Tuesday, November 14, 2006


Yesterday we got a taste of the U.S. healthcare system. Yesterday I tried not to cry while singing “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” to keep my baby’s mind off her pain. And to drown out the screaming as two nurses held her down with me while they injected her with some mean looking sharps. Yesterday the Doodles got 6 shots in her chubby little thighs. It would’ve been more but on seeing the needles I asked to save the flu shot until later. I didn’t really want her to get it anyway because any time I’ve received one I’ve been sick for about a week. (Yes I know you are not supposed to be able to get the flu from the vaccine but... ) Sugar Daddy on the other hand wants her to get it – he’s never had a problem with stuff like this. Me, I’ve read enough on the possible side effects, as well as the benefits, so as to not have a clear decisive opinion on whether or not she should get it.

She also got a Hepatitis B vaccine. The leaflet on this explains that those at risk are those having unprotected sex, iv drug users, etc. Strange, but I don’t think my 1 year old child fits into any of these categories. Nor do I think that she will have much contact with the at risk population until she’s a few years older.

Don’t get me wrong. I am not anti-vaccine. We love the vaccines here. It’s just that some of the info I was handed afterwards made me think. Plus the fact that it was handed out afterwards rather than discussing it all beforehand kinda pissed me off. I guess it was because the entire visit was odd & stressful. The whole experience was similar & yet so different from what I’m used to. I’ve had the same doctor for the past 12 years minus a year or so of seeing a doctor on campus while in school & the odd walk-in clinic & specialist visits. In the past 12 years I’ve never had to worry about finding someone new to check out my lady parts or prescribe me medication because I knew I could always rely on my family physician if I needed or if I didn’t like what the walk-in clinic did for me. I may not have agreed with everything she said but she was always nice, patient, kind & treated me like an intelligent participant in my own healthcare.

One of the issues on my mind about moving to the States was the status of our healthcare coverage. I needn’t have worried & in this I know we are extremely lucky to have Sugar Daddy working for a company like Microsoft. It appears that everything we need is covered from doctor’s visits to massage therapy. With this group plan we get access to wide range of providers that are listed on a website. I just type in our address & up pops a list of who’s available in my area. It’s just a list though & so I’m left scratching my head trying to make a decision based on the sound of someone’s name in my brain. Since we don’t know anyone here it’s hard to get a recommendation based on personal experience. With Doodle’s next round of immunizations coming up & our suspicions of her having asthma I took the plunge & called one of the three nearest set of doctors. The closest one I wrote off because of her pro-life stance & religious affiliations – just not my cup of tea. That left a community clinic & a medical office. I went with the clinic because it was slightly closer (like a block, lazy ass) & the idea of community sounded caring & inclusive.

It was definitely inclusive. I’d like to think that I don’t have a problem with this but apparently I have some issues. Not with who is being provided for or the expertise of the providers but with the feeling that I was being treated as undereducated or lacking some intelligence. It wasn’t the personal treatment per say but rather, the questionnaires I had to fill out, the repeated questions (already answered on the forms) from the assistant, the nurse & then the medical person, and the assortment of pamphlets I was given afterwards, that gave me this impression. Questions concerning my coverage, my living status (married being the last available option), monthly income, what type of housing (if at all) I was in, if I was a drug user, alcoholic, or smoker. Questions regarding my baby about how much formula (surprise! She gets the boob & for this was called lucky) she took, whether she still took a bottle (uh... she neverreally did?), how her naps & sleep habits were (naughty me for continuing to co-sleep), how much food she ate a day & whether she was hitting all the usual milestones. It wasn’t what the questions were about that got to me, but that I was asked them over & over again like I either wasn’t telling the truth or I was a little too dense to understand what the truth was. I don’t blame the askers – it is their job after all – but it really just didn’t make me feel very comfortable.

And this discomfort makes me feel like a spoiled snob. Which in turn makes me uncomfortable with myself. But at the same time I'd like to think that anyone coming from what I've been accustomed to would feel the same way. The questioning was so over the top for me that I didn't even think to ask what vaccines were being given to my child. I was expecting to go in to get a checkup, talk about the breathing issues & schedule an appointment for the shots. I was so flustered I didn't even get a chance to write down her new measurements. Weight = 18lbs something. Height = ? (at home she's 27") Head = ? I was told she was somewhere around the 40 - 45 percentile for it all so at least I received some information.

The people were nice & they were competent. I just don't think they were the right fit for me which means I’m not going back there despite the fact that Doodles is supposed to go for another round of Hep B shots in a month. Instead I’ll call medical professionals number 3 on my list. Maybe this time we’ll even get to speak with an actual doctor about our concerns. Hopefully I won’t have to feel as though I’m being spoken slowly to &, hopefully, we will find someone who I can eventually appreciate as much as I do my old doctor.

I miss her.


Maggie said...

Hey. My comment just dissapeared into thin air. Piss me off. Anyway, I was just saying that I think here in Canada the vaccines are combined so that you don't have to stick the baby 6 times!?! I remember only 2 pokes (one in each leg), but I could be wrong. Maybe I blocked it out.
Hope the next visit goes better. I know what it's like not to have a regular family doctor. Living in a small town they come and go every couple years.

Bri said...

It is hard to find a good dr. Our pediatrician is very good at her job but doesn't have that sweet bedside manner, she sometimes makes me feel like a little kid when I"m there.

Anytime you make the trek back up to Canada, stop by in Brampton, our doors are always open!

Heather said...

That sucks Laura. I was talking to someone last week about immunizations and their baby had 6 shots as well. Not very nice for baby. Have you heard of Emla cream? It works pretty good. Put on at least half an hour before a shot and the pain is much reduced. I asked the doc to get some on Claudia last year when she was sick...before they started her IV. She didn't feel a thing. (she was also pretty out of it due to the high fever) But it does help. I also bought some and put it on her ear lobes before we got them pierced.
Love H

bunmaster said...

I used the Emla cream last time & it was great. She didn't even notice the shots. This time I wasn't really expecting to get them that day - I thought I was going to schedule them for later so I didnt'even think about the Emla until I saw the needles. At least they gave me some Tylenol for her.

Jenn said...

I hate my pediatrician. It's so hard to find the right one. *sigh*

Allie got a flu shot. I wonder if that's why she's been sick for the past like 2 weeks!