Category: Doctor-Mommy


The Kitchen Shrink: A Psychiatrist’s Reflections on Healing in a Changing World by Dora Calott Wang, M.D.

Have you ever wondered what it is like to be a psychiatrist? To know the intimate thoughts and struggles that go on in the minds of those who are charged with the restoration of health and well-being? The Kitchen Shrink might be the book for you.

The Kitchen Shrink is a beautifully written memoir by Dr. Dora Wang detailing her life as a psychiatrist, wife, and mother and her experience of the shift that has occurred in medicine over the past twenty years.  Dr. Wang is an incredibly gifted writer and storyteller.  Unfortunately, the story she has to share is not as beautiful: there has been a paradigm shift away from patient-centered, “cradle-to-grave” medicine to a more business-centered, insurance driven model that focuses, not on quality, but rather on efficiencies–where the patient has been removed from the center of attention and remade as a “cog” in the health care machine.  I found myself wanting to share my patient-care stories with Dr. Wang as I read her poignant and all-too-familiar accounts.  While I know that her story is both emotionally-wrenching and true, I am left to wonder who, outside of physicians and those interested in health care reform, will find and read this book. While Dr. Wang does not suggest any specific health care reform options, she does a wonderful job of illuminating many of the problems with our current state of health care while reminding us of medicine’s noble history as the healing art.  Through the intimacy shared in her writing, Dr. Wang feels like a kindred-spirit in the quest for balance, happiness, and contentment.  I look forward to reading more from her in the future.

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logo_waadThis also happens to be my son’s 2nd Birthday. 

I have neglected my blog over the past six months; a fact kindly brought to my attention by one of my patients.  This neglect has occurred, not due of lack of material or interest- I still have a small pile of clippings on various mental health topics of interest- but because at the end of September 2008 my world changed significantly. 

 I had concerns about my son’s lack of appropriate speech development, but was assured that he was “normal” and that boys just are “late talkers” at his 15-month appointment.  By his 18th month appointment, he had lost his one word “cat” and all babbling of “mamamama”.   We initially were concerned that he might have a hearing problem, as he didn’t respond to his name or to other communication; but after multiple failed hearing tests (and nightmare scenarios of having to teach a language that I don’t know to a child who won’t make eye contact with me) a sedated ABR revealed his hearing to be normal.  We joked for a few weeks that he didn’t know that we knew he could hear since he slept through the test.  All in all, we are blessed.  Our concerns were heard and we were referred to our state’s program for children 0-3 yielding a whirlwind of evaluations, leading to multiple therapy sessions with some very gifted and dedicated professionals: including a speech pathologist, occupational therapist, child psychologist, and resource coordinator.

 There are so many ways that Autism affects our lives:  from the frustrations of communications challenges; the lack of sufficient research and recommendations for safe & effective treatments; the burden of time and financial commitments for therapies (that insurance companies are not mandated to cover); to the feelings of guilt and helplessness at not knowing…because there are no answers to most of the questions, including “What causes this? What can be done?”  Currently, there are no effective means to prevent autism, no single effective treatment, and no known cure. In the absence of scientifically proven treatment, people turn to “folklore” of anecdotal treatments that may potentially cause more harm than good.  Without proper funding for research, this “folklore” may be all that is available.  

 

So, in honor of my son’s second birthday, I am doing what I can to raise awareness for this condition and the organizations that are working hard on research to find scientifically proven, safe & effective treatments for this devastating condition.  Please join with me in supporting Autism Speaks as we celebrate the second annual World Autism Awareness Day.  Together we can increase the knowledge of the Autism epidemic and convey information regarding the importance of early diagnosis and intervention. By bringing together autism organizations all around the world, we will give a voice to the millions of individuals worldwide who are undiagnosed, misunderstood and looking for help. Please join us in our effort to inspire compassion, inclusion and hope. 

Facts about Autism

Did you know…

• 1 in 150 children is diagnosed with autism

• 1 in 94 boys is on the autism spectrum; Boys are four times more likely than girls to have autism

• 67 children are diagnosed per day; that means a new case is diagnosed almost every 20 minutes

• More children will be diagnosed with autism this year than with AIDS, diabetes & cancer combined

• Autism is the fastest-growing serious developmental disability in the U.S.

• Autism costs the nation over $90 billion per year, a figure expected to double in the next decade

• Autism receives less than 5% of the research funding of many less prevalent childhood diseases

• There is no medical detection or cure for autism, but early intervention improves outcomes

For more information on this condition and how you can help, please visit any of the following website:

www.autismspeaks.com

www.worldautismawarenessday.org

 We will be participating in the Oklahoma City 2009 Walk for Autism Event on June 6th, 2009 at the OKC Bricktown Ballpark.  For more information or to make a tax-deductible donation, please visit us on the web at:

www.walknowforautism.org/oklahoma/evan