Monday, January 03, 2011

doctor visit #1 of 2011.

Max has been under the weather for over a week.  Actually, we all have, to varying degrees.  Today was supposed to be a beautiful kid-free day before Scott and I head back to work tomorrow.  The key words here are "supposed to be".  The dreaded call from school came at 11:40am - one measly hour before Max's pick-up for therapy.  His teacher said he had been tugging on his left ear all morning saying "ear hurt" and not  wanting to do anything.  Scott picked him up and brought him home.  We asked him if his ear hurt and he repeated "ear hurt" back to us.  The challenge of course, is that Max is often echolalic, so we weren't sure if his ear really hurt or not.  It may be that he was just having a hard time getting back into being at school again. Me, being the hard ass mom that I am, decided that he was still going to therapy (we have to pay either way, whether he goes or not).

I asked his behaviour therapist to keep an eye on him and give me a call to let me know what she thought.  A few hours later she called and said that she thought he probably did have an ear infection.  Ugh.  Just what I wanted to hear.  I headed over to the drop-in clinic to put Max's name on the wait list.  I never bring him in to the clinic without first finding out how long the wait is going to be.  To say it is stressful for all involved is an understatement.  The drop-in clinic is always a last option, because I find the doctors there to be uneducated about Autism and in turn, judgemental of my parenting (not something I need when dealing with Max who is in pain and not coping well with an unfamiliar environment).

Since Scott was home, we both took Max to the clinic (after waiting at home for 2 hours).  Turns out telling time is not the nurses' forte.  Despite me calling ahead, we ended up waiting another 45 minutes (15 in the waiting room dealing with Max running around) and another 30 minutes in the exam room with Max laying on the floor screaming.  And - the only reason we were given access to the exam room is that a nurse who knows Max and me took pity on us and snuck us in.  When the doctor finally came in it took him all of 30 seconds to diagnose Max with a very bad (7 on a scale of 1 to 10) ear infection.  Scott took Max home and I headed to the pharmacy to get the prescription filled.

While I don't ask for special treatment for myself when it comes to the Canadian health care system, I wish that there were a better general understanding of how to best help children with special needs in these situations.  How hard would it have been for them to give us an accurate time for our time slot?  How hard would it have been to allow us to enter the exam room upon arrival so that Max didn't have the chance to get overexcited?   It seems like a reasonable request to me.  And one that would make a world of difference to a little boy in a lot of pain.

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