One Good Thing About Philadelphia: Smarter Nurses

Raines got sick first – fever, cough, chills, etc.  Then I did.  Then….it seemed like Pax was getting sick.  And I hate when babies get sick.  So I called our (new) doctor.  We haven’t been in yet (and YES, I’m horribly behind on vaccinations, I knowIknowIknow, taking care of it FRIDAY)….but I wanted to see if there was anything I could give Pax.  I have a whole arsenal of homeopathic remedies for R….but many involve honey, and P is still under a year.  So I called:

Nurse:  What is the problem?

Me:  Well, I’m really worried about the baby.  My oldest son and I have come down with what looks like the flu – including fever, coughs, etc. and I’m wor–

Nurse:  Name?

Me:  My name?

Nurse: (sighs)  No, the patient’s name.

Me:  Um…well my oldest, Raines, is sick, but I’m really calling for my youngest-

Nurse:  Last name?

Me:  Draugelis.  D-R-A-U-

Nurse:  What’s wrong with Raines?

Me:  I think he has the flu, but he’ll be fine.  I really want to talk about-

Nurse:  We don’t get the flu in October.

Me:  Excuse me?

Nurse:  It’s probably a cold.  When kids get a cold, they can get fevers and coughs with a cold.  (snotty voice)  Ever think of that?

PAUSE:  First of all, who talks like that?  Seriously!  WHO?

[I’m now counting to 10 and taking deeeep cleansing breaths….]

Me:  You. [4…5….6…]Don’t. [7…8…] Get. [9….] the Flu [10] in October?

Nurse:  We don’t get the flu until winter.  (sarcastically) That would be February.

Me:  [Biting back a sarcastic retort of how considerate the Philadelphia flu must be to wait until after the holiday season…]  Isn’t a fever a sure sign of the flu?

Nurse:  You can have a cold with fever, chills, cough, runny nose, and it’ll last up to seven days.

Me:  Wow!  Just like the flu.

Nurse:  It’s a cold.

Me.  Hunh.  In any case-

Nurse: It says here you just moved.  From where?

Me:  Denver.

Nurse:  See, that’s the problem.  In warmer climates like these, there’s many more viruses.  You have a cold.

Me:  Actually, Denver is a much warmer clim-

Nurse:  It’s snowing in Denver.

Me: Oh.

Nurse:  Give him lots of fluids and rest.  Call us back if he gets worse.  And in most families, the first person to get the virus will have it the worst.  The virus will weaken over time so if your baby was the last to get it, he’ll get a much milder strain.  You still nursing?

Me: Yes.

Nurse:  Good. (nicer voice) Keep it up.

Me:  [thank god I got one right]  Thank you for your time.

[hangs up]

OK. OK.  OK. So, so SO many things wrong here.

1.  I thanked her.  Why did I thank her?  She did NOT deserve to be thanked!  She was mean, sarcastic, and marginally helpful.  Can you imagine if I wasn’t nursing?  I wonder what her response would’ve been?  And still – I THANKED HER.  Clearly, it was the sleep deprivation.  Who am I kidding?  I thank everybody, even crappy people.  I can’t help myself – it was my upbringing.  Mother, I blame you for this one.

2. Since when does a FEVER mean a cold?  Isn’t that like, the defining POINT between a cold and flu?  Isn’t that, like, the point on every online self-help chart where you cease going down the cold path and start on the flu path?  Well THANK GOD we moved to Philadelphia where they have nurses who are SO MUCH SMARTER THAN THE WORLD.

3.  Ummm…but really, who CARES if it’s the flu or a cold?  The symptoms we were describing were the same….sooo….???

4.  Denver, really?  REALLY?  I mean, I just needed you to cooperate for one teeeny tiiiny second, and what do you do?  You snow?  SNOW?  C’mon Denver!  It’s not even Halloween yet!  NO ONE IS GOING TO CARE when you hit 85 degrees later on in the week, but you drop a few inches and suddenly everybody assumes we just moved from Alaska or something.

5.  On a high note, I will look forward to a flu-free Christmas season.  Clearly, God loves Philadelphia more than Denver.

Sheesh.  I’m going to develop a drinking habit out here.  Hmmm….although maybe that’s a perk….

xo,

S

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13 Responses to One Good Thing About Philadelphia: Smarter Nurses

  1. Lane says:

    What the sh&^? I would actually consider changing practices!

    • sdraugelis says:

      Yeah, I know. But EVERYONE keeps saying that it’s the best, blah blah. And honestly, I think it just might be the culture out here – I have conversations like this ALL the time!

      Sent from my iPhone

      • Sarah says:

        There’s a difference between a person being part of a culture that is direct, rude, etc. and a person that is clearly false with information. Don’t confuse this. You have every right to question this practice and this nurse. If you don’t feel comfortable with the care you are receiving from anyone else at this office, I agree you should find someplace else. Follow your instincts. You deserve the best care for your boys. Good luck honey!

  2. Heather says:

    Shana, You should never have to tolerate that kind of treatment…I guess I would see how the Dr. is, but boy oh boy would I complain about that nurse. Ughh…it got my blood boiling just reading the conversation…these are your children and you never know…no question or concern is ever dumb…that nurse is being so foolish for making assumptions….being in the medical field, I tell patients all the time to be their own advocate and also for your children. I know at our pedaitrician’s office they always tell the parents “No question is a dumb question. You are the prent..if something doesn’t seem right..you are concerned, don’t hesitate to call” If you are still worried, call again..talk to someone else…don’t take that kind of treatment no matter where you live. I want to punch that woman..lol

  3. Nicole Mulvany says:

    I am going to be the voice of reason. You live on the East coast now. Nobody holds your hand and thinks granola like they do in Denver. Sorry. I know all the Colorado people are going to crawl all over me for that. The thing is the East coast is a very high pace style of living. People will at times start to snap their fingers to get you to move the story along. So that call actually kind of cracks me up. B/c in the end she just wasn’t warm fuzzy holding your hand. She probably had twenty moms to talk to. I know it was a harsh call. I totally get it. Believe me I do. But, don’t change practices. Don’t get hurt feelings. Just take it for what it was. Guarantee a year from now you’ll actually appreciate it more. Hope you are feeling better. And seriously I like this post b/c I learned something. First to get it, has it worse? WOW. Never knew.

  4. Melissa Hernandez says:

    Hmmmm….I’m confused. Do the medical professionals in Denver have such a light workload that they happily go to work every day holding their patient’s hands? I’m sorry, but I disagree. Nurses in Denver have just as many patients as the nurses on the East Coast. There is no excuse for someone in the medical community to #1: have no “bedside” manner, #2: fail to obtain adequate information, and #3: to suggest inadequate advice…REGARDLESS of how many patients she saw that day, and REGARDLESS of what part of the country she lives in. I’m sorry but that nurse is apparently burned out, and needs to find a different job. There is something to be said about the difference between people that just go through the motions in their job, in contrast to someone who goes above & beyond their job description. It’s the people that have a passion for what they do, the people who CARE, the people who make a difference in other’s lives, that actually make this world a better place. I don’t live in Denver, but I am a mother of three children, and the daughter of a doctor. There is no excuse for that nurse to have spoken to you the way that she did. You need to have TRUST in your medical professionals, that they will listen to what you have to say, and that they will recommend appropriate treatment…and hopefully along with all of their intelligent education, they will also do it with a remote glimmer of humanity & HEART! That’s the difference between a hum-drum doctor & an excellent doctor. Find someone else.

  5. Erica says:

    Shana, if you guys are still sick don’t hesitate to call again if you feel like something is wrong. I’m not in the States at all, and my doc has an excellent bedside manner (I would’ve been pissed at that call, by the way…East Coast culture or no, it’s inexcusable)…but my point is this. My two-year-old has been battling the viruses one after the other and he was sick for something like 3 weeks straight. During that 3 weeks we saw the pediatrician 3 times. Once when he got sick and first developed his cough. Then his regularly scheduled 2-year checkup where we discussed again. Then 3 days later I forced the issue and made another appointment. At the third appointment? We finally got our diagnosis of bronchitis and the inhaler that FINALLY kicked his cough and allowed him to get better. So like the poster above said, be their advocate…even if it makes you a pain in the ass and you’re questioning yourself for calling the pediatrician the 3rd time in 7 days. YOU know your kid…and you know when something’s wrong – that nurse hadn’t even SEEN your children and immediately dismissed your concerns. Unacceptable. (I had a similar experience before we finally got the diagnosis for a urinary-tract infection for my then 2-month-old in the States. Had to FORCE the crappy nurse to believe that I wasn’t just a hysterical first-time mother who thought her baby was ‘crying too much.’)

  6. sdraugelis says:

    You guys, thanks SO much for all of the supportive comments!! Which I read (and re-read) before going in on Friday. I walked into the Dr.’s office ready for BATTLE. However….we were paired with a totally delightful nurse and a great doctor! I was *almost* disappointed, LOL! I did, however, mention my phone call experience and both were horrified. Unfortunately, I couldn’t remember the nurse’s name. Not only did they express disappointment at her bedside manner, but also at her advice. The whole “last one in the family gets a lighter strain” apparently, is totally unfounded.

    But you guys are the best. The BEST. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate that you took the time to send a little support my way. 🙂
    xoxox

    • Jen says:

      I have lived in and around Philly for 33 years, and it can be a great place! While this nurse was certainly rude, and out of line, and her info was just WRONG, this is NOT, I repeat NOT how everyone in Philly (or the suburbs) acts. You got a total ass that day. But, there are tons of them around the city full of spite and attitude. Be prepared to deal with those type of people wherever you go, form a bit of a “tough skin” if you will. This is the stereotypical person there. But, like I said, NOT the norm. I love Philly, I do! No more crunchy granola like Denver. Too much attitude from the city. The suburbs are better though. Try West Chester, lovely place and great docs. CHOP has practices everywhere too with some really great people. Hope it all works out for you and you don’t hate Philly. Please give it a chance, we have great food! (albeit served with sass….haha).

      • sdraugelis says:

        Jen, thanks so much for this nice comment! And I’ve gotta tell ya…we’re LOVING Philly. Don’t get me wrong…I’m still homesick for family and friends, but this is a seriously awesome city. And you aren’t kidding about the food. OMG THE FOOD.

        We tend to head into the city every weekend. It’s been awesome…and shockingly fun for the kids.

  7. Sarah says:

    Hi Shana, Here in Sydney we have probiotics for kids which seem to boost their immune system in addition to having a healthy gut (full of lovely bacteria). There seems to be a correlation. My daughter has been very well (she’s nearly 5) and has never had gastro and only mild colds in the 4 years that she’s been at childcare/preschool. We’ll do the same with our little boy when he starts. A bit of preventive medicine is always helpful for having to deal with some of the “smarter” members of the medical community… x s

    • sdraugelis says:

      Sarah, I’m just re-reading your comment again now. And adding probiotics to my shopping list, LOL! Thanks for this tidbit. I love preventative medicine. (So Denver-granola of me, I know.) 🙂

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