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Parenting can be just plain hard sometimes.  

A few nights ago my 7 year old son Aiden had a rough night. His asthma was terrible and his coughing kept him up and at one point he felt like he couldn't breathe. Not good. So I called our local clinic and miraculously managed to get one of the incredibly coveted last-minute, same-day appointments with the doctor. I was so excited because I thought it meant that I wouldn't have to take him to the emergency room. And since I had just taken my 6 year old son Owen there the night before for his asthma I didn't particularly want to go there again so soon.

So Aiden and I went off to our appointment. We waited a couple minutes and then went in to see a doctor we had never seen before. I almost instantly regretted my decision to take my son there. This doctor was not only condescending and rude, she also didn’t even bother to be thorough. She asked why we were there. I explained my son and his asthma, briefly mentioned his Autism and ADHD hoping that would help her be a little more sensitive to him. She listened to his chest and turned to me and said “he isn’t wheezing“... now this is a common issue we deal with at doctors. My son has cough-variant asthma. He doesn’t wheeze. He coughs. He is not the only person in the world to deal with this and it is actually pretty common in children.

I foolishly assumed that this doctor would take that into consideration.

She asked me what we were doing there. I again explained about the whole “my son couldn’t breathe in the night and his inhalers weren’t working” thing and she said “he isn’t wheezing “. I looked at her in disbelief and said “ya... I know that. Do you have the file there from our regular doctor?” Then she said “Aiden obviously has slap-cheek (fifth disease) but that is no reason to be here. What exactly do you want from me?“. To which I replied “well, I’d like to know what to do to help my son BREATHE tonight“. She told me there was nothing she could do. So I said “well, I guess we will just have to go to the ER and see a different doctor who CAN help us” and left.

On my way out I asked the receptionist- just to be sure- if the doctor had access to my son’s file. She said yes, that it was available right on the computer in front of them. So then I asked if she had a complaint form I could fill out. She said no but I was welcome to write a letter to the clinic.

Which would be a great idea except that I found out the doctor we saw is the freaking Chief of Staff. Goody. Why a woman so heinous is in charge of a place that is supposed to HELP people I will never know.

So anyway we left the clinic and walked across the parking lot to the hospital ER where we proceeded to wait for another 4 hours to see a different doctor. Aiden was incredibly well behaved. I was so proud of him.

I almost had an emotional breakdown on the poor ER receptionist while I was trying to explain why we were there. When I explained what had happened she just said “ya... I’m sorry... she can be like that“. Then she told me our family doctor just happened to be working the ER that day so we would get to see him. I almost burst into tears of relief on the spot.

After we had been waiting a couple hours my sweet husband sent a care-package to us.... he called up my friend Michelle and she very graciously agreed to drop off a backpack full of stuff to help us survive the wait. He sent us snacks, books, music, Aiden’s DS and games, stuff to colour... it was wonderful. And Michelle told us about another waiting room in the hospital where we could wait without the insane crowds and where Aiden could actually watch TV and play with toys and stuff. It was lovely. And my mom even showed up for moral support.

At about hour 3 my husband brought Olivia and Owen to visit us in the waiting room which was a nice distraction. Doug and Owen took off again but Olivia stayed and hung out with Grandma.

At hour 4 we finally got called into to see the doctor... but of course we had to wait another hour to actually see him. At one point a male nurse came into the room and Aiden threw himself face first onto the bed and looked at him and said “pleeeease be the doctor!!“. The nurse laughed and said “sorry buddy“. Aiden then started with the “this is the WORST day EVER” rants but I thought he did amazingly well to wait that long to get to that point.

And then the shinning light that is my family doctor walked into the room. He sat down beside Aiden and asked us what he could do for us. He LISTENED to BOTH of us. Then he examined Aiden and after he was done he told us what was wrong.

Aiden’s larynx is getting inflamed and swollen so that it starts cutting off his airway. It doesn’t close over completely so it is not life-threatening per se. But basically all the coughing that Aiden does from his asthma irritates his larynx and then the coughing at night causes acid reflux (hence the stomach aches Aiden has been complaining about) and the acid irritates the larynx more. And then to top it all off the cold he has causes snot to drip down the back of his throat which irritates it even more. All that put together causes the lovely bouts of non-breathing that has been happening for my son.

Our doctor talked directly to Aiden about it and when Aiden told him how scary it was for him and that he didn’t want to die the doctor told him about how he has the same thing and has been scared by it too but that Aiden would be ok. He told me that Aiden definitely does have some congestion in his chest and that we need to keep on top of his asthma and he told me to start doing the nebulizer asthma treatments again ( it is a mask he wears that sort of steams the meds into his lungs). He said the nebulizer will control the asthma and as an added bonus the steam will sooth his trashed larynx.  

Now THAT is a great doctor.  

I would just like to point out that if that horrendously pompous doctor we saw first had taken the time to actually examine my son she probably could have told us that herself. But instead she was busy being condescending and looking at me with that “you are just a stupid over-protective mother who is wasting my time“. I really don’t like that lady.

And so we arrived home 5 hours after we first left... exhausted but encouraged at the same time. It is much easier to deal with things when we know what we are dealing with!!

Member Comments

    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Sweptawaymama wrote Mar 14, 2010
    • Wow...I am sorry to hear of this disheartening situation with the medical staff that you encountered.
      I manage a 10 physician pediatric practice and always appreciate feedback from patients both good and not-so-good. We do have a wonderful office with Dr’s that truly care about their patients and their families whether they are regular patients of their or their partners. I encourage you to write your feedback to the clinic you visited. One word of advice is to do it when the emotion has calmed. This way you stick to the facts and details in which they can receive the constructive criticism.
      Good luck! And know there are many good pediatricians out there!happy

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