Years ago, when I was fresh off my third miscarriage and had completely given up on having children of my own, I got sick. I had chronic bladder infections and it was to the point where I was having maybe one or two good days out of every week. Since I detest doctors (more so after the miscarriages and run-ins with Catholic doctors who thought I was miscarrying on purpose), I was loathe to go see one, but my friend, a Guatemalan, suggested her doctor.
?People come from other cities, they even travel overnight to see him,? she told me. And, he only charged Q50, at a time when most doctors were at least twice that.
I went. He was located at the end of an alley in Jocotenango, in a tiny little hut that had two rooms. I wasn?t expecting much, but he listened to my symptoms and told me that he suspected something much larger than a bladder infection and asked me to get a urine culture done. As I was leaving, I mentioned that I?d lost three babies and wondered if he could help figure out what was wrong. I explained that everyone thought it was my divided uterus (I have a wall in the middle of my uterus that divides it in half), but that I?d read up on it and that wouldn?t cause problems as early as I?d lost the babies. He agreed, told me that he knew a specialist, but suggested that we deal with the infection first . . . then he mentioned that the infection might actually be causing the miscarriages.
When the test results came back, it was just as he?d suspected. I had E. coli and it was deep in my kidneys and had been for probably two years. Since I was prescribed antibiotics in short courses every time someone thought to check my urine and assumed that I had a run of the mill urine infection, the E. coli was resistant to all but three antibiotics. Two required hospitalization and IV administration. In the end I did a two month course of two different antibiotics and it got rid of the infection completely. I totally trusted Dr. Valle.
Before I could go talk to him about the miscarriages, I found out I was pregnant with Dorian. When the pregnancy stuck, I was stunned and my admiration for Dr. Valle rose ten points. In fact, to this day, I credit him with being the one who made it possible for me to have my three wonderful boys. No other doctor would listen to me when I said I was losing babies for other reasons and not one caught that this was a long term thing, they were too focused on the weird uterine malformation to bother with silly things like bladder infections.
Of course, we took Dorian to Dr. Valle after he was born. Irving thought we needed a pediatrician, so we went to about four before I told him I was done with specialists. All of them focused on his colostomy. I wanted to know if the zits on his face were normal. We knew about the colostomy, we knew how to deal with that and we knew he would need more surgeries. What we didn?t know was whether he was healthy apart from that. Dr. Valle told us, ?You have a surgeon to deal with the colostomy, so I?m here to examine and treat the baby as a baby.? And he did.
Later, when Dante came along, we didn?t even bother looking at other doctors. Dr. Valle was the one we went to.
As Dorian got older and finished his surgeries, Dr. Valle became more and more important in his life. Without a surgeon to advise, we turned to Dr. Valle to help with the daily management of Dorian?s issues, particularly after his emergency surgery last April. And he rose to the occasion like the awesome doctor he is. Not only did he have great suggestions to keep Dorian regular, he actually went online and researched his condition! Every time we came in, he would excitedly tell us what he?d learned and he got samples of new laxatives that weren?t previously available so we could try them with Dorian. He prefers to do things naturally and is very, very careful about meds and antibiotics, particularly with Dorian because he says they throw off Dorian?s system and then we have to deal with constipation, blockages and other problems. He is also the only doctor that Dorian will willingly see and be happy about it, because he trusts him.
Dr. Valle still practices in Jocotenango, but he also started to work at the local free clinic in our town last year. He?s literally two blocks away from us on weekday mornings. Since Dorian?s problems often show up early in the morning, this has proven to be insanely helpful. We just run over and get him checked early on. Dr. Valle shows up early to the clinic most days, before the nurse even arrives.
When I was pregnant, he would always ask how I was doing when Dorian went in and check my blood pressure. One day, Dorian was very sick and we had to give him an enema. Dr. Valle called me at 8 pm to see how Dorian was doing (his office closes at 5:30) and to ask if I wanted him to come to the house to check on him. He?s not a house call doctor, so that really surprised me!
A few weeks ago, we took Dominic in and his eyes lit up, ?he?s here! What a gorgeous baby!? It was like introducing Dominic to a grandparent, he was that thrilled to see him. He also is the one who caught my post-partum pre-eclampsia, something that my OB/GYN missed because my blood pressure wasn?t too high yet. Dr. Valle asked me to come back a few days later because he suspected something was going on, even without the higher pressure . . . and when I went back, it was sky high.
We?re so blessed to have this wonderful man in our lives. With him, I know my kids are getting awesome care.
You might be wondering why I wrote a post gushing over our family doctor . . . it?s because a fellow bloggerrecently wrote that she feels a bit silly for wanting to ?click? with a doctor for her kids and it made me think about just how very important it is to have an awesome doctor. I don?t think it?s silly at all to look for the perfect one. It?s just good parenting.