Sunday, July 7, 2013

What I Hate About Moving, Part 3: Changing Providers

Last week Stow wrapped up his last early intervention sessions here. This week or next, we will see or talk to the shoulder doc, the spine surgeon, the eye doctor, the dentist, the pediatric gastroenterologist, the urologist, the pulmonologist, the speech therapist, the OT, the behavioral therapist, and the kids' primary care physician. Then we move, and this safety net of providers will fall apart. Sure, I know that our new town will give us just as much, if not more, access to good healthcare providers, but we still have to find them. And then secure appointments with them. And then figure out how to pay them. And then, of course, we also have to clearly communicate every nuance of each family member's health issues while hoping they can provide care similar to what we've been getting.

Since finding good docs takes time and patience (and not a little bit of luck), we've tried to take care of as many health-related issues as possible before the move. Several times this has backfired. Ren's follow-up back MRI revealed considerable nerve impingement which requires follow-up once we get moved. His second shoulder steroid injection, seven months after the first one, didn't even touch the pain he's been experiencing, so we have to follow up on that, too. And when I took Pink P and Sky for a final dentist appointment, they found several cavities in Pink's mouth. Multiple cavities calls for a pediatric dentist which, given our rural location, means a forty-minute drive for consultation. The pediatric dentist identified eight, count them, EIGHT spots that need treatment.** The nice dentist assured me that the "silver amalgam," which contains mercury, would be perfectly safe and the best course of action. It didn't help that he kept calling it a neurotoxin, nor that he mentioned the strong possibility of using an anesthetic when putting in the fillings. So, I made an appointment for Pink, but I also immediately contacted our pediatrician who agreed that, given Pink P's personal and family history, a more conservative and "safe" approach made more sense. Long story short: the dentist talked to the pediatrician and then decided we'd be better off taking care of Pink's teeth at a major pediatric dental hospital, Once. We. Get. Moved.

I don't know about you, but once I get moved, my head is spinning, and I feel completely lost. For example, when we moved to Tokyo, we managed to arrive in the city on February first with no coat for baby Pink who was seven weeks old at the time. The next morning, we woke up to two inches of snow, somewhat rare in Tokyo. With no car, no sense of direction, and no idea what was where, our first meals were from the convenience store we passed on the way from the station to our new apartment. And, we didn't start cooking until two days later when poor Ren walked a mile each way to buy everything we needed, including a 15-pound bag of rice and tens of pounds of things like brown sugar, sake, soy sauce, oil, vinegar, mirin, and pretty much everything else. A couple of days after that, we found two other grocery stores nestled in corners of our neighborhood within blocks of our new home. Getting settled requires time and often a few false starts and a bit of undue suffering. In the best of circumstances, it can be hard.

This go around, we face all the usual challenges, but since we're a veritable ragtag band of walking wounded, we also have to move quickly on the medical front, too. Not only do I need to round up the usual suspects: an OT, a speech therapist, and early intervention therapists, I also have to find a shoulder doc, a back doc, and a pediatric dentist, stat! But, you know, no pressure. Given that it took more than ten hours on the phone to get our cable/phone/Internet set up after our last move, and that it took three years to find our current pediatrician, I'm sure it will be just fine.***

**Apparently some kids are predisposed to tooth decay. Who knew? We brushed and flossed the same with her as we did with Sky, and none of us consume a lot of sugar or foods known to put teeth at risk, and yet, Sky has zero cavities and Pink P eight. Sigh.

***And by "just fine" I mean, "Quick! Someone get me a paper bag before I hyperventilate!"


Shelley said...

My "to-do" list is suddenly looking quite manageable. Good grief - hang in there and stock up on chocolate!

Mama D said...

Here's hoping that you are able to stay put for a while once you get settled in the new town! And that you can find good healthcare providers there before you lose what is left of your sanity. ;)

euchlid said...

You're right about the cavity thing. Some people's saliva is more acidic hence, less hospitable for cavities. I had my first one at age 26, my husband is 30 and hasn't had a cavity (yet). If you can do the fluoride treatments I know that helped my MIL who, like Pink P, had numerous cavities with every childhood dental visit.
Also, and more importantly, good luck with your move!