Lead time. Backlog. Call it what you will, when you phone for a doctor’s appointment but can’t be seen for a long time, the wait is hard. We can get quick appointments with our family physician, so that tends to be my standard. A two-to-three month wait for specialists, going without treatment, living on ibuprofen to lessen the symptoms (hoping that’s not creating a new problem), isn’t easy. When it’s your child in pain, that wait is excruciating.
My teenage daughter was pretty miffed when I “drug her to the doctor’s office” against her will – but once it happened I learned just how hard she’s been working at trying to convince everyone that she’s okay and not in need of a doctor. Maybe she was trying to convince herself. She’s nowhere close to okay.
Even though she likes our FP, her hatred of needles is enough to make her willing to cope with a lot instead of paying him a visit. In July I took her anyway. You can read about that here. Our doctor suggested referring her to an orthopedist to get to the bottom of what’s going on with the kid’s hips. I was ready to take her right then, but he – understandably – wanted lab results first. So we waited for lab results.
Then I had my copy, but we still had to wait for our doctor to review the lab results.
Everything came back normal, so I thought the referral would be done quickly. But we waited. I understand that the doctor has many patients and a stack of lab results to review. Things take time, so we waited.
Finally I called, “Not to be a pest, but could we get that referral so we can figure out what’s going on?” One of the many things I like about our FP is that he doesn’t just write a referral to get rid of us. He thinks about different possibilities. As he learned more about what’s going on with this child, he decided that a rheumatologist might be a better choice than an orthopedist. That’s what I was afraid of, but not what I wanted to hear. No more waiting for a piece of paper. Now we wait for an opening in the schedule.
All the rheumatologists in this area are scheduled three months out for new patients (and sometimes for existing ones). That’s a long time to wait when someone’s dealing with ongoing pain. My rheumy (who doesn’t do peds) agreed to see my daughter. We’re even on the list to have the appointment moved up if they have a cancellation. Wait and see.
In the meantime, my daughter has used all the ibu in the house. Yesterday I went to Costco and bought a new bottle to tide her over while we wait for her appointment.