When my husband and I have talked about transitioning S to adulthood, it never crossed our minds that he would also need to medically transition. Thank goodness our boys see a wonderful pediatrician who has come to know our family quite well (good thing that both of our boys have some unusual medical conditions which keeps us on the doctor’s radar and requires frequent contact with him). It was their doctor who started talking to us about medically transitioning S.
What does it mean to medically transition a child? It means that before S turns 18, he will be moved from the comfort and familiarity of the Pediatric clinic to the Family Practice clinic on the third floor of our hospital. Let me tell you, this came as a shocker to him that he wouldn’t be in the pediatrician’s office forever. Dr. M has been asking S since he turned 16 when he would like to be moved upstairs. S’s response is always the same, “When I have to leave, then I will go.”
Medically transitioning S also means we need to look at his specialists and determine how long they will continue to follow him. Part of the reason the Army sent my husband to this duty station here in Virginia is because we would be near a large military medical facility which is where his specialists are located. We have been so blessed by the care our sons have received there. S, in particular, has been especially lucky because he has been followed by the same specialists for 8 ½ years. That is unusual, and we know it. The best part has been that the specialists have talked to each other and the pediatrician. Mom and dad don’t have to be the medical messengers!
S recently saw Dr. M for a physical, and Dr. M outlined his transition plan for S.
1. S needs to stay in touch via Relay Health for any questions/concerns. Dr. M made sure that S had his own Relay Health account established more than a year ago.
2. Come back to visit in November for one last visit prior to turning 18 in December.
3. Dr. M will finish a summary about S that he has already started in order to pass that information onto the gaining doctor up in the Family Practice clinic. When S heard that Dr. M was writing a summary about him, he told Dr. M, “We can just bring the 3 ring binders my parents have about me and put them on the doctor’s desk for him to read.” Dr. M laughed and told S that would be mean.
4. Dr. M talked to S about establishing contact with his case manager at the hospital in case he has any issues he needs help with.
5. Dr. M asked about transitioning from the specialists. Because of Dr. M, we have been asking the specialists during visits this past year about transitioning. We are lucky because they will continue to follow S with the exception of his pediatric ophthalmologist who had to reduce his caseload. Fortunately, we have a friend from church who is an ophthalmologist and is going to start seeing him. This same person used to work with the ophthalmologist who previously followed S. Continuity of care is a wonderful thing!
We have so many people who are part of Team S, and we are very fortunate to have Dr. M as one of the team members. He has guided S and us down this other avenue that we hadn’t really thought about. Because of him, we know we are ready for that aspect of transitioning.
Since this transition thing is going so smoothly, you know where I will be….on the couch with chocolate.
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