So much for our path to progress. As we speak L is sleeping in my bed.
It has been a long week and we are only half way through it. I was sick all weekend and L was up all Monday night with a fever. L rarely gets sick and she never runs a fever. She was miserable and so was I. We were all up at 4:30 a.m. S had to get ready for a morning flight and in his last attempt to try to do something before he had to go, he promised her a ride on the metro elevator, hoping that a short walk might lull her to sleep. I crawled into bed at 7 a.m. when they left and when S and L returned, L finally crawled into bed with me.
But I couldn’t really sleep. The thought of L being on the verge of a high fever and not having a doctor to call unnerved me. I had on my list the need to locate a new pediatrician, especially since L needs a doctor note to sign up for swim classes, but i wanted to understand our new insurance plan first. Things never work according to my schedules.
So by 8:15 a.m. I was going through a list of doctors the woman I met on the beach sent me. None of them took insurance. I found the insurance website and started calling offices in Copacabana one by one. Apparently children don’t get sick on Tuesdays here, because none of the first nine that I called had doctors in the office. Finally I found one three blocks away. But of course, after an hour of calling over twelve different offices you start to get a bit skeptical of the office that actually has openings.
They asked me to be there by 10:30 a.m. so I woke up L at 10:00 a.m. and we headed out the door. We arrived in five minutes and then we waited and we waited in the gloomy toy-less waiting room. And while we waited I realized that the pediatrician/allergist/doctor office didn’t have a single box of tissues. An hour later we were seen by the nurse and the pediatrician who also happened to be an allergist. They went over how we should have L tested for allergies after she gets better. I just wanted them to tell me she had a cold and I shouldn’t be worried about her having contracted some strange new disease. I walked out with a prescription for antibiotics, a decongestant, vitamin C drops, saline spray, and nebulizer.
Now any good mother would have gone through everything over and over, but this mom had a fussy kid and a clouded brain with a pounding headache. She could barely remember how many drops of what and when. Remembering anything in Portuguese for me at that moment was a miracle in itself. I did question the antibiotic and decided I wouldn’t give it to L, but I didn’t have the energy to go on about the nebulizer since other than a cough L didn’t seem to be having any trouble breathing and has never showed any signs of asthma. I decided to discuss it with Google instead.
On my way out, the pediatrician suggested I make an appointment that afternoon with her husband. It seemed easier than going home and trying to make my way through another list, so I did. I went back that afternoon and left with an antibiotic prescription and requests for lung and sinus x-rays. I don’t know how the system works here or what insurance does and does not cover, but I felt like I was getting handed all kinds of things left and right and not sure what to do with them.
I don’t take antibiotics like candy. In fact, I prefer to not take them at all. But with the miserable state I have been in I took one yesterday. I didn’t realize that apparently, they don’t do much for sinus infections, but Google told me that too late so now I am stuck with them.
I did ask the doctor if I should be worried about L’s cold turning into a sinus infection too and he said that toddlers’ sinus ducts aren’t well developed enough to get infections like adults and that if they do end up with something it usually moves to their throat. That was when I realized that his wife didn’t even bother to check L’s throat.
I hate doubting professional opinions, especially when I am battling their diagnosis with a 10 minute Google search, but something didn’t feel right.
This morning S learned from a colleague that they go to an out of network pediatrician and then just file reimbursements. So with that, I booked the number one doctor on my list from the woman at the beach (reliable source obviously). So this afternoon, we ventured out to Leblon. I was a bit skeptical as we walked through the narrow corridors but when we opened the door, L lit up. It was bright and clean, full of toys and books. The pediatrician spent over an hour with us. He got to know L, he joked with her and asked her questions. When it came time for her exam, he was thorough and she didn’t even protest. I left with his cell phone and two kisses on the cheek with him insisting that we can call him any hour of any day and if he doesn’t call us right back we can call the office and they will locate him. L left with a sucker (pretty old school, at least it wasn’t the dentist) and a hand full of trinkets.
No antibiotics. No nebulizer. No vitamin C supplement. Just a really strong common cold. Now if only it would go away and L would go back to her bed.