We took our kids a couple of weeks ago to the Vanderbilt International Adoption Clinic, where we spent 5 hours having all manner of poking, proding, x-rays, and the ever beloved stool sample. Actually, only one child made a “donation” while we were there, so we were sent home with SEVEN containers to collect stool samples from our children. Four from one child, and three from Addie Rose, the “donor.”
One must think that of course this is because they were having abdominal pain, diarrhea, constipation, irregular stools, etc. No. Our children were completely asymptomatic. But JUST IN CASE they just weren’t telling us that they were having pain, the doctor thought it would be a wise idea to spend hundreds of dollars and multiple gag reflexes collecting and submitting stool samples.
I disagreed. I’m actually in health care myself, which makes me terribly noncompliant by my very nature. The kids were starting school, we had lots of appointments, vaccinations, school testing, and were carting the children to and from work and we were not about to carry around the “hats,” gloves, tongue depressors, and little bottles to submit stool samples from asymptomatic children.
So, two weeks after the “donor” submitted her sample in the doctor’s office, the doctor called me back with the results of the culture, ova and parasites, and giardia antigen. Basically, everything was normal. BUT there was something called blastocystis hominis in her stool, and SOMETIMES this causes abdominal pain. In most people, it is completely normal to have this in their stool, and in fact there are no treatment guidelines because even if people have it, as it tends to resolve on its own. But just in case she thought it might be significant for Addie Rose and Palmer because our children had done so much complaining about abdominal pain.
Oh wait, they hadn’t.
So the doctor wanted to treat both kids for it, with a medicine that basically treats any possible parasite that the stool sample wouldn’t catch, and wouldn’t require us to submit more stool samples.
No stool samples? No chasing our kids to the bathroom every time they have to do a doodle? But we have to treat an imaginary disease. Hmmmmmm. DEAL!
The only problem with the medicine is that it has to be compounded — it doesn’t come in premade form, so you have to get it from a special pharmacy that is willing to mix up the medicine from scratch. Fortunately, our local Walgreens is a compounding pharmacy, so our doctor said she would call in the prescription for both kids on Monday morning.
So, I waited 24 hours, knowing that it would take a little while longer to mix up, and went to the local Walgreens on Tuesday.
They said they had received the prescription for our son the day before, but not our daughter. Actually, her name and date of birth were in the system, but not a prescription.
“Why would you have her name and date of birth if you never got a prescription for her?” I asked.
“Well, I’m sure she’s been a patient here before,” they countered.
“She’s four and just arrived in America. And I’m her mother. She’s never been a patient here. You MUST have the prescription around here somewhere.”
There wasn’t a good answer.
The truth was, even for our son, the delivery truck had failed to offload the medication, so it wouldn’t be ready for our son until later that day. “What about our daughter?” I asked. Well, they didn’t have a prescription for her, so they offered to call the doctor and clarify that the prescription was for both children. After all, the only one that had been diagnosed with an imaginary disease that we were now treating so that I wouldn’t have to submit stool samples, was our daughter. He’s just being treated because he is related to her. Because this is how things work in the world of medicine.
Knowing that compounding a medication again takes time, I went back 48 hours later to pick up the medication for both children.
“Yes, the medicine for your son is ready,” said the pharmacy tech.
“What about my daughter, the one who actually had the (imaginary) disease?”
“No, I’m sorry, we don’t have a prescription on file for her.”
“You mean the prescription you were going to call about two days ago so that by the time I came back both would be ready?”
The pharmacist came up from behind his pharmadesk and said that he would call immediately and confirm the prescription. Sure enough, he did, and the doctor confirmed that both children had the same prescription for the same imaginary disease. He said it would be ready in an hour.
Not wanting to wait around for an hour, I said that I would come back the following day, because, after all, imaginary diseases are not urgent.
On my way home, I got a call from Walgreens. “Um, remember how we said that we would have the prescription ready later today? Well, it turns out, we used up all of the medicine for your son. So you’re going to have to drive to another Walgreens in another town to pick up hers. But we can even tell you what town to drive to!”
“Oh, it’s no rush, I can pick it up tomorrow,” I insisted.
“Well, we’re afraid that we won’t be able to get the medicine in until next week.”
“You mean, you don’t have a courier service between different Walgreens stores if one runs out of a particular medicine, but another store has it?”
“Yes, in fact, we do.”
“Well, how about we go with that option, and you use your courier service, rather than me driving out-of-town.”
“I guess we can do it, but it won’t be ready until tomorrow.”
“Again, I’m in no hurry to treat an imaginary disease, but what I won’t do is treat one child one week and treat another child another week, nor will I drive out-of-town to buy a medicine from you.”
“Okay, we’ll have it ready tomorrow, here.”
Friday just before noon, I got a phone call from Walgreens telling me that my prescription was ready. Finally! I made my third trip to the same Walgreens.
“We have your prescription ready for your son!” they said cheerfully.
“What about my daughter?”
“We don’t have a prescription for your daughter.”
“This is my third time here. For the same medicine. Could you by any chance check?”
The tech consulted with the pharmacy manager and then returned. “Your daughter’s medicine will be on the courier service that will arrive this afternoon. Would you like to go ahead and buy your son’s medication?”
“Not a chance,” I replied. “I’ll be back tomorrow.”
“Oh, it won’t take that long,” she persisted.
“Yeah, okay,” I said, trying not to lay the sarcasm on too thick as I walked away.
Finally tonight, Saturday night, we went to Walgreens and both prescriptions were ready, a mere 5 days after they were called in. Of course, our insurance didn’t cover them because they don’t cover “alternative drugs” like, ahem, antibiotics, but after 5 days and 4 trips to Walgreens, I was just happy to never have to go back! That was a whole lot of poo over an imaginary disease!