Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Banging My Head Against A Wall

Have you ever felt like you were banging your head up against a wall? Or at least like banging your head up against a wall, would feel better than dealing with current situation?

I do.
Let me recap yesterday, will ya?

Marissa had a fever of 103 new years eve. She came to me and told me, "Mommy, my head is broken." Talk about heartbreaking....but that is beside the point. She looked terrible. After some prayer and a short consultation, we decide to wait this out.

Next day...she is fine.

Saturday, same scenario as Thursday.

Sunday...no problems.

Yesterday morning, we have a repeat of symptoms.

Now if this were one of my children that didn't just come home from Africa six months ago, I could blow this off as a virus or something. Not with this child. I know way too much about malaria to do that. Even if I didn't know anything, the infectious disease doctor that I had to see , was very explicit in her instructions, "If you or your husband, or your two new children have a reoccurring fever within the next year, you must assume first it is malaria, and demand a test."

Which reminds of a question, If ignorance is bliss and knowledge is power...does that mean all knowledgeable people are unhappy? I was just wondering.

Anyway, back to our day. Fever, headache, and chills that comes in cycles...hmm...sounds like I should have a malaria smear done. Not a problem...right? So I call our PCP (which I always thought was some type of hallucinogenic drug...not a doctor) and ask the simple question, "My daughter from Africa needs to have a malaria test, can you get us a lab order so I can get that done today?" Can you guess the reply I got? "Um, no. You need to take her to the emergency room."

Now look, I don't mean to write a huge long post...but you must know that even if my daughter has malaria...at this point there is no way it is life threatening. There are four types of this nasty little parasite, and the one that kills you....falciparum...well, there is no way she could have this one. We have been home too long for it to possibly be this strain. If she has malaria, she would have one of the other three that all have a dormant stage in the liver. These may make you feel yucky...but you ain't dyin' from one of these.

Did I mention I know A LOT about malaria? Really, I am not a doctor...but I do pretend to be one in real life.

Anyway, back to my story. In my mind this is not an emergency room type of event. All I want is a simple blood test. So I call a local pediatric clinic, and have the following conversation,

Me: "Hi, my daughter, adopted from Africa, needs to have a malaria smear. Do you have an on site lab and are you capable of doing this test?"

Them: "Yes ma'am we can do that."

Me: "Great can I get an appointment?"

Them: "No we are a walk in only clinic."

Me: "Great we are on our way."

I am thinking this is fabulous. I should have know better. If it seems to good to be true...it probably is.

So, I get to said clinic and get into see the doc. I tell her what is going on and request a malaria smear. She smiles, and gives me THAT look, and replies, "I think I am going to go ahead and do a strep test." I am thinking...um lady, you haven't even looked at her throat to know if it is inflamed...but whatever. Thirty minutes later, she comes back in and tells me the strep test is negative. Huh, big surprise there. I again mention the malaria smear I am after. She tells me her next step will be a flu test. Now again, I know I am no doctor...but this child CLEARLY does not have the flu. So they proceed to stick a cotton swab up my poor child's nose and dig around...after I have told her on several occasions not to stick anything up there. Thirty minutes later she comes back in and informs me the flu test has come back negative. Ya don't say? She says to give her a few minutes to make some phone calls, and assures me she will be back in no time. Thirty minutes later she returns and says, "This is what I found out...she needs a malaria smear. We can't do that here you need to take her to the hospital."

Picture me banging my head against the wall.

At this point I am thinking...I have the stuff at home to do this. I was trained to do my own blood smears, by the doctor and the lab, after I got home from Uganda. I should just go home, make my own slide, have the science teacher meet us at the school and look myself on their microscopes. All I need to know is if this is malaria...or something else. I am even thinking a three hour drive to Mexico to pick up the meds has got to be better than this.

No, I dutifully take my daughter to the recommended hospital, where a person named Marcos, would be waiting for us.

I should mention, I never saw a Marcos.

As irritated as I am at this point, I am thinking...at least we can get this done here...and move on with life. We proceed to fill this new guy in on everything I have now told three doctors, and four nurses. He looks her over, tells me she looks great, she probably has a virus and will be better in a few days. I politely ask for a malaria smear. Really...I was polite. He proceeds to tell me that with malaria the fever is unrelenting...it doesn't go away. That there are intense fever and chills as well as headaches. I proceeded to tell him that may be true with falciparum malaria, but that with the three other strains fever and chills that come in one, two, or even three day cycles is quite normal. He gives us THAT look, and confirms that he is sure it is not malaria. The symptoms just don't match up...she has a virus. Great, I am fine with a virus...in fact I would rather prefer it. BUT CAN WE JUST GET A BLOOD SMEAR TO MAKE CERTAIN!!!!

At this point, my darling beloved does what I can never manage to do in these situations. He demands to have her screened for malaria. The doctor concedes...we finally are going to get what we have been after since 10:30 am.

TWO hours later, the doc comes back in and tells us she does not have malaria. Cool, now I can go home.

Ten minutes later the nurse...God love him...he was great, came in, and in detail went over all the tests that were ran. It was at this time we were informed that they only tested her for falciparum malaria. They did not test for the other three kinds, and that we need to have our PCP order those labs on an out patient basis.

Picture me banging my head against the wall.

We arrive home at 12:30 in the morning...pocket book lighter from our co pays...and right back where we started.

Picture me banging my head against the wall.

Maybe I need to get some of that OTHER PCP?


PS- To my dear friend Janet. Since I am trying very hard to follow the new years resolutions you made for me...I feel it is only fair that I get to request a blog post from you. I would like it to be entitled, "GIANT KICK IN THE PANTS...THE DOCTOR VERSION."

9 comments:

S.L.P said...

Ok, now I'm banging my head against the wall too!!!! That's just frustrating. Are you going to go see the "malaria expert" you saw? Please tell me you are?

KoriBatey said...

This is so ridiculously unbelievable. Or, so believable. I don't know. But, I'm thinking like Shara, that the infectious disease doctor might be the one to call. I mean, really, the doctors that work in those pediatric clinics have probably never seen a case of malaria in their lives. Or, not in Seguin anyway. I'm so sorry that yall went through that yesterday. The doctors were probably shaking their heads that y'all didn't blow up at them during this insanity. What a great witness. Unless you did, in which case, I'd say it was perfectly understandable!!! :-)

But, after you get her tested for the other three strains, you should call every doctor you dealt with yesterday and tell them back the entire story of your day, along with the outcome. They should have to listen to the absurdity of it all.

And then, they should refund your copay.

Ok, that's all.
Kori

Janet said...

LOL! I will do a Kick in the Pants for that one day! LOL! Poor you! It really drives me nuts when that happens. Neil was VERY prone to pneumonia when he was a baby. Had it a LOT. So I would take him into emerg and tell them he had it, then they would tell me he didn't, blah, blah, blah. We'd head home, his fever would spike, he'd turn blue, then they would test and SURE ENOUGH! he had it. ARG! Drove me nuts.

lauradodson said...

So. Where do you get these people? You sure know how to pick'em. I think we must be related, because I can pick some whoppers too...mine just happen to be lawyers.

jena said...

Oh my. I am so sorry. That is not a day ANY of us would like to copy. It is so frustrating getting THAT look. Lucky for me several doctors have written in my children's charts something similar to, "Mother is crazy. Give her what she asks for or she won't leave you alone."

Kaleb said...

LOL :)

FYI: I don't like doctors
Well mom don't get to comfortable :)
ya still got to go and get those other tests done.

Alexandra {{Awareness Warrior}} said...

Ugh, I'm so sorry you're having to go through all that bologna. I swear, some doctors think their initials are G.O.D. instead of M.D.!

Hoping things go smoother from here on out!
~Alex

Molly Beth said...

Oh my, I laughed the whole time I read that. Go read the post I just wrote "frustration" Oh, how similar they are. I'm sorry you didn't get any answers, but I believe you are fully capable of working a microscope to get the answers your looking for.LOL. I'll be praying for her. Hope she is feeling well now.

Audrey said...

Oh my goodness. What a nightmare! I, like Jena, am certain that there is written in large red letters on each of my kids' chart - beware, mom's a nut -However, quite often, this mom gets it right and sometimes that has made a BIG difference in the outcome of the situation. Keep at it - you have something that the doctors do not - mother's instinct. :)