Personal experience: Russian woman on the work of children's doctors in the United States
Russian Daria Penionzhkevich moved to Texas from the Moscow region. First person mother of two children tells site "Our Texas" about the work of children's doctors in the United States.
“The fact that medical observation of children in the USA and Russia is very different, I realized right away how I came to Texas with my little daughter.
The acclimatization process was not easy for me. The climate of the Moscow region and the south of the United States is very different, so everything has changed for us. Cold rooms from air conditioners and heat outside, allergens blooming all year round and a child's constant desire to sit in the pool and in the ocean - all this is not so difficult to survive. However, what about health problems (which I, as a doctor, could certainly have cured myself) and the fact that almost all medicines cannot be bought without a doctor's prescription?
At the very first appointment with a pediatrician, I realized how difficult it is to be a mother-doctor. At first, I was delighted when I came to the clinic: a beautiful emergency room, smiling staff, no need to wait long - they came and left quickly - what could be more beautiful? All myths were dispelled at the first need to take a child with a high fever to a doctor.
In America, house calls are not available as an option, and a child with a high fever must be taken to the doctor, where he can infect other children waiting in line in the hallway. The fact that any disease in children - from common rhinitis to the flu - is treated with antibiotics in America, I knew firsthand. Moreover, no one is confused by the fact that the child has already taken a course of antibiotics 2 or 3 weeks ago. Some medications did not help, drink others. And when a seriously ill child with a viral infection is misdiagnosed and prescribed an antibiotic that does not cure this infection, you will remember all your favorite pediatricians in your homeland with great gratitude for their hard work.
Here, many will want to argue with me, and I agree. Not every city in Russia can boast of excellent medical care, so my comparison is not so relevant for the Russian hinterland, for example, for the Perm Territory, where the 1 pediatrician on the 4 is a large area, and the building of the clinic is in disrepair. There is no comparison with the quality of hospital equipment, cleanliness and friendliness of medical personnel from the United States.
For me, the most important thing is the quality of medical care, not the surrounding comfort. As a professional, I can say that after a year of my living in America, I wanted to go to Russia to examine my child. Our plans were changed by the good news that another baby will appear in the family. The trip to Russia had to be postponed, the daughter was given an important task - not to get sick. I, in turn, for a year of living in Texas, well studied the entire market of OTC drugs and shops with herbal medicine, so methods of prevention and treatment were no longer a problem for us. And acclimatization has come to a successful conclusion.
Recalling my experience of observing a newborn from Russia, I thought with horror, how would all this be here? After all, on the second day after being discharged from a maternity hospital in America, the doctor or nurse do not come home. I was also frightened by the experience of my friends who signed up for the 3 for a month at the only specialized neurological children's hospital in Dallas (3 hours by car from our city) and went there with a monthly baby.
But as time went on, happiness from pregnancy overwhelmed all my worries, and I had to recall this only on the day we were discharged with the baby from the maternity ward. I asked when and how the scheduled inspection of the child, who is just 2 of the day, will take place. The nurse, smiling, entered into the computer the date of our examination: a day after discharge. To take the 4-day baby to the clinic, where there are a lot of children with various diseases in the emergency room, and even on 4 the day after cesarean section and practically at the same time as my visit to remove postoperative braces, for me it was something of a discharge fiction. But, as they say, a woman, having gathered her will into a fist, can do anything. Realizing that I don’t have a choice, I downloaded the baby in the car seat and went on my first visit.
Everything was not so scary. In the lobby, we had to wait about 15 minutes. After a fairly quick weighing procedure, measuring the growth and temperature of the child, which the nurse promptly performs, our pediatrician has already appeared in the office. The inspection was rather superficial and quick. My questions about further examinations by specialists and additional research methods (which I got used to in Russia with my first child) were answered to me: if there are problems, there will be specialists.
I, like any mother, was delighted, but I was surprised how a doctor understands that there are no problems, even if he does not look at elementary innate reflexes. However, I did not rule out the high professionalism of our doctor, whom we had chosen for so long on the recommendations of friends and with whom I was pleased, so I did not ask questions. They explained to me that the next examination of the child will be in 2 months. And so up to a year: once every 2 months - a scheduled examination of the pediatrician with numerous vaccinations.
Days went by, baby, thank God, he was not sick and gained weight on breastfeeding by leaps and bounds. Our scheduled examinations were the same: 5 minutes of measurements, 2 minutes for a visual examination by a doctor, then 5 minutes of vaccination and 30 minutes of tears of my toddler in the car after 3 injections.
Communication with the pediatrician
Several times I tried to clarify with the doctor what she thinks about the high tone in the left arm of the baby: I'm a mother from Russia, and even a neuropathologist. Those who raised children in Russia will understand me and, most likely, will recall the “horror stories” about the high tone of the kids. In America, as it turned out, finding a masseur for a child under one year is simply impossible. There are massage courses for moms, but it was strange to even hear our doctor what this specialist can do. All my fears she dispelled immediately, saying that the baby is very strong and, most likely, left-handed. Of course, this could only make me smile. And already at the second reception, I myself showed and told our pediatrician how in Russia we check reflexes in babies up to 3 months in order to identify neurological problems that parents can miss.
I even fell in love with local medicine until I began to notice some problems with my baby. Despite the fact that he was gaining weight very well, he was growing and developing well, I was alarmed by the fact that the baby began to sweat and get tired while feeding. I immediately remembered how in Russia, during a planned ECG, my daughter in 1 had doctors completely accidentally discovered 2 problems: an open aortic duct and an open oval window in the heart. Massage courses, therapeutic baths, physiotherapy and constant supervision were very helpful. This is the question of moms about why small healthy children "carry on doctors unnecessarily." She didn’t have any symptoms, even when she was examined by a pediatrician and auscultation of the heart, until she saw the ECG and ultrasound of the heart.
Therefore, with the second child at the next scheduled examination at our pediatrician, I persistently voiced my concerns. Doctors in America are very polite and always smile at you, especially when they have nothing to say. So in our case, the doctor listened to the baby for a long time and noted with a smile that he is healthy on 100%, there is no heart murmur and there is no need to worry. At that moment, I had a greater sense of joy than perseverance, so my husband came to help, who on his way to the doctor realized that without assigning an ECG to a kid (heart ultrasound), we would not leave the office. Apparently, our doctor also understood this. We were given directions for examination, probably, as the most harmful and persistent parents.
Through 2 of the week, we responsibly arrived at the hospital on 15 minutes before the scheduled examination time. But I had to wait for about 50 minutes, which reminded me a bit of a queue at Russian clinics. For us, waiting was more fun, because our baby in this line was the youngest. The average age of those awaiting in the cardiology department was 60 years. In Texas, they love the little blue-eyed blondes, my son was in the limelight and smiled at everyone. This saved us, because in the future 30 minutes still had to “lie still” according to the instructions of the technical worker who conducted the study, which is almost impossible for an 4 month-old baby who spent nearly an hour in the queue.
I was very worried (any mother would understand me), recalled how in Russia a pediatric cardiologist conducted this study, explained everything she saw to me, and reassured me. This time everything turned out to be completely different. Since in the US ultrasounds are not done by doctors, but technical workers, they do not give comments and explanations. It becomes uncomfortable when you see on an ultrasound that you don’t want to see in your child, but you smile nicely and are silent. The only thing I was able to hear from a specialist at the end of the study: "You will be called if that." This "if that" kept me in suspense for almost a week.
My husband and friends reassured me and explained that I would be immediately informed about the problem. I also tried not to worry and convinced myself that, apparently, I was mistaken and the baby is doing fine, until 6 days later the nurse called me and said in a calm, gentle voice that the baby had heart problems on an ultrasound scan. What, she cannot explain over the phone, only a doctor can tell. My state at that moment was comparable to unconsciousness, but the next question from the nurse immediately brought me back to consciousness and was simply discouraged. She asked if I want a cardiologist to see my child or not? Probably, there are mothers in America who would answer this question “no”, since she asked me about it, but my answer was obvious - “yes”. The fact that the cardiologist would be able to see us in 2,5 months, we were informed by phone after 3 days.
You can imagine what I have been thinking about medicine in the USA all this time. And how I thanked God for the fact that, by the will of fate, I myself am a doctor and I can massage my children, check symptoms, treat them with improvised remedies that can be bought without a prescription at the pharmacy, and just love them madly, because love is better than all drugs ! "
The material was published with the permission of the editorial office of the newspaper "Nash Texas".
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