Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Doctor's should know, but don't and other reality checks

The last two weeks have been crazy for our little family. I made several doctor's appointments a while back for Little D, including another speech evaluation. I had no idea that all this time would go by and things would change so much, and so fast too! Last Friday, Daddy got a job... finally! Yay! The bad news is he also started school on Monday so he's gone all day during the day and now works from 6:30 to 11pm. Why is this hard? I now have to take Little D to all his doctor appointments by myself, with Little Sis in tow.

Little D has been having upper respiratory infections since last October and his primary care doc has not seemed at all concerned about it. I wasn't either until I realized that one infection is barely over by the time the next one is beginning. I decided enough is enough and called the pediatrician to see if I could get a referral for an ENT. Of course they couldn't just send it over, they wanted to check with ENT first to see what the "policy" on referrals was. Policy?! Are you kidding me? Why can't you just use  your brain and fax over the stupid form?! Sorry... Anyway, I called again and had to leave a message for our doc with the receptionist. I waited the weekend, I called again and was told the doctor was "out." What does that even mean? All I want is a simple referral, should I really have to go through this little song and dance routine? Call me persistent, annoying or over-concerned, but I know how long it can be to get in to see some of these specialists. After all I got the referral for Little D's genetics appointment back at the end of July and we are scheduled for mid-December! I was a little more than anxious to get the referral so I could make the appointment, as you can imagine. Finally I talked to a very helpful nurse who promised to talk to the attending physician (have I mentioned our doctor isn't a 'real' doctor yet? She's a pediatric resident, which makes her inexperienced and full of apprehension. She just wants someone else, not a parent, to tell her what to do). A little while later the nurse called back and asked that I make a specific appointment for these infections since there wasn't any documentation about them at all. I guess there's one reason to take your kid in even when they only have the sniffles. DOCTORS EVERYWHERE!! CHART THE CONVERSATIONS YOU HAVE WITH YOUR PATIENTS!!! PLEASE!

After a lengthy conversation with the speech therapist I was armed and ready for my afternoon appointment at the pediatric clinic. I knew that Little D's drooling, choking on liquids, swallowing difficulties, reflux, etc. were not normal and that an ENT would be able to help us figure out why he is doing those things. The doctor listened intently and took notes (thank you!) and I felt confident in her abilities. Finally I got the referral for ENT, but through the course of our conversations we also got referrals for cardiology and scheduled two tests with pediatric radiology for a swallow study and an upper GI x-ray. We've already done one swallow study with our daughter, so we weren't afraid of another one. It was a relief to finally get some things done and finally have a doctor who seemed competent. I really REALLY need a new doctor! The specialists have been great, and the one doctor at the child development clinic that we liked isn't on our medicaid plan. We can switch in July, but who knows where we'll be at that point and I'm afraid to get on private insurance now after the health care bill. I don't know what we might be up against.

In any case, it's good to have some action finally on Little's D's health concerns. I'll have to do another entry on this more in-depth since I just realized we haven't really written about it yet. More to come!

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