Living With Uncertainty
The consultant to families who have children with chronic medical problems has a number of difficulties to face. Anxious, depressed families may have low expectations with respect to any new consultant. Much study and thinking must be done in order to help these children and to help their families. Unfortunately, sometimes this means helping them understand the limitations of some of their children and the limitations of what child health professionals can do. Cultivating a tolerance for uncertainty and helping my younger colleagues to accept this is a must. The tendency of many medical specialists to dismiss symptoms as psychogenic when diagnostics are not clear, does more harm than good. Often, the consultant must become an advocate for families who perceive themselves as being misunderstood. Although I followed many children over many years, none involved more of my time, or exemplified the issues listed better than did the complex problems of Denise.