The military way

25 04 2007

I’m not the kind of mother that freaks out over every little thing when it comes to my kid’s health. Maybe that’s awful of me. Maybe I would be a better mom if I did call the doctor for every sniffle, every bump, every bruise. And maybe that’s exactly the kind of mom I would be, if it weren’t for the fact that it’s such a hassle to schedule an appointment when you’re a military family.

Since we have ‘military’ insurance, and are seen by doctors at a military hospital on a military post, we have to do things the ‘military way’. Say, for example, it’s 2 in the afternoon and Ethan’s just come down with a slight fever. I am not able to call the doctor’s office and schedule an appointment for later that day (if the fever and accompanying symptoms are bad enough), for the next morning, the next afternoon, whatever- not gonna happen.

The ‘military way’ mandates that if my son is going to come down with a fever in the afternoon, I must know this ahead of time, so that I can call the hospital appointment line at the designated time, which is 6 am in our case, in order to have him seen that day. If I were to call at any time other than the set Appointment Making Time, I would only be able to schedule an appointment for weeks or months into the future. Sometimes appointments later in the week are available, but only sometimes, and you never know when the fates will decide it’s your day.

Given that this is the way it works in the military, and given my own lack of psychic ability to predict when my son is going to get hurt or sick, you can understand why I don’t always make appointments for him. If he developes some type of symptom during the day, I tend to say “Well, let’s wait and see how you’re feeling later…” This involves setting my alarm clock for early morning, going into Ethan’s room and waking up my potentially sick 2-year-old, to see if he is still feverish/runny/coughing/missing a limb, etc., and then getting ready to dial the hospital the second it becomes 6 am on the nose; any later and I will be on hold for a good hour, because as it is, even when you do call immediately after 6, you’re still on hold for 15 minutes AT LEAST.

Unfortunately, this is exactly what I had to do a few mornings ago. A stuffy/runny nose Ethan had had all day the day before turned into his not being able to breathe at night (there was a lot of very scary gasping for air that had me pretty nervous). So I got up well before the crack of dawn, made the call and got him in for an appointment that morning.

While we were being seen by his doctor (who, despite my loathing of the ‘military way’ is awesome- she’s great with Ethan, very friendly, and listens to everything I have to say), I brought up the mysterious rash Ethan’s had on his scalp and the back of his neck for the past few weeks. I hadn’t done anything about it any sooner because, per my ‘wait and see’ policy, I would wait, and then see that a day or so later it had cleared up pretty significantly and Ethan seemed to be scratching less, or not at all. But it kept coming back.

Well, this visit’s runny nose, chapped/split lips, trouble breathing, and every-4-and-half-second sneeze sessions, combined with the tendency those symptoms all had to come and go, pointed at allergies, said the doc. And that tricky rash? Also related to the allergies. She prescribed lots of baby benadryl, shampoos with Selsun Blue for a week (didn’t I tell you that my son is actually a 40-year-old man whose having some trouble with the ladies due to all that snow on his shoulders? No?), and Eucerin lotion.

We’ve been on this new drug, wash and lotion routine for a few days now, and so far the only result I’ve seen is a slightly cleaner house. More time in the shower for me. Even a couple extra minutes to rest my eyes. All this is due to the other result we’ve seen: Ethan no longer sleeps during his naps and at night- now he is nearly comatose, out for hours and hours at a time. Thanks to the drugs. The rash is still there, and actually has now appeared on his arm in addition to his head (my mom says that this could be a side affect of the benadryl, though, so I think I’ll wait and see on that…).

Also, while we were at the doctor’s, she checked his ears and informed me that they looked great. This was a huge relief to me, since from the minute he was born I’ve been sitting on the edge of my seat, dreading the day he starts crying and holding his ear. I had horrible ear infections when I was little, up until I was as old as middle-school-age, and I can very clearly recall the tremendous pain they caused. So for the doctor to say that his ears looked great was music to mine.

(I have been incredibly lucky (well, Ethan’s been lucky, too) that he has yet to ever have an ear infection. But you KNOW that as soon as I hit ‘publish’ on this baby that that’s EXACTLY what’s going to happen. I’m asking for it, I am…)

Anyway, she said his ears were fine, and I was all, “Oh great, because” and went into how fearful I was of his first infection due to my own experience with them, and she asked “Do you have allergies?” And I replied that yes, I did- I’m allergic to dust, grass and trees, and off-the-charts allergic to cats. Of the two things I could have passed down to him, allergies are definitely the lesser of those two evils.

Now, let’s just hope he doesn’t get my dancing skills

…or his father’s.

Or my hair

…or my fear of all things winged.

Or, my taste in fashion

…or his father’s.

Also, let’s hope that at 26, he is more mature than his mother.


Or, at least more mature than his father.


Oh, who am I kidding? Kid is doomed. Has been from the beginning.



One response

25 04 2007
ethans oma

the ” military way ” is exactly why you had so many ear infections ! the doctor insisted upon seeing a ” pattern ” of ear infections before they would give you the tubes in your ears that would relieve the on-going problem, but by the time the pattern was established, we would get transferred and get a NEW doctor, who wanted to see the pattern, etc…’s been this way for years and they won’t change it because they think it works !

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