Friday, February 27, 2009

RANT about my pediatrician's office

I apologize for the lengthy absence- I have been busy, we went out of town for a wedding, we've been spring cleaning, went to a puppet show, lost my wallet, had to drive a ways to retrieve it, had (*gasp!*) another fun date with Billy, and most recently, have been nursing Littleman through another vomiting spell.

Littleman will occasionally, out of the blue, get violently ill and empty his stomach completely. From there it's hours with waves of nausea, dry heaving and vomiting what little liquid his poor innards can muster. He can't keep anything down. I've developed a standard response that's a combination of rest, a homeopathic remedy and lots of diluted gatorade, allowed in tiny sips every 5 - 10 minutes to begin with, gradually increasing the amount by teaspoons until it seems safe to offer a saltine cracker. This usually does the trick, sometimes so well that he might get sick early in the morning and be completely better by dinnertime!

This time has been longer, and the nausea was NOT receding. I was starting to really worry about hydration- he got sick around 6 AM yesterday, and still couldn't keep any liquids down this morning. My gatorade trick wasn't working this time. He was asking for fruit smoothie and milk, which I knew weren't things he was "supposed" to have, but I finally decided it was worth a try at least. The smoothie stayed down long enough that he probably got some benefit before it reappeared, which was good- but still not great. When I told him just to sip milk and water, things improved. I still thought I should call the pediatrician's office though, just to consult and to be sure the episode was noted on his chart.

Warning: here follows a rant, which was unleashed when I started a comment on Foolery's Free-Association Friday post. I didn't realize it was in me, till I started free-associating. Perhaps I ought to purge my sub-conscious more often. ;)

That was one uber-annoying phone call, in which the phone nurse stopped just short of telling me that I am an INCOMPETENT mother because I have allowed my nauseous, vomiting son to drink a little MILK, since that's what he wanted, and thank heavens it's WORKING- get that, WORKING- when no amount of diluted gatorade has done the trick for the last 28 HOURS. . . but no, I should chuck my intuition and experience out the window because the all-holy bleeping PHONE NURSE says milk should NEVER be offered to a child whose been vomiting, no matter how much or how pitifully they beg for it, therefore I should immediately switch back to diluted gatorade and bring him to the office if he's not better by TOMORROW. (~pant, pant~) Never mind the fact that ignoring the condescending DEAR has resulted in a son who can now walk about and eat chicken soup and crackers without puking all over the place. (knock on wood) She also seemed nearly CERTAIN that this is all just another stomach bug (there's at least a couple of them making the rounds right now) and that I can't possibly know what I am talking about when I tell her I am nearly certain it is NOT. Because, what the hell do I know? She's had a whole five minutes to think about this, and I'M only his MOM!

I'm getting really sick of the phone nurses at this practice making me feel like they are the only people on the planet with the right answers, and any unconventional, traditional, natural or intuitive steps I take are nothing short of DANGEROUS. I love my pediatrician, but the phone nurses make me glad we're not having any more children. I am tired of dealing with them. You should have heard the nurses when I revealed that I use breast milk to treat a stuffy nose! (It WORKS.) They got the pediatrician to call me back, they were so very CONCERNED. She told me it couldn't hurt, and to go ahead and do it if I thought it was working for us. You'd think the nurses could give me SOME credit, considering we're almost never there except for good, healthy checkups. I am on my THIRD child, after all! I've figured out a thing or two by now. I'm sorely tempted to lie to them, omitting any natural tactics I use for my children's health and pretending that I only ever do what they say. I can tell my pediatrician- she might raise her eyebrows occasionally, or ask questions, but she uses her brain and never dismisses me out of hand. I suspect she thinks some of my methods are overzealous or strange but ultimately harmless, and she chooses not to pass judgment as long as it won't hurt anything. I like her. I'm glad I can be honest with her, because I WANT to know if there's a sound medical argument against something I want to try, or if her conventional treatment might be adversely impacted by a natural remedy. Open communication with healthcare providers is very important to me.

Oh and never mind the fact that, according to the nurse this morning, there are only TWO of Littleman's vomiting episodes noted in his chart. Excuse me, but DAMMIT! I made a point of calling every time and SPECIFICALLY asking them to note it on his chart. I can't believe I trusted them to do this and did not keep track of it myself somewhere. Live and learn. I'll be talking to my pediatrician about that.

Sigh. Ranting over. Now if only I can get Littleman to eat some more soup.


Kyddryn said...

Aww, sugar - that sucks on so many levels!

I'm glad he's on the mend.

Shade and Sweetwater,
K (who thinks you're a brilliant mama...)

Anonymous said...

Oh you dear heart! What a run of it you've had. But do you know what? I love the "Mama" in you. You are on heck of a strong, intuitive, right on "Mama". Good for you. This did not feel like a rant at all to me. It felt REALLY REALLY important. I'm sure any other mother's reading this will feel stronger, more encouraged to trust themselves and their children, and have more courage to speak up against arrogant medical people, be they nurses or doctors. I've learned this: A good, really good, nurse or doctor listens to their patient and NEVER assumes they (Dr. or nurse) know it all. I am so glad you are strong like this, glad for you and glad for your kids. I support you 100% I am also really proud of you. I'm glad he's doing better. And so sorry you have to put up with the arrogance and even ignorace. Big hugs to you, Robin :)

foolery said...

Miss Kit, I hope you will print out that entire post exactly as it is and mail it to your pediatrician, marked PERSONAL. That says so simply and truthfully what a toe-to-toe conversation would probably only hint at (if you're like me, because I waffle). DO IT! The pediatrician needs to know what she may already suspect -- that her standards of care are not being upheld by her staff, who need to be retrained or shipped out.

That was awesome, and not a rant at all, but the birth of a letter.

And I think you sound like a really, really great parent.

s m i l e

-- Laurie

Kit said...

@ Kyddryn: Thank you, dear. It simply annoyed the stew out of me. There's probably some good documented reason not to give a nauseous kid milk, but to completely dismiss me, even after I told her it was the only thing that had worked so far? Grrr.

@ Robin: You know, I DO hope my words might help some parent (or anyone, really) have the courage to speak up if they feel a medical provider is running roughshod over their own intuition. Or, at least to seek out a second opinion, before taking one medical person's advice at face value.

@ Laurie: I may just do that- perhaps not print it out word for word, but use it as the rough draft of a letter. One thing I didn't bother to make clear though, is that I'm not sure exactly who it is that is always so condescending. I think they tell you their name at the beginning of the phone call, but I ALWAYS forget. It might be several phone nurses, or it's possible I am unlucky and always get the bad apple. Such qualifiers would be important when I complain to the pediatrician, but just served to muck up my nice little rant, so I left them out here. ;) Anyhow, thank you for the encouragement.

Anonymous said...

A nurse at my doctor's surgery once told me I was probably diabetic and immediately sent me to hospital, told me I had to go NOW... the doctor was not impressed, apart from the fact that she was wrong, she'd also scared the crap out of me and totally exceeded her responsibility. I mean at least she was trying, but your lot seem like they are trained not to think or take initiative. I completely understand your rant, which would have been peppered with bad language had it been mine!

I'm sure you already know about this anti nausea tip but just in case you don't, a small amount of root ginger is a true miracle cure. A bit of grated ginger in a hot drink or if your child is adventurous and can stomach it, crystallised ginger or a small bit of root ginger to chew. Even ginger beer if it contains real ginger will do the trick. I know not all kids can deal with ginger, but it's worth a try. I can't stress how well this works or how well it can soothe a badly upset stomach, for all ages.

Kit said...

@ Bird: Ha- my instinct was for cursing as well, but luckily I have refrained from it for so long that I am out of the habit. :)

I do know about ginger, thank you! It's awesome stuff- however, Littleman doesn't like it at all. I did manage to get a little into him via Knudsen's Lemon Ginger Echinacea juice- I called it "lemonade" and mixed it with a little ginger ale. He liked that pretty well. (Mmmmmm, so did I!!)