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Earlier this week, I reached a bit of a breaking point with COVID theatre in medical settings. We brought our two-year-old daughter to a specialist appointment for a somewhat stressful (though non-invasive) test. I brought my husband Seth along because I didn’t want to be faced with the possibility of having to juggle a crying newborn while also comforting my scared toddler during the exam.
It started with the pens. The pens, oh, the pens. There is something deeply disconcerting about a medical provider that is still engaging in the theatre surrounding surface transmission in late-July of 2021. No, we don’t need separate cups of “clean” and “dirty” pens. I intentionally always take one out of the dirty cup in my own quiet little act of rebellion.
Anyone else loose faith in medical providers that do this? pic.twitter.com/rmB4pwDHMs
— Bethany S. Mandel (@bethanyshondark) July 26, 2021
But then her name was called, and we all started walking back into the exam room before the nurse stopped us. “We only allow one parent into the room at a time.”
Let’s just pretend for a moment that we all had COVID. We are all of the same household. If one of us has it, all of us have it. But the point is moot because every single adult in the room is presumably vaccinated (me and my husband have and could have proved it upon request). If we all trust the vaccine (I do, and I have real questions if my medical provider doesn’t), why can’t three masked and vaccinated adults be in the same room together?
There are any number of reasons why both parents might want to be in the room; for me, if I’m being honest, I’m a control freak. I know my husband is capable of comforting our daughter, but I wanted to watch the exam to make sure it was done correctly and ask questions along the way. When Seth came out of the room I asked him what happened. “I don’t know, they told me to come back to the waiting room.” Zero information. That’s men, or at least, that’s my man. I’m chatty while I pump for information; he played Baby Shark on his phone for the toddler and did little else, he focused on her and her anxiety and needs. Seth’s grandmother always used to say that good couples are like “pots and tops,” every pot has a top; they aren’t identical but complementary. When we both go to appointments (rarely, but when they’re important we make it happen) we utilize this pots and tops dynamic. We fill different roles; he’s the comforting and entertaining parent, and I’m the parent who makes sure we never leave without every avenue pursued, every question answered.
On Twitter yesterday, I saw another mother express similar frustration with her medical provider over allowing misplaced COVID fears allow essential care to be sidelined.
My toddler's pediatrician's office just called to cancel his 4 year old well child visit because he had URI symptoms last week (Covid negx2, symptoms resolved and he's back at preschool). He hasn't been seen by his pediatrician in 2 years not to mention the vaccines he needs.
— Lillian Brown (@lilbrownmd) July 26, 2021
What are we doing? Why would a vaccinated medical provider fear a sick child? Isn’t treating children, both sick and well, part of their essential job description? We’ve allowed so much medicine to go unpracticed for the last year and a half. We’ve allowed children’s health to suffer in order to appease irrational fears of adults, the adults we trust(ed) to provide them with healthcare. When I was asked to stay in the waiting room I was told, “We feel more comfortable if only one parent comes in.” Why are we allowing the feelings of adults to stand in the way of them doing their jobs, especially when their jobs are taking care of kids?Published in