Friday, May 30, 2008

Finding a new doctor and fun stuff we're doing over the summer...

I received an excellent comment from Jen at A Good Cup of Coffee on my post about Hand-Foot-Mouth, and I thought I'd share it, because it dawned on me that if Jen had these questions, then maybe MORE OF YOU did too!

"You know I have had a disappointing 2 years with Miller and Madison's pediatrician. Actually his staff too. But I'm chicken to change. His group is some of the best in Western Ky and it scares me to venture out. How did you do it? So what do you have planned with Hunter this summer for fun? I need ideas....I so hope he feels better by the weekend."

Oh, this will be a doozy of a post. Sorry for the length. Okay -- the way I see it... this is a three-part question.

The first question is one that I also wondered about, struggled with, and dragged my feet on, despite my husband's "ready for action" attitude. You see, I also felt scared to "venture out" because I am a first-time mom, and didn't have the first clue about picking a good pediatrician. So, I asked a neighbor (who is a nurse, but in a different county), and she recommended Ped #1 because she had a "good experience" with one of the doctors on staff 6 years ago (that should have been my warning bell -- too long of a time frame had passed). We went there for two years, and in those two years, they "missed" countless ear infections, PNEUMONIA, and misdiagnosed his cystic hygroma, which was ultimately removed by the chief surgeon at Children's Hospital.

Needless to say, this was very frustrating, because as a parent, you only want the best for your child! And of course, that would include the doctor that will be treating your child in both emergent and non-emergent situations!

Now, you should probably understand that I have severe "loyalty issues," meaning that I will stay loyal to someone/something, almost to a point of obsession ... er, I mean ... even if I've been burned. Which is precisely what was happening here. But folks, you DO NOT mess with my kid. All loyalties fly OUT THE WINDOW when you mess with his health. Can I get an AMEN?

So, I began asking around again. I spoke with my sweet friend (her husband is "A Wretched Sinner" - Dude, you GOTTA post again, okay?). As I've mentioned before, they have three children, and one of them has down's syndrome. He has had numerous emergent needs, including heart surgery. Both parents are devoted to their children, and wonderful parents, and I respected their opinion, because I knew they loved their kids just as much as I love Hunter, and have had major "experiences" with pediatricians and specialists. She told me about Ped #2.

Then, I asked my Pastorman's wife -- not because I felt she had a direct line to God or anything like that (ehem), but because she works in the Pediatric Ward at the hospital in our city, and is familiar with numerous pediatrician's "bed-side manners" as well as clinical expertise, she recommended the same pediatrician my sweet friend recommended.

Finally, in a casual conversation with another friend of mine at church over one of Hunter's ear infections (and my frustration over the doctors), she mentioned that her sister-in-law used a GREAT doctor in my city, and I should check them out... the doctor was... are you ready for this? The same as the last two friends suggested. AND, as if that isn't enough confirmation, I was talking about this with a co-worker of mine, and she said that she used to be in that very practice until they changed their insurances, and she LOVED them. That confirmed it in my heart that I HAD to change over. Seriously. I need a brick to hit me upside my head as confirmation.

With my mind fully loaded with information (which in itself can be a very dangerous weapon), I set off to change doctors, only to run smack dab into a cement wall. They didn't accept our insurance. This was a problem. But thankfully, my husband's open enrollment was in November, so we went ahead with Hunter's surgery under the old insurance, and changed insurances so that we could get in with the new pediatricians in January.

And then... I did it. I made the phone call in February (after I received my new cards) to our insurance company and made the change. Then, I called the old ped office and asked them to make copies of all his charts (which, shamefully, I haven't picked up yet). He is now seeing new doctors, and so far, I've had good experiences with them. They and their staff have great bedside manners.

So, Jen -- and everyone else frustrated with your pediatrician -- it doesn't matter if they are the best in Western KY, or in the biggest metropolitan city. If you are unhappy with the care your children are getting, then you need to change. That is, in a sense, your "momma flag" going up. LISTEN TO IT... it "KNOWS!"

My suggestion for anyone that is looking for a change in any medical practice is that you begin by asking your friends that actually work in the medical field. Radiologists, nurses, even receptionists at a medical practice -- they will have an idea of the good and bad things with local doctors. Then, I recommend calling the appropriate department at the hospital or emergency clinic closest to you (or just visit) and ask for suggestions from the nurses. They work closely with doctors, and will be able to tell you who has the best bed-side manner, who has good staff, and will be able to recommend someone to you.

Or you can call my Pastorman's wife.

No, don't do that.

I hope those tips help.

The next question Jen asked was, "So what do you have planned with Hunter this summer for fun?" Oh, my ... this is a HARD question. We both have boys in the same age range, but Jen has a daughter who is several years older, so the age span is far greater, and a bit more difficult to work with.

First of all, I am not a stay-at-home mom. This actually makes it a lot easier for me, because I only have to fill weekends, whereas a SAHM has 7 days a week to fill. Ugh.

Anyway, some of the things that I have planned to do (not all of them have been cleared by my husband yet) are as follows:

1) Visit the local Aquatic Garden -- they have cool fountains that Hunter is enamored with, a lot of wild life, birds, turtles, and such -- and they have tanks and tanks of beautiful fish. He can run wild and work off a lot of energy, and we can enjoy a picnic lunch.
2) Visit the local Zoo -- we have a small zoo close to us, but we are fortunate to have the National Zoo within driving (or metro) distance. This will be saved for a cooler weekend.
3) Visit the local Railroad Museum. I can't wait to do this. Hunter LOVES trains, so I think he'll really enjoy this road trip.
4) Go for long walks on the toe path along the canal (Potomac River). Pull out a fishing pole and have at it. Picnic lunch would be most appropriate.
5) Go for a long weekend (or two) to the beach.
6) Visit the local Amish Market and Farmer's Markets.
8) Visit a local Children's Museum that has a manor house, gardens, a blacksmith shop, carriage collection, log cabin, and an ice house.
9) Go to a concert at our outdoor theater, and enjoy a fun picnic dinner.
10) Visit the Renaissance Festival.
11) Attend the local Fair (ours comes in the fall).
12) Take Hunter to a place close to my in-laws house that has buildings in miniature for children to tour (can't remember the name) -- they have a miniature hospital, fire station, police station, etc.
13) Visit the Science Center (not free)
14) Visit the Aquarium (not free)
15) Visit the local hobby shop. They have an indoor race track for remote control cars, and have races on weekends. They also have a great area set up with three large tables for toy trains, and Hunter loves to sit there and play.
16) Go fishing and for boat rides with Daddy
17) Visit some large Museums, monuments and parks in Washington, D.C. (mostly free)
18) Visit Lancaster and walk around the big Amish market
19) Bake with Hunter
20) Pick fruit at a pick-your-own farm, and make and can jams, freeze fruits, and make yummy desserts and popsicles.

That should keep us very busy for the most part. Many states (like Kentucky) have awesome state parks -- seriously awesome state parks with a lot of fun things to do. You can even stay at their on-site lodging or cabins for very little, which would make for a nice and long weekend vacation. Try googling your city and/or state to see what you can do for free or cheaply.

ALSO ... you can go to Rocks in my Dryer next Wednesday. Shannon is hosting a "Mom, I'm Bored" edition of Works for me Wednesday, and will have a lot of participation. Guaranteed.

The last "question" was... "I so hope he feels better by the weekend." Me too, Jen... me too!


Donnetta (momrn2) said...

I couldn't agree more with making sure you have a physician/s that you know and trust!!

I also hope Hunter is feeling better SOONER than later!! :-)

Happy Friday friend!

Susanne said...

Finding a doctor seems to be more complicated for you guys than us here in Alberta. Our provincial insurance and any work benefits basically allow us to go to anyone we please, providing they are taking new patients. There is where our catch comes in. There is not enough of any kind of doctor around here. Doctors such as pediatricians and female doctors are very overbooked. You can get a referral from a family doctor,however, and get on the ped's list.

I agree with all your points for finding a doctor you are comfortable with and trust. You need to listen to your heart and if flags are going up, listen to them.

Jen said...

Thanks so much for all the advice on the pediatrician. We are having ear problems right now and go to the ENT Dr in 2 weeks..once he is cleared of all the tubes/infection problem I'm going to check with some new Dr's. Thanks so much...our guts are what we need to listen too. You are so right!
As for the activities they all sound great. Amish Country is only 45 miles away and that would make for a great day trip. Also....we dont have many museums...and the ones we have Madison has been to most of them. My MOPS group has some fun things set up. We are going to the pool alot. Picnics at the park sound fun or down on the Ohio river. Or even feeding the ducks could be alot of fun.

Org Junkie said...

Sounds like summer is going to be fun for you guys!

We aren't going anywhere this year unfortunately and live at the end of nowhere in a very small town so our summer fun has to be pretty creative.

We do a bike ride every morning and a lot of picnics. We also do a lot of relaxing and reading which is right up my alley!

Barb said...

Looking for a new doctor is just the worst. Rob and I (and the girls) had the same GP for twenty years before we moved to Grand Junction and I still haven't found a new doctor. Luckily, we haven't needed one, but I know eventually I'm going to have to. The scary thing is my old GP couldn't recommend anyone in Grand Junction.

I'd LOVE to go to that Amish market with you. You have some great ideas. But I'll admit, I'm glad I don't have to figure out how to keep my kids entertained all summer long, any more. I remember how easily they got bored.

Kimmie said...

Oh, I need to find a new pediatrician. I've done the asking (didn't like any of their pedetricians) So I need to bite the bullet and start interviewing. There is a new young pediatrician very close...he is our starting place.

We are adopting from Ethiopia, so getting one before they arrive home will be key!

mama to 6
one homemade and 5 adopted

Bethany said...

I have a similar post to this sitting in my drafts to be posted on the morrow! I love summer lists!


flippflop said...

I switched when my 2nd child was around 2 years old. I was completely fed up. I'm so glad I did because if I didn't she would have lost almost if not all of her hearing. After daily trips to our former peds office, this place put her in the hospital ASAP and did surgery.

I will continue to go on mommy instinct.