Thursday, March 06, 2008

Strep Throat-A-Thon

I know you were all waiting, wondering, what could that fever have BEEN?? It seemed by Sunday evening as if it was just simply that, a random fever with no explanation. Monday everyone was fine. Tuesday....still fine....Then came Wednesday.

Eden woke up with a really bad sore throat, he could hardly talk and it hurt to swallow. This is very typical strep throat stuff for him, in fact, I think every time he has ever had a sore throat it has been strep. So, I took him to the doctor. He was seen at the on post hospital by a family practice doctor who said it looked like strep and he would give him some antibiotics while we waited for the culture results. Sounds good to me! After braving the strange ticket system of the hospital pharmacy, which is reminiscent of waiting at the DMV with the big board flashing numbers and the disembodied voice calling "Now serving number Two Nine Five at window Number Six", we left with a big white bag full of antibiotic goodness.

Two hours later at home, Jude says he has a sore throat.


He woke up a few times in the night, crying in pain even though he had taken some motrin before bed. He was plainly miserable. Hannah woke up twice in the night as well, once with a fever and once making a strange noise like she was trying to clear her throat. So first thing this morning I call the hospital again. They don't have any appointments, but we can certainly come in and get all our throats swabbed for cultures. Super. We leave the house at 9 a.m. We see the pediatric nurse who swabs Jude's throat but not before he protests extremely loudly to ensure that the entire hospital knows he is not a willing participant in this process. Hannah cries because I have to put her down but doesn't seem to really notice the actually swabbing and is fine as soon as I pick her up again.

I think this is the part where we are going to get a prescription for more white bags of antibiotic goodness. But instead I am told "We don't do things that way in pediatrics" and the kids will not get a prescription until their culture PROVES they have strep. I am confused. This will take 24-48 hours. That is 24-48 hours in which my children could begin feeling better if they were taking antibiotics. But "pediatrics" thinks they should instead be in pain and allow the bacteria to go forth and multiply for a few more days, just for good measure. How does this make sense when in the very same hospital the day before my oldest son was able to get a prescription from a family practice doctor??? Their response: "We don't know. But that's not how we do things in pediatrics." And as to why they do not have the rapid strep test which I assumed was a must for any medical facility their response is "We don't stock those." Right......Cause that makes total sense. I am sure culturing every single person's throat who may or may not have strep is MUCH more efficient and cost effective.

I go then to get my throat swabbed over at Family Practice. The nurse does so, and tells me the doctor will be in soon. 20 minutes later the doctor walks in the room.....right past me and my three clearly sick children, two of whom are laying on the examination table basically too sick to sit up, goes to her desk, sits in her chair and TURNS HER BACK TO ME. Without a word. She starts drinking out of a water bottle. I am again confused. The Nurse then comes in and tells me "We need you to go back to the waiting room" Do Whaaaaat? The doctor is literally two feet from me! But no, we are sent away. 30 minutes later it is clear the doctor is not going to see me at all. I go to find the nurse, who tells me the doctor "Was mad because she had a 10:20 appointment she had not seen" and the nurse had brought me back instead of that person. She then tells me the doctor says to just gargle with salt water and they will call me in a few days if my culture is positive and give me a prescription.

If that was all she was going to say couldn't she have said that THIRTY MINUTES EARLIER when she was sitting TWO FEET AWAY???????

Furious much? Yes, Yes I was.

Dean called me and I told him what was going on, and he called someone in the hospital to complain. They said they would come down and find us and see if they could help me get the kids some antibiotics today instead of waiting, but at this point we had been there over three hours and the kids were melting in to puddles of strep-infected tantrumness. It would have taken easily another hour to go through the whole ticket process at the pharmacy, and the puddles that were once my children were not going to tolerate that. We went home.

Jude however was really very, very sick. And I was very, very upset. So I called Daniel and arranged to meet with his Mom, who then took the boys up to Atlanta and had Jude seen at a CVS Minute Clinic (Brilliant!), where not only do they have rapid strep tests, they actually give people with strep antibiotics to TREAT the infection! Sounds crazy, I know, but they do.

Hannah and I will have to go back to the hospital tomorrow for our medicine, when our cultures come back positive. Which I am certain they will. And after that I will be writing a strongly worded letter, and calling whoever I have to regarding our insurance, to get my children's health care moved to a pediatrician's office off post. You know, where they might actually treat them when they are sick.

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