Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Welcome back to Tucson! Can you hold for an hour and a half?

Delving back into the medical care system here in Arizona has been a slap in the face. Vermont is a dream land of fairies, butterflies, and rainbows in comparison. I spent an hour and a half on the phone just trying to change Miriam's pediatrician - and that was the successful attempt. A few unsuccessful attempts had already been made and abandoned previously because of crying babies (well, just one), phones running out of batteries because of being in use for so long, etc.

Miriam and Magdalena had their first visit with the new pediatrician yesterday. The thing is, even after all the time and effort I invested in making the change, I'm thinking of changing doctors again. Or even wishing I hadn't changed doctors in the first place. This is already the third doctor Miriam has had since she was born.

The first pediatrician got dumped when Miriam was just a week old for two reasons. First, we waited 90 minutes in a nasty, crowded waiting room for our first (and only) appointment and when we finally did see her, she didn't seem to care about us. But what really made me decide to switch pediatricians was when she told me to stop breastfeeding barely-born Miriam because she had jaundice. Yeah. Bye-bye.

We kept the next doctor for almost the next three years. He was awesome. Many of his former patients who now have kids were bringing their children in to see him, he's that good. The problem is, his office is way over by where we used to live when we first moved here (i.e., the ghetto). It takes forever to get there because Tucson refuses to have a functional freeway. I put up with the long travel time for almost three years, but it finally was just too much.

So I changed the girls' doctor to one based out of a nearby hospital. Here's what I found out yesterday, though: it takes almost as long to get there as it did to our previous, awesome pediatrician. That's because the office itself is inside the hospital, which means I have to park in a huge parking garage and then trek for 15 minutes just to get to the waiting room. Also, it's a teaching hospital, so we are seen by the resident and then the attending physician. I don't have anything against teaching situations like this, because really, they have to learn somehow. However, the visit ended up taking quite a long time as a result. Sigh.

Besides that, it was kind of a mediocre visit anyway. I was already wary because Miriam had a big bruise and a scrape on her back from where she hit it on the bed frame while jumping off the bed. Why do kids get their worst, ugliest, most visible injuries right before professional pictures and doctor appointments? It automatically puts me on the defensive, like I have to prove to the doctor that I am not, in fact, a child abuser.

Then there was the fact that the nurse who measured Magdalena told me she was 25 inches long. I told her that I was pretty sure that was wrong, considering she was only 19 inches long at birth a short six weeks ago. She re-measured and sure enough: 21.75 inches. Whoops. I'm glad I didn't let my daughter get put on the charts as some kind of freak baby.

I'm considering changing pediatricians yet again, in search of that perfect combination of convenient proximity and personable care. Have any of you found that perfect balance? Or am I the only one having negative pediatrician experiences?


Suzanne Bubnash said...

A suggestion: if you're only going to be in Tucson about 10 more months, perhaps it would make sense to tough it out and go back to the favorite. No point in having long travel time AND mediocre visit.

Jennifer said...

Growing up, our pediatrician moved his office down past Washington Square and my mom didn't want to go that far all the time, so she switched us to a doctor in a medical clinic right by our house. After a few years, she was fed up and switched us all back. The clinic was a nightmare--no one knew who we were or even cared. I still went to the original pediatrician to have my TB test checked after my mission (at age 23) we hadn't gone to anyone else. My mom realized that the great personal relationship and history we had with him was worth the drive.

Good luck with your situation--no fun!

Suzanne Bubnash said...

Jen, I remember when that doc moved down to WA SQ. I chided him for it but it was a good business move for him I guess. We still go there for Steven & he always asks about what the older kids are doing. A good doc-patient relationship is of great value.

JackJen said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
JackJen said...

When we first moved to Massachusetts, I took Ian to a practice down the street from our house. Because I'm under 30, they assumed that:
1. I wasn't married to "the father,"
2. I was on welfare
3. I smoked in the home
etc, etc, etc.

The nurse actually said the following words to me: "So, you're saying that you're MARRIED to the father. Was that before or after the baby was born?"

"Before. And, in fact, Ian's adopted."

"Why would you adopt a baby before your career has taken off?"

"I'm a homemaker."

"What?? And you LIKE it?? I had to get out of the house as soon as I could when my youngest was born. So I went to nursing school to get away from them."


Never went back there. And we switched to another practice that doesn't even EMPLOY nurses. It's a group of 3 pediatricians who do all the work, all of the visits, vaccines, midnight phone calls, etc. It's AMAZING. And if they moved to Timbuktu, I'd follow them.

Liz Johnson said...

I had a pediatrician in Provo that I LOVED... so much that after Nathan was born and out of the hospital, I drove an hour each way just to get his two week checkup there (his hospital on-call ped was kind of a loser). I'm on my third pediatrician in the year that we've been in Indiana, and we'll see how this one goes.

Long story short, YEP, I switch pediatricians more often than I switch about anything else. What a mess. :(

jane said...

Just a question, since I'm in Canada, and a Family Medicine Resident, so I have some appreciation of the differences in medical systems. From your experiences, does every child have a pediatrician? Here, family physicians provide primary care for children and only consult pediatricians if there are issues. (Similarly for women's health, OB/GYN are only consultants, and for internal medicine.) I know in the US that peds, OB and internal medicine are all considered 'primary care' in addition to family medicine. Do you have a family physician at all for yourselves or your children?

Britney said...

I couldn't help but laugh at how the nurse tried to measure your infant at a whopping 25".

That happened to me, too, only with my daughter's head circumference. I knew the nurse was way off when she tried to tell me that Emily's head was shrinking between visits.

Sarah Rose Evans said...

Demitri's had three pediatricians, but we drive all the way across town for our current one-- it is worth it, in my opinion, to see a doctor who listens to you, whom you both like and trust.

Lilianne and Jason Wright said...

go to dr brice kopas at skyline pediatrics. close, personable, never a long wait and you can call him after hours and actually talk to him! it is just him and one nice...

Bridget said...

Jane, to answer your question, it depends. There is such a thing as a "family practice," where the doctor sees children as well as adults. But in general, it seems like most of us see one doctor for ourselves (adults) and then another for our kids. I wish my doctor took kids, because I like him. But he's not a family practice, so I can't.

Chris Lewis said...

Hey- did you know Vermont was an independent nation before it joined the colonies? Maybe that explains the magical fairy properties. Did you ever meet anyone affiliated with the 2nd Vermont Republic independence movement out there? I really enjoy reading your blog- anna always has funny stories about it.

Bridget said...

Jen, I think the biggest shocker is not the actual content of what people like that say, but that they think it's ok to say it at all, to someone who has kids.

So Jennifer, we had the same pediatrician? Did I know that? Did you call him "the purple doctor" too?

Chris, I did not know that. But it explains a lot.

Shannan said...

Oh - this post completely spoke to me. I used to live in Seattle where they have great, competent doctors and no one quizzed you for 20 minutes on your health insurance BEFORE you even made an appointment with a potential healthcare provider.

Now I live in a place where there is ONE big pediatric office and all the children of Salem go there, which means in a nutshell, no one knows who you are and no one cares and they are just getting you in and out. I was so spoiled in Seattle and I miss those days.
I hate the system in Salem. I love my midwives though. I wish they could be pediatricians to my children through childhood.

What I'm trying to say through my rant is that I feel you Bridget.

Jennifer said...

I did not know we had the same pediatrician. Too funny. I wonder if our moms were in on that. We did not call him the "purple doctor", but I think I know why you called him that.


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