Thursday, November 08, 2007

Where Do I Begin?

or, The One Where I BITCH Endlessly About My Old Pediatrician...

I didn't realize even remotely how much I hated my old pediatrician until I took Ethan to his new pediatrician today. Don't get me wrong, I knew I didn't like him. I knew I didn't like the practice in general. I knew it when the first doctor we saw in the practice (before the delusion, I referred to him here as young hot Jewish doctor) told us it was time to stop co-sleeping and let Ethan cry it out when he wasn't yet six months old and he was still nursing constantly to catch up from his 4lbs, 13oz birth weight. I knew it when the second doctor we saw all but patted me on the head and *reassured* me with, "Don't fret, it's not like he's dying" when he handed me a prescription for an appetite stimulant, to be administered three times daily, as a means of addressing my son's stagnant weight-gain.

But I did not realize that my fiery hot loathing of them could extend to the depth it is tonight. Seriously--the burning intensity of a million white hot suns about sums it up. Where shall I begin?

How about I start with the story about trying to get a hold of Ethan's medical records? I requested them, paid $25 for them and then waited for them to call me to come and get them. The next day they called the house to let us know they were available and offered to email Husband a.pdf file of the records. Great. So I spent last Friday night squinting at my computer screen, scrolling through 86 pages of Ethan's medical history.

Considering how many times they've poo-poo'd my questions about Ethan's weight and how slowly he gains, and considering they NEVEREVEREVER used the term while we were in their office, you wouldn't expect the diagnosis, "failure to thrive" to be on every other page of his medical records, would you? But, there it was, page after page after page: "Failure to Thrive". My friends, when I tell you I saw double and saw red and lost a good 4 years off of my life from the stress of the anger I felt, don't think I'm exaggerating. I'm not. What kind of pediatrician writes that in a medical chart, but doesn't tell a parent? What kind of pediatrician writes that in a medical chart for months without addressing it (this goes back to early summer, shortly after his first birthday)? Oh, yeah, I guess the type of pediatrician who prescribes an appetite stimulant to a 17 month old without exploring any cause for his inability to gain weight. Der.

So, that alone is enough to make any parent want to spit nails, I'm sure. But then I had the added fun of actually trying to go and pick up the records themselves, to give to the new pediatrician. See, they didn't have them.

Yeah, they wanted to tell me that the .pdf file counted as giving me his medical records. Um. No, it doesn't. It counts as emailing me a .pdf file of the records that you are GOING to give me when I come back to your godforsaken office to pick them up. Otherwise, what am I paying you $25 for, because I KNOW it isn't to open a new email, hit "attach file", scroll to correct file, hit "attach" and then hit "send". If the going rate for that is $25, I needs to get me a job in that thar office! I assumed the $25 fee was to compensate them for their time, printer ink and paper (which is still a massive racket, but whatever).

No, apparently I'm expected to print out the .pdf file (all 86 pages of it) on my own computer, with my own time, my own paper, and my own ink. When I tell them that simply isn't acceptable, the magnanimously offer to burn it all to a CD for me to take to the new pediatrician so they can print it. Wow. Aren't they going to love me over there at the place, huh? "Hi, my son has an appointment. And here, could you be a dear an print out almost 100 pages of medical jabber while you're at it?"

So after having been called four days earlier and told that the records were ready, I was then asked to wait an additional 20 minutes so they could get the records ready. (insert fingers in the shape of a gun pointing to my own head and pulling the trigger here). The woman who finally gave handed them over did so with an icy glare, as though I was the unreasonable one in this scenario (and I assure you, I was so very polite my face hurt from the smiling) and AT LAST, we were done with that office forever.

Now, I'll tell you about the new pediatrician. This is where, if you want some audio/visual, you could envision the clouds parting, a chorus "awwwww'ing" and happy trumpets heralding in a new age--the age of the competent pediatrician.

Their office was baby proofed. They gave me a handout outlining 18 month milestones and actual printed information about the vaccinations given at 18 months. The first thing the pediatrician did when she came in was...gasp...sit and talk with me about Ethan and what he's up to these days. She had me hold Ethan during the entire exam (instead of insisting he be on the table for the majority of the exam). She reacted very professionally when I told her about the appetite stimulant, but I could tell, there was a flicker behind her eyes that let me know she thought that was some crazy sh*t.

Oh! And let me add to the conundrum that is how the other pediatrician office stays in business--they only sent over growth charts up to 2 months. Yeah, that's right. They gave me my 18 month old son's medical records with growth charts that only cover the months of May and June '06. Nice job, folks!

So my new doctor is going to chart his growth based on the the records they did bother to copy for us and let me know what she thinks. She did say that given his weight, strictly speaking he is considered to be "failure to thrive" and she's pretty mind-boggled as to why they'd never mention that or take steps to investigate it at the old office. She's fairly certain he's fine and just on the small side, based on her interactions with him today; but she may want to do some blood work just to see if there's something that merits further investigation.

Ugh. I need a drink.


KMW said...

I'm so sorry that happened to you! As someone who works at a pediatrician's office, I am duly appalled on your behalf. I'm so glad that your new pediatrician is so nice and attentive.

Sarah said...

Oh my god. I'm pissed just reading this. Glad you found a new doctor!

Alice said...

How horrible! But isn't it so wonderful when you go to an office that's not full of lunatics? (or first ped was a total nightmare) That is really one relationship that needs to be a good one, where you can trust what the doctor is telling you. It sounds like the new doc. will be a vast improvement.

Becca said...

That makes me so angry! Can you file a formal complaint or anything?

Amy said...

OK that is so ridiculous I am outraged. Your new pedi sounds wonderful (and everything you described is how my pedi does it and he rocks the house in my opinion) and I am SO GLAD you switched.

Now about the FTT... I know you were thinking this all along so of course the Mommy instinct was right on. And of course it is nothing you did. He totally could be a slow gainer or just a skinny kid. Which is fine. But I am so glad they are going to look into it so you are at least validated in your concerns.

Ugh. I am so glad you are done with the asshole doctors.