Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The Importance of Child Well Visits

I can't tell you how important it is to have your new baby go to the doctor even when they are healthy. Those appointments are so very important to help chart your baby's development and for the doctor to be able to note oddities and things that may cause concern.
When Ezekiel was nine months old I took him in for his well child visit. He was a healthy boy -- a little small, and nothing unusual -- other than that he wasn't rolling over and sitting (things that at nine months can still fall under the range of normal development). During his checkup, the doctor wasn't concerned until I made a little comment about how when I nurse him I have to fight him because he'll be screaming to eat but he arches his back away from me. At that comment and the fact that he had only rolled over once or twice, she scheduled us an appointment with a physical therapist to have him evaluated.
Our first therapy session went great. In fact we left and at home Ezekiel began rolling all over the house -- He loved it, and all he needed was for someone to show him how to flip his hips. However, the therapist noticed something else that we had failed to notice. The left side of Ezekiel's body was weaker than the right side of his body. I didn't think much of this except that we would need to work on strengthening the left side. However, that afternoon the doctor called me very concerned and wanted us to go see a pediatritian two hours away. When I asked her what she thought was wrong she said he could have had a stroke in-utero, or a tumor, or cerebral palsy. But she was leaning more towards the idea of the stroke. Needless to say the next two weeks until our appointment went quite slowly.
We had a wonderful appointment with the pediatritian where he decided the Ezekiel's problem was a MINOR case of Cerebral Palsy -- something easily corrected with Physical Therapy. However, he did a CT Scan just to rule out a stroke or tumor.
I can't thank the Lord enough for having had this diagnosis so early in Ezekiel's Life. As I researched on-line, I discovered most children with CP are not diagnosed until the age of 2 or 3. And here we are at 17 and a half months. With Ezekiel's monthly therapy sessions, he went from a nine month old with a four month old motor skills to now being at the normal level of an 18 month old. We are so thankful for a doctor who took the time to work with Ezekiel and share our concern for the delay in his development. I have been to some doctors who would have just shrugged it off as being normal development just slightly delayed but nothing to concern ourselves with.


MamaAngie said...

Praise the Lord for his improvement. That's great!

Karis said...

How wonderful that he was diagnosed correctly so early! And the progress he has already made to "catch up" -- praise the Lord.

And I agree about the importance of well child visits. We don't have those over here -- in fact, I think people would think I was crazy for thinking it was worth paying to take a child to the doctor when they weren't sick. I don't let myself worry about it because this is where we're supposed to be, but it makes me both thankful for such well trained specialists (pediatricians and then specialists even beyond them) in the States and also sad that people here don't have access to that.