Thursday, September 18, 2008

The next time my kid gets sick I'm taking him to a vet.

I'm always amazed when I have to deal with doctor visits, for myself or for J, at the difference between the way I treat my client/patients, and the way we are treated. I hate for my clients to wait in the waiting room for more than a few minutes, and I'm fanatic about calling them myself with lab results as soon as they come in, even if they're normal. As we all know, that's not exactly how it works at the "human" doctor.

Yesterday we had to take J to the ophthalmologist. For a few weeks he's been complaining that one of his eyes hurts, and rubbing his eye and doing this weird blinking thing. Our regular pediatrician didn't see anything wrong but because of the concern about things like childhood retinoblastoma, he recommended that we take J's complaint seriously and see an ophthalmologist for a full exam. So the appointment was made, and for the past couple of weeks I was dreading what I knew was going to be a Major Fiasco.

I tried to be proactive and make the earliest possible appointment (at 7:30am) so we'd hopefully be the first ones seen and not have to wait. Nice fantasy that was. We showed up on time, and spent 20 minutes filling out forms and answering questions not really applicable to a two-year-old (History of smoking? High blood pressure? Glaucoma medication?). After a 30 minute wait we were ushered into a room and the nurse, who obviously doesn't regularly work with toddlers, attempted to put J through the usual battery of eye tests. She allowed him to sit on my lap in the big mechanical chair, and asked him to "look to the left, then the right," or "look at the ceiling. Come on, buddy stop moving around, look at the ceiling, ok?" I'm not sure I've ever used the word "ceiling" with J, but whatever. (Side note: Their office really needs to update. At one point they held up a picture that had among other things on it, a rotary phone and said, "Point at the phone!" Completely blank look from J. A Palm Centro -- THAT he would have known LOL.) He actually did pretty well for the most part...and then came the eye drops. First the numbing drops, because as she explained, the dilating drops "can burn like crazy." So she had me hold J down, and then she asked me to hold his eyelids open because he was struggling too much and her acrylic nails were so long she was worried she'd scratch his eye. That's what she said. Then she completely missed the left eye with the numbing agent, so when she put in the dilating drop he started to scream bloody murder and thrash around. All the while J clutching me, wailing "My eye! My eye! Noooo Mommy!"

After sending us out in the hall for another 30 minutes to wait for his eyes to fully dilate, they brought us back into the same room, where J proceeded to drop to the floor and throw a major fit (understandably) about being back in the Room of Eye Drop Hell. So I whipped out the M & M's I'd brought for just such an occasion, and started to coax him into the exam chair again by promising that if he was good for the doctor he could have some candies.

And here's where I almost lost my cool with the nurse. Obviously this lady doesn't have any kids or work with toddlers much, because she had the nerve to say in her most I Don't Have Kids Yet So I Can Be Judgmental of Parents voice, "Oh, come on Mom, don't bribe him, he'll be fine." What? Did you just tell me not to bribe my kid when we're trying to force him into a giant mechanical chair for an ophtho exam? And how, pray tell, will the doctor be able to look into his EYES if he's squeezing them shut and screaming at the top of his lungs? Hell yes, I'll bribe him, thank you very much (can you tell I was a bit ticked at that?).

(Deep breath) Anyhoo...the rest of the exam went suprisingly well, considering. The doctor was actually great with J and reduced the stress level significantly just by his tone of voice. He even got J to put his chin on the little chin thing and hold still for a quick slit lamp exam. He didn't see anything abnormal, which was comforting, except...he was only able to see about 50% of the retinas because J kept moving his eyes around. You know, like a normal 2 year old. So after 2 1/2 hours of screaming, crying, freaking out, burning eyes, and now dilated eyes, we were referred to a pediatric ophthalmologist who could "probably handle a patient this age a little better," just to be on the safe side. AAAAGH! Why didn't we go there to begin with?!? You mean we have to do this whole thing again in a couple of weeks?? Yeesh. Next time J has a problem, I'm just bringing him to work with me -- at least here we're used to patients who jump around throughout the exam and have no problem "bribing" them to do what we want with dog biscuits. Just kidding. Kind of.


Steph said...

OMG. I would have freaked out at the lady telling me what to do with my child like that. Holy crap. I hope the next appointment goes better for you both.

-Bridget said...

I know this frustration. I wish there was a way to demand better service but unfortunately, I think we are screwed.

Julie said...

The whole experience sounds pretty miserable. From the acrylic nails to poor J's eye getting burned b/c she "missed" to having to see another doc. I think when you are a medical professional yourself you have an entirely different perspective. Good luck with the ped opthomologist. It will probably go much smoother and bribe away--hello people bribes were invented for 2 year olds!

Karla said...

Sorry to hear about your experience. Its so true, though, doctor's are too busy for their patients and its not right. I wish they would all treat their patients as you treat yours!

Joanna said...

I think you have hit on the right idea. I don't know what my mama bear instinct would have done when the woman made the finger nail comment, but it wouldn't have been good.