Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The Crying Part of The Day

Warning, someone cries in this post but it is not a child.

Like I told y'all, Hank was sort of sickish on Thursday, then Friday morning he rallied, and then Friday afternoon he got warmer and droopy-eyed, and he said his ear hurt again. I scooped him up and drove right up the road to the CVS Minute Clinic. I had never thought to go there before, but a couple of people said it was a good quick alternative.  And at 4:00 on a Friday afternoon, I didn't think the pediatrician was a feasible thing.

Let's put it mildly and say that Hank did not want to go to the doctor.  He kept saying, so earnestly, "Look, I'm all better!"  So I spent a lot of parent trust capital on telling him, this will not take too long and nothing bad will happen.  By the time we got to the CVS, he was resigned.  We checked in at the little computer and we were sixth in line. Whoa, where did all these people come from?  But I didn't know how quickly it might move, and we sat down to wait.

Hank played Angry Birds on my iPhone for a while.  As we sat there, I could tell his fever was going up.  He said, "Mom, I'm one hundred percent fine!"  I gave him a drink.  He grew more sluggish.  Then he sat in my lap.  Then he fell asleep.  The nurse practitioner would call each person in and give apologetic smiles to everyone waiting.

We waited an hour and ten minutes.  It didn't even seem that long, to me.  You know how, sometimes when you're doing something for your kid or waiting for something your kid needs, the passing of time barely registers?  I just sat there in the chair, leaned against the glass-doored cooler, and held him.

Finally they called us in.  I woke him up to walk into the room, where he immediately climbed up on the vinyl bench and lay down.  The nurse's assistant took his temperature, and it was 103.  She glanced at the nurse and took it again.  103.  The nurse said, "Oh, when their fever is 103 or higher, it's an automatic refer-out. We can't treat him."

I just looked at her, like I didn't understand what she was saying.  Because I didn't.  She actually reached up and took a binder off of a shelf, and looked up the relevant policy.  "Yes, I'm sorry, it's 103.  You have to take him to urgent care."

I said, "You can't even look in his ear?"  I was kind of in shock.  They were apologetic.  I said, "How long is urgent care going to take?"  That sounds like I was irritated, but it was an honest question, I was totally confused and tired.  There was some hemming/hawing.  The nurse phoned the urgent care down the street and reported that they had only two people waiting.

I said, "Okay Hank, we are going to have to go to one more doctor."  And he pleaded, "Oh mom, can we go home for just a little bit first?"  And I started to cry.

It surprised me, and it certainly surprised the other two women.  I have been in a lot of doctor's offices this year, and I've gotten some bad news at different times, but I never cried in someone's office, not one time. Not the first time.  Until I was in the dumb CVS with the feverish and miserable Hank.  I just felt like he had been so patient and trusting, and what I had told him about making one stop had been a lie.  I hated it.  I would indeed have taken him home, except by then I was actually worried about him.

I said, "I could have dosed him up with Tylenol when we checked in here an hour ago, and then his fever wouldn't have been 103 right now." And they acknowledged that this was the case.

There's one lesson learned.  I understand why they have that policy, but I think that they might post it somewhere in the waiting area so that people do not wait over an hour with a sick child who then cannot be diagnosed or treated.  They then gave me a $5/15 coupon.

So I took Hank by the hand and we left the office.  I'm sure the people in the waiting area looked at my face and wondered what terrible event had just befallen us.  I walked straight to the shelf and got some acetaminophen and made Hank eat it, then I paid for it and some Gatorade at the back counter.  The always-odd pharmacy clerk who rang me up pointed out to me that she had swiped a CVS card and saved me $1.99.  I thanked her and told her I didn't know where my CVS card was.  She said, "Yes, if I hadn't done that it would have cost you $1.99 more."  Then I killed her, killed her dead with a terrible glare from my terrible eyes and I left the whole store a smoldering ruin.

In the car, I got busy soothing Hank and explaining how we had to just go see one more doctor, one more place and they would give him medicine to make him feel better.  Yes, honey, I know you feel fine but I don't think you really are fine. (He did not feel fine.)  He said, "Mom, why were you crying?  Would you please stop crying?"  I told him that I had felt frustrated but that everything was totally okay and that I was sorry that it scared him. He said, "That's okay, Mom."

So we get to the urgent care place and we get back into an exam room pretty quickly. The guy who took our history was pretty good and he listened to what I said.  Hank's temp was still 103, but was starting to perk up, even that fast, from the Tylenol.  Then the doctor came in and kind of overreacted to the 103 number.  She retook all of the same history and asked me the same question a couple of times without hearing my answer.  I told her, "Yes, whenever our family gets a cold virus, which most of us have right now, it seems that Hank spikes a fever that lasts about 36 hours."  I was not that worried by the high number--to me the number, especially with a rapid onset like that, is not the worrying sign that I look for.

She looked him over and said, "Both his ears are red."  By then he was active and talking.  She said, "He looks good, but the numbers don't look good."

And here's where the visit changed for me:  She said, "Would he let us draw his blood?"

I didn't like that question or the terms in which it was asked.  Like, well do you need to take his blood?  Because if it is necessary, we will do it.  Is it necessary or not?  Tell me that you need it and I will make it okay.  But by asking that question in that manner, I felt that she was willing to exploit the fact of a child's good-natured compliance with being in the doctor's office, for uncertain necessity.  If Hank had been raising hell the whole time instead of chatting up the medical assistant, that issue would not have been raised in that way, I don't think.  And I didn't think they were equipped to do a blood draw in the painless way they do at the children's hospital.  This unfolded in my head in about half a second.

I said, "Well is there a good reason for you to do it?"  And she said, "Why don't we just treat him for the ears and see how he does?"  I said, "Yes, let's do that."  She went away.

I always have great relationships with doctors, both mine and my kids.  But the scenario had shifted into one where I felt I now had to put myself in between Hank and the staff there, like, to protect him, ironically.  This may have been an overreaction in itself, but I was in a fragile state.  Hank, though, was rapidly becoming more fine.

The doc came back in and said, "They can do a CBC with just a finger stick, can we do that?"  I said okay, and Hank was not thrilled when that happened, not at all, but he recovered once he had a giant band-aid.  His temp was down to 101 and he was watching Clone Wars on the little TV.  We waited some more.

The doctor came back in and said his white count was 13, which isn't that elevated if at all, and would he let them give him a shot of rocephin in the butt?  At the word "shot," Hank began to very clearly say that he does not like shots.  And my face must have told her that I didn't either, and she gave us a prescription for Augmentin and told me to bring him back in the next day if he wasn't better.

By the time we got to Publix to get the prescription filled, three hours after our odyssey began, Hank was way chipper and only I was left feeling slightly bruised by the afternoon's events.  The experience in CVS was a real low point.

Another bit of useful info: Augmentin is not one of the antibiotics that Publix gives out for free, as it is compounded of birds' nests and wizard's tears, and in fact it will cost $61.  But one dose of that and he was put right.  He went on to have a brilliant weekend and we are all getting over the crying portion of the day.  The day started with Laura's lovely curls and ended with a thankfully-more-comfortable Hank, with a lot of living in between.

Surely nobody is still reading this but if you are, thank you, I think I just needed to tell someone all that.



Elizabeth said...

I read it all -- and since I'm the very crotchety mother of a child with severe medical needs, I was nodding my head the whole time.


Marie said...

Bless your heart!You are such a great mom!
I was totally feeling everything you were saying. Wish I could have been with you, but I am glad it's behind you! Love you! xoxo

Julie at ModernDayMiddleAge said...

I read every word, too. There is nothing - NOTHING - more awful than not being able to help your kids and being jerked around my doctors in the process. I am so sorry you had such a day with tears and all ... and ever so glad that Hank is okay! Hope you got a glass of wine at the end of the day ...

Anonymous said...

I've seen you mention before that you are not a cryer. Once upon a time, I wasn't either. In fact, I still hate to cry, especially in public. But I'm a mother and getting older so my hormones have taken over. I cry over the weirdest things and for absolutely no reason. I hope that one of these days, I go back to being the sane, normal person I was in my younger days. As crazy as that may sound...

Anonymous said...

I read it all too, because that kind of health stuff gets to me and I like to hear how others handle it. You handle it well, lady.

As I said on The Twitter, I'm shocked there was such a line at CVS...though it was at a time when doctors' offices are closed, so that's probably why. But if it was just a bunch of old people waiting for flu shots, they were mean and should have let you go ahead. Limp child trumps vaccines.

Also, urgent care = wackadoodle. CBC and butt shots, seriously? That seems utterly unnecessary.

Jenni said...

I'd have cried too, woman. Glad the H-Man is on the mend. Hugs to you!

Megan said...

A shot in the rump? For a 4-year-old?? Huh. Mind sharing the locale of this fine urgent care, so we may never step through its doors?

I was with you for the entire ride and would have been in a state as well. And before you worry about not going anywhere child-specific, while CHOA rules the world, I still do remember sitting in their ER 100% speechless and agog when they considered releasing my son rather than admitting him for serious RSV (after my mother, bless her, railed, they admitted him... and we were there 8 days). These poor doctors. There's no winning with us moms. :)

SO glad Hank's better! Augmentin is pricey but magical.

AM said...

I've been to the CVS minute clinic. They "don't do ears." They should post that, so people don't have to sit and wait and find that out after the aggravating wait. Augmentin is truly an ear miracle. I use a lot of it.

Messy Mom said...

I would have been so frustrated. I had to laugh at them giving you a $5/15 coupon. Yeah, that will settle it.

Elle said...

I do not think you overreacted at all, Becky. I hate having to feel like Beatrix Kiddo every time I take my children to a physician, but there is always a kernel of conflict when you do not see the white coat & genuflect, bowing deeply & kissing the stethoscope.

There was one morning at 3am, when I told the attending ER physician in the "leading" children's hospital in front of God & everybody that I was taking my child home + that I would rather take my children to see Joseph Mengele than ever to their facility again + that I would not so much as return with a dog to their care. That might have been overreacting. I remain open to such a judgment. I will refuse to internalize it, but I will allow others to hold such. I'm glad Hank is feeling great, doll. xox

Wifey said...

Can I just say, getting a shot of rocephin in the butt is about the most painful thing that can happen in a doctors office. It's UNREAL how badly it hurts, that medicine is liquid pain, and it hurts and aches for hours afterwards... it may just be grown-ups who have such pain with this dumb shot. :SHUDDER: So glad he didn't have to get that shot.

Jane said...

That sounds awful, awful, awful. I would've been weepy, too.

Kelly said...

I read it ;) xoxox

Amy said...

I can't believe they don't have it posted somewhere about the fever thing! Oh, I can just imagine the frustration. And I totally get the crying, too. Worry about Hank, annoyance with the process, the weariness of it all!

Glad he's okay. Xo

Anonymous said...

i would have cried much earlier in the afternoon. you are a brave and very good mom.

Keely said...

Oh, hon. I just want to give you a hug after reading that. The medical system can be so frustrating and when it's at the expense of your poor patient child, even worse.

I'm glad Hank is on the mend. Maybe now that you've recovered you could go suggest to the CVS that they actually post a sign with that policy.

Beth said...

Are they 100 year old birds nests?

Veronica said...

Aw, Hank is such a sweetie. Poor you, I'm sorry the world made it so tough to take good care of him. As usual, though, you pulled through and were awesome!

A Lawyer Mom's Musings said...

Way to go, protecting little Hank from over-treatment. Blood draws and a shot when all it took was augmenting. How do you like that.

P.S. I would have cried, too.

Rebekah said...

I read it all too, BW. I felt for you in that CVS too. I've shown up to our minute clinic at 6:45 when they close at 7pm too. Hours waiting with a sick cutie pie can do that to you. Glad he bounces back like nobody's business. I hope we'll all be able to play at the Pumpkin Patch in less than a fortnight.

Sjn said...

ugh, Augmentin, I would take the shot instead. That drug gives me stomach pains like a knife stabbing through my gut. Hope he does okay with it.

You never know what's going to break the threshold. You've been and are under a ton of stress. Crying is what I do when I can't handle it anymore.

Like now, everything is so timed out... between our trip to HHI for Thanksgiving, moving Alex that weekend after, my pre-op and surgery that week we get back. Drew just told me that after 12 years with Alzheimers, my SIL's Mother is in hospice. I cried, for my SIL and for me. I can't do it, I can't add another trip to this already way too busy schedule. I can't travel after my surgery. My SIL is always there for me and I want to be there for her.
I think I just reached my threshold.

The Newest Newsome said...

Last winter I promised my two-year-old that we were going to stop by the pediatrician so they could look in her ears and give her the all-clear (after being there two previous times that week). Upon measuring her oxygen levels,they sent us straight to the ER, then admitted her to the hospital for the night. I felt horrendously guilty and cried like an idiot.

chnault said...

It's funny how we can be so stoic during our own medical interventions. But when you can't fix my kid after I waited all of this time, I'm either going to cry or be very very nasty.

Looks like that is dredging up some of the bad experiences from my own 6 darlings.

gretchen said...

Totally would have cried too. Totally. Possibly screamed and wailed as well. Nothing worse than being screwed by "the man" when you're just trying to take care of "the boy".