Dr. David Paul is my next HI Achiever.
Dr. Paul is Jackson’s endocrinologist at Texas Children’s Hospital (TCH). We met him on day three of our hospital stay. I remember when he came into the room for the first time. He took the lead in the conversation and I stopped him. What is your name and what is your role? Everything was a whirlwind. Doctors and nurses were in and out like a revolving door. Everything was running together and I couldn’t make sense of all of the possibilities. So when he walked in for rounds that morning, I was ready. I had a pen and paper in my hands and I wrote down everything he said. I wanted to know it all. So many things were new. So many things were unknown. I was overwhelmed and I was scared. My son was sick and I didn’t know why. I refused to Google anything. Told family and friends if they did internet searches to please keep us out of the loop. I couldn’t go down a rabbit hole. I needed facts. Dr. Paul was my main source of information. He was going to figure this out, I trusted that.
The second morning, when Dr. Paul did rounds, this is what he walked into (picture below). I realized the wall could act as a whiteboard. Our PCU nurse, Renee White, gave me a marker, and I was on a mission. You can’t see the other 5+ feet of wall to the left. I wanted to figure this out. I needed to see everything drawn out.
Some doctors would walk in and see my board and chuckle and say it looked like I was cramming for an exam, some would be impressed, and some didn’t notice. Dr. Paul walked in the room, saw my notes, and went through each line item, one by one, every day. He never rushed me. There were times he’d stop by after his rounds were done and sit with us another hour or more. Answer questions. Discussing research papers / case studies that I read. A doctor that doesn’t rush you? A doctor that cares what you think? A doctor who is willing to engage a mother’s Google doctorate?
I liked Dr. Paul right off the bat. You can see the wheels turning when he’s faced with complex issues. There’s no mistaking his candor or his intelligence. I tried finding information about him online and in the Hyperinsulinism world, but my search came up empty. Not that I need a doctor to have a shelf full of awards in order to be “experienced” enough to treat my kid but I was surprised that he wasn’t more highly decorated online for his achievements. Dr. Paul has been treating HI since the 90’s. He has seen and treated more kids with HI than most endocrinologist in their entire careers. So while you may not see his name in big fancy lights, he’s an unsung hero in the HI world. Certainly a hero in our world.
In the months following our initial hospital stay, Dr. Paul has continued to be a great doctor. He’s visited Jackson during other hospitalizations which weren’t endo related, humored me in answering far too many questions and emails on random thoughts that I have, introduced us to other wonderful doctors, did everything he could and made himself available when we were ambulanced to a hospital that was scared to treat Jackson (they had never had an HI kid), answered text messages when I’ve been scared over the weekend, far more than any doctor in any other capacity would have ever done.
I really can’t imagine having to go through this journey with another doctor. Trust me, we’ve meet a bunch of them. Even other experts. They were all great, fantastic even, but they’re not him. Not only has he been great to Jackson, he pushes me to be a critical thinker and honestly makes me wish that I would have pursued a career in the medical field.
Since August 2016, our lives have been unpredictable. It often feels like we’re all caught up in a tornado, twisting and turning, at an unpredictable pace and the one thing anchoring us down is him. He keeps my anxiety and fears in check, because I know my son is in the best hands possible. I can ask anything that I want, no matter how silly it may seem to me, and he’s right there to answer. Dr. Paul will do whatever he has to do to keep Jackson safe and healthy. I trust him with Jackson’s life. No better feeling in the world than that.