Monday, January 07, 2008

turns out that germs carry over into the new year

Happy New Year!

I have so much to tell you, I don't even know where to start! We're back from Germany and the Czech Republic, my parents visited for 10 days, we had a family birthday celebration for Gabe, he caught some crud going around and we had to cancel his "friend" birthday party, and today was a stressful day filled with a lot of crying. His, not mine, although by the time bedtime rolled around, it was a close call.

Before we left for the trip, I owed you an update on what was going on with the Coxsackie/Hand, Foot and Mouth virus. It seems that your well-wishes and positive thoughts did make an impact, because by the time we left, the blisters had cleared up. Unfortunately, the day before we left, I was diagnosed with a sinus infection, and Gabe was diagnosed with double ear infections. TWO. In his ears. Exactly what you need when you are taking a baby on a plane for 8 hours the next day. His crazy diaper yeast infection turned out not to look so much like a diaper yeast infection and more like some kind of crazy response to the Coxsackie virus. That whole area was swollen and blistered and looked incredibly painful for most of the trip, and only started to get better about 2 days before we came home. We had a lot of diaperless time in hotel rooms. I left apologies to the cleaning staff.

The kicker about Gabe's ear infections, though, is that I never suspected them. We went in for the diaper check because the rash was rampantly worse since the yeast diagnosis the week before. The pediatrician agreed that it was probably not yeast and decided it was likely Coxsackie just taking an ugly turn. He chatted with me for another 30 seconds and then rushed out of the room. I was putting Gabe's diaper back on and realized that he hadn't checked Gabe's ears, which were a source of concern for me given the flight and the fact that the week before the physician's assistant said he had fluid in his ears.

I called the nurse over and told her that I'd forgotten but wondered if the doctor could check his ears for just a second. She looked at me blankly and said that she didn't know where he was but she'd see if she could find him. She came back a minute later and said matter-0f-factly, "Oh sorry, he's on the phone." End of statement. So I suggested that perhaps I could wait for him, and she said she'd see if he was available soon. 2 minutes later, she comes back and says, "He can't see Gabe now, he's actually going in with another patient."

I was a tiny bit stunned, given the fact that it had now been 5 minutes since he'd been in to see Gabe, and HONESTLY, how long does it take to look in his ears? I asked if someone else could see him and she said everyone was busy.

Now I'm pissed, so I said, testily, that I would wait. She left for another couple minutes and then came back to tell me that one of the nurses had agreed to look in his ears, as if she was doing me a favor.

The nurse comes in, looks in his ears, and exclaims in surprise, "He DOES have ear infections!" She writes out a prescription, and as we're packing up to leave, I asked her if she wouldn't mind mentioning this to the pediatrician since I felt like he thought I was being ridiculous by insisting on an ear check. And she said, "Yes, I think so too." As in, agreeing that the pediatrician thought I was ridiculous! So first he refuses to come back in to check Gabe's ears, despite the fact that it was literally 30 seconds after he walked out, and THEN he expresses annoyance that I'm asking???

Anyway, we're walking out, and all the nurses are crowded into the front office, and one of them looks at me questioningly, and I say, "He has double ear infections," and they all gasp in unison and I hear a chorus of no ways, and wow, and I didn't believe it. Meaning, of course, that they were all up there having a little gossip fest, I assume, about what a pain in the ass I am.

I was rather taken aback, and rushed out of there fuming, and then called Josh and my mom to see if I was overreacting or if they agreed that I had a right to be upset. I had to talk Josh off the ledge of calling the pediatrician and pitching a fit, so I made the decision that despite my hatred of confrontation, I owed it to the pediatrician to give him a call. I did, and they connected me right away, and he was relatively apologetic. I say relatively, because he pushed most of the blame on his staff, and claimed that he didn't refuse to come back in and was already in with another patient when the nurse came in to ask him about the ear check, and he only asked if I could wait a couple of minutes. I'm trying to see it from his point of view, but still, I'm pissed. I think it was rude and unprofessional not to come back in when I'm asking for an ear check, and although I understand that I should have remembered to ask him, I don't think it is an acceptable response to refuse to come back in!

The lesson learned, though, is that it is my job to stand up for Gabe. On three instances, the nurse tried to get me to leave, and three times I had to insist that someone look in his ears. If I hadn't insisted, we would have boarded a plane to Europe with no antibiotic and a baby in a ton of pain. Now I know. I have to push back, even if I hate doing it. I owe it to my child.

The other hanging topic from before the holidays is the dog. The dog continues to have issues, but I am choosing to ignore his issues until we settle down with everything else on the health front. I'm being extra nice and offering treats and keeping an eye on him, but I have too much on my plate to find him a doggy psychologist just yet. Since we've gotten back from our trip, he has been better. Maybe having us away for 10 days scared him into better behavior. Or maybe he just needed a break from us or Gabe and now he is feeling better. I hope.

I also have so many stories about our trip, and about the amazing, unbelievable child that emerged while we were away, and I'll post them as soon as the screaming stops around here. With pictures! I have tons of our little world traveler and his trusty stroller.

I hope you all had great holidays and very happy new years. I can't wait to catch up.


Corey said...

Do you still feel comfortable with this doctor? The reason that I ask it that the story makes me very uneasy with the short time that he spent with Gabe. When a sick kid comes in it should be standard, regardless of whether it's for a bum rash or not, to check ears, chest, eyes, nose and mouth. I'm glad that you're all on the mend, finally!

Angie said...

Things like that make me scurry and begin looking for another doctor. Although I have not changed our pediatrician I have threatened to on more than one occassion.

Welcome home!

Nadine said...

I'm livid with your pediatrician and he's not even my doctor. Argh! Thank goodness you stayed firm.

Meika said...

I think I'd be asking around about other pediatricians. Maybe he was just having a bad day - it happens, right? - but I think I'd want to have a couple recommended names as back-up if this turns out to be a true reflection of the office culture here. I don't know how the conversation with him went, but it raised a caution flag for me that he blamed it on his staff - usually the docs in a practice are in a supervisory position over the staff, so I would've expected him to say that he'd addressed it with them if it were really their issue.

Good for you for sticking up for Gabe, though! And can you imagine if you hadn't??

halloweenlover said...

I'm glad to hear that you all agree that I wasn't being unreasonable!

I know, I walked out of the office intent on switching pediatricians because I was so mad. In the end, after much thought and after our conversation, I feel like I owe him another chance. Maybe it was a misunderstanding, maybe he did ask if I could wait a few minutes, maybe he was having a bad day. I don't know, but other than this issue, we've really loved him. He is considered one of the top pediatricians in the area and came highly recommended because of his excellent demeanor and clinical skills. Also, I have my quirks about children's medicine, and he tends to agree with my quirks, so it works for me. This is a topic for another post, but I dislike giving medication unless it is really necessary, and that includes vaccines. He agrees, so Gabe hasn't received some of the vaccines that are common for his little friends, like chicken pox, rota virus and the flu vaccine.

We are giving him all of the "standard" vaccines, though, lest any of you start yelling at me. I owe you a post on this topic in the future.

In the meantime, thanks for the support. I'm glad I'm not crazy for being upset!

Chatty said...

I would definitely give him another shot, although I think you are justified in your anger and upset! That' just not acceptable! And are you SURE that Nurse didn't mean to say, "yes, I think so too" as in "YES, I think the doctor needs to know he shouldn't have brushed this off" because that is CLEARLY the only acceptable response here.

I'm encouraged by his reaction to your follow up conversation, and a pediatrician relationship is such a long term thing that you know something like this was bound to come up sooner or later. As long as you're otherwise happy with him, and this has been the first issue, I'd stick with him.

And LORDY but all of the sick needs to go!

Kristin said...

I'm so jealous that you've been to Germany and the Czech Republic! I'm DYING to go to the Czech Republic. I want to hear every single miniscule detail!

And you were totally right to be upset at the doctor's office. Of course, this is coming from someone who is nursing a burgeoning hatred of her entire obgyn's office.

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