Saturday, September 15, 2012

The Doctor's Note

Never a dull moment raising kids.

My favorite second grader was playing at a friend's house on Sunday afternoon and fell off the play structure in their backyard.  We did not answer the phone when the mom called because we were busy skyping with our favorite college freshman.  An hour later they brought her home and we had a scary evening of her sleeping and throwing up and complaining of a headache.  John doesn't have a medical degree yet but we feel confident diagnosing her with a concussion.

We went to the Minneapolis Institute of Art on Thursday night after a week stuck in the house.

I did not rush her to the doctor for a number of reasons and I don't feel like I should have.  The reason I first became a non rush to the doctor person is because of money.  Being self insured we have always carried a very high deductible insurance and it would take quite the major medical emergency before our insurance would kick in.  And since we are mostly  healthy we  have never even come close to our deductible.  However, I don't want you to think that money is causing me to be irresponsible with my children.  I probably wouldn't have brought her even if it was covered.  When necessary we do bring them in.  Here is the thing, a concussion does not require a doctors prescription to heal.  Brain rest is the treatment.  Yes, something more serious could have happened and we were watching to make sure her pupils were doing the right thing, she did not throw up multiple times or any major behavior changes occurred.  But, since we didn't see those things there was no reason to bring her to the doctor.  I could go into a whole soap box moment here about doctors offices being for profit businesses not charitable agencies.  Combine that with their high liability and they no longer can say that it doesn't seem serious if you bring them in but that they MUST perform a high cost test on your child to both continue paying for the practice and to protect themselves from lawsuits.  Once upon a time the average person was considered intelligent enough to know a little about medicine and take care of their own children.  And that is what I do.

"Why are you telling me this?", you might ask.  Well here is why:  Because 2 different times this week the school nurse told me she would need a doctors note about this problem.  First was on Monday when I initially called to just let her know what had happened.  I mention that I was toying with keeping her home all week and she tells me that she will need a doctor's note if she is out more than 2 days.  I had already told her we didn't go to a doctor.  I spent most of Wednesday waiting for the phone to ring.  The second was on Friday, the day she returned to school, when she called to tell me that the gym teacher wants a doctor's note before she can return to gym.

After listening to her come at this request from several angles, I finally just told her that since there was no medical treatment for this injury I saw no reason to see a doctor and would not be bringing her.  I then asked her what the next step would be since there would be no doctor's  note.  I guess that was a stumper because she didn't have an answer.  So either my 2nd grader is going to have 3 unexcused absences on her permanent record (I hope she can still get into Harvard) or she won't be allowed to participate in gym all year, which seems unlikely.  Or nothing.  The end game at this point seems to be that I will email the gym teacher on Monday to let him know how Isabelle did over the weekend.  Looks like I am writing my own doctor's note.

Dear parents,
They are your children.  Don't let anyone tell you otherwise.

I am starting to remember what I hated about elementary school when Jake was little.  I don't play well with others when it comes to my kids.


  1. Just another point added to the "to" side of my "To homeschool or not to homeschool" list.

  2. ha! I love how no-nonsense you are!