The Bonnie Diaries: The Neurologist

Entry #7:  The Neurologist

“It was a dark and stormy night…,” my English teacher, Mrs. Lindo, told the 14 year-old Anna-Lisa Fay. This was supposed to be a starter sentence for a dramatic tale showing as much imagery, personification and metaphor. There was one problem;  everyone else was beginning their story this way.  I had a different story to tell—evidently.  I knew my life would not follow a typical path and deciding to listen to my intuition was and still is a characteristic I try not to ignore.  If only I had listened to my inner voice from the years 1996-99. 😉

So, following the tradition of being atypical,  I put on my rose-colored glasses and big girl pants, to make “the call.”   Instead of Bonnie’s pediatrician telling me what to do, I felt it was time to find out what was really going on with my child.  Her doctor referred me to a local neurologist.  When we met, I was warned of his strange demeanor, distant personality and curt tone.  That said, we were reassured that if he couldn’t find out what was wrong, he would lead us to some specialists who could. So, as any good external optimist would do, Scott, Bonnie and I opened the office door to a lovely receptionist greeting.  Once escorted into the exam room,  the neurologist said a brief hello in the room and then examined Bonnie.  He looked at Bonnie, smiled, yes a smile.  (Bonnie does have that effect on people) and began the exam.   He measured her head circumference, the distance of her eyes, then to nose, and mouth.  Her lips, we were told, were thin, well at least the top one.  Her forehead was abnormally high and upon closer examination had non-existent eyebrows.  He said, “there’s something here.”  Pointing to her head, but I just don’t know what it is.” 

Is it autism? I asked. No, she makes excellent eye contact and is engaged with every word, gesture and emotion.  In fact, that was a common thread among physicians—no autism, even though she is non-verbal.  Was it brain damage during my extremely difficult labor and birth—40 hours to be exact.  He couldn’t answer that without an MRI.  What was it?  He could’ve speculated all day long, but chose to refer us to Dr. John Graham at Cedars-Sinai Los Angeles.  If he can’t tell you what this is (suspecting it’s a chromosome syndrome) then no one can.  He’s the leading expert in pediatric genetic craniofacial disorders.  We left with MRI appointment card in hand and a hole in my heart.  

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