Friday, June 15, 2007

One more doting father anecdote…

We have a doctor for Anya whom I have never liked very much. My dislike for her stems from the fact that I find her a bit too hysterical. To me, someone you have to trust your health to ought to really be the reasonable type. But this woman is most certainly not and her inability to cope without excess drama has caused us no end of consternation. Specifically there were several instances when Anya was an infant in which this woman so over reacted that I started to question her qualifications as a doctor. In one case, she tried to tell us that the girl needed to be hospitalized when all she had was a little flu and was not even particularly ill. In another case, she called for an operation when we pointed out that one eye was mildly smaller than the other, a condition which is more normal that having two exactly matching eyes. Check for yourself on this one: We all have one eye slightly smaller than the other. Yet another was when she expressed a desire to "irrigate" the girl when she missed making #2 for two days. I told her I wanted a second opinion and she acted offended. After that, I told her to get the hell out of my house. Was quite a scandal actually.

Anyway, Belarusian socialized medicine is what it is so bureaucratically bound, she is still our doctor. Not that either of us has forgotten any of what has transpired. There is still a lot of tension.

So all of this being said, the situation is that Tanya is back at the bookstore and therefore I have the job of looking after Anya when she is not in the kindergarten. This last week though she was a little ill and we kept her home for a few days. Of course, because all of the systems are tied together, we needed a note from the doctor to do this. Tanya had been over there the previous week. Now, Anya was much, much better, but with Tanya at the book shop, the job fell to me to take her to the follow up. I understood going in that this doctor of ours would just as soon put the girl in an institution as say that she is fine, but still I held hope that getting a release note would not be too much of a problem.

The doctor's appointment was for late in the afternoon, so Anya and I spent the morning going to the market and the bank, paying the bills and spending a little time on the swings. By the time we got back it was about lunch time and wanting to be a cool dad, I whipped up a little home made macaroni and cheese. A little milk, a little fresh graded cheese, some salt and pepper, a little butter and sour cream and some chopped fresh onions straight from the garden. Mmm-mmm good. Anya and I sat in front of the TV watching "Moi prekrastna nya nya" and ate up our lunches, washing them down with apple compote. Just before she hit the bottom of the bowl, she also fell asleep, so I put her in her bed and went to work.

I actually lost track of the time but Anya woke up at exactly 4:30. Her walking into the office reminded me that we needed to get to the hospital so we quickly changed clothes, jumped on the bike and rode over to the children's clinic in about 5 minutes. Unfortunately, there was a line, another byproduct of socialized medicine I suppose, so we hung out in the corridor. Anya gets bored easily so she spent her time running back and forth with a little boy, climbing onto the changing tables and generally being a nuisance. After what was probably a good hour we finally got the call and went in to see our favorite doctor.

"For all I see, Anya is healthy as a horse at the moment." I said quickly, "I would really simply like a note letting her go back to kindergarten."

"Well let's take a look first, shall we?"

I could see that my asking for that release note would exactly be the cause of my not getting it. The doctor made a show of efficiency and she checked Anya's lungs and her heart, weighed and measured her, looked in her mouth and her eyes, nose and ears.

"Is she still coughing or have a temperature?" She asked, feeling Anya's head.

"No, she is just bored to death right now. She has been fine for a couple of days. I really think she wants to go back to the kindergarten"

The doctor mumbled a bit and started to write out prescriptions. Obviously with my attitude it was a miracle Anya had made it this far.

"I want you to give her this antibiotic. If she has been taking this there is no need to continue. If she has been taking something else, give her this for three more days."

She gave me the prescription and asked if this is what she had been taking. I said that I didn’t know.

"What do you mean you don't know? You're the father. It's your business to know."

"Well you're the doctor. Isn't it written in the book what she was given last time?" The child's entire history is kept in a single book which is on file at the hospital. "Isn't it your business to know what you have done previously?"

She looked again and found the prescription. Like I said, I do not trust this woman and over medicating my girl is not something I want to get in the habit of doing.

"Does she really need to take more anti-biotics?"

"It is a preventative measure." She handed me the paper." Also, here is a prescription for some nose drops. She needs to take it four times a day, every day for four days."

"Nose drops? For what?"

"For her stuffed nose."

The girl was clearly breathing well through her nose at that moment. Anyone could see or hear it.

"What makes you think she needs nose drops? Her nose is clean."

"Look," she said, pointing to Anya's face, "You can see the snot there on her cheek."

I looked closely at her cheek. After a minute I scraped some off with my finger nail and after looking at it for a second, stuck it in my mouth. I thought her eyes would pop out of her head.

"Doctor," I said, "This is not snot. It's macaroni and cheese!"

Her face went red as a beet. I don't know how many years this lady actually practiced medicine but for sure I am not the only one who is tired from her antics; even the assistant was busting up over this one. She started to rip up the prescription.

"Macaroni and cheese?!" she screamed, "You need to clean the girls face after she eats."

Both the assistant and I were both still laughing as I buttoned Anya up and left for home.

And no, we didn't get the note.

More soon…


Anonymous LASunsett said...

Cute little girl you have there BH.

As for the doctor, she sounds like a quack. Sacrificing quality care for the free care, cuts out the ability to choose car providers in most socialistic systems of healthcare. Especially those from the old Soviet system. Also, it sounds like there is no Patient's Bill of Rights, like we have here in America.

On the antibiotics issue, ABs have been much overused everywhere, here included. This has led to the development of many drug resistant infections. Using them when not needed only makes this worse for the future.

Saturday, June 16, 2007  
Anonymous LASunsett said...

Correction: car providers should read CARE providers.

Saturday, June 16, 2007  
Blogger BEING HAD said...

Could not agree with you more. On the plus side, there are very few real money worries and those anti-biotics cost pennies, on the other, well, you get what you pay for.

Saturday, June 16, 2007  
Anonymous Jenna said...

It was a good thing you had your eyes open. Obviously this is once fooled twice shy or in your case three times fooled. Tell the truth though, how can you really live there?

Saturday, June 16, 2007  
Anonymous John Q Law said...

Don't even ask Jenna. I don't even think he knows.

Another cool story AG. Somebody should pay you for this already.

Saturday, June 16, 2007  
Blogger Mary Ellen said...

Hello Being Had! Happy Fathers Day to you and what a beautiful daughter!

I agree with LASunsett, the overuse of antibiotics has caused many strains of bacteria to become resistant to them. Giving a child an anti-biotic as a "preventative measure" is antiquated medicine. I certainly would question her ability as a doctor!

I guess my approach to the doctor would be to nod my head in agreement, smile, and then not give the child anything I didn't think would be necessary. How is the doctor to know if you continue the medication?

I used to go to a particular group of pediatricians for my children when they were young, that was assigned to me by my insurance. Most of the doctors were wonderful, but there was one old dinosaur that insisted that each child get a shot of anti-biotic if they came in ill. Of course, this terrified the kids and made them afraid every time I mentioned that they needed to see the doctor when they were sick. The problem was, if this doctor was the one on duty, you had no other choice but to see him or wait another day or more to see another doctor. So, the next time I got stuck with the old coot, I put my foot down and told him to shove his needles where the sun don't shine and if he wanted them to have anti-biotic, it came in liquid form that they can drink. Needless to say, he wasn't happy and I walked out with a prescription for my daughters medicine. The nurse just smiled and gave me a wink and told me "I wish more moms would tell that guy just what you did!" That doctor finally retired a few months later.

Also, thanks...I now have a craving for mac and cheese and it's only 7:00 am! ;-)

I have to go look in the mirror now to see which eye is smaller...see ya later!

Sunday, June 17, 2007  
Blogger richardlith said...

interesting comments on socialised medicien.
You never write what your wife's attitude to the doctor is. In my experience with a Lithuanian wife (who is from a doctor's family), Soviet and post-soviet doctors prescribe ABs willy nilly and order children to bed so that they are seen "to be trying." If the doctor had said, "she is fine, she'll get better be herself in a couple of days," or even "it's just a cold," Belarusian and other post-soviet parents would accuse here of not caring, "not trying." and therefore begin a poor doctor.

"It's a preventative measure," the doctor said. Thid idea was the bedrock of the whole Soviet medical system. Intervention and treatment was made early. The few British doctors I know who have come across the Soviet system describe it, slightly disapprovingly, as "interventionist."

also, the Soviet Union had about twice as many doctors per head as the rest of Europe, so everyone got used to seeing the doctor at the slightest excuse.

Keep up the good blogging

Tuesday, June 19, 2007  
Blogger BEING HAD said...

Good comment Richard. Everything you said is right on the ball. I will tell you though that when it is obviously not needed, we take responsibility ourselves and don't give it. And for sure, we didn't give the nose drops. However, I will say that in general that, though there is a lot of this baloney that you point out, I cannot say that they don't care or that they aren't professional because I really think they are. The quick response ambulance (medicini skorost) is an amazing asset, the doctors have no problems making house calls and during my one stay in a hospital here, one day for a kidney stone, the room was clean, the doctors and nurses available and other than my not wanting to give blood quite so often, I rate that it was just fine. I won't insult Belarusian medicine in general; I just hate this one "doctor".

Tuesday, June 19, 2007  

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