Its been a little while since I posted what with the holidays and then getting back into the groove at work. I wish I was posting on a more cheery subject but I feel like this topic is one that I will face for the rest of my working life, as long as I have kids at home.
So first the background to the story. My 16 month old son who is usually a great sleeper had a few night of restless sleep the week before Christmas when we were leaving for a family trip to Mexico. He did not seem to have cold, no runny nose, no cough, but was drooling quite a bit. He looked like he had a few teeth coming in so my husband and I just figured he was going through the seemingly endless and painful process of teething. Poor baby!
Friday December 21st at 4pm our nanny called me. She said that Leo had been doing great all day, but had just woken up form his nap screaming inconsolable and with a fever. I knew right away that what we had mistaken as teething must have been the beginnings of an ear infection. Both my kids have gotten them throughout their baby years, and this would be Leo’s 5th one. I called the pediatrician right away, as we were scheduled to leave at 5:40 am the next morning for Mexico. Our pediatrician practices in a very small practice with only 2 other Doctors. We chose them because they were small and seemed to pitch more of an “old school” care for kids. Really hands on, with real time devoted at each appointment to the child and their parents. Their hours, as posted on their web site are Monday through Friday 8:30am-6:00pm. They do not have any after hours care.
At 4:05 when I talked the receptionists and let her know what was going on, I fully expected her to just say, OK rush him in here so that we can see him before we close. But no. She told me a nurse would call back. At 4:25 I got a call back from the nurse. She basically said the only Dr. that was there was on his way out. I begged her and told her we were leaving to Mexico very early the next morning, and that I was pretty sure it was an ear infection and that he would need antibiotic. She put me on hold and talked to the Dr. A few minutes later she came back on the line and said that the Dr. was on his way out and that he said I should go to urgent care. I rushed my 16 month old to Urgent care, hoping that if I got there before 5 it would be a shorter wait. I got there at 4:40 and was at urgent care until almost 10:00 pm. My son got the antibiotic he needed and was cleared by the urgent care Dr. to fly the next morning.
When I got back from my holiday on a Sunday, I wrote an email to the Dr. expressing my disappointed in the care (or lack thereof) that I had been given. I thought that pediatricians understood that you can not predict children, and that when they get sick is beyond your control. I was polite, but I wanted the office to know that I did no think they had handled the situation well. I heard nothing from them for 5 days. On Friday I took my 16 month old in to check that his ears were clear as he was pulling them and having some restless nights again. Thank goodness this time it was teething. But more interesting this is what the Dr. (a woman) had to say about my email:
Dr: “We got your email. In the future it would be better if you could call earlier”
Me: “I completely understand, but it was not clear he was sick until 4pm when he got up screaming and feverish from his nap”
Dr.: “You and your husband both work right?” I nodded yes. ” Well maybe our practice is not for you”
She was basically telling me that because I worked I was not able to care for my children in a manner that she approved of. that somehow if I had been home with my child I would have been able to call the office earlier. She herself, a working mom, was judging me as a working parent, and insulting my choice to work. My jaw was on the ground that she had judged me for working. I never expected a very highly educated woman to try and make me feel inferior for choosing to work. Needless to say we will not be going back to that practice. We are on the hunt for a good paediatrician that can support our family choices. All of them — from our choice to co-sleep with our babies, to my choice to nurse them pas a year of age, to our choice to work and run our own business.
I just did a little searching online to see if I could find any related articles or blog posts about another working mom having the same experience and no surprise I found one within minutes of starting the search.