With 5 kids, 6 pregnancies and the last 20 months of experience with Luke, I feel like we’ve got the doctor shtick down.  Here’s my best tips and tricks when it comes to navigating (and preparing for) doctor visits.

HDYDI:  Doctor Visits

1.  If it’s a well check, call about 6 weeks ahead and get the first appointment of the day.  I don’t care how early it is, you’ll totally thank me later when you’re not scraping the bottom of your purse to find activities to entertain your kids while you’re waiting.  The first appointment after lunch isn’t bad, but steer clear of just before lunch or mid-afternoon.  Those are the worst.

2.  Take in your own hand sanitizer and bathe your kids in it before you leave the office.  Hello germ haven!  Doctor’s offices and hospitals are THE worst.

3.  Write down your list of questions, or type them on your cell.  So many times I’ve thought, “Oh I’ll remember to ask the doctor X, X and X”…only to forget and kick myself on the way home.

4.  At the end of the visit, repeat “the plan” back to your doctor.  If you need to get meds, schedule any follow-up tests or screens, schedule a visit with a specialist or do anything else, repeat it back to the doctor to get confirmation.  Quite honestly, I do this for myself more than anyone.  Saying it out loud helps me remember.  As much as I try to pay attention during the visit, little people can be extremely distracting.  I have enough mommy brain to go around.

5.  If you have a little one, you’re still nursing and it’s shot time, nurse while they do the shots.  I’ve had to quite nearly arm wrestle a few nurses into doing it my way.  Either way, I don’t really care.  It’s my baby and I call the shots.  HAHA.  Seriously, it has calmed many a fussy baby in nanoseconds and it makes the pain of giving them the shot a little easier.

6.  If you have a big one and are way past nursing, here’s a couple of suggestions.  1)  Bring their favorite toy or lovie to comfort them, but only pull it out just before shot time.  Otherwise, you lose the impact.  2) If they’re older, I’ve always been upfront with my kids about getting shots.  We say, “To keep you healthy the nurse is going to give you a quick shot.  It’s just a quick owie and then it will be over.”  Then, we focus on all the other things they get to do at the doctor like write their name, tell her the names of colors, draw a picture, whatever.  I don’t lie to my kids, but I also don’t focus on “the shots.”  If you’re cool with it, your kids are likely to be to.

(DISCLAIMER:  I have also been *that* mom during shots.  A couple of years ago, I took all four kids to get their flu shots.  What a disaster.  I had four screaming, I mean SCREAMING kids that I was wrestling down.  Another nurse even popped her head in the door to see if she could assist.  The most fun part was walking through the waiting room, sweating, holding one kid with three trailing behind and the ENTIRE place staring at us.  Yes, that was a mighty proud parenting moment.)

7.  When you arrive, ask if the doctor is running on schedule.  Sometimes, if it’s a doctor we always wait, I call ahead about 30 minutes before the appointment to ask.  Even though it’s not like Chili’s and they don’t have call ahead seating (darn), it does give me an idea of what to expect when we arrive.  It reduces the stress fo shizzle.

8.  If you have to fill out paperwork – usually at a specialist appointment – I ask if I can fill it out ahead of time so we don’t have to arrive as early.  Most doctor’s have online forms so it’s a snap.

9.  Speaking of paperwork, if you have a special needs child, bring a copy of their pre-printed history to save like ten hours filling out that section.  There is a fantastic mom here in Austin that created such a time-saver.  If you need it, or know someone who does, give it a click HERE.

10.  For yearly visits, like dentists, I schedule all the kids at the same time and I also schedule them a year in advance.  Six months out doesn’t give us the flexibility to choose our time but doing it a year out does.  I always do one in the summer during a week that we typically don’t have anything and the other is in January, just after the new year.  It’s a great system.  Oh, and check with your dental provider.  Most don’t require that the visits are exactly six months apart, they just pay for two a year no matter when they’re scheduled.  You’re welcome 🙂

I’m sure I could keep writing, but I’ll save some more specific tips for another Monday.  I hope y’all had a great weekend.  Ours.  Was.  Fab.  Pictures and stories coming later this week!

2 Comments

  1. Nicole on May 23, 2011 at 8:46 pm

    Great tips – and several are ones that I use too – though I've never listed them out… 🙂 Though I only have three kids, years of infertility and 5 pregnancies have taught us a lot, too! Hope your clan stays healthy this summer and in the months to come!

  2. Anonymous on August 14, 2011 at 3:21 am

    Great tips- many of which I use! It also helps to know the nurse's name for each doctor as they can get things done while the front office staff often can't Also if you have a special needs child, have your pediatrician's nurse request all the records (that way you get them free!), make a copy (so you & the pedi have a complete set), then scan them and put them on a jump drive (flash drive). When you get imaging ask for 2 copies- one for the specialist and one for you. Put their med history form on google docs along with emergency info so you can access it anywhere. We keep a copy on the fridge at home (for 911 people), in the diaper bag, and online.
    Bea

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