Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Dear staffers at the pediatrician's office: pleas from a parent


Dear staffers at the pediatrician's office,

First off, thank you for keeping my children healthy, vaccinated and lollipop-licious. I am genuinely amazed by how calm you remain in the face of bawling, screaming kids. Is there some special anti-freakout antibiotic you receive, and where can I get my hands on it? Also, how do you manage to stay healthy despite being exposed to trillions of germs a day, yet I get sick if my kid with a cold so much as blinks at me?

Anyway, I appreciate all that you do. I have just a few small observations and suggestions to share:

• There are two people in this world who may call me "Mom." Sorry, but you are not one of them. My first name works fine. So does "Goddess."

• I know you have appointment slots to fill but when you call me at the office and ask if I can come in with my child at 10:30 or 1:00 or 3:15, it bugs me. Some mommies work. Perhaps you could note that in my kids' files? "Goddess with a job" would be just fine.

• What is up with charging parents $10 to fill out a form that has all of three lines, one of which is "Child's name"?

• By any chance, could you call when the doctor is running an hour late? I have approximately 379 other things I could be doing. Consider karma: Someday, you might find yourself in that big waiting room in the sky, where you will be forced to wait for all eternity. With no TV and only Entrepreneur Magazine to read.

• Why are the toys in the waiting area so filthy they look like they're harboring Ebola virus?

• Idea: If you took that original Fisher Price Little People Parking Garage—so what if the elevator hasn't worked since 1972 and it has drool stains and Ebola—you could sell that sucker on eBay and make enough money to buy subscriptions to a couple of good magazines.

• Do you really think you can fool us by depositing us in an exam room and leaving us stranded for a half hour? The doctor will NOT see us now! Delay tactic! We are onto you.

• Word, it is not humanly possible to entertain a small child for a half hour by messing around with the crinkly paper on the exam table and the ear probe and getting so desperate that you are tempted to go get Entrepreneur Magazine from the waiting room and read it to him, just for fun.

• My kid squirms and whines because he has a thing about standing on the scale; I think he inherited that from me. Can't you guess kids' weight just by staring at them? The people at the county fair can!

• Ear wax flushing is really gross. May I please leave the room? I don't think my child will someday require therapy because I abandoned him, but I might if I'm forced to witness that.

• Why do I have to fill out those appointment reminder cards? Isn't that what YOU get paid to do? Next time, I am charging you ten dollars.

That is all.


Photo/istock

39 comments:

  1. Word, indeed, Ellen. To all of it!

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  2. Thank you for the wonderful laugh tonight! I have so been at that office...even though we live on the other side of the country from one another!!

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  3. You are too funny. And I'm guessing only in New York do the pediatricians have Entrepreneur magazine in the waiting room--ours is filled with Family Circle and the like.

    I want to know why I have to fill out ridiculous development forms? I mean, that's just cruel.

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  4. Yes! I was at a ped appointment with Angel today. They rescheduled the appointment in the first place. We got there for a 9:45 appt and didn't even get to the scale until 10:30. Then we sat in the exam room. Definite delay tactic. Glad to know I'm not alone!

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  5. This may be your BEST POST EVER! Though I wouldn't blame this on the staffers (well not all of it.) Yes Dr. Doctor I am talking to you. It's YOUR office. Don't allow this kind of sh****t to happen.

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  6. That post made me laugh outloud! I think that most of everything said stands true no matter what state you live in or who your Dr. is!

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  7. Holy crap--ten bucks to fill out a form?

    I agree with all you've said--I bring "activities" in a bag because I know it's never gonna be a quick in-and-out. OR...I persuade my mom to help me out (more times than I care to admit owing to my work schedule).

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  8. you're hilarious!
    i truly enjoy reading your blog.
    thanks for the entertainment, insight, and awareness - from a mom of a daughter with special needs.
    xo,
    victoria

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  9. Someone once pulled an earwax blob out of my daughter's ear and called it a "potato" and I just think I may never get over that one.

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  10. This is fantastic. I love the "I'll charge you ten dollars." I can't do anything like that with ours as we have the NHS but I shall think of something. Perhaps make them do the perimeter march with 12 while we wait for the Dr. to call us.

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  11. great post, so true!!
    Kristen

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  12. LOL......what a hoot! I needed a good laugh this morning! Just wait until your special needs "child" is 32 years old and not so easy to distract with the Fisher Price toys and "Parent" and "Expectant Mother" magazines. Our son is not a patient waiter. He sticks out his arm to have blood drawn without too much fanfare, but them shouts "butthole!" when they try to place the band-aid ( note to Doctor's office: maybe a sticker on his chart stating this important little bit of info could prevent future name-calling). All in all, though, they seem to love Robbie and he has his moments of "unlove-ability"! I think it is more my poor husband, who uncomplainingly handles these appointments, who needs to be coddled...LOL! Hope everyone has a great day!

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  13. Since I just waited an hour and a half the other day (they were kind enough to split it up for me-half in the waiting room and half in the exam room. ha) I feel your pain. I was JUST opening the door to find someone to yell at and he was right in front of the door.
    I do love having my ped's personal email. Makes getting scripts for therapies and addressing other issues so much easier. But having someone from his office call me to ask why a sedated ABR was scheduled when she has no idea who Addison is, while I'm in the middle of waiting for sedated child to return to me, and having my answer "because Dr. Ears ordered it" not be acceptable was annoying. Okay, I'll stop. We could all write books!

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  14. I can relate to all of this and more, except the $10 per form charge (thankfully,) although they probably are adding that in somewhere... I have to say that the "MOM" part drives me nuts more than anything else, even the Ebola (hey, at least I can actively try to avoid that.) Why can't medical staff stop calling everyone Mom? It is so demeaning! We spend oodles of time at Children's Hospital and I want to scream every time I hear someone say "Mom, you can stand over here." Or, "Mom feels that her son has gained too much weight." I realize they can't possibly take the time to know my name, but I would rather be referred to as "Mrs. X," anything but "Mom." UGH! We routinely wait for 1-2 hours for each appt at our Children's Hospital. The record was three hours to see the urologist; every time I asked the nurse how much longer the wait would be, or at least to let me know if we are #3768 on the list so I can go get my kid a snack, all she said was "the doctor will be with you soon." Finally she turned to the other nurse and said "Mom is getting impatient."

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  15. Reading this makes me know again just how lucky we are to have found our amazing pediatrician. I definitely think your ped's staff needs to start calling you Goddess immediately!

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  16. Too funny! Our new pediatrician doesn't have a lot of toys in the office (they rarely keep you waiting either, I love them) and my kids complain about it. But I think it's great - fewer germs!

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  17. This is material for a side-splitting, stand-up comedy routine, Ellen! I love it!

    The sad part is that we can all relate to absolutely every single point you make (except I wouldn't respond to the name "Goddess," but then I could use some work on my self-concept). Well, we don't have to pay to fill out forms and our office magazine is some free parenting drivel full of advertisements and no articles.

    May ALL our kids stay healthy so we can avoid the dreaded, necessary office!

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  18. My dentist started having people fill out their own cards. Ever since then I've had to change my appointment more than once, leaving them to fill out another card for me. Karma? Maybe.

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  19. It's $20 to get a form filled out without an appointment for us. I guess parents whose kids need medication forms for school don't have enough extra expenses already. Trying to occupy my 3 year old autistic daughter while waiting for a doctor for an hour is one of the worst forms of torture. I loathe it.
    Great post!!!

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  20. Oh, the waiting is the worst. No matter how much I bring, if we are stuck in a SUPER HOT room the size of a closet, it is going to get irritating.

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  21. definitly a good one! I'd like to add one though. Putting toys just in the sick waiting room and not in the healthy waiting room so all the healthy kids run to the sick room and go near all the germs! Put toys in both rooms!! Healthy kids like to play too. Sick kids tend to snuggle in mommy and daddy's lap.

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  22. "The doctor will NOT see you now!"

    I laughed out loud. So thanks for embarrassing me at the office. ;)

    I've got another one for you - the "clean play room." That room that supposedly healthy kids should go in, while waiting to be seen. Because, yeah right, germs can't cross the air in that open doorway. :p

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  23. How about

    No, actually, I canNOT make my child pee on demand. Why don't you go pee while WE stand around and wait for you?? And for the record, taping that little bag on a squirmy kid's crotch ? Never works.

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  24. Love this! We went to the doc on Monday and they kept calling me mom. And there were nasty toys everywhere!

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  25. amen! love the "mom" bullet. :)

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  26. I am a RN and I want you to know that your rant was most likely funny to most, but I a little bit offending to me. You should give feedback about the waiting room, for sure to the front desk attendant. Then tell the nurse, heck, put it in writing in a letter. Squeky wheel gets the grease! We call so that people the have children that are ill that morning or day can come in with their children so we are trying to accommodate everyone. If you say no, then no biggie. We just try to do other things. No, we cannot guess your child's weight by looking at them. If you can weigh them before they come in that might be better. Since the surroundings are more comfortable and they know the environment. The room you wait in SHOULD be stocked with toys and such since it is a peds office. Again, squeaky wheel! I can tell you that my Peds dept. is cleaned thoroughly every night, toys AND books are cleaned since we know children harbor every germ imaginable. We wash our hands ALL the time, have sanitizer available around every corner. We TRY to get sleep, eat well and exercise b/c that is what will keep our bodies in tip top shape. However, we all don't and can't do that b/c we also have children. I have 4 to be exact and my peds office is not anything like what you described. You should recycle your mags from your house, old toys, etc if you really are concerned for next time. Or it just might be nice for you to do it. I recycle my things that my kids don't want or I am tired of at the free clinic. They are grateful. Next time be aware that your children are LUCKY that they get to go to the doctor on the regular. B/C a lot of children don't until they are extremely ill. :)

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  27. Please. Unless I grabbed a last minute sick visit, I generally just send my child out to find the doctor after 15 minutes in the examining room.

    They tend to get to you a little sooner for that.

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  28. Haha, this is so great. Especially the part about being deposited into an exam room only to wait some more. We are SO on to you!! ;)

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  29. Wow, your horror stories beat mine! I am sorry so many of you can relate.

    Yes, I have tried sending out Sabrina and/or letting Max run up and down the hallways, hoping someone would catch a hint. Nope.

    After reading this, friends have been telling me I need to switch ped offices! While I have some grievances (er, obviously), I think the pediatricians are wonderful, and that makes it all worth it. Well, almost.

    To the visiting RN: Trust me, I am sure you and other pediatrician office staffers could do a pretty snarky post about moms! Your peds dept. sounds wonderful. I will definitely give feedback to the front desk next time I am there, because I will most likely have plenty of time to do so. :)

    After reading this posts, friends have been saying it's time for me to switch peds. But I love the doctors at the office! It's just that sometimes the office staff (not necessarily the nurses) who drive me batty.

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  30. LOL....I've been there as a mom!

    AND I've made the error of calling parents of kids I work with "mom." I may be saved because usually I'm talking to the child I'm working with when I do this, as in: "mom will help you get your shoes on" or "give this to mom." But still. I'd better watch it. ;)

    Love the list. Everyone needs to rant a little bit every now and then...

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  31. scales - here's what we do.
    Get on the scale with wriggly wiggly child and read weight.

    Get on scales without wriggly wiggly child and read weight.
    subtract solo weight from combined weight and you're done! :)

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  32. a few times a year, I bake cookies or brownies and I attach a pic of Little Bird and a thank you note for the ped's staffers. Just to remind them who we are and that we are nice... and if they'd like to be nice back, that'd be great!

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  33. Blowing up the latex hand gloves into balloons and playing catch is good for at least 15 minutes. If you have a marker in your purse they make great Turkeys, too!

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  34. I gotta say our pedes office is pretty awesome. There is a separate sick kids waiting room and lots of toys in each, plus books in each exam room. Our wait times are usually pretty short and I have gotten a call before asking us to wait at home b/c the doc was running an hour late, which was much appreciated. My only complaint was last time M was ill we saw a doctor in the practice we weren't used to and I guess she didn't read his chart b/c she brought in 2 tiny toys for him to have. I was the big mean mommy when I took them away because I knew he'd just stick them in his mouth.

    My gripe is with our cardiologist's office. It's at a children's hospital but there are NO toys in the waiting room, nor magazines, just a TV playing Disney shows geared towards pre-teens. J is a baby so he could care less, but I have to bring M with us. After an hour of waiting I let him grab a few of the fly masks and run around with those....

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  35. I thought I was the only one who is so tired of being referred to as
    'Mom' by the nurses and staff at the doctor's offices. Enough I say!

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    1. Dear Anon- what is the point of getting angry when a doctor calls you mom? They call you that because you are the child's mama and they have to. So grow up and ignore it.

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  36. As a Pediatrician I don't provide toys in the waiting room. I encourage parents to bring their own children's toys to avoid transfer of germs.

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  37. Dear Ellen
    • There are two people in this world who may call me "Mom." Sorry, but you are not one of them. My first name works fine. So does "Goddess."

    You are the child's mom. So of course they can and SHOULD call you mom. There is a reason for it. I'm surprised you are annoyed really. Be mature and ignore it. There is NO point in being immature its NOT like they bullied you!

    NO child talk you do not need to watch it. Its Ellen who NEEDS to realise there IS a reason why doctors say mom. They dont do it to annoy you.

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Thanks for sharing!



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