Right around his fourth birthday, David woke up in the morning with swollen eyes—not just puffy, but swollen to the size of golf balls. The swelling went down over the course of the day, but a few weeks later it happened again, and continued intermittently.
David’s pediatrician was initially not concerned about the swelling. When the swelling persisted, David’s mother, Rachel, was instructed to take David to an allergist for a second opinion. After many more appointments and months of allergist-prescribed treatment, the symptoms persisted, and it was back to the drawing board. Rachel pressed his doctors to do lab work on David, and that’s when a kidney problem presented itself.
“Finally we were on the right track, and we went to Children’s Healthcare,” Rachel said. “When we finally got there, I felt like I was dealing with a professional medical organization. The care that we got was the top clinical care.”
Rachel resolved to find the most experienced doctor on staff at Children’s to work with David. That search led her to Larry Greenbaum, M.D.
Dr. Greenbaum pinpointed David’s condition as nephrotic syndrome, a kidney disorder that requires constant monitoring to keep under control. With this diagnosis came a treatment plan: a three-month course of a daily steroid medication, daily monitoring of blood pressure and urine, and a low-sodium diet.
“It can be a sort of scary process,” Rachel said, “but Dr. Greenbaum was really great at putting David at ease and was just a super-nice guy. The nurses and everybody had great bedside manner.”
Although David has had one relapse in the years since his diagnosis, he hasn’t had to go back on the steroid again since that initial treatment. Rachel says she can see how much better David feels now that his symptoms are under control.
As a first-grader, David had to complete a writing assignment about an everyday hero. He told his mom that he wanted to write about Dr. Greenbaum. Rachel was surprised at the selection because they don’t see Dr. Greenbaum as frequently anymore, but it’s clear that he made a big difference in David’s life.
“A hero in my life is Dr. Greenbaum,” David wrote. “First, he cured me when other doctors did not know what was wrong. Next he juggles the medicine cups and it makes me happy in case I have to get a shot. He takes care of me and answers a lot of questions. Finally, he is nice, funny, and patient. He is my favorite doctor, and I will always think of him as a hero.”
*Names have been changed to protect patient privacy