I took two Kiddos for their annual physicals yesterday, and it almost kind of went well. Sort of.

I like their doctor. Not much to say there because usually when there’s a lot to say about a doctor it’s because you’ve been through extraordinary circumstances together, and so far since moving to Angelborough, our health has been unremarkable.  (As opposed to the pediatrician who went to bat for us when we had Emily, and who ever after I believed walked on water.)

But our new pediatrician works with one nurse all the time, and I don’t trust this nurse. I noticed that whenever she gave one of my kids a shot, when she pulled out the needle, there would be large drops of clear fluid on their arm. So they weren’t getting the full injection whenever she gave them a shot. Are they actually immunized?

I pointed this out to her, and she blew me off, so I mentioned it to the doctor, who looked a little puzzled and said everything was fine.  But this year, the first time since I questioned it, I noticed that my kids who got shots got ALL the shot, not just whatever part of the shot the nurse felt like injecting before she pulled the needle.

Also, and this is just kind of odd, she recorded Kiddo#3’s height wrong so he shrank four inches since last year, and although she told him he’d failed his hearing screening, she marked on the form that he’d passed — all of which left the doctor a little puzzled.

At the end of the exam, Kiddo#4 needed to have his iron tested and his MMR shot. No biggie, right?  Kiddo#3 got his shot first, and then I pulled up K4’s sleeve so he could get his injection.

The nurse said, “No, I’m going to do the finger stab first.”

Now, she knew K4 is high-strung and doesn’t like being handled or touched. And I should have remembered back when Kiddo#1 was newborn and the idiot nurse insisted on giving him his shots before weighing him (because she was on a power trip) and of course after the shots he was flailing too much to get a weight on him.But I let her do it, and over the course of the next four minutes, the nurse was unable to get blood into the pipet while Kiddo#4 flailed and screamed and attempted to kick her.

And afterward while I got the bleeding stopped, she said, “Roll up his sleeve for the shot.”

And I told her no. He was hysterical.

She said, sounding a little plaintive, “It’s just the one shot.”

I said, “Why on earth would you do THAT first?” (meaning the finger-stab).

She said, “We do the difficult thing first.”

And because of that, she also did the difficult thing last. I’ll get Kiddo#4 his MMR the next time we’re in the office.

Oh, the the kicker? Then she wanted me to sign forms.  How about this? Next time:

1) sign forms

2) do the shot

3) do the ridiculously difficult thing that will leave the child in sobbing hysterics

I don’t want to change doctors. But I wish I could change nurses.


  1. Sarah

    Wow, she does sound like a tough nurse to work with! Have you tried talking to the doctor about her? Explaining that in general the nurse seems to not be particularly thoughtful might help.

    When I was pregnant with #3, the nurses kept wanting to do the thing where they press on your stomach to feel the baby’s shape, then they’d take the baby’s heartrate. For whatever reason, that really agitated baby #3 and her heartrate would be worryingly high. They’d have to put me through a non-stress test every time, and she’d finally calm down. I’d ask them to do the heartrate thing *first*, and finally it seemed to sink through. But every time they would swear that pushing on the baby could have no effect on the heartrate, despite my previous experiences.

    1. philangelus

      I’ve discovered that many medical professionals believe that anything they do to you in the name of medicine cannot possibly have caused harm, even if it’s documented.

      And in your case, what’s the problem with getting the heart rate before the fundal height? They’ll still get both measurements. I’ve taken to saying “Humor me” when I’m in that situation, and I should have done that yesterday too.

  2. jaed

    You could just say you’d rather not have this nurse work with your children, the same as you’d say about an unsatisfactory doctor. (If this is the pediatrician’s only nurse, well, that’s a problem… but I’d say that’s his problem and he can figure out some way to solve it. It’s not as though the nurse has to be the one to do these procedures.) The nurse is a medical professional and it sounds like you have good reason to question her competence.

    (Not that you necessarily need to go into all that with the pediatrician unless he asks. But you may not be the only one to have noticed, and you may well not be the only one to have said something. You might be what pushes him over the edge into resolving this.)

    1. philangelus

      The pediatrician works with a fairly large practice out of two locations. I may try seeing this same pediatrician in the other office and then talk to her about the nurse there. But this nurse seems to be slated to her in that office, and I’m not sure if I could actually get a different one without giving a whole lot of explanation.

      I could ask the doctor to give the shots, but things like weighing, measuring, note-taking, form-signing…those things are relegated to the nurse.

      I hate complaining about people at their jobs. I much prefer complimenting them. 🙂 But you may be right. I might change locations and say something to the pediatrician about why.

  3. Cricket

    Our nurse used to write the height and weight on the chart according to the time we should have gone in, so if we were late it looked like the child was above the curve. I pointed it out to the doctor and looked at where the dot should be. (Still above the curve, but not as much.)

    Our current pediatrician is almost 65. He does all the measurements and shots himself, after the kids are comfortable with him. While measuring, he also assesses muscle tone, movement, eye contact, math abilities, etc. (Well, not so much now that both kids can measure their own heights and read their own weights.)