Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Conjunctivitis, I hate thee

Dear conjunctivitis: I don't like you. I kind of hate you. Why do you insist on repeatedly infecting the conjunctiva of my kids? Why do you create big globs of mucus in my kids' eyes? Does it give you some sort of sick, sick pleasure? And how come you're so contagious? If you like my kids' eyes so much, why not just stay there? And making me drag my screaming child to the doctor and force drops in her eyes even though your viral shell is impervious to antibiotics is just plain mean. I think you seriously need to get some help, man.

Oh, did I mention my kid got conjunctivitis recently?

Conjunctivitis is an illustration of everything that's wrong with everything. When the daycare calls you at work, in the middle of a packed morning clinic, saying, "Your baby has conjunctivitis and you must pick her up immediately," you realize that it's impossible to live like this. How do you have a career when you can get called out at any minute for eye mucus? "Sorry, Mr. Smith, I realize you took the morning off from work to come to this appointment and you've been waiting to see me, but I have an EYE MUCUS EMERGENCY at home so I have to leave immediately."

And it's not just eye mucus. Every day, there's a new note on the door of my child's classroom, saying something like, "We regret to inform you that there has been a case of [conjunctivitis, head lice, strep throat, chicken pox, plague] in your child's class. The infected child has been sequestered in a plastic bubble and rolled home, where they will stay until their mother gets fired."

Lately, more and more, the model of one parent staying home or working half days seems to be the only reasonable thing to do. What else are you supposed to do on conjunctivitis days? Or when your kid gets out of school at, like, 2PM for some reason, even though practically every adult works until at least 5PM. Or during those random weeks off. I mean, President's week? Seriously?? What is that?

Can you tell I'm a little aggravated?

13 comments:

  1. That is why I am so happy I changed to federal employment. You get 12 days off per year for sick leave, not just for you, any of your family members. Plus where I work they do not penalize you for taking care of emergencies at home. Prior to that we had live in nannies for .... 7 years. You also find that there are so many non working or underworking parents in your child's school. This am I saw two parent couples (husbund and wife!) leisurely walking,biking,jogging together after dropping kids at school. They all had no place to run to at 8 am. And my husbund who has flexible schedule always tells me how shocked he is to see both parents picking up kids at 2 pm.

    Let's just say we do not deserve to be torn between a sick child, (angry) patient and employer who renewes your contract on annual basis.
    Julia

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  2. Julia: When I worked at the VA, it was a little better, but not much. I had those 13 sick days, but I felt like I couldn't use them. I remember once I was up all night vomiting, but I felt slightly better in the morning so I felt obligated to drag myself to my busy clinic. Everyone commented on how awful I looked, but nobody suggested I go home.

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  3. I know, despite of what I said above my husbund is first in line to take care of sick kids. But I can use 1/3 of my sick leave without percussions. Better than before when it was coming out of my 20 days per year my vacation. It depends on individual clinic. We are not main VA center. Our administration chose to be doctor friendly. We work hard, I do not cancel, I reschedule my patients. But I can do it without second thought. We also have two (!) "floaters" who are there to do sick physician's clinic. That prevents peer hatered.
    Ah, hope it gets better soon. My kids are not as sickly now as in daycare days...
    Julia

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  4. Can I complain about the time I had to pick up my 8 week old daughter from daycare (her first week) for "diarrhea." Diarrhea being strictly defined as having 3 stools in one day. Ummm, have you ever taken care of a breastfed baby before? They love to poop. Good thing I didn't have clinic that day...

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  6. Yeah, it's hard. It gets better when the kids are older and they don't get sick as much. We had a local community hospital that had a "sick daycare", but they needed 12 hour notice, so that didn't work if you needed to pick up your kid THAT day. It worked for the following day, since our daycare wouldn't let kids go back until they were 24 hour fever free. Basically, it helps to have family backup. If my husband or I couldn't pick up the sick kid, both grandmothers live 15-20 miles away, so we could enlist them. One time, no one could get my 15 month old, so I picked her up and I had the department secretary watch her for two hours while I finished seeing all of my consults. That was really stressful.

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  7. One time I brought my toddler from his post op appt from clinic downstairs in my building. My patient who saw us coming in made a nasty comment about my child's looks. I then proceeded seeing the rest of my clinic for the day starting with that patient. My toddler was next door watched by all staff. Why are doctors seen as someone who owe everyone yet can be mocked?

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  8. My oldest daughter had small tear ducts as an infant. Every time she had a cold, she got mucous in her eye and day care sent her home for "pink eye". Fortunately we could generally get a same day appt with her pediatrician, who would look, confirm what we could see, and give us a note so she could go back. Unfortunately they did this 10 TIMES in two years. Thankfully her tear ducts are fine now. We had many disagreements over this with her (generally excellent) daycare. Sigh...

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  9. I had the same thing with my daughter with her tear ducts. The pediatrician wrote me a note and we put it in her file at daycare... but I am with you Fizzy. Every now and then, there is an email from daycare: "we have several cases of xxxx (coxsackie, fever, stomach bug, conjuctivitis, etc.. etc...), be aware of any symptoms in your child."

    I know a parent who got so frustrated to be called for any little bump, she switched to another preschool!

    And trust me, working part time is not the perfect asnwer. I am part time and last winter between being unable to come because of 2+ feet of snow/ice on the ground and my daughter having fever because her molars were coming out, I was labeled as "not reliable" by my boss. Even though I worked on those days at home and I did much more than if I had been in the office...

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  10. Arg. This post worries me. We have been relatively lucky with our eldest daughter not getting sick too frequently in day care (although the few times she did were always when my husband was out of town) . I sooo worry about our baby boy when he starts daycare. I heard the second child gets sicker far more than the first. Not sure if it's true, I hope not.

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  11. I really don't see how two full-time working parents do it...especially when the kids get to school age. I don't know what kind of crack I was smoking but I distinctly remember thinking "wow, once little missy gets to Kindergarten our schedule will be so easy. And cheap!" Right on the cheaper part but oh wow on the schedule and sick and school holiday part. The good news is she wasn't as sick as when she attended child care but sick days continued to happen. Mix those in with the MONTHLY school holidays (plus spring break, fall break, Christmas break and summer break) and you have a formula that requires someone to be home at lesat half-time. Plus, the older kids are, the less they want to be in daycare in the summer. But that's another post.....

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  12. I was never so happy and relieved as when my husband quit his job to stay home and care for our children. They were school age by then, but there were after school activities, orthodontist visits, teacher work days, summer vacation, sick days.... An unending nightmare of cobbled together childcare.

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  13. Conjunctivitis is an infection occurred in eye in which the inner cells of the human eyes causes red, itchy, watery and may also cause due to the various factors such as Allergies, Viral infections and also bacterial infection too. which are treated by the firms like pink eye conjunctivitis.
    Symptoms Of Conjunctivitis - pinkeyeconjunctivitis.org

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