Tuesday, November 20, 2007

The Post in Which I Reveal Myself to Be One of THOSE Mothers

On a scale of 1 to 10, I think my kids would rate about a 7 for appropriate behavior in public. The Boy hasn't quite learned what an inside voice is. And he's developed a fetish for a clean nose. Suffice it to say, he digs for gold about as often as Yukon Cornelius.

We're working on it.

But for the most part, they don't pinball around waiting rooms, grocery stores, restaurants, etc. They aren't particularly whiny or tearful. And they are usually pretty cooperative. So when I perceive that people in the business of rendering service to children are less than friendly, well, it's annoying.

Last night, we took the Girl to an ear, nose and throat specialist, to whom we were referred by her pediatrician. The pediatrician wanted her to be seen by said specialist because the Girl developed her first ear infection about a month ago. Despite being on Amoxicillin for 10 days, it became two ear infections. After second round of antibiotics (Cedifir, this time), the two ear infections raged on, and the Girl was placed on a third, different round of antibiotics which seems to have knocked it out of her system. Despite that, her pediatrician wants to diagnose the need for Eustachian tubes for the Girl early, if at all. Dr. G doesn't want to continue to pump her full of antibiotics, which I support, because I don't want the Girl to become resistant to their effects.

Wouldn't you think that a place to which I am referred for the treatment of a one-year-old, a place that accepts an appointment for a one-year-old, would have medical professionals who have a better bedside manner and equipment for toddlers? They wanted to weigh the Girl, but they didn't have a children's scale. They just asked me to hold her and stand on the scale with her. They didn't weight me separately, though, so they took my word for my guess as to what I weigh (we don't have a scale at home, so I honestly don't know). Yay for imprecision. Then they asked me if I happened to remember how long she is. I couldn't. But did they measure her? Nope. They just left it blank.

When the doctor came into the room, he asked me about the reason for my visit. So, I told him (I'd already told the physician's assistant, who typed it into a laptop where one would assume the doc could read it). He asked me if she seemed to be having trouble walking. Well, yeah, but that's only because she's one and doesn't really walk without holding onto to furniture. Then, he asked me if she's talking. Again, not really, on account of her being one year old. She's mastered, "Mama," "Dada," and "Bah" for bottle, but that's about it. He gives me one of those, "Oh really?" looks.

Now I'm feeling like my kid is behind the curve, when she's most assuredly at least in the middle of the pack for her age.

We've now arrived at the time when the doctor needs to look in her ears with the otoscope. Fair enough. But I have to restrain her so that he doesn't puncture her ear drum. The Girl is kind of big for her age, so this is no mean feat. Speaking of feet... Well, I'm not Lakshmi, so I couldn't hold onto her feet as well as both of her arms and her head, so she delivered a few good kicks to the doc's solar plexus. He briefly mentioned this after the exam, when he was sending me down the hall for another test to measure the amount of fluid he detected behind the Girl's left ear.

Great. So not only did he imply that she's not developmentally up to snuff, he also implies that she's, ahem, spirited.

I pick up my daughter and my work bag, and traipse down the hall to the other little room for the test. The tech says something like, "I hear you're a kicker!" She then explains that the test we are trying to do involves inserting a plug in the Girl's ear for about 5 seconds. Easy enough, right? Oh, except the test is invalidated if she cries. Have you ever tried stick something in a one-year-old's ear for five seconds, prevent her from ripping it out, and expect her not to cry? Didn't think so.

The tech and I had been trying to accomplish by distracting the Girl with toys for all of two minutes when the doctor poked his head in the office to see if we'd finished yet. We obviously hadn't. We tried a few different tacks, none of which panned out. The doctor came back after two more minutes, and said we'd just have to schedule a follow-up for a month from now to make sure the fluid had drained from the left ear. At that point he said to MY DAUGHTER, "And maybe we can schedule it for earlier in the day when you're not so tired."

This was a full two hours before her normal bedtime. She wasn't tired, she was annoyed. It could have been nine in the morning, and she'd still be grumpy about strangers poking things in her ears.

Yeah, so I think I'll be scheduling her follow-up at the other branch of this particular practice. You know, where they might grasp that a one-year-old will be docile during this kind of inspection if they are (a) asleep, or (b) drugged.


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