Sunday, September 25, 2011

"I'll need to give you a demonstration on the Epi-pen"

Starting a full time job awhile back really cut into my blogging time.  Not to mention my ability to think about something other than work, my own kids, feeding them and keeping the house clean.  But then, about 2 months ago...we moved.  From east to west.  Virginia to Oregon.  So here we are.  And with a new place comes a new allergist.  Two kids, loads of complicated history.  I think we tend to overwhelm.

Our first visit to the allergist was Friday.  We started with Owen, which in hindsight was part of our mistake.  So by the time we had waited in the lobby for 35 minutes (Max and Owen are not good waiters)  I was already annoyed.  Which was apparently evident as the nurse immediately started to explain that they were running behind.  Which leads me to our second mistake.  I had been figuring the appointment to take an hour and half tops and had scheduled Max's first drum lesson for later in the afternoon.  You are right I shouldn't have scheduled anything else that afternoon.  I don't know what I was thinking.  I guess part of it is that food allergies are so much of a part of my life, I just expected I would go in there, say test for this and this and this.  His asthma seems fine right now.  Read through his records and catch yourself up.  I wasn't counting on needing to go through ALL of the history AND being questioned about it.  I guess on my part another mistake.

She wanted to start with his asthma history and it quickly became evident that she didn't think we were doing enough or that he had been monitored properly.  They wanted to do various lung function tests and add an albuterol inhaler.  They also think he needs one at school.  Though he never has needed one in the past.

As we started in on the food allergy history, I felt I was put on the defensive immediately with her questioning why I had even had him tested to begin with.  Throughout she kept interrupting (to go along with all the times my two children were interrupting).  I kept losing my train of thought and felt myself getting flustered and nervous.  But when she interrupted me to explain how RAST testing doesn't indicate severity and history is the true indicator of a food allergy I had to pause.  She then asked me if I had ever had to use the Epi-pen.  I said no the one time Owen needed it we were at the allergist and she did it.  Her reply was "Okay then we will need to do a demonstration for you before you leave today."  I was taken a back.  Really?  I have been raising children with food allergies for 9 years and you think you need to demonstrate the Epi-pen for me?  I exploded a little in a flustered unproductive not very helpful way and explained that after 9 years a knew a lot about food allergies indicating Max and his somewhat healthy 9 year old self.  And that we had seen some of the best allergists on the east coast.  I could kick myself for that.  I SO don't want to be east coast and it may have seemed like I played a "the doctors are better on the east coast" card.  Friday night I lay in bed going over how I could have done it all better.  Because you see, we have moved to a much smaller pond and this is the only pediatric allergist in it.  We may be stuck with each other.  Which means I need to do a better job building this relationship.  And at the same time she needs to recognize that I know what I am doing.

I know we are new to her but we are not new to food allergies.  When I said I had never had to use the Epi-pen perhaps she should have replied "Wow, then you've done a great job on managing these kids food allergies."  Doctors need to realize that as parents of children with special circumstances we live with it for 24/7.  We manage their food allergies everyday and in that educate ourselves over and over.  Not to mention demonstrate that damn Epi-pen for every grandparent, babysitter, teacher, parents of their friends, coaches, etc.  Anyone who is alone for any length of time with our kids get a demonstration.  Give us some credit.  We already do know something.