This is a follow-up to my blog post called Tourette Syndrome, in search for help . . . Read on if you want to know what life is like when your child has Tourette Syndrome and you are desperate to find help. In my previous post I described the doctors we had been working with and getting no positive results. I also described this push by the school to get my son medicated. I talked about the medications we tried. Finally I went on a search for a specialist that worked specifically with children that had Tourette Syndrome and who would look at the full picture of my son’s well-being.
As I said in the earlier post, I found a doctor pretty much by accident and we had to wait five months for our appointment. Finally the appointment day arrived. On the way to the appointment, my son was frustrated and didn’t want to go. He was tired of doctors and he didn’t want to talk about his tics. So we had a little fight as we drove to the doctor appointment.
Finally we arrive and get through the paperwork with the receptionist and then were escorted to a waiting room. There were only two other people in the waiting room, a father and a son. Soon, an elderly, short man entered the waiting room. His hair was gray and pulled back into a pony tail. Plus he had a gray, long beard. A little like Dumbledore. Immediately upon seeing him, I thought to myself, what an odd little character. Suddenly he said my son’s name. I was a little shocked. This was our doctor. This was Doctor D who was a specialist that we hoped would help us. Definitely non-traditional. Definitely not what we are used to in the stuffy world of neurologists.
Doctor D is the Director of the Developmental-Behavioral Pediatrics Program and Clinical Director of the Developmental-Behavioral Pediatrics Clinic. In addition he is a Professor in the Department of Pediatrics and has a joint appointment as Professor in the Department of Family Practice & Community Health. He is Board Certified by the American Board of Pediatrics and by the American Board of Medical Hypnosis.
I later found out that his research interests include exploration of cyberphysiologic (self-regulatory) abilities in children and adolescents with headaches, Tourette Syndrome, children with sleep disorders, and in the ability of children to learn and use self-hypnosis to alter and regulate physiologic functions. His bio said:
As an advocate for children and youth who live in families in communities I have an abiding faith in children’s ability to develop and cultivate skills in self-regulation and participate actively in their care toward promoting and maintaining optimum health. I believe in children and their families, and listen carefully to what children say and how they say it to best understand how I can help them and their family to help themselves. Most children and teens (and their parents) are pleasantly surprised to discover that they can learn self-regulation methods that can help them often dramatically with a wide variety of problems, from managing every day stress, to reducing/eliminating pain, to coping with repetitive procedures, managing fears and other forms of anxiety, eliminating habits.
Dr D led us to his large office, which was full of soft chairs and couches arranged comfortable and it didn’t feel clinical. There was also a table full of 70s and 80s toy memorabilia. The discussion immediately started with jokes from the doctor. In fact the joking never stopped throughout our appointment. He spent the hour talking directly with my son, with an attempt to have my son describe what was going on and to get comfortable talking to him. Occasionally, he would turn to me for clarification or for confirmation. One of the rules he told my son was, in our future appointments there were two words that were not allowed. The words were try and can’t. He told my son instead we would be using the word do. Basically ‘Just Do It’, which he claimed was his slogan and Nike didn’t pay him a dime for it. More humor. Throughout the appointment he would test my son during the conversation to see if he would use those words. Interestingly, my son caught himself every time just before he would have used one of those words. The doctor commented that my son caught on quickly.
The majority of the conversation was the doctor asking my son questions about what kind of tics he had. I was surprised to learn that my son had a hard time describing them. Initially he said his whole body felt tight and that it hurt. The doctor asked him what other ‘kinds’ of tics did he have. My son responded questionably, “There are different kinds of tics?” With a little reminder he started remember some of the movement tics he had and the vocal tics he had.
Toward the end of the appointment the doctor told my son that he could guarantee that he could reduce the number of tics my son was having and the intensity of the tics. I was a surprised when he said this. I don’t think I have ever heard a doctor use the word guarantee. The doctor also asked if my son was anxious taking his shots for his insulin. We described that my son had a real hard time changing his inset for his pump which was administered with a needle into the body. The doctor said he could teach my son so that he will not even feel the needles. I addition the doctor talked about my son’s inability to fall asleep without taking melatonin. He said he could teach my son to fall asleep and would no longer need the melatonin.
The appointment concluded with a confirmation that our next appointment was in two weeks and that the doctor would be showing my son and myself a video to explain what he was going to do. And that was it. That was our appointment with this new doctor who appeared to be an expert at hypnotism and teaching children self-hypnosis. I was excited. He recognized that my son was dealing with a lot of medical issues and that there is anxiety and stress associated with having these medical problems. As we left the appointment heading to the car my son, with a smile on his face, said, “He is a really good doctor. I really like him. He is a hippy. Kind of like you.” I laughed and couldn’t wait for our next appointment. We were headed for a new adventure.
To Be Continued . . .