My head goes fuzzy and I turn into a paranoid monster around day three of my children’s sicknesses.
This is the time when the worry is about to boil over: Things aren’t getting better, my kid isn’t eating, still a fever.
Dealing with the sick kid (or kids) is only half the stress. The other half is weighing whether the illness is serious enough to warrant a phone call to the doctor’s office. Because a PHONE CALL to the doctor’s office most often means a TRIP to the doctor’s office, and this is my Catch-22 — the great dilemma of my motherhood:
I’M AFRAID TO TAKE MY KIDS TO THE DOCTOR.
I love my pediatrician, and I’m not anti-doctor at all. I believe in modern medicine. But 99% of the time I’ve called my pediatrician about something I felt needed a professional’s perspective, they’ve just asked me to bring the child in.
I understand that they can’t diagnose things over the phone. Symptoms in children are very ubiquitous: Any number of symptoms could mean any number of illnesses. And there was a time when this wouldn’t have been a problem for me. Now, I can’t call, because if I call, they’ll know something is wrong, and when I don’t show up to a sick visit in the office, they call again and say, “We would really like to see the child in here so we can get her better.”
Thanks for caring, guys, but I DON’T WANT TO PAY FOR IT.
In the last two years, the price of insurance plans available to my family has skyrocketed. We have a yearly family deductible of $6,000 (we have to pay $6,000 of our own money before insurance starts paying part of the bills), and we pay $487 a month so that two adults and two children can pay that $6,000 before they get any benefit. That monthly payment does not go toward meeting our yearly deductible. It’s called “catastrophic insurance.”
So, on top of that, a regular sick visit to a pediatrician who is IN NETWORK is $125.
ONE HUNDRED AND TWENTY-FIVE DOLLARS.
It might sound stupid, but it puts lead in my stomach every time I have to make this decision. I’ve paid it, a few times. It was when I got desperate for help. I wanted something to give her, to make her better. But after carting both kids over there, waiting in the sick room with a sick kid, and then waiting in the other room for the doctor to get in, I was told, every time, “She looks good, this is completely normal. Just wait it out, it should clear up in a few days on its own. If it doesn’t, give us a call and we’ll take another look.”
“OK,” I say, wanting to punch a wall.
Then I have to tell my husband. We aren’t swimming in the Benjamins, so it’s hard to admit.
“I was worried she was really sick, so I finally took her in. They said she was fine. I’m sorry.”
Might as well make a bonfire and throw the money in. Sure, I feel some relief at the reassurance, but it is almost completely outweighed by the amount of money I paid for that relief. It shouldn’t cost that much to take care of a sick child.
But it does, and it makes me sick.