Please Talk To Us Dads

I am a father. I am tired of being ignored by health care workers and officials. I am worried that if what I routinely experience, being ignored, at doctors offices and emergency rooms is normal, that part of the family at home health care system is being overlooked.

Allow me to state upfront, that the service we have received, outside of the communication issue has been top notch. Last night, the doctor and nurse attended to our sick child with caring and professionalism. He is currently sleeping off a cold. However, there were two parents in the room and only one of them was spoken to. I had to overhear all of the information about my child’s condition and home treatment. I was not shown the chart on proper dosage. This is a problem.

I understand there is a cliché of men not being caregivers or homemakers. Times are changing. I am happy to say, I was among the first of the stay-at-home dads. I will not lie and say I enjoy every moment, but I have gotten more out of staying home and raising the children than I have ever gotten out of any job. Plus, I am good at raising children, mine at least.

However, since day one, I have encountered a communication bias from…well everyone. I learned to deal with people who did not understand how a man could raise children or keep a clean house. I have watched as more stay-at-home dads have been recognized. With each story about a stay-at-home dad, the bias has eased among the general population. However, I have yet to see the change in health care.

Talk to the dads too. Unless a dad says to you, “I don’t need to know,” dads want to know what is wrong with their child and how to take care of their child. Caring is not a female only trait.

I need to know what is wrong with my children MORE than my wife. She works. She is out of the house most of the time, meaning I need to know. She will be a pharmacist soon, which is great for the insight on medicine and medical treatment, but she will be in the office, while I am at home with coughing child, feverish child, and barfing child. Thus, I need the information more, which means health care officials should be talking to me as well as Barb.

Even if I was not the primary caregiver, health care officials should talk to all of the adults in the room equally. Sharing the information with everyone. Not just the gender they assume will be doing the healthcare at home. The messed up thing about the communication issue, is that Barb either has to go with me or has to take the children herself, because I get less information than she does. Where she only has to sit in a chair and get a ton of information. I get small bites of information that force me to ask obvious questions to get another small bite. It is frustrating and unnecessary. Why is the assumption, that I, as a man, will not be able to understand or implement the health care information/instructions?

Thus, because of the communication issue, I take Barb with me to every doctors visit, ER visit, trip to the pharmacist, or anything that involves health care (including dental). I provide the information about the sick child. The health care professional (gender of health care official does not matter, both have done this) then checks with Barb to see if what I said is right; many times she does not know because she was at work. Then the child is attended to, the whole time regardless of my questions or concerns the healthcare professional talks to and at Barb. Finally, when treatment has been decided upon, the healthcare professionals talk to and at Barb, again regardless of my questions or concerns. Paperwork is handed to her, and she hands it to me. I start to reading and asking questions and Barb gets the answers.

Talk to the dads too. Unless a dad says to you, “I don’t need to know,” dads want to know what is wrong with their child and how to take care of their child. Caring is not a female only trait.

To all of the health care workers and officials, thank you for the excellent care you have provided. Please, please, being work on speaking to all of the adults, regardless of gender, in the room. Do not assume that a man is incapable or uninterested in the health of their child or loved one. If they are in the room, they care on some level. Even if they do not care, they should be afforded the information. The more people who are informed the better for the patient.


2 thoughts on “Please Talk To Us Dads

  1. I have no idea why some doctors do this, like men aren’t capable of understanding the details of the care their child is receiving – but women always can. Yep, there are some men who, for some reason, don’t care about such details but, like you, I was never one of those guys – and I’ve reamed out quite a few doctors for ignoring me whenever we had to take our kids somewhere for treatment.

    1. Ankoku1331

      I understand the social mechanism or cliché that men don’t or aren’t caretakers. I also understand that isn’t true and continues to be proven false. What I don’t understand is why medical professionals still behave as if it is normal. And these have not been old people, where a generational divide may be in effect, these were people our age and younger. It needs to be changed.

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