The medical system is bringing me down, kids.
Nothing specific, just that it’s yet another foreign universe to me. Sick kids go to see pediatricians. Well kids go to tipat chalav, which is a clinic specifically for checkups and looking at developmental progress. Which is ok, I guess, except that kids age out of tipat chalav at six and then…what? No idea. Abbi tells me if your pediatrician is sympathetic you can get them to do a checkup, of sorts, and vaccination boosters take place at school from first grade and beyond.
My kids managed to get through this first year without too many illnesses: an ear infection each, strep for AM, the stomach bug that took out the whole family, some colds. So we’ve seen a pediatrician and we like her, but we’re not best buddies who show up on her doorstep every other week. Thankfully.
So one thing that’s been on the back burner for a while is getting the kids’ vaccine records converted. Here everything gets noted in a little booklet that follows you for your entire childhood (life?). In America, every doctor’s office seems to use its own form.
Weeks ago, when I realized Miss M’s sixth birthday was rapidly approaching, I hightailed it to tipat chalav to get this fixed. The kids also needed the second half of a hepatitis A vaccination that they started right before we left. Although I was there in May, today (July 5) was the first available appointment. “My daughter will already be six by then,” I reminded them. “Is it ok?” Yes, yes.
So we showed up this morning, Miss M whining about not wanting to miss whatever she was supposed to do in camp. She was weighed and measured (she grew 10 cm in the last year!), had an eye screening, was told to balance on one foot and walk a straight line. I asked about the state of her fingernails (long story short: she picks at her cuticles, they get infected, her nails are gross, the end) and was given a big old “Zeh lo kashur elay”/see your pediatrician.
Then we got to the vaccines. Two pediatricians ago (before I was blogging–i.e., a hugely long time ago), Miss M was a baby and got a lot of shots. One may not have been properly recorded, or did she get it at all, and what do these acronyms mean? And really, I have no idea, she was completely vaccinated as far as I know, and I think it would be far less confusing if they didn’t give three or four or five vaccinations in the same shot that in New York kids don’t even have to get Hep B until they go to school. (Thank you, Elaine.) Could I call my pediatrician in New York and get a fax to confirm? I said yes.
Here’s the truth: I would gladly call the pediatrician we saw from 2006 to 2009. The pediatrician we saw before that? There is no way either doctor in that practice would remember me, and the office staff, from what I remember, is lousy and mean. And do they really have to keep records of former patients archived…forever?
There was a lot of puzzling and looking up things on the Merck website on the part of the tipat chalav staff (what are they? nurses? PAs?), and they kept eyeing me in disbelief. “The vaccinations are different,” one told me sourly.
Well, yes. And Modi’in is positively flush with immigrants from everywhere. Most of the English-speakers we know use this particular health organization (there are four different ones in Israel), and it is outrageous to me that this is a surprise to them. And no, I’m not going to simper or apologize or feel guilty that different countries have different vaccine protocols. Zeh lo kashur elay.
“We have to transfer all of this information by hand,” they said. “You could have gone to the regular nurses’ office at the main clinic. Since she is already six.” Um, yeah, I was told it would be ok to come here. Miss M was getting increasingly pissy. (There was a brief break, when Miss M got her hep A shot and raised holy hell.) I didn’t mention that they’ve had a copy of these records since May, because I am polite and American and keep it all inside. I did mention, however, that I am coming back next week with my son for the same reason and maybe we could pick up both vaccination booklets then, yes? They let us go (we were supposed to wait 20 minutes to see if Miss M had a reaction to the hep A shot…although one of them had said three minutes previous that there are no side effects for the hep A shot…whatever, we didn’t wait).
Please place your bets as to whether Miss M’s booklet will be completed by next Wednesday. Also whether AM’s will be as well. (They have his records too. Since May.)