I haven’t written about the girls’ constantly overbooked pediatrician’s office and its awful time suck of a phone system, but it—and our resulting lack of a consistent person to look into the kids’ ears when needed—has been a major pain and occasional near medical disaster this winter. It’s the sort of large bureaucratic mess that, every time I deal with it, makes me want to speak to the person in charge, tell them exactly the nature of the inconvenience their establishment is causing me (and probably all of their other clients as well), and extract from them specific and realistic promises about how and when it will all be made better.
So a couple of weeks ago, in my spare time, I hammered out a ranty yet respectful letter to the clinic manager and medical director expressing my concerns.
This morning as Iris was napping and Ingrid was bopping around the living room taking stuffed animals from the airport to the library, the phone rang. It was Smeldon Smirkowitz, MD, Medical Director of the clinic.
The good doctor was completely sympathetic, graceful, and articulate. He gave a long and somewhat convincing spiel about their sincere efforts to rectify the situation. He said that they do not, as I accused in my letter, want patients to rely on M*nute Cl*nics for care; I countered that someone in his office had, not two hours earlier, suggested I go to such a place for the infant flu vaccine that Dr. Smirkowitz’s clinic had apparently understocked.
As he continued with his spiel about supply and demand this and hospitalized patients that, I found myself in the most dreadful mommy-brained state, using every neuron to block out the Music Together and the toy-covered carpet, follow what he was saying, and make the slow, fatigued shift of gears from You can have a banana or a pear; those are your choices to formulating some sort of articulate response.
As the gracious doctor wrapped up his final point, Ingrid climbed onto the dining room chair next to me. Is there anything else, asked Dr. Smirkowitz, that I can tell you? Do you have any further concerns?
Just as he said this, Ingrid put her arms around me, looked into my face, and said, Mama, I peepeed in my pants.
I thanked the dear doctor for his time, hung up the phone, and went to find the girl some clean undies.