Tag Archives: doctors

Torture Chamber

It seems like they consult a medieval torture device manual when designing hospital equipment for babies. Every single medical item we were forced to use in the hospital looked like it was used to torment prisoners.

First came the IV. As if an IV isn’t torture enough in its regular form, with a baby they attempt to immobilize the arm with a board. Her poor little arm was strapped down to what looked like a splint. She hated it and had trouble sleeping and crawling.
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After I gave birth to the girls, I found it really difficult to get to the bathroom and tend to the baby while attached to an IV pole. Well, it turns out being attached to an IV is way easier than carrying a 17-pound baby who is attached to an IV pole. Somehow I was supposed to balance a baby on my hip, walk AND pull an IV pole around with me. It didn’t go too well.

Obviously my torture is nothing compared to the baby’s. She worked her hardest to get out of that IV splint-thingy. Several times, she got her hand free. Toward the end, she had forced pressure on the split so hard and so many times that it bent easily when she wanted it to.
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How are you supposed to keep an IV splint clean when your baby eats finger foods almost exclusively?
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That’s sanitary!

The crib also looked like a torture device. I know cribs are kind of cages anyway, but this one was REALLY a cage. There was a special lid on the top to make sure babies didn’t escape. I understand the fear, but the bars of the crib were so high and Violet is so little that it was ridiculous!
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I felt really guilty because Violet stayed in that prison a lot more than she would have stayed in her crib at home. The IV line was so restrictive that if she wanted to move, it could only be in a small confined area. Hello, torture crib. She didn’t mind it, but I felt neglectful to be sitting right there while she was trapped. Every time I tried to hold her, she’d squirm away to try to crawl on the germy hospital floor. Sorry, kid. Crib prison it was.

The worst torture device was the chest X-ray device for a baby. It looked like something out of a sci fi show. Here’s a link to some pictures of it on Google. I basically put my baby into a bucket with holes in it for her legs. Then the techs had me raise Violet’s arms over her head while they wrapped two hard clear plastic tubes around her to immobilize her while they took the X-ray. The babies in the pictures look content. I think those pictures must be photoshopped because no baby anywhere would keep so calm in a device that torturous. She screamed and screamed until they were finished.

I know babies are hard to keep still, but there seriously has to be a better way to treat them than to put them in multiple torture chamber-type devices!

I guess these torture devices are good incentive to stay healthy. No more picking up bugs, Violet, or we’ll put you in the baby X-ray machine and splint your arm with an IV!

That threat would scare me enough to keep me healthy if I were a kid. Except it didn’t work when I was a kid. I was tortured in the children’s ward at least twice. Oh well.

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Fun With Fever

I think fate has decided that we shouldn’t get a patio or new floors this year. Sunday we made our second trip to the emergency room in two months. Last time, it was because of my allergic reaction to azithromycin. I was sent home. Sunday Violet spiked a fever that only got higher and higher with Motrin and Tylenol. I wasn’t even sure we should go to Urgent Care, but the next thing I knew Violet was admitted to the hospital for observation. She spent the night and most of the next day.
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As they were running our paperwork to keep us overnight, which I’m sure will be a new patio’s worth of bills, Violet’s fever finally started to drop. By the time we were officially admitted to the ward upstairs, Violet’s fever was completely gone. It never came back.

So, I ended up spending the better part of 24 hours in the hospital with a healthy kid. She slept on and off in between nurses poking her while I played a lot of Candy Crush Saga. I can barely sleep in a hotel, so I actually celebrated my ability to get two hours of sleep while we were there.

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Most of her awake time Violet was smiling and trying to pull off the board that strapped the IV to her arm. Whatever bug was causing her misery had clearly been defeated, but we were trapped waiting for discharge papers for a very long time.

And now we are home. I have some observations about hospital stays with kids I’ll be posting later this week. For now, my brain is still fried. Enough with the health melodrama, family of mine! The next time we’re back in the hospital, it better be for something fun like cosmetic surgery! ;)

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That Time I Paid a Specialist to Tell Me My Child is Asian

Violet was really cross-eyed when she was born, but that’s not uncommon. I had thought that the problem had corrected itself, but a couple months ago it seemed to come back. She looked slightly cross-eyed to me most of the time. At a check-up, her pediatrician saw the crossing and referred us to a pediatric ophthalmologist.

I was terrified we’d walk out of that appointment with a baby wearing glasses. As adorable as baby glasses are, I really didn’t want to deal with fighting her to keep the glasses on.

Luckily, my fear didn’t become a reality.

Our ophthalmologist happens to be of Korean descent, just like my husband. After he examined Violet, he pulled a picture of his own daughter out of a nearby drawer and said Violet AND his daughter have pseudoesotropia, which basically means pseudo-cross-eyed. They look cross-eyed, but they aren’t cross-eyed at all. It’s a common physical trait in Asian kids. It’s my understanding that what happens is the epicanthal fold (what makes an eye look Asian) can obscure the view of the eye and make it appear like it’s crossing when it is not.

I essentially took my child to a specialist to have her diagnosed as Asian.

When I reported the doctor’s findings to my husband, the son of Korean immigrants, he laughed and said “YOU should have known that!” as a joke. Really, he’s the one who should have known this and warned me! But he didn’t. He’s completely oblivious to most of the things I need to know as the white mother of three Asian kids. As a result, white girl me took my daughter to a specialist to get her diagnosed as having Asian eyes. “Why yes, ma’am, your Korean daughter DOES have an epicanthal fold! Good job noticing it!”

What’s sad is this is not the first time I’ve worried about a common Asian trait. When Rose was a baby, I was scared about what appeared to be a vicious bruise on her lower back. It turned out to be a Mongolian spot, which 90% of Asian children have. My husband was oblivious to this too.

And these are the things you never consider when you become the mother of biracial children. You might just take your child to the doctor to have them diagnosed as being a member of that other race. In my defense, the source I linked to says pseudoesotropia is one of the leading reasons parents take their infants to ophthalmologists! So, I’m not the only idiot running to the doctor to have their kid diagnosed as Asian.

(I’m aware pseudoesotropia is not limited to Asians and does not equal Asian, but the way it was explained to me just made me laugh at myself.)

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How Many Diapers Does It Take?

Every time I go to the pediatrician with a nursing baby, I get asked the most baffling question. It’s a question I’ve never quite been able to answer in 5.5 years of parenting.

“How many wet diapers does she have a day?”

I don’t know. I don’t keep a chart next to me where I mark off how many diapers I used. It seems to me it varies day by day. I don’t cloth diaper (and I don’t want to hear about how I should) so I don’t have a pile of diapers to count while I’m washing them every other day (and thank goodness for that).

The thing is, I’m not sure how you even define what a “wet” diaper is. It seems to me that babies have a constant tiny trickle of pee. A diaper (disposable or otherwise) is never completely free of urine. What degree of wet equals the doctor’s definition of wet? We use Pampers and they get squishy/fluffy when they are wet. If I remember correctly, Huggies get hard when wet (I hate Huggies and off-brand diapers including Luvs have always backfired when we tried them.). Here are my categories of Pampers:

*Fresh and dry. The diaper feels crisp and crunchy. Extremely rare and generally only lasts 10 minutes.

*Slightly wet. You can tell some sort of pee has probably happened, but the diaper is a tiny bit squishy in a couple spots but not all over. Parts of the diaper are still crispy. The diaper does not need to be changed at this level of wetness. If you changed the diaper every time it got this wet, you would use 25 billion diapers a day.

*Moderately wet. The diaper is thoroughly squishy throughout, but far from “full”. You’d probably change the diaper at this point if you noticed it, were leaving the house or putting the baby down for a nap/bed, but it’s not a diaper emergency.

*Very wet. The diaper is very squishy and swollen. It sags and is visible from outside the pants. It might even be slightly damp on the outside. Even my husband can tell that it’s time to change a diaper when it reaches this level of wet.

*Poopy. Self-explanatory. You always change a poopy diaper right away no matter what.

So when the doctor asks how often your kid has a wet diaper, does the doctor mean slightly wet, moderately wet or VERY wet? My babies poop so often that I’m usually changing the baby before it gets to the “very wet” level. Sometimes the diaper might not be wet when I change a poopy, but I can’t tell for sure. Does that count as a wet diaper?

So when the doctor asked last time how many wet diapers I changed, I just answered I changed 5ish poopy diapers a day that were probably also wet, plus a couple more wet diapers.

When they don’t seem satisfied with my wet diaper knowledge, I’m left wondering if they’ve ever actually lived with a baby.

There’s an exact number of wet diapers a day? Really? I think not. (Although as I’ve heard from some newbies on my personal facebook page, there’s an app for that!)

I understand they are asking to check on my kid’s hydration, but it’s just not a scientific question unless they give me some better definitions here.

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Fun With Gestational Diabetes

Because dealing with the last trimester of pregnancy isn’t fun enough, in two out of three of my pregnancies I’ve gotten stuck with the hilarious diagnosis of gestational diabetes. I had it when I was pregnant with Lily. It was so mild that my blood sugar numbers never broke 100 two hours after eating (they should be between 60-120) even if I cheated. I know there is more to gestational diabetes than the baby’s end weight, but Lily ended up being 6 lbs, 9 oz– not exactly macrosomic.

I didn’t have gestational diabetes with Rose but they told me I had to be “careful” and watch my carbs. I was not careful. I watched myself eat carbs. Rose was born exactly one OUNCE heavier than Lily at 6 lbs, 10 oz. I WAS suspicious that I didn’t really have any blood sugar problems, but then I failed the 3-hour test again this time… just barely, but it’s still failed and now I’m going through another round of ridiculous diet.

The diet technically isn’t that bad, but it feels so binding. In my little world, I like something high carb in the morning– fruit or cereal or, um, cake– and something low carb for dinner– meat with vegetables. With gestational diabetes, I’m never supposed to eat fruit for breakfast, but I have to eat 60 g of carbs for dinner– the equivalent of 4 slices of bread. It turns my food world upside down! Further annoying is the fact that I am supposed to snack constantly on 15-30 g carbs PLUS a protein. I find it nearly impossible to find snacks with protein in them, eat snacks like this 3 times a day and not gain 8 zillion pounds. I’m always hearing from people who lost weight while they were on the GD diet. This baffles me.

ANYWAY, among many many other annoyances, this phone log of what happened when I went hunting for glucose testing supply sort of encapsulates the insanely infuriating time I’ve had working with my nutritionists, medical supply companies and my insurance company– three different aspects of health care I hate very very much. These calls happened because my nutritionist told me ON A FRIDAY that I needed to contact my insurance company AND my doctor to get testing supplies by the weekend. My glucose meter came with only 10 testing strips and lancets to test 4 times a day. She sent me home with only these supplies and the request that I keep a food log this week with my glucose numbers so I can come in for another appointment next week and she can make sure the diet is working. She TOLD ME I’d probably have to order from a supply company. On a Friday. And sent me home with 10 test strips/lancets. I guess the nutritionist thinks Star Trek transporters have been invented?

The phone log:

*Phone Call #1– Insurance Company. They gave me 3 numbers to testing supply companies.

*Phone Call #2– Test Supply Company #1. Gave me a number to a regional branch.

*Phone Call #3– Test Supply Company #1b. Gave me a number to a local branch.

*Phone Call #4– Test Supply Company #1c. Wrong number. I am done messing with Test Supply Company #1.

*Phone Call #5– Test Supply Company #2. I got the ball rolling only to get a call back (Phone Call #6) that they don’t carry my testing supplies, but they could give me a NEW GLUCOSE METER! OMG, Don’t I want a new one? No. No I don’t. I just got a new meter that day. I’m not paying for it twice even if it’s “free”. I was trained on THIS meter and lancer (I’ve always found the needles tricky) and don’t feel like learning a new one. Also, how can it be “free”? Is my insurance company going to pay for two glucose meters on the same day? Sick of this. Maybe I can get it locally.

*Phone Call #7– My Local Pharmacy. a) do they carry my test supplies?! Yes! b) Do they take my insurance? Depends on my insurance policy, but they have worked with my company before.

*Phone Call #8– Insurance Company. Can I do this at My Local Pharmacy instead? I COULD, but it’s not the cost effective way and I NEED to try a supply company first or they won’t cover me. SERIOUSLY. WHY?!

*Phone Call #9– Test Supply Company #3. Carries my supplies, but don’t I want a NEW glucose meter? The one I got today was subpar! They can give me one for free!!! WTF?!!! Why does everyone want to give me a new glucose meter? What sort of kickback are they getting from THAT? I said no. They need my doctor’s name, number, fax number. I have to call them back.

*Phone Call #10-15– Doctor’s office/x5 because busy signal. Confirm fax number.

*Phone Call #16– Test Supply Company #3. Oh, and do I have the doctor’s address? No. It’s not information you asked for, assholes. Get supplies confirmed, but it will take 24-48 business hours to process my order and then 2-3 business days to ship, which means I probably won’t get supplies for a week. I have TEN strips and lancets here to test 4x/day. WTF?

*Phone Call #17– Diabetes Education Center. Left message asking WTF they want me to do with only 10 test strips/lancets. That appointment in a week is worthless if they don’t know what my effing blood sugar is. Should we delay the appointment a week? I left this message at 11 am.

#Phone Call #18– Nutritionist calls me back at 4:30 pm, 5.5 hours after I left a message for her. The office is closing in 30 minutes, but I need to hurry hurry hurry to get there right away to pick up some test strips even though I live 20 minutes away and have two small children here, one of whom is asleep. OMG come right now! NOW! Or send someone! WHAT IF I CAN’T TEST FOR ONE DAY?! Oh, and by the way, why don’t I just reuse the lancets? I can use just one a day! SERIOUSLY? Doesn’t that sound like an infection waiting to happen?

Keep in mind it took them like 2 weeks to get me in to the nutritionist after I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes with Lily and it’s been less than a week since I was diagnosed with this pregnancy. I know how to count my carbs and follow the diet (especially now that they gave me TWO ADDITIONAL HOURS of diabetes education even after I told them I’ve been on the diet before). And, based on the first day of testing, my blood sugar isn’t breaking 100 when it needs to be under 120. I can not drop everything to be where they want when they want me there. I tell them I can’t get there until Monday.

They tell me I need to come in first thing Monday morning for testing supplies OR send someone (who is this magical person who has free time first thing Monday morning? Do I have a staff of lackeys that can just drive 20 minutes away whenever I so beckon them?) to get them for me.

I will be there AFTER dance class MONDAY AFTERNOON because you know what? No. Just no. Also, my kid is coming with me to the next appointment. And no, I can’t just find a baby-sitter at 2 pm on Tuesday afternoon when I live 3.5 hours from my family, I’m a stay at home mom and my husband works. What world do these nutritionists live in and how do I get them out of mine?

Stupid GD. I hope it never happens to any of you. And I especially hope it doesn’t balloon into Type 2 Diabetes because as far as I can tell after two rounds of this, nutritionists are the most dreaded of the health care professionals.

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