First impressions of our daughter’s new specialist

WE HEARD IT growing up from our mothers all the time, but we didn’t quite understand the true significance of it. As adults, we begin to see the value in making a good first impression. Whether it’s for a job interview, that first parent-teacher meeting, or sitting down with a new doctor, first impressions play a major role in setting the tone for a healthy relationship.

My recent experience with having to switch doctors (for the third time) for one of our children thankfully was a positive one, and it’s mostly due to first impressions. If you follow along with my letters, you may recall that our five-year-old daughter has chronic idiopathic urticaria (the medical term for chronic hives). She has had it for a little over a year now, and since her first diagnosis, we’ve had to switch her allergist twice. The first time, unfortunately, was due largely to poor first impressions. The second specialist was a blessing — excellent with kids, empathetic to my struggles as a parent managing my daughter’s symptoms, and clear in her medical deductions. Unfortunately, health insurance companies change who is in the coverage network — and who is not. So at the beginning of 2015, we found ourselves having to look for another specialist for our daughter’s ongoing care. The next doctor had a lot to live up to. After all, we had spent about eight months of her treatment with the second specialist, and we had established a healthy working relationship. To suddenly have that severed left us feeling doubtful and unsure who to choose.

Ultimately, we selected Dr. Maria Pochcial at Gessler Clinic in Winter Haven, and since that first appointment we could not be more pleased with our choice. From the first meeting, Dr. Pochcial took her time to listen while I explained our daughter’s condition and treatment up-to-date. She then asked me many questions, making sure I didn’t leave anything out. She engaged our daughter in the conversation (which, as you can imagine, made our five-year-old feel very grown up). There were several instances where Dr. Pochcial could have been distracted by our other children (who I had to bring with me to the appointment), but she was focused, warm and caring, and accommodating. I left that first appointment feeling comforted that we were in good hands, and since then, my feelings have been confirmed.



Celeste Jo Walls is managing editor of Central Florida Health News. She may be reached by e-mail at

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