a girl, a guy, a tomato, a bean, and a bear

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Thanks, but no thanks

Oh those crazy Germans...

Okay, to follow up on last post; I took Evelyn in to the clinic yesterday to try and have her seen by a nurse. We were able to be seen, but the nurse wasn't much help. She basically wasn't willing to say that Evie didn't have jaundice (she said it didn't look like it to her)--she said we should be seen by a doctor. Sigh. She recommended that we go up to the patient liason office and go to the krankenhaus (German hospital) here in Baumholder. So we went.

I could make this a waaaay longer story than it needs to be, but I'll try to keep it relatively short. Just to give you a sense of the experience though, as I was in the moment I couldn't help but think to myself that I was experiencing a sensation I hadn't since I was a VERY small child--the sense of being herded around having people talk over you and not fully understanding what's going on. It wasn't a pleasant feeling at all, especially because I was trying to make an informed decision about the health of our child. Anyway, here's what happened:

The doctor looked like a cross between a German Colonel Sanders and the actor Michael York. He was dressed in snugly fitted white clothes from head to foot, including his shoes and belt; even hair was white. His English was certainly better than my German, but that's not saying much. He was VERY difficult to understand, and gave short, sharp directions like, "take her clothes off!" He had like, negative bedside manner. Evie was being brave, but he wasn't doing anything to try and keep her calm. When at one point she began to look as if she might cry, he shoved a woven basket full of candy at her. I'm talking little plastic packages (choking hazard) of sugar coated (!!!!) root beer flavored gummy candy (CHOKING HAZARD) at my nine month old infant. And I'm supposed to take his medical opinion seriously? He was losing points quickly. Evie stared at him teary eyed as if to say, "Dude, don't you know I'm a BABY? I don't eat candy..."

He asked me, "What's wrong with her?"
"Ummm, nothing really is wrong. She's just, kind of, orange. I wanted to make sure it's not jaundice and that everything's okay."
He looked at her, poked and podded a bit and said, "It's not jaundice."
Then he followed with, (I'm translating here, because his english was not this clear) "We will do blood work and ultrasound."


She doesn't have jaundice, so you're going to do bloodwork and an ultrasound...I was seriously confused and thought I must have misunderstood him. I tried to clarify, but all I could get out of him was that he thought she needed extra testing. I couldn't understand why, but I'm not a doctor, and it's a bit daunting to decline when a doctor tells you you should have a test run on your child. I was NOT pleased that Evie would have to be put through extra stress, but we wandered up stairs to have the blood work done.

Did I say I was going to try and keep this brief? Ooops...

Neither the blood work lady or the ultrasound technician spoke english. At all. The lady babbled on and ON in German to Evelyn, obviously smitten with her, and Evie didn't seem to mind. I have to say, it kind of creeped me out though; she was a bit scary. The ultrasound guy understood me when I said "orange." I'm not sure he fully understood why we were getting an ultrasound either. He showed me her stomach, her kidneys, her liver--all were present and accounted for, and looked normal (surprise, surprise...). But wait! Where's her gallbladder? Hmmmm

He couldn't find it. DoctorColonelMichaelYorkSanderstein was called in to try and find it. Why are we even looking for her gallbladder??? The doctor found it, but exclaimed that it was contracted because she had a full tummy. (She hadn't eaten in about 4 hours.) He tells me, "Come back tomorrow at 9 in the morning. Don't feed her." Oh, and at this point he also says, "Do you feed her....(he turns to try and find the word from his non-english speaking assistant)...carrots?"

"Yes," I replied, "That's what I sort of thought it was from the beginning..."

"Stop feeding her carrots. Don't do that anymore."


He was already walking out of the room when I protested the summons to come back the next day. "She wakes between 5 and 7 and is HUNGRY. Why does she need to be seen again? What is the problem? Can we be seen earlier if it's necessary?"

"No, we don't come in until 9. Don't feed her." He leaves.

I was totally frustrated, confused, and at a loss. Why was I even doing all of this? THERE'S NOTHING WRONG WITH EVELYN, except that she sort of looks like she's eaten too many Oompa Loompas.

I called the patient liason office when we got home and tried to explain my frustration and ask for help. They said they'd call over and see what the doctor was concerned about and if it was necessary for me to go in again.

They called back to tell me he'd already gone home. They said he's probably just checking to make sure she doesn't have any other problems and that it should be alright to let her eat a little when she first wakes up before we go in. Sigh. In the back of my head I KNEW that it was just SILLY to go in again, but he'd made it seem so important to see her gallbladder, I couldn't help but have this fear--what if there IS something wrong with her gallbladder and I don't have her checked and something happens to her? So we went this morning and had a SECOND ultrasound.

When I first saw the doc this morning he looks at me as if he'd never seen us before and asked, "So what's wrong with her?"

I stared at him for a minute, like, "you're kidding, right?"

"Ummmmm....Nothing's wrong with her...she's orange. You said to come back so you could check her gallbladder..."

"Of course nothing's wrong with her. Of course I remember. Take off her clothes."

He poked her some more and said, "It's just orange here in her face."

"Ummmm..." I said, "I see it all over, really."

"Yes of course."


(Have I mentioned lately how much I can't wait to get back to America?)

Ok, now this officially isn't just not brief, it's probably much longer than most regular posts...

So during 9 month old infant's SECOND ultrasound, he finds her gallbladder, and SURPRISE! it's totally normal. He sees her stomach full of liquid on the monitor and says, "You fed her."

"You caught me," I said, loathing him.

"She has a full bladder. Let's do a urine test."

WHAT?!?!?!!?!?! WHY?


"To check."

"Wait, do you think anything is wrong with her or are you just doing this because you think I want you to? If it's not jaundice and everything looks okay, I'm fine. She acts normally. She's happy and healthy. She's just orange. Her urine looks normal. Her poop is normal. Why do you need to get a urine sample?"

"Come to my office. To check." He walked out of the room.

I dressed Evelyn and told her we were leaving. I poked my head in the room and told him, "You know, I think we're just going to go. I don't think she needs a urine test." (How do you get a 9 month old girl to pee in a cup anyway?? It's hard enough when I have to do it...) He looked at me all concerned and confused with the little platic cup in his hand and was like, "But the urine test!"

"Yeah, I feel comfortable that she's okay. Thanks, though."

"Why don't you take it with you. Take it with you and when you get the chance, have her go in it and then you can bring it back."

I am not even kidding you.

I nearly refused, but I thought it would just be simpler to take the cup and go. Plus, I thought, I can take a picture of the urine sample cup we're NOT going to pee in and post it on tomatobear.

no thanks

So, Evelyn is apparently fine. Just a little orange.


Write Softly said...

Oh. My. God. Pee in a CUP? Certifiable.

When you come back here, we will HOOK YOU UP with the best pediatricians ever.

No more Colonel Sanders.

Anonymous said...

Hey Michele, I'm sure that doctor's name was Dr. Doms. He is a weirdo and put me in the hospital and did numerous tests almost daily and they didn't need to be done. My German husband kept telling me to listen to him. I have now told him if I'm on my deathbed to NOT take me to Dr. Doms. He is an idiot!! Next time go to Kusel or Birkenfeld. All Germans aren't as bad as he is thankfully. Pam

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