Tuesday, November 10, 2009

When "Well Child" Means Otherwise

It was supposed to be a simple well-child check up.

Instead, I got roped into four hours of doctor's offices today. But first, I had to leave a half-day, very important meeting at work after only attending two hours of it. I left early because I refused to reschedule Claire's 5-year check up over worries the doctor was facing a seasonal flu mist shortage. Boy did the doctor confirm my concerns there. The nurses looked in every cabinet of the doctor's office and found one last dose of the flu mist that was originally earmarked for a nurse's husband, but he didn't need it anymore. So it was given to us.

Problem is, Claire didn't get to take it. Apparently she has strep throat (hence the recent tantrums), and continues to run a mild fever, so the fever required the doctor to call off all vaccinations including her three shots and the flu mist. We did continue with the usual check up (80th percentile in height, 50th in weight), but my head was spinning - ah ha! This is the reason Lily has been so cranky. She's got strep too. Molly won't have it because she's on antibiotics for her ear infection, but Lily isn't protected. So Claire and I picked up her Amoxicillin at CVS and I promptly dropped her at the house and loaded Lily in the car for her strep test.

But here's the rub - Lily had just been to the after-hours clinic last night for an ear check because we thought her crankiness was attributable to another ear infection. Her ears looked great and the doctor sent us on our way without further checks. So I chose to return Lily to the same clinic at 4pm to argue the point of another $25 co-pay for the same kid in 24 hours. I lost the argument, and the clinic got its payment. If you're keeping count, we just shelled out $70 in co-pays within a 24-hour time period, and $10 in antibiotics cost, for Lily and Claire. In the last few weeks we have paid another $40 to the ENT specialist for Lily, $25 for Molly's ear infection diagnosis ($5 for the meds), and we'll pay $20 this Thursday for Claire to get her vaccinations. And then we pay a $150 co-pay to Children's Mercy Hospital next Wednesday for Lily's tubes, with bills from the various doctors to follow the procedure. Sick kids make us broke.

So we are taking up a collection, and the plate will be sitting on our doorstep. Contributions are welcome and requested.

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