Why This Blog Has Been a Trifle Slow of Late

November 23, 2009 @ 2:49 pm | Filed under:

It’s because I’m too busy having conversations like the following…not to mention chasing after the scattered fragments of my sanity afterward.


G/I Dr.: We think it’s possible your son has Condition X. There is no conclusive test for this, but here’s this list of expensive and time-consuming tests I’d like you to have done. They might give us some glimmer of an idea whether my diagnosis is correct, even though he doesn’t actually have the main symptoms of Condition X.

Me: If it IS Condition X, what’s the treatment?

Dr: A 10-day course of antibiotics.

Me: (stunned silence)

Me: Is it a special antibiotic? Because he’s been on antibiotics lots of times for respiratory infections and stuff.

Dr: Oh yes, this would be a different drug.

Me: If the tests are so inconclusive, why not just try the antibiotic and see what happens?

Dr: Because we mustn’t prescribe antibiotics without some evidence the diagnosis is correct, because of resistance and stuff.

Me: But you said the tests might not show evidence.

Oh yes, I’m not even sure your son is capable of cooperating with the main test. It may not work at all, given his other issues.

Me: (stunned silence)

Me: But if the test fails, then what?

(Cue sound of crickets.


SCENE 2. Three days later.

Oh dear, your son’s eardrums are all red. Let me do a tympanogram. Yup, no response at all. He must have an ear infection. You need to take him to the pediatrician.

Pediatrician’s office:
The doctor will call you soon.



(Cue sound of no phone ringing.)

(Cue phone! But it’s not the ped’s office.)

G/I dr’s nurse: Hi there! The doctor asked me to call and schedule the Test Deemed Most Likely to Fail.

Me: Yes, I have questions about whether that’s a smart idea. Also, the audiologist says my son has an ear infection. He will likely need antibiotics. Could we use the same antibiotic that would treat Condition X?

Nurse: Oh, goodness no. But you need to inform us ASAP if the ped puts him on antibiotics for the ear infection, because in that case we cannot administer the Test Deemed Most Likely to Fail for at least six weeks. The antibiotic will skew the test results.

Me: (stunned, incredulous, mystified silence)


(for now)

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14 Reponses | Comments Feed
  1. April says:

    Have you considered taping these conversations and playing them back for the er, professionals so that they can hear how far from rational they sound?

  2. mamacrow says:

    golly. i’m completely confused, i don’t get this AT ALL, considering antibiotics are akin to using a sledgehammer to crack a nut anyway, I really don’t understand the point to all the ifs and buts here!

    erm, good luck withthis one!

    by the way – the fact that he has an ear infection and needs anitbiotics for that – thats not why GI/Dr thought he might have condition x is it?!

    just a thought….

  3. MelanieB says:


  4. Jamie says:

    If you have already torn all of your hair out I would be very willing to lend you some of mine for tearing.

    Goodness gracious!!!!!!!!

    Be glad you have a good sense of humor/irony!

  5. Prairie Rose says:

    As a speech therapist/early interventionist, let me just assure you that you are not the only one. I hear these absurd stories all the time. I don’t put too much stock in what doctors say…

  6. Ellie says:

    I’m … oh … really, sometimes I wonder where doctors were trained, you know?! P’raps they don’t get out much ….

    {{hugs}} and prayers. I do hope it resolves (or at least explicates) soon.

  7. steve b. says:


  8. sarah says:

    oh for goodness sake.

    any chance of seeing a different doctor who would give you the anti-biotic? or doesn’t it work like that over there?

    Sorry he has an ear infection, I hope he’s not in pain.

  9. Hannah says:

    How about “Cue sound of mother banging head repeatedly against wall”????

  10. Sandra Dodd says:

    When Kirby was five I had reasons to think he had meningitis and I was afraid and I talked to the doctor who wanted to do a spinal tap to see. I said no, just the antibiotics. But we need to know whether it’s bacterial or viral. So, I asked, if it’s bacterial, he could have antibiotics? Absolutely. So if it’s viral, would the antibiotics hurt? No, but it’s not viral because it it were viral, he’d be dead. Oh. Well then you don’t need to do a spinal tap (didn’t say “…you sadistic, pompous doofus…”) because it must be bacterial. I want antibiotics.

    Nope. Not without sticking a needle into the spinal fluid of a limp, fevery five year old. I held him and rocked his sweaty little body which had gone beyond being scared or in pain.

    I called a friend who was an emergency room doctor in another state. He said with the most condescension I’ve ever heard in real life, “Now, mother…” and started belittling my fears. Not my friend anymore after that moment.

    Kirby lived and is strong and grown. My faith in doctors and in one friend in particular withered on the vine.

  11. Penny in VT says:

    Shaking my head in disbelief. Can you get a second opinion?

    Prayers for you and yours friend, and especially for your sweet children..

  12. Heather says:

    prayers for continuing hope peace and patience.

  13. Amy Caroline says:

    Gotta love doctors….

    Sending many prayers!

  14. Melissa Wiley says:

    Sandra, that story makes my blood boil. I can hear exactly the tone of that condescending “Now, mother…” :::sputter:::

    Once, when Jane was on chemo & suffering from rotavirus, an oncologist told me I shouldn’t breastfeed her “because dairy is so hard on the stomach.”

    I replied somewhat acidly that I am not a cow. Ahem. And then I quoted her some LLL material on how breast milk is the substance most easily digested, full of antibodies, etc etc etc.

    Penny, sadly—this dr IS the second opinion! Actually she’s about the 5th opinion. They really can’t figure out what the problem is, and I think to a large degree this new doc is grasping at straws. We’ll see, I suppose.