We started off Thursday sort of early and with much dread and anticipation. It was the day scheduled for Bip’s renal ultrasound and voiding cystogram (VCUG). We were making the trek to Bethesda Naval Medical Center instead of Walter Reed because Walter Reed no longer has a pediatric radiologist.
The day started going badly when we left late, then our GPS routed us through DC before we realized what was happening. Our first appointment was later than we thought it was and so managed to arrive on time anyway. We were then kept waiting for an hour. Let me remind you that Bip is only 21 months old.
Finally we are called back for the ultrasound. Bip doesn’t want his shirt removed, doesn’t want to lie down, doesn’t like the gel. He’s screaming and kicking and writhing and saying, "Mama! Ow!" The tech finishes up and leaves to consult the doctor. We clean up and comfort Bip. The tech returns and tells us he needs more pictures. Here we go again…This little scene is played out 3 more times, screaming toddler, tech leaves, we calm down Bip, tech returns for more pictures. Forty-five minutes later and Bip is fervently pointing to the door and signing "all done." The tech tells us that the "super doppler" he is using picks up every motion and he needs the baby to be still. Philip and I both said, "That’s not going to happen. We’re done."
Nobody seems to be able to tell us where to go for our next appointment. It’s usually done in radiology, so that’s where we go. We check in, an hour late of course, and sit down to wait. We give Bip some juice and a snack and he settles down. We’re there about 15 minutes when they decide we actually need to be at nuclear medicine, which is right around the corner from ultrasound.
At nuclear medicine we are informed that we need to go to pediatrics where they will insert a catheter into Bip, then return with him to nuclear medicine for the rest of the test.
I can only imagine the looks on our faces.
Philip was so stunned that he said to the guy, "Let me get this straight. You want us to go to peds, get the catheter put in, which is going to cause him to scream and kick, then walk back down the hall, take the elevator back up to this floor and come back here?"
Oh yes, we were informed, that’s how they always do it. And we were assured that they would tape it to Bip’s leg.
Now, this will be the 5th VCUG done on one of our children, and I even had them done as a child and NOT ONCE have they ever inserted the catheter in a different room than where the test is done.
Would it be acceptable to have an adult have a catheter inserted, then wander around the hospital to a different location for the test? I don’t think so. It shouldn’t be acceptable for a child, either.
But we bravely went to pediatrics. It was now noon. We were informed by the receptionist that the nurse was at lunch and to return in an hour. Then the nurse walks by, and the receptionist called to her to confirm that she was at lunch. The nurse said, "Yep, I’m at lunch, they’ll have to come back." It wasn’t what she said, but how she said it. She was so rude and disdainful that I actually said to the receptionist, "Wow, that was really rude."
Philip said, "That’s it, we’re done. We’re leaving."
Bethesda is supposed to be the military’s premier hospital. They may be in some areas, but not for this. Oh, and we were told that they don’t even have a pediatric radiologist.
Thursday was a tough day for all of us, but today will be better.