To celebrate our final Friday of Winter Break, we made our bi-annual pilgrimage to the Highly Respectable University Hospital an hour west of us to meet with the wee girl's pediatric rheumatologist.
The cold and wet have been rough on her. Back in November at her 5-year-old Well visit, her pediatrician expressed concern that more joints looked like they were being effected by arthritis. Her pediatric ophthalmologist later declared her baby blues perfect...but still performed a more in-depth exam due to her being in the middle of an arthritis flare up (due to the type of arthritis she has, her eyes are highly susceptible to inflammation...if it's not caught right away and treated it could cause permanent damage. Hence, her legion of specialists.)
The doctor we saw today, the one who from the very beginning has been our guide, our calming force on this rocky three year journey once again calmly quieted our fears of this disease taking over more of her wee little body. He wasn't entirely convinced that other joints were effected. He did advise upping the dosage of her current medication--based more on the fact that she has outgrown the previous dosage than on the fact that her disease may or may not be spreading. While our hope has been that she would be off of the medication by this point, staying on the same track we've been on and not adding any additional meds is still a positive thing.
Since Himself was working today (and has his own eventful and zany story to tell), it was just me and the two kiddos on the trip. They both behaved spectacularly well...as well as any highly active 5 and 7 year old can be expected to behave, really. We rewarded ourselves with a special lunch before we left the mountains and headed home...
During our visit today the doctor also delivered the news that he is retiring in September. We have one more visit with him in June. I will always be grateful for the time he's spent with us--patiently answering all of our questions and offering guidance. Never once has he made us feel rushed or like we were over protective parents. During our very first visit, as he calmly explained to us what our wee tiny daughter's diagnosis meant, he never once rolled his eyes at my tears.
He offered a recommendation for a pediatric rheumatologist who recently joined one of our local hospitals. Over the next couple of months I will be contacting him and finding out what we need to do in order to make a smooth and successful transition (hopefully he's accepting new patients). While we will miss the one, finding someone local will certainly be easier on us all!