Friday, February 13, 2009

Frustrating Day

So I made the mistake of bragging to Ellen over at To The Max about how I'd actually had a pretty good week. Sometimes I think God uses my life for entertainment value. "Did you hear that?" he says, elbowing Gabriel in the ribs. "She's bragging about having a good week again. Give her the chair!" Then Gabriel comes down and executes a pile driver on my day while all the other angels look on and cheer.

Anyway, yesterday afternoon after his evaluation Connor kind of got all quiet and started acting like he was tired. I figured he'd just had a hard day and didn't think much of it. This morning when he woke up, however, he was kind of blue around the mouth and at the fingers and toes. Any mom who has a kid with heart issues knows that this is not a good thing.

Connor usually doesn't have any cyanosis-- that's the blueness-- so I was a little bit worried. He didn't seem out of sorts at all, though, it obviously wasn't a seizure since he was still conscious and breathing, and he pinked up pretty quickly when I got him dressed. I figured maybe he'd just been a little cold. I debated with myself about whether or not I should take him to Family Conversations play group, but I ended up deciding to go ahead since he was pink and happy, and just to call and make an appointment with his cardiologist for the next week.

I told them at play group that he was looking a little blue around the edges and so to watch him carefully (we go off and leave the kids with the therapists for about an hour while we listen to presentations or get sign lessons) and when we came back, they said he'd had a couple of episodes and seemed to pink back up when they lay him down on the ground. He started going cyanotic again during the last song of the day, so we took him into the other room. By this point I'm thinking-- okay-- I really don't want to wait until next week to see someone. He probably needs his medication adjusted and that's all it is-- he's gained quite a bit of weight and he's more active now-- but just in case I'd better take him in. We debated on whether or not I should just call an ambulance, but by this point he was once again pink and happy, so I just put him in the car and drove down to the military hospital where our cardiologist works.

I called the appointment line on the way there and was informed that they could squeeze me in in early March. Riiiiiiiiight. I explained the situation and they said that I could either call the pediatric specialty desk directly and see if they could page the doctor or I could go to the ER. So I called the ped's specialty desk. The phone rang twenty times. No one picked up. I gritted my teeth and drive to the emergency room.

When I got to the ER, I explained the situation to the guy at the front desk. He looked at my currently pink, happy child and said, "Well, here's the deal. He's not blue right now, and we're pretty busy today, so it will probably be an eight to ten hour wait, and the Echo team will probably already be gone for the weekend. If I were you, I'd just walk in to the clinic. They should see you a lot faster." So we got back in the car and drove back around to the clinic.

When we got to the clinic, the person in charge of reception at the pediatric specialty clinic was still MIA, so we walked down to the general ped's clinic. They told me that they weren't able to make any appointments for cardiology, and not only that, but Connor's doctor was out of the hospital for the day. I explained the situation for the third time and they decide to find another cardiologist to take a look at him.

This is when things get really ludicrous. The other cardiologist comes out, and with him standing over me in the middle of the waiting room we have the following conversation:

Me: Hi! I'm Jessie, and this is Connor-
Man: He probably has arrhythmia.
Me: Um...well he's got left ventricul-
Man: I know. I read the nurse's note.
Me: (Refusing to be interrupted.) He's had some intermittent cyanosis, which is not a typical symptom for him, and it seems to cluster around periods of activity. He's also been acting unusually tired. His medication hasn't been adjusted for a while, and I'm wondering if we couldn't have you take a quick look.
Man: Probably arrhythmia. If it happens again take his pulse and see what it's doing. Then you can have me paged.
Me: Well, he hasn't had any arrhythmia before, so I was just thinking maybe we need to check his lisinopril dose-
Man: Well if he's going into heart failure there's nothing we can do anyway. Just take his pulse if it happens again. We'll have Dr. P (Connor's cardiologist) call you tonight.

And then he walked off, leaving me sitting in the waiting room in sputtering, incoherent rage.

It's not almost nine in the evening and Dr. P hasn't called-- leaving me to speculate that they probably put the page in through the computer system and not the pager system, so he'll get the message on Tuesday (it's a four day weekend because of President's Day). He's usually pretty good about calling me back, so I'll give him the benefit of the doubt. I didn't stay and insist on Connor having an Echo done for two reasons--

1) He is still being a pink, happy baby and he hasn't had any more blue episodes. We'll just take it really, really easy the next few days until we get in to see our cardiologist, and if things look any worse I'll immediately take him to the ER, which is literally a two minute drive from my house.

2) I never ever want to see that doctor ever, ever again.

Seriously. I could maybe, maybe almost sort of understand him being a little rude if I was in there, say, five or six times a day with imaginary ailments, but this is the first time I've ever done this sort of thing. Maybe things were really, really busy and he didn't have a lot of time-- then I could understand him being a little bit short with me. Fine.

But what kind of a jerk on being told that a kid with heart issues is potentially having trouble walks into a crowded waiting room, doesn't even bother to take the kid's pulse, announces "well if he's going into heart failure there's nothing we can do anyway?" and then walks off?




maurylorraine said...

Wow. For lack of a less.. inappropriate term, what a jerk.

Julia O'C said...

What a complete and utter jackass. I wish I could say that I can't believe you were treated that way, but we've been treated similarly by Emmett's own neurosurgeon.

I'm so sorry.

Mia said...

I CAN NOT believe he had the *alls to do that to you - period. To do that to you in the waiting room. To do that to you in front of Connor. TO DO THAT TO Connor! What kind of *person* says that anyway! Being a doc, he should be more aware of what he's saying. I hope you got his name and will report him!

I hope Connor's okay!

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