This week I’ve chosen to tackle all of our doctors and dentists appointments. With three kids, plus myself to worry about, the number of appointments we accumulate really adds up. Summertime is the easiest time to take care of it all since I don’t have school or sports schedules to work around but lugging a 7, 5 and 1 year old around to each other’s appointments is a real pain in the ass. Yesterday was the dentist for both of the boys and today was Ruby’s well visit.
I’ve noticed a few things that I find unusual about the doctors here on Staten Island. I have a lot to compare it to since we’ve also seen dentists and pediatricians in Ohio, Long Island, California, New Jersey, and Texas. Of course, every office has been different but the ones here stick out more than any other.
The first thing I’ve noticed, something that I actually find funny, is that neither my doctor’s office nor the kids’ have switched over to electronic files. I think this is so strange because we live in one of the biggest cities in the world. You would think they’d be advanced in technology but instead there are hundreds of color coded files stored directly behind the receptionist. Also different from all of the other offices we’ve visited is the absolute lack of available parking. I know this is a city problem but ugh, it’s awful. You have to take into account the additional time you’ll need to find parking every time you go to an appointment. And you have to PAY for parking at our hospital. Josh had to go last week (nothing major) and found that you need four bucks just to be able to park in the ER lot.
The thing that strikes me the most here is that I don’t feel the kids’ doctor or dentist has been very thorough. We’re very lucky to have three completely healthy kids but I still find it strange that our appointments last two minutes. For instance, at every other dentist’s office we’ve visited, the boys will first be seen by an assistant who cleans their teeth. Then the dentist comes in, counts and checks their teeth and answers any concerns I may have. But yesterday, when Theo was called back (Parker goes in by himself now so I can’t say how things went with him) the dentist was already in the room and did a very quick cleaning and checkup alongside the assistant. We were in the room for about five minutes total. As we left the office, Parker even remarked on how his teeth didn’t hurt the way they usually do after a dental cleaning. But neither boy has any issues so I’m not extremely concerned – I just found it strange.
Every experience we’ve had with our pediatrician since moving here has been similar. When Theo went in to be seen about his sleeping and bedwetting troubles, I ran to the grocery store across the street while Josh took him in to see the doctor. I had dropped them off and went directly across the street to get three things and while I was standing in the checkout line, Josh called to say they were already done. It had been 10 minutes. I expressed my concern that they couldn’t have possibly been very thorough but Josh was confident that the doctor had answered all of his questions. Just as he did when Parker had gone in for his school physical, the doctor ordered blood work to be drawn for Theo (both times I’ve declined because I can’t see why this is necessary). Today, as I said, was Ruby’s 15 month well visit (we’re a little late) and it was the same deal. We went in and were immediately accompanied by the doctor – no nurse. This is strange to me because at every other office we’ve been to, a nurse comes in first to do height and weight and go over all of the developmental stuff. Basically today, the doctor looked over Ruby’s files to see what vaccinations she needed, asked how her speech was developing, asked if I had any questions and then weighed her, measured her and gave her the shots. Of course he ended the appointment with ordering her blood work. We were in the room for 5 minutes.
Under any other circumstances I would probably go find another doctor but our kids are healthy and we have no pressing issues that our doctors aren’t answering to. It’s just all so strange to me that our experience here can be so different from everywhere else – but then again so is the entire NYC culture. And perhaps the NYC culture is just the cause for the difference. I mean, I guess it must be difficult to see all eight million New Yorkers if the appointments weren’t five minutes long.