Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Typhoid made me do it.

Yesterday morning while trying to get my son out the door in time for camp armed with a packed lunch, slathered with sunscreen, and stocked with appropriate gear for swimming, running, jumping and climbing trees, I was on the phone in a heated conversation with a medical office regarding the typhoid shot for my kids. I was also unfortunately trying to take out the garbage as Tuesday is garbage day here. And if you could see the amount of Amazon boxes and product packaging that has accumulated around the house as we prepare for new babe, you'd know getting most, if not all, of it out the door to the curb was important from a fire safety standpoint.

Not that I am sleeping, but when I awake with a start I think perhaps I must have been asleep at one point. The panic was a result of realizing I must have thrown out an unpacked Amazon box that had bottles and other small baby set up items. We are a divided household when it comes to breaking down boxes. My other half is very keen to flatten anything and store it away, preferably in the garbage. I however take the lazy easy approach and just bring the damn boxes to the curb. Hey, someone may want to use them. Yes, I am hiding behind the very thin veil of recycling and reusing. Did it work? Not sure.

I called our pediatrician last week to ask if we could talk about medications to bring to China for SweetPea and Buddy in case they come down with something. The conversation went so off the rails that it was really hard to get back to the actual request and by yesterday I realized, in fact, we never really did get back to the point of the original phone call. Amidst her asking me what kind of medicine I'd want for what kind of illnesses we might encounter and me trying really hard not to say what I wanted to, which was, "you're the doctor lady, you tell me", she also asked if I had been looking on the internet to figure out what I wanted. I felt like I was at McDonalds with no menu. How am I supposed to know what to ask for?? And before we could get to the fact that, yes the kids may get strep throat or an ear infection while in China and yes, I would like to be able to give them medicine we bring from the States, she sort of went into full panic mode of quizzing me on whether they've had all their shots. It is always an interesting scenario when the doctor gets worked up but the parent is still calm. I think it was just about this point in the conversation when we stepped off the rails and veered down a prickly path. She then said "what about typhoid?". Now  you should know that in November, yes LAST November, I called their office asking about the shots needed for China and in my notes from that conversation - because I am just that kind of person who can track down notes from a phone call made last November- I noted that they were unsure of the typhoid shot and I needed to consult a travel doc.

So early this spring SJ and I went to our travel doc for lots of shots and lectures about how to be safe while traveling to countries like China.  We asked about the typhoid shot for the kids and the answer was that since they were still young they were not likely to be adventurous eaters and the shot was, in her opinion, optional for them. A month later I went with SweetPea to her annual appointment and spoke with her ped- the panicky one I described above- and there was a shrug. A, well, if you want to but it's not totally needed shrug. A few weeks after that I went with Ben to his annual and saw a different doc and asked the same question only to get the same response. So considering the lack of enthusiasm from the medical professionals that our children needed the shot, and my children's extreme dislike for injections, we decided not to do it.

Then all hell broke loose with panicky pedi last week who derailed our phone call to hang up on me and make a personal call to HER travel doctor to see if she could get us an appointment in short order. About 10 minutes later a panicky travel doc admin called me and I had to talk HER off the ledge. In fact I believe I said these words "Listen, since I am the parent and I am not panicking, could we please have everyone else calm down?!?"

She takes my info. Books an appointment for Buddy for the following Wednesday (today) at 4:30 pm. I tell her I pick him up from camp at 4:00 and will scoot as fast as I can over to their office. We make an appointment for SweetPea on Monday b/c she is still at sleepaway camp. The problem is that this vaccine takes 10 days to become effective so SweetPea will have a lower immunity than Buddy which sucks. And this is why I am pissed at my pediatrician who completely dropped the ball!

Then Monday afternoon I get a message from the travel doc administrator telling me that they would like to have us come in at 4:00 because she is afraid we might be late, and because they don't get overtime, if we were even 5 minutes late, they would cancel our appointment. I reminded her that Buddy doesn't get out of camp until 4:00 (and comes by boat so I can't grab him early) so I could not get to an appointment at that time. She basically shrugged her shoulders and said that I had better move his appointment to Monday with his sister. I told her I'd call her back Tuesday morning.

So in the midst of getting Buddy and the garbage needed baby supplies out the door, I was on the phone with the travel doc office speaking to a new admin who was confirming the whole won't stay an extra 5 minutes due to lack of overtime story. Before I let her rebook Buddy for the following Monday, I said the following: "So just to be clear, you are canceling my 4:30 appointment on the hunch that I might be 5-10 minutes late and your medical professionals (might have to strike that last word) will not stay 5 minutes past closing to give an 8 year old a typhoid vaccine because you would not make overtime on those 5 minutes? And that you would rather have him get a shot too close to travel to be 100% effective because you would not make overtime on 5 minutes?" And she replied, "Yes, that is correct." I wanted to call her a loser. But I didn't.

Now, I could have kept him home from camp today to get to this appointment on time but last night was his first camp sleepover. All the kids were invited to stay the night on the island in tents and do the whole campfire singing songs thing. So to not have him go to camp today would have meant not letting him do his very first camp overnight. And since they are on an ISLAND (which this woman was well aware of) I can't go get him early. I am trying very hard to keep everyone's life normal as we hurtle closer to the day when everything changes. I am trying to allow my big kids to do all the big kid things they want and not have to get yanked around and miss things on account of their little sister. So he will get the shot on Monday with SweetPea and I will tell the medical people (after the shots are administered) where they can shove it.

I got home from dropping him off at camp really worked up and placed a phone call to my pediatrician asking for a call back from a nurse since panicky pedi was not in on Tuesdays. When the nurse called back I let her know I wanted amoxicillen prescribed for both kids and scabies cream prescribed (kind of required for this trip) for the baby. She started to give me the run around but I had had it and told her we were not going to have this conversation that she was simply going to call everything in to CVS. By the end of the call she realized there was no wiggle room with me on any of these issues and said everything should be ready on Wednesday.

Now, about those bottles...


jgh said...

Oh, SPY, I feel for you! We went to the Beverly Travel Clinic before our Return Trip to China (April 2009), where they didn't blink an eye about prescribing an antibiotic to take as a precaution. Sorry you had to experience this unnecessary hassle. At least your kids will have the Typhoid vaccine. I just want to reassure you that our group took about 20 girls (ages 6-14) back to China and none of them got sick - Bottled water, hand washing, no fruit that wasn't peeled within an inch of its life. Have a great trip, God Speed and we can't wait to meet Cici, "virtually" or in person. All the best - Jean Hart

Glinda said...

I thoroughly enjoyed that whole post...

I have to go now and grapple with the thought that I just may be a sadist ;)

But, seriously, please take heart that your trials and tribulations did bring some joy to those of us hanging by a very thin thread.

Way to go, with the meds, finally!

P.S. Did you have panicky pedi look over Chloe's file--or did you do that at all, just trolling for more info...

Shannon said...

Glinda- seriously it is hilarious. it is ridiculous, but absolutely hilarious. I mean who acts like that? Why don't people take pride in their jobs any more???

And when it comes to having a Pedi look over your file, it will be clear to you at referral whether you need to or not. It just depends on the information, the picture the medical info.