The grand finale of Junior’s fever and stomach complaint wasn’t a pukefest...it was a double ear infection.
For that I am eternally grateful.
Vomiting was such a routine part of my own childhood that I kept a sleeping bag in the bathroom. No parent wants to add “sleeping bag” to her child’s Christmas list because she sees him following in her footsteps. There are things to be sentimental about.
Vomit isn’t one of them.
Junior’s health has been a bit of a bumpy road this past year. The craptastic relationship we had with his pediatrician didn’t help matters. The list I made for “Top 10 signs you should switch pediatricians” was accurate, sadly. To say the doctor sucked would be an understatement.
Why didn’t I end the relationship sooner? I didn’t listen my gut, and I was blinded by the pediatrician’s reputation at Mulletville Hospital. To many folks, he walks on water. I kept believing that the next visit would be the one where I witnessed his magic.
Dumb, dumb, dumb.
This summer I finally listened to my gut. A mother I met at the library raved about a doctor in Mulletville Lite. Her children were grown, but she said Dr. Blahblahblah had treated her children like family. If your kid was really, really sick, she saw you on the weekend (everyone knows that kids get sick at 5 pm on Friday—everyone). She was also good at diagnosing illnesses other than colds.
Since Junior suffers from an as-of-yet diagnosed stomach problem, I was sold.
We joined Dr. Blahblahblah’s practice. During our first visit, I noticed a lovely picture of Dr. Blahblahblah in the waiting room. She had an ethereal look to her—healing incarnate. I couldn’t wait to meet her.
Over the next few months I took the kids in for check-ups. For colds. For shots. I met with the staff to talk about a procedure for Junior at the Hartford Children’s Center.
Still no Dr. Blahblahblah.
I peeked in the windows. I peeked in the Record’s Room. I peeked in the bathroom.
Still no Dr. Blahblahblah.
I kept believing that the next visit would be the one where I met this damn doctor. Soon! Soon it would be our turn!
Then, this past weekend Chuck and I had to take Junior to the Mulletville Hospital ER. His stomach was acting up. We wanted to get to the bottom of it.
As I was filling out the paperwork, the doctor asked who Junior’s pediatrician was.
“Dr. Blahblahblah!” I said.
I waited for him to say, “Wow! That doctor is amazing!” Instead he laughed and said, “Really? Dr. Blahblahblah’s been dead for at least a year.”
“Dead?” I said. “She’s dead?”
“Cancer. Terrible thing.”
I suddenly understood the picture in the waiting room.
It seems I "suddenly" understand a lot these days.
Please, learn from my mistakes. If you're looking for a pediatrician, it's great to ask for recommendations, but make sure to visit the office first yourself. Google him or her and read up on ratings, if there are any.
Call the pediatrician's office and ask:
1. What hospital the doctor(s) is affiliated with
2. How common it is to be seen that day
3. If they have a weekend answering service
4. If the pediatrician(s) has any particular specialty
5. How many doctors vs. nurses the practice has and if you'll be seen by an RN or LPN more often than not
6. How many years of experience the pediatrician has
7. If the pediatrician is alive
Did I miss anything?
P.S. Lest you think I am a total idiot, Dr. Blahblahblah's practice still answers the phone "Dr. Blahblahblah." So you see...
About me: I'm 42 and added another gherkin to our pickle party of a family. My husband Chuck, our 9-year-old Junior, our 6-year-old Everett, our toddler and I live in a town in Connecticut I affectionately call Mulletville Lite (aka my childhood hometown). My friends call me Nutjob, and they're right. In my husband's spare time he dresses up as a Viking and chases ghosts (and I'm the nutjob?). When I'm not busy working as a graphic designer, I lie in a ball in the corner.