In an impromptu move I took the kids to the public pool yesterday. It was an easy $5 few hours of family entertainment. They loved it. At one point my daughter joined me on the towel (amidst the ants) to inform me her left ear hurt. I know what this means; it can mean only one thing: the dreaded ear infection. She has tubes in her ears and is still susceptible to infections. I am usually armed with a tiny bottle of antibiotic drops, but the bottle was now empty. This meant a trip to a new doctor as we had recently changed doctor’s and there hadn’t been a need for her to go.
With pre-filled new patient forms in hand I arrived ten minutes early for our 3:00PM appointment. The boys were left happy and entertained at the summer program they attend on Tuesdays. Let’s get something clear, this is not a pediatrician. And you can tell because there is not a damn thing that is kid friendly or remotely interesting to a child in the waiting room, nay, the entire office.
Another man walked in after us and was called in before us. OK.
I didn’t exactly choose this doctor, he was who we were assigned after our last doctor (a pediatrician) decided to no longer be a part of this insurance plan, after we changed plans specifically to follow this doctor in the first place. I met him once before when my youngest was essentially falling apart I could never get him better. The doctor was still wet behind the ears but I liked the way he talked to me.
At 3:10 a nurse walked out and asked us if we needed any immunizations. Nope. She left us in the waiting room.
Ten minutes later the same nurse came to retrieve us. My daughter was weighed, measured, etc. in one room then into another room for more questions.
What is the reason for today’s visit?
Easy peasy. Ear infection. Here is the bottle of the prescription we have used in the past.
I can hear the doctor talking to the patient next door. There is an opening in the wall where the window is. It was obvious the doctor was not going to walk in at any moment.
“Mommy, my ear is leaking,” as she shows me her finger with wet infected wax.
Still listening to the doctor gab on and on next door as the man is telling him his life story of all the doctors he’s ever gone too, I’m wondering why the nurses don’t have this doctor under better control. (We all know the nurses run the show.)
The office has signs everywhere proclaiming, “Tell us what you think!” There’s even a posted letter from the office manager saying “You’re opinion matters. Take my card and call me for any reason to tell me about your experience today.”
“Willow, hand me one of those business cards.”
3:39PM the doctor can be heard leaving the office next door. I give it five additional minutes before I open the door and snarl at the nurse looking back at me from the desk. Pointing to the man across from her she says, “The doctor will be right in.”
I prepare my stance for the doctors entrance: standing up, arms crossed, head slightly down, no smile.
He enters and immediately apologizes for the wait. “I really appreciate your patience.”
“Do you?!” I scowl.
“I know. I know. I’m really sorry. What is the reason we are here today,” he asks. You know, because there is no reason you told the receptionist when you called to make the appointment, or the nurse who was in 50 minutes ago.
“Ear infection. Here’s the prescription we need.” Boom. Done. Can we move on?
He looks at the bottle and asks if the ENT prescribed this. No, her previous pediatrician prescribed it. The woman in the building next door. For the previous 2 years. “But it says it’s for the eye,” he is confused. “Yes, doctor. It says it’s for the eye. I have been prescribed to put it in her ear… for the past two years it has worked so I don’t question it.”
“Her lymph nodes are swollen. Has she been lethargic or really sickly lately?”
No joke. “I’m assuming the swollen lymph nodes are due to her ear infection,” I add.
“Oh, of course. That’s probably it.”
OK, he will send the prescription over – but only after asking me two more times if the ENT prescribed this because he has never prescribed eye drops for the ear.
Just do it. I’m begging you.
I left the exam room booming, “You’re lucky I’ve met you before. This was not it any way pleasant.” I said it in my stage voice so it was dramatic and just teetering on sarcasm but I’m still getting my point across. He apologized again and all the nurses laughed nervously. Willow picked out her sucker – and two more for her brothers – I filled out the electronic survey on my way out giving a big ugly red angry face for “Length of time waiting for appointment” and left.
The pharmacy where we have gotten every prescription for the past two and half years is the Osco in Alberston’s. The pharmacist and his tech are such hoots and I really like them. (Plus the pharmacist is a young silver fox and I just drool over him every time and hope he will overlook the herpes and UTI meds.)
Giving them a little time for the prescription to land and be prepared, Willow and I did a little shopping. My phone rang and I recognized the doctor’s office number. It was the doctor wanting to confirm the prescription. “Did the ENT prescribe this? I just want to make sure I send over the right one. This medicine is for the eye and I’ve never prescribed eye medicine for the ears.”
I walked up to the pharmacy counter, thankfully they were doing nothing. With the doctor on the phone I had them look up Willow’s previous prescriptions. OK, so the bottle I handed him was *not* the right bottle but the prescriptions she had been given in the past were still eye-meds used in the ear. Clear as day, no further questions. “OK, I will send this right over. Should be there in 2 minutes.”
Willow and I go check out and come back several minutes later. At the risk of staring them down while they do their job, we kind of backed into an aisle to wait. I notice some drama going on. The assistant is flustered and the pharmacist is exasperated. He calls me over. “I heard you talk to him on the phone and tell him exactly what you needed. I heard the whole thing. What he just sent over doesn’t even exist. Even the directions make no sense. He’s prescribing 2.5ml in each ear twice a day. That’s absurd!”
Having no idea what this pharmacist speak is that he is using, I know I have to call the office back.
I get a medical assistant on the line. Meanwhile the pharmacist has written down exactly what I need along with the instructions. Passing all of this on to her, she says “No problem. Let me go find the doctor, get this approved, and send it over.” I’m wondering if she’s even going to find the doctor anytime soon. The silverfox pharmacist and I have some good bonding over all of this.
4:40PM I had promised the kids I would pick them up early before I knew I had an appointment for Willow. “I’m gonna go pick up the boys while you wait for the prescription,” I ordered the silverfox pharmacist. “You got it,” he agreed.
Willow and I go to pick up the boys. My youngest is limping as he’s walking to me. He wore some new sandals his father bought for him over the weekend. He is blistered on both feet. I take off his POS shoes, hand them to my oldest and carry youngest to the car. We arrive at the grocery store and I tell everyone before we get out of the car, “We are here to pick up a some medicine for Willow and no other reason. Do not ask for anything and do not leave my side.”
5:00PM We put youngest in a cart, even though he is 5 and much too big for the grocery cart, and head to the pharmacy. This time there was a small line. A young blonde was just ahead of us and an older woman with newly sprouting baby fine hair was being tended to by the assistant. Silverfox is on the phone. He’s talking to our doctor, I can tell. My youngest says some fairly cute remarks that get the attention of the pretty young blonde in front of us. The older two kids are on the blood pressure machine.
Then Thatcher points to the older women at the counter and asks if she’s a mom. “Well, I don’t know. Not every woman is a mom,” I reply. You know, Girl Power. Let the woman decide if she *wants* to be a mom!
“No. She’s not a mom. She’s a dad,” he decides. Out loud. The blonde snort-laughs as we both stare at Thatcher with wide eyes. He repeats himself, “She’s not a mom. She’s a…” I place my hand firmly over his mouth. Please. Please. Please. Please Thatcher! Don’t say that again! “Didn’t you say you needed to go potty?” I frantically start pushing him towards the corner of the store where the bathrooms are. Remembering the other kids I look in their direction not knowing what to do. The young blonde waves me off, “I’ll watch them.” She can hardly contain herself. I’m racing to the bathroom and all I want to do is drop to my knees in the loudest laughter. But instead I get his barefoot butt into the stall and start texting my boyfriend. He has been asking how I’m doing and everything is happening so fast, I can barely keep up.
Thatcher pees, then I pee. Cause, well, I probably had not peed since 7:00AM.
We go back out to the pharmacy. The blonde is all done and slowly turning the corner still keeping an eye on the kids. She laughs and says, “I’ve got them too. Good luck.” I thank her profusely and go back to the silverfox pharmacist.
The doctor he was on the phone with was the main doctor of the practice. The prescription they sent over AGAIN was still completely wrong. Even though I had spelled out the name and the instructions for the medical assistant. So silverfox had called them back and was telling me that the doctor himself had never heard of eye drops being prescribed for ear drops. Apparently silverfox schooled him on eyedrops being way more sterile than eardrops. blah blah blah.
Then the kicker: when I changed the kids insurance plan so I could follow the original pediatrician, I lost my pharmacy privileges at Osco. So after ALL that, the prescription was not even covered.
“Mommy, my ear is leaking.”
Just ring it up, I’ll pay for it.
It cost me $54 for two bottles – one for here and one for her father’s house. I also invited the tech and the silverfox over to Top Shelf for a margarita next Kid-Free weekend. My treat!
By the time we got home the frozen pizza we bought was nice and defrosted. My oldest ran over to his friend’s house to invite him over. Willow ran across the street to invite her girlfriend over. Thatcher grabbed a squirt bottle and went out back. By the time I was done with my first vodka drink I realized I needed to ask Willow to return home…. so I could put the drops in her ears.