Tuesday, March 1, 2011

How much do you rely on your pediatrician?

I'm incredibly frustrated right now.  Frustrated may not be strong enough of a word, actually. 

Baby Lion started seeming sick on Sunday as we celebrated his birthday.  (Pics to follow soon.)  He had a rough day, but the fever seemed to break that evening.  We called the pediatrician the next morning anyway, who said it sounded like he was on the upswing, and the remaining low fever was probably teething.  Last night, however, was from hell.  He was in so much pain he could barely sleep (so of course neither did we), even with ibuprofen, acetaminophen, and those little gum-numbing Orajel swabs.  It was terrible to see him so obviously hurting.

So we called again this morning to see how else we could help him - we know his lower molars are coming in, but this was too much.  They thought he should be seen and, TA DA!, raging double ear infection. 

I could just scream.  He could have been spared that horrible night.  He could have been on antibiotics a whole day sooner. 

I consider myself to be pretty assertive.  But there are times I could just kick myself for not being a more forceful advocate for my kids.  Why did I let them blow me off yesterday?  There's a natural tendency in me to trust people, but also to have faith in the medical profession, research, and science.  I'm a huge vaccine proponent.  (Don't get me started.)  After all, if they don't know what they're talking about, how many other things could I be screwed on? 

But seriously, this is not the first problem we've had on Lion's behalf.  Maybe it's because he's gotten sick more often, what with being exposed to Monkey's whole preschool germ factory.  But, no - other diagnostic misses have had nothing to do with germs.  I repeatedly raised the prospect of reflux with his regular doc, and was talked out of it.  Then she was out of town one visit, we saw someone else, and.. guess what?  Reflux.  Issues totally, immediately resolved with Prevacid.  I know they deal a lot with us hyper-worrying types, but if she had listened to me the first time we could have avoided months of his discomfort and spitting up (not to mention the added laundry!).  There were similar concerns - both where I was ultimately right that something was wrong - over possible hearing loss (that was the worst week of my life to date) and two other concerns.  All where if I had pushed harder to have my concerns believed, I could have saved him pain or other consequences.  Unacceptable.

So I refuse to see that doc anymore, and I'm shopping for a good fit with someone else in the same practice, but I'm beginning to wonder if it's a bigger issue.  Is it the practice itself?  Or would we have this risk anywhere?  Is it endemic to the medical profession?  A string of bad luck and coincidence?

In any case, you can be sure I won't be blown off again.  I can't believe I let it happen yesterday. 

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