Dear Mrs. Bluth,
I am so frustrated I could scream!!! But that wouldn’t help, except maybe to let off some of the pent-up anger and helplessness I am drowning in. My son, aged five, is displaying all sorts of symptoms of some ailment or other since he started yeshiva. He has broken out in a body rash, started bed-wetting after having been trained at age three and cries a lot for no apparent reason.
I have taken him to a urologist, who tested him for everything and charged me a bloody fortune, which my insurance did not cover, and who could find no physical reason for his bed-wetting. He suggested a child psychologist to whom we went for eight months without any breakthrough in pinpointing what is wrong with him, again an out of pocket expense paid for by my selling my engagement ring. When the rashes appeared I took him to a dermatologist who prescribed antibiotic creams for day and night, and after four weeks he is still covered in rashes. My mother lamented that there is no longer a Dr. Marcus Welby, who she says was the greatest general practitioner, but when I ask her where I can find him all she does is turn her hands up skyward with a sad look on her face and walk away.
I’ve ask people in my neighborhood, but no one has ever heard of this man! Is it possible that he is dead and I’m wasting your time to try to help me get in touch with him?
A Frantic Mother
As bad as I felt reading your letter, I had to smile remembering the beloved, amazing and always available with a cure Dr. Marcus Welby. I’m sorry to inform you that he has indeed departed and that he was an actor who appeared in the show bearing his name in the 1950s I think. And I loved him too! The closest I ever came to a doctor like him in real life was my kids’ pediatrician in Boro Park, who made house calls in the middle of the night climbing up the four flights of stair in the building where I lived. Dr. Schmeirer, a”h, was a great diagnostician but without Dr. Welby’s sweet and friendly personality. He cared when your kid is convulsing and vomiting at three in the morning. He was as close to G-d for me at that time as even the fictional Dr. Welby is, was, and never will be again!
Now, lets get down to the real issue at hand and that is your son’s maladies. Having read through your six-page letter, there are many reasons that may be the root cause for your little boy’s health issues. I chose not to include them in your letter above because it may expose your identity, so I will answer them as assumptions. I’m under the assumption that you have been in a volatile marriage that was, possibly, abusive which led to divorce and your moving to a new state, all leading to the probability that this happened just prior to the onset of the child’s physical symptoms. I also feel that had you brought this up with the child psychologist, perhaps she/he would have been able to approach it more carefully. A bad marriage, a move to a new city and going to a new school can certainly bring about physical, mental and emotional catastrophes in such a young child. Since the onset of his symptoms coincide with all these severe changes in his life, I strongly feel that the bed-wetting, rashes and crying are his body’s way of dealing with that which he doesn’t understand and has no control over. Anxiety, fear, insecurity and defenselessness will produce a multitude of different behavioral changes in a child of five.
My suggestion to you is to go back to a reputable child therapist in your city, work out a payment plan with her/him and do this immediately, if not sooner. I am quite certain that you will see improvement in his physical demeanor in a relatively acceptable period of time. You are a part of his improvement as well. Try to be positive and uplifting. Tell him there is nothing to be afraid of and that he is safe and secure with you and life in the new surroundings. Also encourage him to make friends and to invite them for play dates in your home. A child needs a solid social agenda to help his mind and his thinking skills to develop in a healthy and productive way. Please let me know how you are doing as I deeply care.