Thursday, July 14, 2011

The one where I rant...

Do I care too much?

Am I weird? (Wait, don't answer that...)

When I see a child suffer, a little piece of me dies. I wonder how others can just shut it off. Block out the sadness, the helplessness...the caring.

Those that work in the medical field...I know they see it every day. I know that they see suffering, and in order to cope they need to look at things logically rather than emotionally.

But there is a fine line between professional courtesy and blatant don't-give-a-damn.

When B was at the doctor on Monday he was suffering. He was shivering. He was moaning. He was spitting in a cup because he wouldn't swallow. His throat pain was could see the suffering all over his face. Heck, you could see it all over his body.

I am not one to take my kids to the emergency room willy nilly. I've handled the worst of sick days on my own. But on Monday...that day...while sitting in that waiting room, I contemplated bringing him.

I just couldn't handle SEEING him like that.

I'm pretty sure I would welcome being thrown into a pit of wild honey badgers, rather than seeing my child suffer like that.

Yes. Really sure.

And as we waited for the pediatrician for almost an swelly brain almost burst from my skull. When I checked in they said it would be no more than 5 minutes. But an HOUR later? He was huddled into the crook of my elbow...tears in his eyes...whimpering.

Fully 6 nurses were standing around. Eating their snacks. Telling their jokes. Bringing other patients back. They all glanced over with no concern or wonder whatsoever.

Patients went in and out. We sat alone in the waiting room most of the time.

Don't you think if you were a nurse, and you saw a child obviously in SO much pain, you would have tried to comfort him, or at the very least his mother who is crying next to him?

I finally asked what the what, and they said, "OH! I think the nurse is here now...we'll get you in."

Too late. B was running to the bathroom, throwing up.

We came out of the bathroom, both of us a mess of tears.

Did they apologize for taking so long?

Did they say, "I'm so sorry B, I know you are miserable, we'll do everything we can to help."


All it would have took to make me feel better earlier was, "I'm sorry...we are still waiting for the nurse. We'll get you in as soon as she gets here." Maybe an explanation why the other nurses couldn't help him?

Any word would have helped. Just some kind of confirmation that they SAW us!

It was confirmed 100% in a two second check that he had strep.

And then we were sent to the pharmacy.

We waited an hour in the pharmacy. Replay the exact same scene above. Throwing up and all.

Did the doctor not send our prescription over? Were they too busy? We watched the pharmacy fill and empty a full four times over. Were we invisible??

When I went up twice to ask, all the guy at the counter did is fill out a piece of paper and ask me to sit down, he would call me.

But he never did.

When I went up again, 1 hour and 15 minutes later, he found B's prescription just sitting there.

He grabbed the bag, rung it up and said, "$14.35."

No, "I'm sorry it took so long."


Two words...I'm sorry. That is all it would have taken to make me feel better.

But not even one word...

Not one word of apology.

Because they suck all the time?

Because apologizing to me would be them admitting they failed?

I'm scared it is because they just didn't care.

Am I crazy?

Is this what the world has come to? Have the true crazies ruined it for half way normal people like me get no empathy?

Do I just care to much?

Maybe...maybe I do. How the good Lord made me a parent to three T1's is beyond me. I cannot STAND to watch my children, or other children suffer. I can't cope with it. There has to be a reason I'm the mother to these children.

In a world where ambivalence rules and compassion is a lost art, I have to wonder if I received my calling as a D Mother to see the needs of others clearer.

And if that IS the case...I hope I do not waste this gift.

I hope to have the courage to put my hand on the shoulder of one in need, or to be a listening ear to those whose soul is heartbroken.

I hope to look past the hard shell of those that have put up walls after years of trials and aloneness.

I hope I will be one to step up.

I hope I won't take the easy road, and just look the other way.

Because if I...someone who sees suffering so clearly, give up to would seem that all I have experienced has been for naught.

Every human being deserves a bit of understanding.

I have the capacity to care...we all do.

It is up to all of us to exercise it.

Even those in the medical profession.

(Wait! Where did this soapbox come from?)


  1. Sorry you had to go through that. I can't stand to see suffering like that either. I wish I had been there with you so I could go all "redhead" on their asses. I spent 10 minutes the other day very firmly telling a woman why it was not okay that we were getting the run-around about our AC being fixed. A sick part of me enjoys it.

    Anyway, I hope B is feeling better. And seriously, next time you need someone to yell at a doctor/nurse/pharmacist, you have my number!

  2. I am so sorry you had to deal with all of that! It is for some reason always shocking to me to see how people in the medical profession seem to care so little. I sit there and wonder wasn't one of the reasons why they went into this line of work was to HELP people? UGH! I hope B is feeling better today and please know that you are not one to look the other put your hand on my shoulder the other and helped me greatly. thank you again. :o)

  3. Oh Meri, I am so very sorry. All it takes in this world is a little compassion for one another. All it would have taken is for you and B to be noticed and cared for. I am sorry no one did that for you two. It might be the beginning of a great letter to the office and the pharmacy though, maybe they need to know. Hugs hon and no, you don't care too much at all.

  4. I TOTALLY hear you Meri! I have felt that way so many times. I just don't get it. One day I was sitting in my car at Fry's while my daughter ran in to gt something. I didn't want to park because Josh wasn't feeling well and I was just in a rush to get home. I just pulled up to the side of some of the 20 empty handicapped spots and idled thinking if someone came up wanting to park I would keep on driving through the parking lanes. I was distracted. I was thinking and worrying about my frustration with Josh's numbers and also I was worrying about little Kate from Kate's Caring Bridge, a girl suffering with brain cancer. Someone came up behind me apparently and I didn't see them right away. I heard a honk and immediately put the car into drive and began to move. But not soon enough I guess. The car swerved around me and the woman in it yelled out "That's not a parking place you selfish B ----!" I was shocked. I thought, "Geez! I'm not selfish. I'm just distracted and worried about some sick kids. She knows nothing about me. And I'm not a B either! And why is she SO angry?" Why are people so hardened? So quick to judge? So uninterested in what is going on in other people's lives? It's sad.

  5. I think you hit the nail on the head there Meri! People DON'T care! They get paid no matter what and if there isn't some personal gain they won't go above and beyond!
    Feel better soon B!!!

  6. No, Meri... I think you hit it on the head... compassion is becoming lost in our society. As you might remember from Donna's blog, I work at a church... and you would not believe how people gush over the simplest things we do, that we don't even consider out of the ordinary... but they are that starved for it out in the world. Keep up the good fight!

  7. It amazes me how uncaring and down right rude some people can be...and when it happens in a place where compassion should be the rule not the exception it's even more infuriating!
    Hope B is doing better!

  8. Yes - because the suck all the time. Makes me so sad. And what's sadder is that this is more common than a positive experience. Positive experiences are so over-the-top invigorating because they are so rare.

    I hope B is back to good health soon.

  9. You are not weird. I don't understand the lack of compassion either. But it is common in medical professionals as a coping mechanism. I so applaud the ones that are able to find the right balance between not going crazy at the sight of all the suffering and still being downright concerned for their patients. I count it among our many blessings that we have had few experiences like this and that most of our emergency medical needs have been well and compassionately cared for.

    I do think a letter is in order. And I would also encourage you to consider editing your post to include the name of the pharmacy and clinic.

    I hope B is much better and that the string of strep infections is OVER at your house!

  10. so so so angry on your behalf. i hope B is feeling better soon and i hope this rant helped you feel a bit better as well.

  11. You are soooooooo not weird, Meri. Just in the minority where you are at. It is basic and simple himan nature to feel compassion and want to help others. It's in our design!! People who choose not to tune into that side live a very lonely and shallow exhistance.

    I am sorry you had to witness and experince the 'sadder' side of human behavior. What a fine opportunity to talk with B about it when he is feeling better! Which I dearly hope he is by now.

    Love you Mmmmmeeeerrrrrriiii.

  12. Oh, Meri! I am so incredibly sorry that you both had to go through that. That is AWFUL! It's so horrible when people treat you poorly are so... well, RUDE! Sending you both BIG HUGS my friend!

    ps - Strep is going in the van, too!

  13. Meri, that just sucks. You devote your life to caring for others, and it breaks my heart that you don't receive the same in return.

    I thought of you yesterday when Grace had a diabetic friend over to play and go to the movies. There I was in the theater, changing the pump battery of Friend with the spare in my purse. Then making sure they both were bolused for popcorn and a-okay for the movie. Cut to lunch, where I had to keep track of what was eaten by one high girl with celiac and one low girl. My head became a swirly, squishy mess, which made me think of what an amazing mom you are (see, I knew I had a point)! You truly are an inspiration, and I pray for a world with your compassion.

    Hope all are feeling better in your house.

  14. Meri, I am truly sorry that B had to endure such a miserable appointment. And I am truly sorry that you had to witness your child suffering. When non-medical people are rude, it’s miserable and irritating. When medical professionals are rude and insensitive, it’s inexcusable. It doesn’t take an emotional wall to survive as a nurse. Nurses take a professional oath. Nurses are supposed to support and to heal. If you can’t be a professional, if you don’t want to support me, if you didn’t come to work to heal, then please go home! I should know, I’m an RN (for over 10 years)! My sister was dx with cancer 3 years ago, and I experienced some of the worst nursing in my career. I developed a little mantra that has served me well during my daughter’s walk with T1: Your bad day and poor judgment are of little concern to (insert name). All I want is for (insert name) to get better and if you can’t help me, I will find someone who will. Usually people are taken back and sometimes defensive, but it usually gets to the point. On behalf of nurses who do give a damn, I’m sorry! No child should experience such horrible behavior from adults. No adult should be so callous to children. I hope B is on the mending road and I hope you write a letter to your doctor’s office. Tammy Rambler

  15. I couldn't agree more. It hurts me to my core to see any child or adult for that matter suffer. Why do they act so non chalant? I just don't know!

    I'm sorry it was such an awful day and sending big hugs for B. Hope he starts feeling better!

  16. Well said, Meri. I sometimes think that one good thing about our dx is that it has made me an even more empathetic person (although I am pretty sure I had that covered pretty well before) but I mean being empathetic to things that I wouldn't have thought about before like how serious certain allergies are or just other things that you maybe can't see but that people are dealing with. That said, everyone (especially ones who CHOSE to be in the medical field) should have the common decency to show a little compassion or at least be sorry when they screw up! I am so sorry you had to deal with that!! I hope B is feeling better!!

  17. That's *exactly* why the Lord made you a T1 mama - because you *do* care and you do everything you can to help ease the pain. You're amazing :) I hope B is feeling better soon

  18. what a horrible time, I am so sorry you had to go through that. Those moments are just hard to bare for more than just the pain and agony that our loved one is going through, but the ramifications of what it means for our society. You are not asking too much Meri, I hope that you're able to talk with the doc office sometime and the pharmacy sometime about how they behaved. Take care friend.

  19. I tell you, there must be something in the air or water making people NUTS these days... The Switch has been flipped, and these things are just driving me crazy. What the Fructose is wrong with people? Where has common decency gone? So seriously an appropriate response, Meri. I'd be equally as mad. Not sure I would've lasted an hour waiting in the pharmacy, and probably would've given the pharmacist an earful way sooner. But still totally in line reaction to how you all were treated. Hope B is doing better and all turned out OK. He deserves some ice cream. :))

  20. You should have let him hurl on the floor... pay back!

  21. I am so sorry you had to deal with all that. I remember an ex-boss telling me never to apologies which I think is silly.

    I hope B is feeling better

  22. I love this post. I see you as a gift to us for the very reasons you mention and more. We do need to get the attention of others out there who for some reason or other have become somewhat cold, complacent, numb. When my brother was dying in the hospital's NICU 6 years ago, and my family and I stood over him crying because we knew he was in pain and we could do nothing to stop it and we had to see his tiny body swell up to the point of tearing because his kidneys were not functioning, none of the nurses showed concern. They stood 3 feet away laughing and talking loudly about their weekend plans. I spoke to a group of them in the elevator about what a pity it was that those two scenes had to collide like that and they all solemnly apologized for being disrespectful and said they see suffering all the time and they tend to be indifferent to it after a while. They acknowledged that it was no excuse and they'd try to do better. It seems to be this has to be brought up in every hospital and doctor's office around the world because we humans are so much better than that. If of all the beings on earth, we're the ones with the big brains and the big hearts, why don't we use them? I can't tell you how much I appreciate knowing someone like you. I'm sorry you had to go through that experience twice in a row.

  23. All I can say is BRAVO Meri and DITTO to all the above!! If I could just borrow Harry's wand, I would cast a spell on people like these and have them walk in others shoes for a day! COMPASSION should be the #1 prerequisite in entering the medical field!


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