Casting call for medical care

One of the biggest frustrations of moving to a new city is finding and establishing ourselves with new doctors. Although we never got fully integrated into medical care in San Diego (we didn't need much of it in a year, thank goodness), we are here for good and need to find ourselves some good doctors.

Yesterday morning I set about to research pediatric allergists for McKay. He has inherited the worst possible genetic combination - allergic asthma (from his father's side of the family), and eczema (from me). He is on three different medications to keep his asthma and allergies in check. When his allergies get out of control, his lungs don't work properly, and he gets sick.

I found a couple of pediatric allergists close by and began calling for appointments. The first Very Busy and Important Doctor could not get us until the end of November (and we'd most definitely be out of medication by then). But in case I couldn't find anything else, I went ahead and made an appointment for what might as well be ten years from now.

So I called the next pediatric allergy practice on my list. The phone was answered by a curt, stiff, angry woman (come on, you can just picture the type). She seemed literally shocked and offended that I was calling for an appointment. I mean, she probably had to put down her coffee and donut to answer the phone and everything. She informed me that Her Doctors only see patients if they are referred by another doctor. I politely informed her that we do not need a referral from our insurance company, we have already been established with pediatric allergists in the past, and we'd simply like an appointment. She huffily informed me that The Preshus Doctors would have to see my son's medical records first, and then decide if they would take him on as a patient. Oh, I'm sorry. Silly me, I didn't realize we had to audition for the role of patient. I simply assumed that a little thing called the Hippocratic Oath entitled us to an audition-free appointment. I mean, isn't it supposed to be the other way around? Aren't I the one who gets to decide if you are worthy enough to treat ME? And what - if my son isn't sick or interesting enough, will you not take the case?

I was so angry, but still not wanting to let McKay go essentially until December without any medication. In desperation, I whined to my own personal health care consultant - The Husband. He listened patiently (get it, ha ha) to my tale of woe and his comment to me was, "Why don't you just try Children's Hospital?"

Oh, the one downtown that seems far away and inconvenient? "Yes," he says, "With stuff like this, you don't mess around with suburban doctors. Go straight for the experts. They'll be better trained and will know what they're doing"

One short phone call later and we had an appointment in a few weeks' time. The receptionist who answered the phone was acutely aware of patients with our health history, knew just what pulmonary function tests we'd be requiring, and calmly and politely got it all scheduled for me. I was ready to jump through the phone and kiss and hug her ferociously.

So a few lessons learned today: 1) Always go with quality health care from the beginning, even if it's not necessarily close to home; and 2) admit that yes, ahem, sometimes, The Husband is right.