the IT city, the I.T. Baby


Pediatrician’s great, after-hours, not so much

Not this again
What a baby at midnight in a hospital might look like

I’d had my run in with the after-hours physician for our pediatrician before when they told my wife that there was no way my child had received the flu vaccine twelve hours prior as they were completely out of it.

This left us spending the night looking up every possible side effect of any vaccine that could have possibly caused the reaction we were seeing. We eventually determined it was just hands foot and mouth disease. A call to the pediatrician’s office during business hours verified that the night shift was incorrect.

Cut to Saturday night. Aerin goes from having a cold to barking and wheezing. I call the on-call and leave my info, got a call back a few minutes later and fill her in that we’re having some issues again that were close to what happened when Aerin was hospitalized the first time.

She asks me to grab one of three things that Aerin was discharged with from the hospital… but the three things that we were discharged with all were pieces of paper about surveys and to bring baby back in case of an emergency.

She reads off that the discharge notes indicate a nebulizer and two drugs were on the discharge. Nope. The night pediatrician indicates that if it was important enough the write on the discharge notes it’s probably something to worry about.

I say I’ll take her to the hospital and the night nurse says I should probably consider going to an after hours clinic that’s located about eight miles from me since it’ll be at least a five hour ordeal at the hospital and maybe a 30 minute visit at this clinic. It’s 10pm on a Saturday night, I ask if she’s sure this place is open and she says she is.

Kim stayed home with Maggie as it seemed like having an exhausted toddler in tow was probably not going to help, and going against my sense of “you’re full of it,” I head to the (no name here because they didn’t do anything wrong,) After-Hours Pediatrician’s clinic. The elevator is out so I jog up a flight of stairs at full tilt because baby is wheezing, but sleeping, and I want to get there.

It’s closed. The elevator wasn’t working because, it’s closed. The hours are clearly posted on their second floor door. It’s not a 24-hour clinic, even googling them says it’s a couple of hours after work hours. The assurances of the night pediatrician who said she was certain, wrong. Standing there sweating and wheezing with a wheezing baby in the middle of the night.

I got to the hospital (10+ miles of bad, and drunk drivers on a Saturday night,) and at this point was running. Showed up on the wrong floor, ran down some stairs, out a door, found a campus cop who directed me to where pediatric emergency was. Was in somewhat of panic mode at this point as it was getting worse and I just wasted another 30 minutes because of the night pediatrician’s mistake.

Had I gone here in the first place I would not have been flustered and walked in with my armement. I was loaded to the teeth with sharp pointy things to do battle with boxes from Amazon (a very lovely knife a friend gave me, it was also used in the Great Barbie Box War of 2016,) and had a multitool I do everything with at work, which also had a blade.

The door guard (officer?) told me I couldn’t bring them in, I asked if he could hold them, he said no but I could get someone to pick them up or I could go back to the car. I told him to chuck them as I didn’t want to play games that would delay getting Aerin in and I had no idea who could pick these up. So that looked to be about a $100 hit there (really nice knife, really nice multitool).

On checking Aerin in, discovered there evidently was no call ahead, or if there was it didn’t matter. After check in the hospital police dropped by the waiting room and made an exception to the weapons holding ban for me in one of the coolest events of the night (it was 90+ in the waiting room, 80’s elsewhere). Not that I could bring weapons in, but they were going to hold it.

This being the children’s wing, pretty much anyone under 18 is brought there, including gang members. This is why there are no weapons allowed and there’s no weapons storage allowed (because someone could get a knife.) They did have a papers box with a deadlock, and my stuff squished in there. It worked.

At hour three Aerin’s been given two doses of medicine, and is now breathing normally. A friend of ours comes over to stay in case Maggie wakes up/watch over her that night, and Kim comes to the hospital. At 2:48am we’ve been discharged and are back home. Not knowing when this exactly started I can guess the entire thing was about a four and a half hour visit that should have been about a four hour except for the wasted driving.

We make a pediatrician’s appointment on Monday and talk with our regular doctor. After all the checkups are done I relay exactly what has happened and ask if she can pull the info and see if there’re any of these medications listed on the discharge notes.

There are none. Much like the “we have no flu vaccine, haven’t in a while,” statement from the last time, nothing pops up. There’s no mention that she was discharged with a nebulizer, just that she had been on one. The medications she was supposed to have in our possession, not listed. Perhaps they were what she had been given at the hospital, but not released with.

It’s a mystery. It’s like the night person there just makes stuff up to add stress, delay, and worry. The daytime pediatrician thinks they looked up someone else.

It’s Tuesday now, baby’s still snotty. Had to force some medicine down her throat at 3am last night after a 2am steam room failed to do the trick for long enough. Getting better.

Paul King

Paul King lives in Nashville Tennessee with his wife, two daughters and cats. He writes for Pocketables, theITBaby, and is an IT consultant along with doing tech support for a film production company.