Things that piss me off

Why We Really Need Health Care Reform

October 23, 2009

My daughter is feeling much better. Thank you to everyone who sent well wishes.

She does indeed have the H1N1 virus though no one tested her, they just ruled out everything else. She does not have strep.

Daughter started feeling kinda crappy Sunday night, no temp but she wasn’t her normal self. This was not a bad thing at first since she sat still for longer than ten minutes at a time. Monday morning she had a temp of 99 and was developing a cough. I kept her home even though the cut off temp at school is 100. I hate to admit it but when she was in daycare I was one of those parents who would pump their kid up with Tylenol so they could go to daycare for at least a half a day before the call came in to pick her up. I’m not proud of it but I figured she’d already passed it along to everyone and since I still had to pay for daycare when she was home with me I was going to get as much time as I could.

With this swine flu I didn’t want to risk spreading it so I kept her home.

Her fever hovered around 100-101, she was comfortable but hung out on the couch watching movies. Tuesday night her fever shot up to 104 and I was unable to get it down with either Motrin or Tylenol.

I called her doctor. Again.

Now, I knew I wasn’t going to actually be allowed talk to a doctor. The days of calling the doctor’s office, reaching the answering service and having them call the doctor, who then calls you, are over. I figured I might get a nurse, but no.

I got Missy.

I don’t know what Missy’s title is but she isn’t a nurse and certainly not a doctor. If I had to guess at a title I would say the word “assistant” was in there somewhere.

I asked Missy if I needed to bring my child into the urgent care or the ER which is closer than the urgent care clinic. I told her about her fever, how I was unable to bring it down with fever reducers and how I was worried about her.

Missy explained that I could load her up on both acetaminophen and ibuprofen by staggering the dosages. She couldn’t explain to me why this was okay but said it was safe. I’m one of those annoying parents who asks way too many questions. I want to know what I’m doing to my child and why. And above all else I want to know that I am not going to harm my child so I ask and ask again to make sure I have it correct. It doesn’t help that I hadn’t slept in a few days.

I had already been jotting down the times I had given my kid medication because in the middle of the night it’s easy to confuse 2am with 5am especially when the child wakes up every hour.

Missy suggested keeping a chart and then went on to explain how I should create the chart. She said if I gave her Tylenol at 3:30 I could give it to her again at 7:30 and if I had given her Motrin at 5 I couldn’t give her another dose until 11. Am or PM didn’t even matter at this point since I had given medications at completely different times and I was trying to write down the correct time while she was giving me these examples.  Missy was only confusing me at this point.

I gave up on discussing the dosage with Missy at this point. My ex mother in law is a nurse and I was going to call her as soon as I got off the phone with Missy.

I asked Missy a couple of other general questions about the flu, none of which she could answer. She gave me vague answers only and hemmed and hawed the whole time. If she had just said she didn’t know I would have been happier.

The whole time I am talking to Missy I can hear children playing in the background. I can also hear a TV in the background and what sounded like dishes clinking against each other. I’m pretty sure I was talking to Missy at home.

After not getting any definitive answers about what to expect with regard to my daughter and her fever, except that I might want to bring her in if she turns blue or stops breathing or her fever reaches 105 (which is only one fucking degree away from where I was when I called Missy), I made a joke. I do that.

“You aren’t really giving me any real information are you?” I said as I laughed.

Missy didn’t think it was too funny.

“Well, I’m not a doctor, I can’t give you any real answers and no one really knows what to expect with this anyway.”

Missy, I know you are not a doctor.

People named Missy are not doctors. Missy can clean your teeth, Missy can walk your dog and Missy can do your nails but Missy does not have a medical degree, a PhD, a BA and probably not even a diploma from the local community college.

There are a lot of things wrong with our health care system and having a Missy handle the calls in the evening from worried parents during a swine flu pandemic is right at the top of the list in my book.

For crying out loud can’t you call yourself Melissa?

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  • Reply Buggys October 23, 2009 at 7:45 am

    Is your daughter doing any better today? Don’t know if you got an answer on the meds but the reason you can give them both is that those medications work independently of one another. I read a book about pain relievers several years ago in regards to arthritis where I learned this little tidbit.

  • Reply Katherine October 23, 2009 at 7:59 am

    Do you know what your post made me do? I actually “googled” MISSY MD and found some! We have one in AK, one in KY and one in MS. And get this… the one in MS is an ob/gyn! “Dr. Missy is ready for your pelvic!” Hmmmm not so good. I had a mouse named Missy when I was a child, and I knew a dog named Missy.

    I’m glad her fever broke!! Hope you got some sleep!

  • Reply Jen October 23, 2009 at 8:23 am

    Buggys, Yes I did get an answer, from my ex MIL, Missy tried to explain it but was lacking the vocabulary to do so coherently. She is doing better now but the cough is pretty severe. She starts out the day with no fever but by the afternoon it will hit 99-100 again. At least it isn’t 104.

    Katherine, I was going to do that too but got distracted. I actually considered writing a disclaimer or apology for offending any Doctor named Missy but then figured it’s my blog I can offend anyone I want. My name is Jennifer, I’ve been called Jenny by friends and family since I was born, when I started working I used my full name professionally because Jenny didn’t sound too authoritative. I think of the name Missy being used generically for any little uppity girl…”hey, little Missy…”

  • Reply Anne October 23, 2009 at 10:01 am

    Glad to hear she is doing better. I hope she is back to normal soon. My daughter had mono last spring and we had to do the same thing (stagger the medications). It was scary at first, but not as scary as her fever. If it is any consolation, I spoke to her doctor who told me to stagger the medications and that they wouldn’t interact (and her doctor’s name is not Missy). Watch out with sharing info about swine flu (that is why I didn’t mention it when I referred to her on my blog). It traveled through a friend’s family last year and she and her kids were shunned for a while after. People can be unreasonable when they are scared.

  • Reply Jen October 23, 2009 at 10:14 am

    Anne, If I could speak with a doctor I wouldn’t have needed to write this post. This is scary shit, and the media makes it worse. I know the doctors are busy but they used to take time to talk to the patient, or at least the patient’s mom.
    Speaking of the media, the front page of The Pioneer Press, today, stated that four MN kids had died from the H1N1, most due to complications from pneumonia. My daughter has a horrible cough and the fever still comes back. I’ve got an appt at 11 to see another doctor. Not her doctor but at least not Missy.

  • Reply Jude October 23, 2009 at 11:12 am

    This really has many people worried. We’re worried about the grandkids getting it, but at least Bill’s daughter is a nurse so she already has more info than the rest of us, yet she’s a Mother so even panics herself at times and calls her Daddy to ask him questions. I certainly hope things are getting better for the two of you.

  • Reply Junk Drawer Kathy October 23, 2009 at 12:14 pm

    A visiting professor at the university where I work is not from the United States. She’s from an Asian country where often the citizens studying or teaching here will take on an Americanized name presumably to make our lives easier (though we ought to be able to pronounce their names.) Anyway, she took the name Sunny and, when paired with her last name, I thought it sounded like a porn star name and I could barely say it out loud.

    Anyway, there you go. A Sunny with a PhD. Perhaps a little better than a Missy with one, but not much.

    Your daughter’s feeling better today, right? Did I read that on Twitter?
    .-= Junk Drawer Kathy´s last blog ..What’s That Smell? =-.

  • Reply Jen October 23, 2009 at 1:53 pm

    Kathy, My neighbor’s dog is named Sunny, and she is a smart and wonderful dog so I can see a PhD there. My issues isn’t really with Missy, she did the best job she could and I could care less if she does it from home or the office. She was snippy with me, I understand that she is probably getting hundreds of call from parents like me but she needs to have a sense of humor about the whole thing. Or not, I really don’t care at this point.

    We just got back from the doctor again. They made both of us wear masks. I even asked daughter if I could take a picture since I thought the whole thing was pretty ridiculous. People actually moved away from us. Daughter was scared that they were going to do another throat culture even though I promised her they would not. She was in tears the whole time which irritated the doctor, who actually suggested we come back another time when she wasn’t so upset, because he couldn’t listed to her lungs while she cried. How he could hear when he had two hearing aids in his ears I’ll never know. I’d had it, told him we were not coming back, that he would listen to her lungs, that she better calm the hell down and while you’re at it we’re going to get an x-ray. Instead of giving me a mask they should have given me a martini, everyone would have been better off. The x-ray looked ok he said but just to be on the safe side, and because I scared the hell out of him, he was sending it to a radiologist to take a look.

  • Reply Katherine October 23, 2009 at 3:17 pm

    YOU GO GIRL! I have already decided that if my kids get it bad and aren’t getting better and they are COUGHING, I am going to demand an antibiotic – yes yes I know… viral means no antibiotics. BUT…. with some of these kids dying they had secondary infections IN THE LUNGS and that is what killed them – b/c they didn’t get antibiotics soon enough. Yea yea I know – “but we can’t keep giving everyone antibiotics”…well my kids aren’t on them much, so if it means a stupid 10 days of amoxicillan or DEATH, I am thinking amox, no?
    .-= Katherine´s last blog ..Blogging Mom Killed By H1N1 Vaccination – News at 6! =-.

  • Reply RedRaider October 23, 2009 at 4:09 pm

    That’s really frustrating talking to a wall. Missy sounds as though she may have been something like a clerk just trying to take some heat off of the ones who know. Like a nurse. Either way glad it worked out.

  • Reply Stacy (the Random Cool Chick) October 23, 2009 at 5:18 pm

    It’s so frustrating when you can’t speak to an actual doctor who can answer your questions and put your mind at ease.

    And that doctor that had hearing aids and was going to make you come back because your daughter was crying so he couldn’t listen to her lungs? HELLO!! She’s crying because she feels awful – I’d probably be crying at that point, too! The doctors – especially those for kids – are supposed to have some sort of magical calming effect on kids. It should be a requirement when getting that PhD. 😉

    I’m glad she’s feeling better, but man oh man – sorry you had to go through all that stress and put up with Missy! 🙂 Here’s hoping she feels 100% soooooon! 🙂

  • Reply Pricilla October 23, 2009 at 6:10 pm

    I kept with my name, Patty even though I am now way past being a child because my mother was always Pat. I plain just don’t respond to Pat. I don’t hear it. Probably ’cause of mommy issues. Maybe Missy had problems with her mother too. heh heh

    I am sorry you had such problems. I HATE doctors. I have seen too many and I don’t care to go to them now. But you would think one that was seeing children would expect them to cry especially if they weren’t feeling well. Idiot. Good for you for putting the fear of MOM in him.

  • Reply Lola October 23, 2009 at 6:40 pm

    I think Missy can also cut your hair. But that’s beside the point. If I got answers like that I’d haul ass to either urgent care of the ER depending on the time of day.

    As much as mine and my son’s doctor (we have the same doc) scares me (she’s just weird), at least her office is on the ball. One of the medical assistants/receptionists called to ask if I got my son’s testing done when he was at the doc 2 weeks ago. Well no he didn’t because the ex has been playing games with visitation so I wasn’t able to schedule it.

    Hope your daughter recovers quickly and hope your don’t catch it. My daughter’s psychiatrist swears by 2000 mg of Vitamin D per day to ward off colds and the flu. She said there have been studies that prove it is effective.

  • Reply Junk Drawer Kathy October 24, 2009 at 4:28 am

    I’m starting to hate your doctor. Jerk. It’s bad enough you got looks from other people for wearing a mask. He didn’t have to make your kid feel bad. What’s WITH people?!?!

  • Reply Lidian October 24, 2009 at 8:52 am

    I am glad your daughter is feeling better and like Kathy I am starting to really hate your doctor too – why wouldn’t she be upset, for heaven sake? Like you I want to know everything about things my child (children – I have 2 teenage girls) has to take or do medically. In Ontario we have a healthcare hotline where you can talk to an RN, which I have used sometimes. They ought to have those in the US too.

  • Reply Stephanie October 24, 2009 at 1:02 pm

    Glad to hear that your daughter is starting to feel a little better.
    Good for you about pushing for the x-ray!!

  • Reply Jen October 24, 2009 at 7:36 pm

    Katherine, I am a big subscriber to not over antibioticking ( I made that word) people but in this case I think you might be right, at least to have it on hand in the event it turns into an infection. I was lucky, my dad was a doctor so I was always able to get my hands on antibiotics when necessary. It is important to get kids and grown ups on them quickly and if you can’t get in to see the doc it’s nice to have some on hand. My mom nearly died from pneumonia and maybe if she had been on antibiotics sooner she wouldn’t have suffered so badly.

    Red, I really don’t have a beef with Missy, she was doing her job, and I am sure she was sick of the flu too. I’m irritated with my daughter’s doctor more than anything else.

    Stacy, It has been frustrating but really I have a lot to be thankful for. My kid is battling this flu pretty well. Unless she takes a horrible turn for the worse she will come out of this just fine and with an immunity to this damn bug. Doctors need to work on their bedside manner/customer service but that isn’t anything we didn’t already know. I suspect when the health care reform passes and is put in place it will just get worse.

    Pricilla, that’s right, don’t mess with MOM! There is just so much of this story that I can’t post about. Wish I could but I do appreciate the support.

    Lola, Vitamin D? I had heard of mega doses of C but never D. Of course with all the sunscreen we wear these days I’m not surprised that we are not getting enough. I still feel fine, tired from lack of sleep but no cough and no fever. Same goes for the boy.

    Kathy, the masks were something. I was really surprised that people moved away from us. I really wanted to take a picture but none of the patients, my daughter or the staff would have seen the humor in the whole thing. Lets all remember that this H1N1 flu is still no worse and far less deadly than the regular flu. I know easy for me to say now, I was worried sick but that was more about hurting her liver with the medication.

    Lidian, this guy is not my daughter’s doctor, I have no idea where she is. I’m pretty sure we have hotlines here but I really like to talk to someone who has the patient’s chart or at least knows the patient. Is Canada getting hit as hard as we are? Do you guys have any vaccine?

    Stephanie, someone told me that if you have pneumonia once you are more likely to get it again. My daughter had it last year so I want to play it safe. I’m usually not such a bitch.

  • Reply BK October 24, 2009 at 7:38 pm

    It just didn’t help at all right. You certainly did the right thing by being socially responsible to keep your daughter away from school. Glad that your daughter is feeling much better now.

  • Reply GDad October 26, 2009 at 7:31 am

    Glad Daughter is feeling a bit better. Being sick really stinks.

    Brother 1 once sent me an e-mail that asked, “Why are there no great and powerful Tammys?”

    Years later, I replied to him to point out that Representative Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) had just been elected.

  • Reply Maria@Conversations with Moms October 26, 2009 at 9:10 am

    It is extremely frustrating trying to get through to a Doctor. Whenever I need to talk to my children’s pediatrician, I usually have to call 10 times but the answering machine is always full. Then I get fed up and drive over.

    I hope she’s close to full recovery.

    I never heard of getting a return call from someone in their home though. Crazy.

  • Reply Project Savior October 26, 2009 at 9:16 am

    I’m glad your daughter is feeling better.

  • Reply Jen October 26, 2009 at 11:07 am

    BK, Thanks she is feeling better though she is still home with me today. This bug keeps coming back even after the fever has gone. She has had a normal temp in the morning and then by the afternoon it climbs back up to 100. So far today she is normal but I want to make sure before I send her back.

    GDad, When you mentioned a Tammy I immediately thought of Tammy Faye Baker. I’d change my name. You don’t hear of many professional men going by the name of Billy or Bobby or Joey, unless they are in Texas and then it’s a little different.

    Maria, I don’t know if Missy was at home, it could have been children from the clinic, I just didn’t hear any coughing or other adults in the background. I don’t mind if she worked from home but it seems to me the doctor could have called from home too.

    Project Savior, thanks I am too. This has been a rough ride.

  • Reply Surviving My Tween Girls October 26, 2009 at 9:33 pm

    This has not hit my daughters, yet! But, it has hit my 8 year old niece, which has my entire family worried, for her and her new 8 day old sister! This whole thing has me worried big time, my husband has a business partner who has his whole family sick with this H1N1 , so it’s all around, seems inevitable that it will strike our household!

    Glad your daughter is feeling better!

  • Reply chez la mere October 29, 2009 at 2:01 am

    whenever your trying to bring a fever down quick and your in a panic, put the child into a cool bath and throw in some ice cubes, it’s important to get them shivering. It works I once had a 2 year old with chickenpox and a high temp the emerg ward put her on a crib of ice and put a fan on her. It’s the only thing that worked. There have been times that I took my chlid (I have 3, they are all in 20’s now,) in just a diaper and stood outside in the middle of the winter (lots of snow) just to bring down a fever when med’s didn’t work.

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