You guys, I need to vent.
If you read through Hank’s birth story (and survived my “cliff hanger” endings… ha) you’ll know that he and I had a few complications during delivery that resulted with him being born with a fractured clavicle. Right after his birth we were told it should heal completely, but that he would need x-rays and a follow-up with the hospital pediatrician (who is not our doctor) and an orthopedic surgeon. We were also instructed to keep his arm pinned to his clothing to restrict mobility to allow his shoulder to heal.
The x-rays were done at our hospital in Pretty City, and we kept his arm pinned for a week until the pediatrician gave us the all clear to let his arm move a little at our appointment with him a week later. We thought that our appointment with the orthopedic surgeon would be the last “special” appointment before our care would be transferred back to our doctor, and life would go on as normal.
We met with the surgeon last Friday. She works out of a hospital that’s a little further from us, and when her office called to make the appointment we were told to expect a long wait. We decided that it would probably be too long for Ruby, so we made arrangements with a friend who offered to watch her for us. (Thank you!!)
We drove down, and we did end up waiting an hour past our appointment time before we were able to get in. The surgeon was very nice and examined how Hank’s shoulder is healing. She seemed pleased that there was no further bruising or swelling, and the bump where his bone is healing wasn’t terribly large. She told us she wanted to see us again in a month’s time for a follow-up x-ray, which I expected.
I thought / hoped that that would be the end of it.
She then told us that she wanted to start monitoring his hips because of his size. Both my midwives and the pediatrician had checked them and told us they were fine, so naturally I was a little concerned that all of a sudden I needed to bring Hank back for an ultrasound on his hips. Without really consulting us, they booked both appointments for us, on separate days… after the Hubster goes back to work.
Then we were sent down to the rehab wing to meet with a physio therapist. We thought we were just being sent down to learn some exercises that we could do with him at home to help strengthen his arm as it heals. The therapist was very nice, and as he was leaving he called back through the door to tell us that we should make an appointment to come back for a follow-up.
I’m not going to lie–the idea of another follow-up already seemed overwhelming, and we weren’t even through our first appointment yet. I asked the receptionist if we could schedule the appointment on one of the days I would already be at the hospital, but she told me that the dates weren’t close enough (early April). Instead she scheduled an appointment for me for Wednesday, and let me know that this time I would be seeing some specialist who was coming from the children’s hospital downtown Toronto. She also alluded to the idea that there might be several appointments with this doctor.
I understand that these people are likely just being overly careful, and with a newborn it’s always better to err on the side of caution… but I do have some questions about the necessity of all these appointments, and why they have to happen at this particular hospital. Everyone keeps telling us that his shoulder is healing beautifully… and yet they keep piling more and more appointments on us. It makes me feel like there is either something they aren’t telling us about his arm, or I can’t help but wonder if these doctors make any money off all of these individual appointments. (I’m terrible, I know.)
I asked if it was possible to have any of these services done on the same day, or at our hospital–which is connected through the same health system–but the people I talked to immediately said no. I just find it incredibly frustrating as this particular hospital is half an hour away and parking is ridiculous–it cost us $16 to go to our one appointment last week. Our hospital is a 5 minute drive away, and we can park nearby for free.
All of these separate appointments also mean that I have to arrange childcare for Ruby, as my sweet girl isn’t terribly fond of sitting still for long periods of time.
It all just feels… overwhelming. I am so grateful to have access to good healthcare and I know my son is in good hands, but I so wanted to hear that he was on the mend and to not have to stress about his shoulder any longer. I’m already worrying about to manage these appointments, especially since they indicated that there will likely be more.
I know I shouldn’t complain–there are parents out there with concerns far more grave than these, but I just… ah.
Stephanie "Mama" Hayes
You can always get a second opinion! Especailly if you’re wondering about the necessity. Surely there are other doctors closer to you that can take a look at him. Maybe it’s the case that the best options are at this hospital but it doesn’t hurt to ask!
That’s so frustrating. I remember being really put out having to have an ultrasound of evan’s hip and then a followup, and I did have to go to a further-away hospital for those, but at least that’s because it was the same hospital he was born at. But both appointments were after my husband went back to work, and i had to drag leah to the ultrasound, and then the followup took FOREVER. Not the actual appointment, during which the doc barely glanced at his totally normal ultrasound report and expressed way more concern over the cradle cap on his forehead, but the waiting for nearly TWO HOURS past his appointment time! Anyway. I’m suspicious of why you were told you couldn’t be referred elsewhere. Unless they gave you a good reason, they probably just would rather not, partly because referring out-of-hospital isn’t routine, and partly because they like to feed referrals to other practitioners in their network that they know/trust/who refer back to them.