Tuesday, March 25, 2008

the night of, the day after

Carolyn woke up from her nap less than an hour after I put her down. Her ears were really bothering her. She was tugging on them and crying. Henry then woke up crying because William - who woke up from his nap prematurely - thought it would be fun to launch stuffed animals in to his baby brother's crib.

Fortunately, I had the after hours appointment at 6:00 PM, because there was no way I could wait until Tuesday for Carolyn to be seen by our pediatrician. She has never had an ear infection before and I had a bad feeling this one was a doozy. Despite the pain medication I had been administering, she cried all afternoon.

At 5:00 PM, I began the process of loading everyone in to the car. By the time we arrived at the doctor's office - after a quick stop for petrol - it was exactly 6:00 PM.

Checking in, I noticed that we were the only people in the waiting area. As I gave the receptionist Carolyn's information, I was informed that her appointment was actually for 8:00 PM. Even though I was told that the appointment would be at 6:00 PM, the scheduler made a mistake.

I'm standing in the empty waiting room with a bawling Carolyn, William and Elizabeth who are both jockeying for my attention, and Henry who insists on being held.

I looked at the receptionist and laughingly said "April Fool's. Right??"

She smugly responded "No. Your appointment is in two hours."

I stood there for a moment, unsure of what to do and as I started to walk away from the desk, was suddenly more angry at a situation that didn't involve three-year-olds than I've been in a very long time.

I stepped back to the desk and said "Well. That's unacceptable. I tried to get an appointment with our pediatrician - or any pediatrician for that matter - this morning and after waiting for the better part of the day, was told that they had no space in their schedule. I sat on the phone for almost an hour to schedule this appointment and was confirmed for an appointment at 6:00 PM. And now, you're saying that there was a mistake and OOPS our appointment is in TWO hours?"

She gave me a blank stare before responding "That's what I'm saying."

Knowing that you can attract more bees with honey than vinegar, I tried again. "Here's the thing. I've got four children with me. Dinner and bath time is in an hour for these guys. If there is any way you could squeeze her in - she just needs to have her ears checked. It doesn't look like there is any one waiting. Please. I've got 10 pounds of unopened See's chocolate at home and it's yours if you want it. Please."

The receptionist let out a sigh and said that she'd check with the nurse.

Thirty seconds later she returned and informed me that they must adhere to the scheduled appointment times, out of respect for the other patients.

Those other patients who weren't there yet. Even though the doctor was. I could actually see him. Twiddling his thumbs in the back.

The receptionist stressed it again. "It's out of respect, you know."

Oh, RESPECT. After last week, I didn't think that anyone knew about RESPECT anymore.

While we were in Florida, I was ready to clobber a group of Spring Breakers who rushed in to the waiting area of a restaurant after us, as we put our names in, and grabbed all the available seats while Jim, an 84-year old man who just had a knee replacement, stood leaning against a wall. I'm certain none of them would have given up their seat if my mother hadn't spoken up and said something.

And then when I was walking through the rows and rows of cots at the DFW airport and was setting up our camp on the ground, not one person volunteered to give up their cot so that a woman with two small children wouldn't have to sleep on the floor. I wouldn't have accepted it - had it been offered - but I'm still in disbelief that no one came forward. Not even one of the 20-something year old guys that were headed to Cancun for a surfing trip.

If not for the after hours pediatrician that was respecting the time of the patients who had their appointments properly scheduled ... even though those patients weren't respecting the time of the doctor ... I'd be seriously wondering WHAT the world is coming to.

I left the doctor's office and tried calling Charlie from a pay phone (because I'm still cell-phone-less). Then, after feeding a ton of dimes in to the pay phone yet again, I called the patient help line for our health network and spoke to a representative regarding my "concerns" over the schedule mishap. Then, I loaded the kids back in to the car and we went out to eat.

Over dinner, William started grabbing his ears.

Fast forward.

Two double ear infections.

Although, with Carolyn it is speculated because there was so much wax build-up in her ears, the doctor couldn't even see her eardrums. He spent 30 minutes trying to aspirate her ears and clear out the wax before her screaming was so unbearable that I decided enough was enough. He hesitated writing a prescription and instead wanted for me to continue aspirating her ears and applying mineral oil for the next two days and then he'd check again. But ultimately, and with Carolyn's continued screaming, we convinced him that wasn't the best idea.

Charlie returned from Los Angeles tonight and he is sick. Henry and Elizabeth are both coughing. I was sick before I left for my trip, felt great while I was gone, and am sick again. I don't know if we're all in need of another vacation, or allergic to our home life.

Either way, I think it's time to strike up the band.

It feels like this ship is going down.


  1. Oh, bless your heart. Truly. I am a faithful reader/lurker but I had to just send you a great big cyber hug. I am so sorry everyone is sick. You handled the whole Dr appt thing beautifully, I would have started crying and probably been unable to stop for two solid hours. ;-)

    Hang in there... your readers out here in cyberspace are cheering for you!


  2. Wow.

    I think I would have had my four children play reenact the car washing incident as close to her reception desk as humanly possible. And made clear my intentions to stay right there for the full two hours. I bet you would have gotten in early then.

  3. I am sorry. No other words really but sorry and wow!

  4. Wow...that's about all I can say. I like andrea's idea of staying in the waiting room the whole 2 hours. We were sick before and after vacation too. To florida no less. hmmm

  5. Hi jen,
    This too shall pass. How about a trip to the park?
    It wears them out and gives them so much to do rather than be under foot. I guess that is why I did so much walking up and down the hills of Maynard. They look awfully cute.

  6. That exact same thing happened to me with a pedi appointment - except I only had 1 toddler and baby twins. I remember standing there thinking - this lady in not seriously going to turn me away, right? But she did.

    And the cot thing, I would have felt the same way.

    It does seem at times that noone is watching out for anyone other than themselves.

    I do know that I personally have become alot more flexible and compassionate since having kids though. The upshot of dealing with selfish and inflexible people I guess :)

  7. sorry, sorry, sorry. All I can say is it will get better. I haven't had triplets but i have had 6 three year olds at one time and then another and it always does.

    I love the shot of Wm and the bubbles, that is awesome.

    I wish I knew you were at the airport, we are about 40 mintues away and I would have come to save you. The chaos here would have made you feel at home :)

  8. You should have respected that ignorant receptionist by letting her Listen to the kids scream for 2 hours. That's just horrible.

    I'm so sorry the kids and you guys are sick again. I swear to you they won't get sick anymore when they are four. You can hold me to it.

    Get well and use your ZICAM!

  9. That doctor office situation has made me so blind-furious, I'm going to be lying awake for a couple of hours composing things to say to that receptionist.

  10. Oh no way! That receptionist has serious compassion issues! WTH! Obviously they could have gotten you in. Sheesh. Hope you all feel better very soon.

  11. OMG......WTF???? Just reading about it made me angry for you!!! I am spitting nails. They should have seen you anyway. It's not YOUR fault that THEY made a mistake. I think people get on power trips sometimes. They just didn't want their obviously precise schedule to be altered in any way.