I was disappointed to read that my fellow blogger, Sarah Fürstenberger, was leaving our ranks as German Way Co-blogger for the time being. She and I had become friends while recording the same chapter in life as American expats living in Germany through this blog. Coincidentally, she and I also left Germany at the same time this past summer.
Although I was sad to no longer be able to keep up with her American/German family’s new Irish life through her blog posts, I could also understand her sentiment that her heart wasn’t in blogging about the German Way anymore. Often, when my week rolled around to blog, I felt at a loss as to what to blog about. It’s been about eight months since we left Germany, and our lives have significantly changed: our daughters, though still bilingual, speak mostly English now, we start to shiver at 60 degrees F (16 degrees C), our consumption of paper products jumped exponentially when we became members of Costco, and we barely buy or eat cold cuts (Aufschnitt) anymore.
I realized though that despite the dilution of our German-ness, there were beliefs and pursuits of the German Way of Life that I was still committed to. First and foremost on that list has been finding a pediatrician that suited a more typical German parenting philosophy: encouraging play-based learning for under six-year-olds, fostering independence, and choosing the natural alternatives when possible.
I had initially gone with a pediatric referral from my dentist, but soon discovered that this particular pediatrician was not going to make recommendations that I was comfortable with regarding asthma treatment along with many other things. I then started the process of looking for someone new. It took me some time to accept that I should stop looking for Dr. Bonanati, our pediatrician in Germany, here in San Diego. He didn’t exist. I had been naively looking for an MD who was able to administer homeopathic remedies, make referrals to acupuncturists and osteopaths readily, follow an alternative vaccination schedule (N.B. I do not mean NOT vaccinating) and prescribe antibiotics conservatively. I soon learned that this sort of integrative care for children was not prevalent here in the US, certainly not in the same way as I had already experienced it in Germany.
Along with names collected from friends from the German Preschool, midwives, homeopaths and administrators from Rady Children’s Hospital, I waded through a lot of information on the internet: local bulletin board recommendations, ratings of these doctors, and check lists on what I should look for in a doctor including questions I should ask. I found that many of these lists were geared towards convenience factors: hours worked, call schedules and availability, and parking. It was all a process, but I am pleased to say that after about 2 months of researching and several “Meet and Greets,” I’ve found a doctor for my children whom I excited about working with. She’s open to alternative medicines such as homeopathy and acupuncture. She prescribes antibiotics conservatively along with inhalers and steroids for asthma, and she’s open about alternative vaccination schedules. She, of course, explained some caveats such as needing to explain risks by waiting to vaccinate and how spreading shots out requires more frequent office visits, but there was no judgment and also no caution that her associates in the practice would be resistant. And the best part? She speaks German because she is German!