This post is one that I didn't think I would have to write. One that I was hoping never to write.
Our beloved Dr. Lee Segal, Lucy's ortho surgeon, has left Phoenix Children's Hospital. He is headed to the University of Wisconsin in Madison.
My first response was NO!!!!!!!!!!!! No way could this happen! Then, I calmed down a little, and began to realize that God sent Dr. Segal to us when we needed him most. Dr. Segal was Lucy's angel. I have no doubt!
For those who don't remember, let me tell you how we found him.
We had our first meeting with an ortho at PCH. (Not Dr. S) He seemed like a great doctor, but wasn't a great match for us. I was determined to get a 2nd, 3rd, 4th opinion, whatever it took. I went home, did some research online, and saw Dr. Segal's picture and bio. With the 'Director of Orthopedics' title, who wouldn't want him?! I mean, that must mean he's the best, right?! So I called. My heart sank when the receptionist said, 'he doesn't have any appointments until May.' (It was January.) Great… I was really hoping to see him.
She did give me the name of another ortho, and said he could see me in the Mesa clinic location of PCH on an upcoming Wednesday.
We anticipated this appointment, hoping and praying that this doctor would be the right one. If this doctor wasn't going to work, we would be heading to California for some other opinions. Heck- I would have flown to the ends of the earth to find the right surgeon.
We get to the PCH clinic, and upon check-in, the receptionist told us, 'that doctor isn't here today. He doesn't work here on Wednesdays.' For those of you who know me, you know that I would have not made a mistake on the appointment day and time. I even had a voicemail reminder call! I got teary eyed, and told my husband, 'let's just leave. This isn't meant to be… we need to start checking out other hospitals and doctors…' That may not sound reasonable to some, but to very confused and scared parents, overreaction is a daily occurrence.
Sure enough, the receptionist came to us as we were headed out the door and said, 'Wait. We have one ortho here today, and he is overbooked. He just got here, so let me see if he could see you.' She came back after a few minutes and said, 'yes. Come on back, he will be right in.'
A few minutes later, the door opened, and it was Dr. Segal. I recognized his photo from the profiles page on the hospital's website. I said, 'you're the doctor I have wanted all along.' He looked at me and said, 'why?! Why would you want me?!' and laughed. I knew right then, this is our doctor. He was so normal.
He spent close to an hour with us. He explained things. He did an exam on Lucy. He got down on Lucy's level and would play with her. He treated her like a little girl, not just his first patient of the day. He comforted us. He gave us a 'road map' of what we can expect in the future.
We left the appointment with our beautiful 12 month old daughter, and I told Aaron, 'As much as I don't want to do this, this is the right doctor.' He agreed. It was a strange feeling we had leaving that appointment...strange in a good way. Like a big, warm feeling of comfort is the only way I can explain it.
Since that day, Dr. Segal has never disappointed us.
Who knew that when we showed up for an appointment on the wrong day, that we would be so lucky to get him?!
Prayer, my friends! Prayer. We prayed and prayed and spent so many nights crying our eyes out, hoping that we would find some comfort in this awful diagnosis. I remember saying, 'God, please. Just give us a sign. Give us a sign that Lucy will be okay.' Dr. Segal was our sign.
Dr. Segal entered our lives with everything we could ask for, and more. Expertise, love, kindness, understanding, professionalism… I could go on for days. He walked this journey with us, as a member of our family, not just a doctor. He gave my Lucy the opportunity to have a normal life.
I will never forget when we were just about to send Lucy off with him for her first surgery… Feb. 16, 2012. I was laying with her in the pre-op bed, and just holding her, and studying her little legs and tummy and thinking about how I am going to miss those things so much! To say I was upset doesn't quite cover it. I was a total wreck. Dr. S said to us in his calm tone, 'Guys. I will take care of her like she is my own.' Can you imagine what that meant to us? Confused, scared, anxious parents in a pre-surgery room with their little baby about to be put in a body cast.
It meant the world. It meant the world because we knew that he meant it.
He is our partner through this, not just our doctor.
Having him be Lucy's doctor is probably one of the best things that has happened to us. Not only did we get the best doctor, we have a member of our family for life. (His beautiful wife, too!) Truly, the kindest and most caring people I have ever met.
So, for those of you who are in the Wisconsin area and needing an ortho, don't hesitate. You will write me and thank me for the referral. :)
For those who are doctors and need to learn from someone, don't wait. He will lead by example, and anyone who becomes half the doctor he is, consider yourself lucky.
For those who want the best, Dr. Segal is the one. He WILL take care of your child like he/she is his own.
Be sure to tell him, 'Lucy says hi.'
Where do we go now? I don't know. Honestly… our next appointment isn't until January 2014, so I have plenty of time to interview some recommended orthos and pray for someone as amazing as Dr. Segal. (Although I don't think anyone will ever compare.)
Would we travel to see him? Absolutely. It won't be November-March, but after that… heck yes. Only the BEST for my baby!
(here he is with M & M on his cap. Long story, but Lucy's first pelvic osteotomy was actually cancelled due to her sneaking an M & M. So at her 2nd appointment, he showed up in pre-op with this on. We were cracking up.)
Thank-you God for leading us to our angel.
"People pay the doctor for his trouble; for his kindness they still remain in his debt." - Seneca