Circus tryouts, Starfleet class.”
He blinked and I felt like I had won, yet I felt compelled to answer him seriously in case we were being billed by the minute. I went over her history glancing occasionally at the closed chart. He blinked again.
He finally said he still didn’t understand his role in the treatment plan and excused himself to go talk to the front staff. The same people who had already messed up scheduling. Twice. I didn’t feel confident that we should drag them into treatment options.
A raised eyebrow and twitched lip conveyed my thoughts to my daughter. I received a shrug and a knowing one eyed squint from her in return. Since we were alone, we (thankfully) didn’t have to use our words and could save them for people who needed them for communication. Or for those that don’t read patient charts.
He returned and announced that we were apparently sent over to him for a second opinion. Great! The first five visits with the counselor (who was lovely, by the way) weren’t enough? She appeared to have pieces of paper with degree information plastered to her walls, but maybe those were samples.
I’m sure it’s a protocol in their office to have a second opinion, but I couldn’t help noticing that he did NOT have any framed degrees. Or anything on the walls. Completely blank. He must have sensed my concern because he explained that he’d only been with the office for three weeks. I imagined his diploma held up at the post office.
After fifteen minutes of discussion, mostly with me, we were informed that she would (finally and officially?) be referred for the Asperger’s evaluation. He picked up her apparently useless chart in an gesture that signaled the visit was over.
With one hand on the doorknob, he casually mentioned that if she is diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome the results will become an official part of her medical history.
Right. I knew that, but I hadn’t heard it out loud yet. The purpose of this visit and his role were suddenly clear. The word STIGMA blazed across the room and into his forehead in bright red.
Now we wait for the psychiatrist to call us. I’m confused as to where – or whether – we should look for any credentials, but I hope for the best. I am sure that I’ll be double and triple checking the appointments scheduled since the psychiatrist’s office is almost an hour away from our house.