Monday, March 24, 2008

Sick Child Rigamarole

All last week, Lucas was fighting a head cold. On Saturday afternoon, he complained that his left ear hurt. I smell an ear infection.

The doctor's office was most likely closed, and I didn't want to make Lucas wait until Monday. So I decided to take him to the Minute Clinic inside CVS Drugstore. The nearest MC is located 5 miles away. And I figured that if it didn't work out, there was an Urgent Care place across the parking lot.

We got to the Minute Clinic, and I was pleasantly surprised. There was nobody waiting. In fact, the nurse practitioner on duty was talking on the phone. When she saw us signing in, she promtly finished her call.

The nurse, "Jackie" was very friendly. She took the signed treatment consent form, and processed my insurance card. She also asked a few basic questions--symptoms, other medications taken, drug allergies, etc.

She examined Lucas and he did indeed have an infection in his left ear. Jackie prescribed antibiotics and ear drops to relieve pain. She also had a copy of her diagnosis report sent to Lucas' primary care doctor. We were in and out of there in 15 minutes.

I probably should have had the prescriptions filled at CVS, but I opted to go to the Fry's Pharmacy near our house instead. They know us there. Besides, I simply prefer to have all our family's prescriptions on file at one place.

I was told that Luke's medicine would be ready in 20 minutes. No problem. I have other shopping to do anyway.

When we returned to the pharmacy, the line of people was 5 deep. Four of them were there to buy allergy medicine, which is now kept behind the pharmacy counter. So instead of filling my son's prescriptions, the pharmacist has to check ID, have customers sign a ledger, and ring up their drug purchases. Yes, there was a technician working too, but she was taking phone calls that appeared to be business-related.

I was incensed. These insipid meth-heads have made it impossible for regular people to buy Claritin right off the shelf. Instead, we have to jump through countless hoops...all in the quest for allergy relief. This causes valuable resources to be expended. And the pharmacist--a highly educated professional, who should be mixing antibiotics for my sick child--has been relegated to the role of gatekeeper for Sudafed.

On the bright side, Lucas' medicines cost the princely sum of $2.17. I even put my debit card away and paid cash. He's also feeling much better. The ear pain was gone by Saturday night, and he didn't have to miss out on any of the family Easter activities.


RainbowDishes said...

I am so glad Lucas is feeling better and didn't miss Easter activities. I had my first ear ache (my sister got all the ear aches and bloody noses growing up) a year ago. I can sympathize with him. We have Convenient Care here. They were originally located inside the medical clinics here (kinda counter-productive in my opinion) but they are expanding into the local grocery stores now. I have yet to wait more than 5 minutes to get into see and doctor/nurse practitioner. One time I had to wait an extra 5 minutes in the exam room because somebody in another exam room kept arguing with them. But I am very pleased with my experiences there. Sure beats going to the ER here...I have had to wait 5 hours to get 3 stitches and the other time, I passed out in the check-in booth from a high fever from my appendicitis and that was after I puked in the bathroom urinal.

Ms. Val said...

One time I had to wait an extra 5 minutes in the exam room because somebody in another exam room kept arguing with them.

That must happen alot. Once when Q was sick, I had to take him to the ER. Since it was short notice and I didn't have time to get a sitter for the boys, they came with us. Q got tended to immediately, but since the boys were with us, I had to stay in the waiting area with them. Also, it was early in the evening, so Q knew that it was a very real possibility that I'd have to leave and take them home.

Anyway, while waiting, there was an old fart who was shouting at everyone--wife, daughter, orderlies name it. He was trying to refuse treatment and LOTS of profanity was used. The boys began giggling. And since I didn't want this guy directing his anger at them, we made a hasty exit.

Good thing In-N-Out Burger was right up the street. It was dinnertime, anyway.