Friday, January 15, 2010

I want to see if I can put a positive spin on my morning...

Esther has pink eye so we visited the doctor today.

A little background first though. When I set up our insurance and was looking for a doctor, I did so much research. Google, phone calls, word-of-mouth.

Google is not the greatest for getting info on doctors. There just isn't a lot out there. Or at least there wasn't a lot out there for the 30 odd doctors I was looking at.

Phone calls ought to be great, but have you ever noticed how busy the receptionist's are in doctor's offices? Yeah...only two offices were willing to answer questions about their doctor's policies/philosophies.

Word-of-mouth might be the very best way to find a doctor. I heard of a few stellar ones. Only hang-up was that they weren't accepting our particular plan.

So, this is probably pretty boring but it might get better. We'll see.

I picked a doctor for Esther.

Fast forward a few weeks and I discovered the other girls had a different doctor. And since I knew nothing about Esther's doctor, I decided to start the whole process all over again. Google, phone calls, word-of-mouth.

Finally I picked a doctor for the other three girls. A doctor I am 80% confident in. We'll see how she does after their initial visits.

That left Esther with a different doctor though. And I'm not a fan of driving to more than one doctor for my kids (unless, of course, it's a specialist). So I switched her to the new doctor, effective February 1st.

And then she got pink eye.

So off we drove to her current doctor, whom we've never visited.

I was really happy at first that they would see a sick child assigned to them when the child hasn't had a regular appointment with them yet. ALL the other doctors we have seen (and there have been many), would not see my children for sick visits unless they'd already been in for a regular visit. (Such a pain. Quite often that meant more "urgent care" visits...)

Maybe I should have been suspicious instead of happy.

They see sick children from 9-11am and 2-5pm. As I sat in the waiting room I wondered how that could even leave space for scheduled appointments of well children.

To make a long story LONGER,

Esther, Becca and I left the house at 10:05am
Signed in at 10:18am
Were shown into an exam room at 12:23pm

Yeah, I wrote that right. More than two and a half hours later.

Saw the doctor 37 minutes later.
Left six minutes later.

Went to the pharmacy.
Arrived home about 2:30pm. Over four hours later.

Now I realize we didn't have an appointment.

I also realize the majority of the other people waiting didn't have appointments either.

That's just kind of how those things work sometimes.

I also realize that some cases are more urgent than others. Yes, please, if your baby is having trouble breathing -- I am happy the nurse is seeing you before me. You know...stuff like that...

What I didn't realize and still don't understand, is how:

  • a doctor's office can be so dirty
  • a doctor's office doesn't mind that a highly contagious, PINK EYE patient is in the lobby and not an exam room
  • a doctor can think it's okay to give my 3-year old FIVE suckers
  • a doctor can think it's okay to give my 10-month old a sucker!
  • a doctor can ask, "So, how did she get it?" (Some of the snide responses I made, mentally, "Um, isn't that your department?" and "She's dirty!! She's three!" and "She sucks her thumb and doesn't always remember to wipe!! Gross, isn't it? Don't remind me! I chase her down but I'm sure there are times where she gets away with it. Someday she'll learn to care about that...")
  • a doctor can say, "Well, I'll just give you a prescription for the ointment. And the drops. Do you need anything else? Any motrin?", like I'm placing an order at Burger King. (Yikes, I'm feeling snarky.)
And top of the list of things I don't understand --

Why I end up at the doctor's office for almost three hours to see a doctor for SIX MINUTES. Six minutes that are drawn out to make me feel better but could honestly be reduced to TWO minutes because, come on, we both know it's pink eye and you know what the prescription is for that.

I have never been so glad to be done with a doctor's appointment.

I am so thankful that we have insurance. Good insurance. And that we can switch doctors. And that I had already requested a switch.

When it's all said and done, I am also grateful for several other things. I think this next part is the positive spin I was hoping for, now that I've "unloaded".

I am grateful:

  • that the doctor was competent enough to know what kind of medicine my daughter needed and what was wrong with her
  • for the pacifier clip that kept Becca's pacifier safe from that waiting room floor
  • for the Ergo carrier that kept Becca from thinking she needed to touch and explore that same waiting room floor
  • for the inspiration that led me to use a mini M&M tube and my necklace to entertain Esther. Slide the necklace in, close the lid, shake. Take the necklace out and repeat.
  • for three adorable children who chatted with me (and a bit with Esther) and watched me blow bubbles with my gum. They made the time pass more easily.
  • Esther stayed DRY through the entire ordeal.
  • she didn't whine for food from the mother who didn't bring a snack.
  • Becca was content to sit in the Ergo in my arms.
  • I have a HUGE bottle of hand sanitizer in my van.
  • Eric could be home with the big girls.
  • He helped them do their schoolwork.
  • Rite-Aid (who takes our insurance) and CVS (who does not) are only right across the street from each other.
  • Rite-Aid had a bathroom for Esther (and me!).
  • Rite-Aid sells king-size Snickers bars (because you know I needed one after all that!).

I am also grateful for wonderful friends who will read this and be able to sympathize or empathize.

And now I'm off to make the most of what's left of my day.


  1. Wendi said...
    Finding doctors is near the top of my "least favorite things about moving" list. I definitely agree that word of mouth is the best way to find a doctor. Its especially frustrating when you know exactly what is wrong with your child and exactly what they need, but have to go through an appt like that to get it.
    Wendi said...
    This comment has been removed by the author.
    Lisa said...
    Oh man, that's awful! It is so hard to find a good doctor's office.
    cmnacnud said...
    For irony, just know that the 2 minutes that the doctor needed with you just added 5 mins of paperwork to his schedule. He may not be able to help his kids with their homework.

    Your right though I can commiserate with you. We're looking for good insurance now, and even though I work with a bunch of medical doctors, they are all military and don't know anyone in the civilian world to recommend.
    Trishelle said...
    Abby, you are one amazing mama! I'm so sorry that experience was so rough...but you really are amazing under pressure! The fact that you can find the good in all that muck is really awesome! May the next doctor's visit be pleasant, in a clean office and minimal exposure to gross germs!!
    Qait said...
    You're such a good mom.
    I kind of wish moms could be doctors (or that more doctors were moms). But...that wouldn't be best, because it's so good when moms can be home instead of pursuing a career (career moms don't hate me! I can explain!).

    I love you. I'm grateful you have such good little girls that could wait so patiently with you!
    Jeff and Sheila Capell said...
    Oh my gosh, what a post!!! Honestly? What IS it with some of these places? It's like a gem to find a place that's great. We had the most amazing ped. office in Sacramento (I think it's the one thing I really miss since we've moved, aside from my friends) I would sign in, be seen and out the door in 1/2 hour sometimes less!! They were amazing. My new doctor sounds much like your experience (only 2 hours is my max I've spent there) and yes, we too are switching! What a process!!! Good luck finding a "gem!" Thanks for showing the positive side of life. You are such a good mom. Why does this process have to be so hard? And why can't all doctors just be GOOD (clean, quick, nice)!??--I mean, c'mon, eveyone wants the same things as us right??

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