Day one: "I feel sick"; pale, deep dark circles, nausea, not eating...she stays home and sleeps.
Day two: "I'm going to throw up," she stays home and sleeps, eventually eating in the evening and then feeling nauseous partly from not eating to avoid throwing up.
Day three: "I'm hungry," but she still wants a bucket nearby, just in case, and her hands and knees are still shaky from 2 days home sick, sleeping and not eating. She can't make it to school for a full day, but she's definitely on the mend.
Day four: School will not allow her to return without a doctor's note because she's been sick.
At no point in that process did she need to be seen. She was hydrated. She was keeping sips of water and juice down. Any doctor can tell you that viruses do not respond to antibiotics. Stomach bugs are miserable, but unless there is dehydration, they just need to be waited out. Follow the BRAT diet. (That's bananas, rice, applesauce and toast)
So, now that she's feeling better, she needs to be seen. And if she feels worse tomorrow and actually needs to be seen? That's another copay. And a dr who sees an overanxious mom rather than a kid who was sick, got better and then suddenly took a turn for the worse.
I can see why doctors are pressured to hand out antibiotics and unnecessary tests. It's not just the parents and patients who jump the gun. It's the societal pressure; the red tape and rules that society members need to navigate. Some people get hit harder than others with a cold or flu. It doesn't always need medical intervention. Getting that doctor's note confirming it, though, may take away not only open appointments from people who need them but costs insurance and patients a lot of money. It's not about the money, but if that cold costs a hundred dollars in copays to prove to a school or boss you were not functioning, you're not going to want to make an appointment for that strange lump you noticed under an arm or any other non urgent seeming symptom.
I don't know what the answer is. But it's something that a lot of people don't seem to realize is much of an issue...probably because they happen to have really strong constitutions or never get sick to begin with. So I thought I'd blog about it, before bringing a child on the mend to the doctor for a rather expensive "I agree she looks like she's recovering" note.