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…