Saturday, June 2, 2007

Thoughts on stuff and things...

Last week, before Memorial Day, was Consultation Week. Andrew saw two specialists. One for speech, and a dermatologist.

What vastly different experiences.

Andrew has a not-so-popular health insurance. I called around for doctors that would see him in January. Many of the receptionists I spoke to said that not only would they not take our insurance, but they don't take any insurance. The one I found that would see him, wouldn't see him until last week (a 5 month wait).

So, the day comes, we head out and pull up to a very scarey hospital. This is one of those buildings that would be perfect on the set of a horror film. Seriously. All we needed was a thunderstorm.

I kept thinking, "what am I doing? How can I bring my beautiful baby into this scarey hospital for anything, nevertheless medical care?" But, on we went. Not sure why. It all went downhill from there.

The doctor we were seeing only works there one day a week for three hours. That meant no one knew who she was, or where her office was. So, we work our way through the maze and finally find someone that has heard of her. We find her office, fill out paperwork and sit in a scanky overcrowded waiting room for 2 hours. There were not enough chairs. The room was small. And to make matters worse, there were terrible soap operas on the television adding unnecessary drama to an already overly-dramatic day.

During the 2 hours, Andrew sat in his stroller and ate his Cheerios.

Finally we go in. They take a biopsy, which involved a shot, a "punch biopsy" and the spooky black thread for stitching him up. He screamed and retaliated by peeing on everyone (that's my boy!). But, when it was over, he sat up, smiled and made friends. I remember him saying, "whew, glad that is over! Let's all be friends now!" But, I was fairly delerious at this point...

This hospital was a teaching hospital. Which is nice because the med students remember that you are a real person to made eye-contact with and get information from. But is also bad, because the doctor is so interested in how much she knows and how she has to explain that to her students, that she forgets that we are there. I was hoping for more of a partnership. She was glad for an interesting case.

I went home, cried, and called Dave telling him that he will be taking Andrew back in two weeks to get the stitches removed.

Compare that to the speech evalution.

They came to the house. They used me as a resource. I was the expert on my son. They got on the floor and played with him. We talked together about things we could do to help him. It was an encouraging, validating experience.

The hospital was dehumanizing. No one should have to go through that. No one.

The hospital called a few days later. Paperwork was lost, they needed more infomation and had no results from the test.
The speech therapist called a few days later. She had results and wanted to make sure that everything went smoothly. She wanted to make sure we knew the next steps.

So, I freely admit that I know little about the big picture of health care. And even though I am an educator, I know little about the big picture of urban education. But what I do know, is that all my experiences with urban education have been fantastic. City run. New York programs. I know there are trouble areas. I know that "trouble areas" doesn't even accurately describe the trouble areas. But, I also know that they are doing a lot of things right.

I guess, based on this experience, I think:
The city runs education well. Let's give them a shot with medicine. Because, things have to be better than this.

Anyway, cute frog card. Yes?

1 comment:

Susan said...

I know you are dying for me to comment on this, but I'm typing while nursing, so I won't go on at my usual length.

I'm pretty ignorant, but do you have much experience with public education in New York? You taught at a charter school, right?

Of course, DC fails at everything. Everything over the border in VA is wonderful. Education and health care do often seem to go together.

From the little we saw while doing research, your health insurance is WAY better than our equivalent. And so are your schools.