Prior to entering the exam room, I reviewed the growth chart. Everything looked normal, and the child was growing appropriately. When I entered the room, the mother explained to me that the child's father was concerned about his size. When the father entered the room, he basically took control of the visit.
|Maurice Jones Drew, 5'7 former running back for the Jacksonville Jaguars; now with the Oakland Raiders|
I don't know how I kept self control during this visit. I think part of me was so shocked that words like this would even come out of a person's mouth. And believe me, I hear it all, and it takes a lot to shock me. I looked at his adorable 2 year old son with the big blue eyes who was running around the room while we talked.
But what I did was put on my clinician hat. Reviewed the growth chart and showed him his son's linear progression along his percentile curve. Talked about normal eating habits of 2 year olds. Talked about differing growth patterns of siblings. But this dad was having none of that. So reluctantly, I ordered an xray to evaluate bone age and gave him a referral to an endocrinologist. I did all this, even though there would be no work up, no intervention in a 2 year old child. It is simply too early to predict what this child's growth would be. I told the dad this. He still wanted to proceed with the work up.
I thought a lot about this on my drive home. This visit troubled me so much. I try not to personalize encounters like this, but I couldn't help but think about my 2 sons. One, who is tall and lanky, the other who is short and still growing, but probably won't be taller than 5'8, if I could predict...who has the heart of an athlete and gives his all in every sport he plays. He has a great self esteem in spite of being smaller than most of his peers and is extremely well liked (a little too well liked, he needs to focus on his school work more than his social life!). But he's happy and well adjusted. This conversation with that father made my heart hurt for my son.
|This is my son, #80, tackling, in a game last fall.|
I took a leap and asked this dad what he would do if his son turned out to be small? I told him basically "you get what you get" when it comes to your genetic makeup. That it would be important to have self confidence and self esteem.
"Oh, of course", he said. And asked me where the endocrinologist's office was located.