I think my pediatrician should offer some sort of reward program, like airline miles or credit card points. I have called and visited so many times in the past six months that the receptionist recognizes my voice. In all seriousness, the last time I called she just asked, “Is this for Princess or Caveman” before I even told her who I was. I figure there should be some extra benefit to me from this relationship, since I am usually the one taking the kids to the pediatrician.
Here’s how it would work: a regular checkup is worth one point. Two points for a minor illness, and three points for self-inflicted injuries. Phone calls with wait times over 15 minutes start accruing one point for every additional minute you are on hold, with 100 bonus points if a child is crying while you are on hold. This includes the nurse advice line. Double points for annoying muzak, and triple points every time a recording assures you that your call is important, but they are experiencing an “unusual volume of calls, so wait time is longer than expected.” I mean, seriously, have you EVER called an advice nurse when they were NOT experiencing an unusual volume of calls? You get quadruple points if you have to take your child to the pediatrician for the same ailment multiple times.
I figure that under this system, I’d have roughly 4.5 billion points by now. If I could redeem those for babysitting hours, spa days, wine, and chocolate, I’d be one happy mama. Just imagine the mom’s night out you could have if you and all your mom friends redeemed their pediatrician points at once!
Why am I spending so much time at the pediatrician when I have two basically healthy children? This winter it was the cold that wouldn’t end. Now, I know there is nothing a doctor can do for a cold. But when the cold goes on for weeks and weeks and weeks, eventually the symptoms get so bad that Hubby insists I take them in. Since I am the person who always takes the kids to the pediatrician, I am also the person who usually feels like she overreacted every time she’s sent home with a “just a cold” diagnosis. This winter, however, was different. Caveman seems to be prone to lung infections. So Princess would bring home a cold, pass it to Caveman, and recover. Caveman, on the other hand, would grab hold of the cold and bury it deep in his chest. Eventually I’d take them both to the pediatrician at Hubby’s urging, only to be told Caveman had pneumonia, or bronchitis, or some other lung ailment, and I’d leave with an inhaler for him and a load of guilt for me.
Between the two of them infecting and re-infecting each other and Caveman’s daredevil nature, I have become a fixture in the waiting room of our pediatrician’s office. Then a few weeks ago Caveman developed hives. Appointment obtained, plans for the day scrapped, $20 co-pay, and he’s having an allergic reaction to “something, probably viral, but it’s not contagious. It should go away in 2-3 weeks.”
Then last Wednesday Caveman and Princess took all the cushions off the sofa and had some sort of primitive dance party in the living room while I attempted to make dinner. Caveman slipped and hit his head on the leg of the overturned ottoman, resulting in a giant goose egg right in the middle of his forehead. I called the nurse advice line and pinned him down with my legs so I could put ice on it while I was on hold. Once I got a real live nurse I let him up, and he proceeded to scale the bookshelves while I tried to discuss his injury with the nurse.
At that point, I was pretty sure he was fine, but better safe than sorry and I HAD waited on hold quite a while so I WAS going to talk to a nurse, damnit! In the morning, because I felt like I “should,” I called the pediatrician’s office AGAIN.
“Oh, hello, Sarah. This is getting to be a regular thing, isn’t it?”
It is. And while I’m not happy about it, at least she’s friendly and I have insurance.
Caveman, by the way, is fine. He has a giant bruise on his forehead and hives all over his body, but he’s fine. This would be a fine time for a family portrait. Maybe I could use some of my pediatrician points.