Sunday, 5 February 2017

Here We Go Again ... The Hunt For Diagnosis

We went for the doctor’s appointment on Wednesday morning last week to get the ball rolling with the ADHD diagnosis for Picklepot.

Our appointment was at 9.20am so we walked to the doctors after morning registration at school (So Picklepot’s attendance record wouldn’t be affected by missing morning register) and we arrived at the surgery at 9.10am. I had both boys with me. Sunshineface had a bad night so I was exhausted and he hadn’t woken up til late, so he’d woken up and had a nappy change, got dressed and got straight in the pushchair.

The doctors surgery seemed quiet, and when I booked in on the computer screen it showed a 12 minute waiting time. Considering we were 10 minutes early for our appointment, I thought that was fair enough. However the minutes ticked by and it became apparent that the 12 minute waiting time was a gross underestimation.

By 9.45am Picklepot was spinning, flapping and squealing in the waiting room, bored of waiting. There are a few childrens books on a small table in the corner of the room, and the ones aimed at really young kids he’d read to Sunshineface, and the ones for older children had pages ripped out and drawn on which made him upset because someone had done this awful damage to a book so he didn’t want to look at them. He span and flapped and squealed some more. I asked him to come and do it near me and not on the other side of the waiting room just so he wasn’t in danger of accidentally tripping and falling on someone else, or hitting them with a flailing hand or foot. I didn’t try to stop the stimming. I knew it was important for him to release the energy he had inside him.

I’d already warned him that I would need to talk to the doctor about him. He said that was OK, because it was to get the doctor to do a referral to a specialist who could help us better understand why he finds it so difficult to sit and concentrate like the other kids do at school. We were called in to see the doctor just after 10am. By this point Picklepot was bouncing off the walls.

The doctor we saw is what I call an ‘old school’ doctor. He has a big ancient wooden desk in the middle of his office, and a huge wooden bookshelf to one side with copies of Grey’s Anatomy and similar; he has models of skeletal systems, a skull with labelled areas, coasters that look like scrabble letters with his initials. He also had a Care Bears beanbag which Picklepot made a bee line for (after dancing around the room nosing at everything and asking questions about it all).

I didn’t try to stop it. When you’re there to get your kid referred for an assessment like ADHD the best thing to do is let them bounce and twirl and talk at ninety miles an hour and fiddle with everything because it shows the doctor some of what you’re experiencing and why you’re asking for the referral. So I left Picklepot to it and spoke with the doctor, who was very much in agreement with me about the need for assessment as he agrees its pretty obvious Picklepot does have ADHD as well. We discussed the mess up with the CDC and all of that – and both of us said at the same time “It’s like they deliberately make it difficult in the hope you’ll give it up”. He wrote the referral as I sat there. He took the notes I’d made and read though the letter that Mrs D had given me. (He also made sure he found the copy of it on the system before allowing me to walk off with that copy again)

We were in there for maybe 10 minutes, but I felt it was a good appointment. He’s definitely on the same page as me. As I was preparing to leave, he said that parenting could be challenging at the best of times and parenting a child as full on as Picklepot is an even bigger challenge but what we must all remember is that the person facing the biggest challenges here is Picklepot himself, so it’s important we do all we can to get the right assessments and diagnosis so that he can benefit from the support available. He said if I don’t hear anything in 4 weeks about an appointment for assessment he wants me to contact him again.

Here we go again, we’re going on a diagnosis hunt, we’re off to find the next one, what a beautiful day, we’re not scared …