Horror. Until May of this year Alyce and Shira saw a pediatrician in Delaware. He was kind, accessible, and we were sad to say good-bye. When we chose to make Canada our permanent home I was on the hunt for a family doctor for the whole lot of us (in Canada children only see pediatricians for more complicated problems). But today is not the day for ranting about what I dislike about health care in Canada, because, unfortunately, today is a day for thinking about how my daughters’ doctor might have been hurting children. I will say that choosing a doctor here isn’t so much about choosing anything, but about finding the one doctor in the area who is accepting new patients and then asking nicely if they will pretty please take you on as a patient. So we were given our doctor and I hated him immediately. Ask anyone has has had to listen to my complaints since my first appointment and they will tell you: I did not like our new doctor. He was distracted, dismissive, and rude. Since our first visit I have been searching for a new doctor, but changing doctors here is
Panic. A few nights ago my mum mentioned that a doctor at my clinic was charged with viewing and producing child pornography. What’s your doctor’s name again? I’m sure it’s not him, she asked. Except that it was him.Our doctor was charged with possessing and producing child pornography at the same time as my husband and I had trusted him to care for our children’s bodies. Let me say this again, because I still can’t quite wrap my head around it: my children’s doctor has been charged with hurting children. Can’t compute. If he is guilty of these charges (I’m trying my hardest not to presume guilt, but it’s not an easy thing to do in this situation), then this so-called doctor has been looking at child pornography and producing some of his own. He has exploited beautiful, innocent children for something so very dark and terrible. What if he had hurt my children? How do I even type those words?
Rage. In the days since I found out the news, I’ve been running all our encounters with Dr. Speight through my head. There was that time when I took Shira to see him for a terrible diaper rash. He examined her naked body and I’m so angry about that. But then I remind myself that he barely even looked at her (a complaint I made loudly to my husband after the appointment). Another time he went on and on about how cute my girls are. He didn’t give me or my own medical questions the time of day, but he had plenty of time for my children. Just imagining the internal thoughts of a child pornographer, praising my young children for their beauty, makes me want to vomit. How dare he even think Alyce and Shira that way. They are are not for you, world, I think to myself. They are only mine. I grew them and nursed them and my job is to keep them safe. That their safety was threatened in this way, even though I feel confident that they were never personally harmed by this man, brings out feelings of anger I’ve never experienced before.
Sadness. I feel a terrible sadness for the children he might have exploited, for the parents who feel helpless, and for wonderful men I’ll be suspicious of in the future because of all this. I’ll never bring Alyce and Shira to a male doctor again (outside of an emergency situation), and in this way I’m charging all male doctors with the crimes of one. I know that I can’t possibly protect my children from the world, I really do. I don’t scare them with tales of scary strangers or poisoned candy, but I have already begun to teach Alyce about how wonderful her body is, and how it is for her alone, and I will do what I can to reduce exposing them to men--men who should be trusted--that might use their positions of power to harm them. I don’t want to be suspicious of people, but now, tonight, I will forgive myself a few assumptions in order to keep my girls safe.
I’m not sure what the next step is in all this. He will be in court this Friday but I don’t know yet if there will be a trial. The Cambridge clinic where he practiced (and where we are patients) has promised to look after everyone, but I just want to run away from that place. I’ll be looking around for another doctor, but like I said, that is no easy task. Mostly I will remind myself that Alyce and Shira are safe. I will send out my best thoughts to those who have been hurt by all this this.