Saturday, March 17, 2012

Helicoptering, Pill-Popping, And The Pony

I took The Pony to the urgent care clinic Thursday afternoon. It's ten minutes from home, compared to the thirty-five minutes it would take to get to his regular doctor. Who happened to have his office across the street from the urgent care clinic when the boys first became his patients. His office staff was always a bit snooty, refusing to answer the phone near closing time, and refusing to sign in patients more than 15 minutes late, instead insisting that they reschedule their appointments. Since the move a couple of years ago, it's next to impossible to reach a live person on their office phone.

The only thing that prevents me from seeking a new doctor for them is the fact that the #1 son really likes that doctor. I agree that Doc is a nice guy. But you can't tell me that he doesn't know what's going on out front with his help. And since we all know that the help doesn't want to make an appointment unless it's three months in advance, it's kind of hard to get in to see Doc when they're sick. Another thing we all know is that odds are 10 to 1 that they will be seeing a nurse practitioner, and not Doc himself. So I bypassed all the angst, and took The Pony directly to urgent care.

For the first time ever, we had to wait about five minutes after filling out the paperwork. I accompanied The Pony to his exam room. He is, after all, his father's son, and incapable of giving a complete medical history or relaying treatment instructions back to me.

A paraprofessional took his vitals, then the day's nurse practitioner came in. She gave The Pony the once-over, noted that his temp was 101.4, took a swab for strep, ruled that out, and announced that she would be back in a minute with some Tylenol for his fever. She popped in with two pills in a plastic cup, and darted out again.

The Pony and I looked at the pills. They were two long brown caplets. I noted that they did not look like any Tylenol I had ever seen, or acetaminophen. The Pony snatched up that container and chugged both down with a swig of water from a tiny paper cup. Let the record show that the only pain reliever The Pony is ever allowed to take at home is a single acetaminophen.

The nurse practitioner came back in. I asked what kind of pills she had given him, were they regular strength Tylenol, acetaminophen, etc. She replied that it was ibuprofen. Please simulate a screeching phonograph needle over a vinyl LP in your mind. I don't give The Pony ibuprofen. In fact, I filled out his medical form for school saying that the nurse is allowed to give him acetaminophen, but not ibuprofen. For the simple fact that I have never given it to him, and don't know how it will affect him. The #1 son takes it with no problem. I take it, but it makes my hands swell up. The time for The Pony to be introduced to a new drug is not when he has an illness of unknown origin, and his blood pressure is running a bit high, as professed by the para when she took it twice, and when he's being prescribed a Z-Pack for the yellow phlegm he was coughing up.

Am I being a helicopter parent? Am I smothering The Pony with my controlling ways? Because it's my belief that if a reaction should occur (which did not, thank the Gummi Mary), we would not know if it was caused by the ibuprofen or the azithromycin of the Z-Pack, which he had also never taken before.

Call me crazy, but I am of the opinion that a nurse practitioner should tell you exactly what she's giving you, rather than pull the old bait-and-switch.


Kathy's Klothesline said...

I hate seeing doctors who refuse to listen to me about my child. I know more about myself and my family and my knowledge deserves to be heard and respected.

Sioux Roslawski said...

What kind of nurse/doctor/whoever gives any kind of meds--even OTC--without checking first?

Sue 'em. You'll make scads of money, and then can retire from your day job.