Is There a Doctor in the House?

Let me preface this by saying that this is NOT a sponsored post. Nobody paid me or gave me any free services to write my opinions - I just found something awesome and wanted to tell somebody about it. So, the Internet. Because I have a blog, that's why.


My first-grader, Coby, mentioned before school last week that his throat was a little bit sore. By the end of the school day, the nurse called for me to come pick him up because he was running a fever. So I brought him home, put him on the couch, gave him some ibuprofen and some warm tea with lemon and honey, and figured he had a cold.

But by seven o'clock that night, he was barfing - he couldn't hold anything down, not even water. I looked at his throat, and it was swollen and riddled with tiny, angry-looking red dots. His fever was on the rise. The poor kid was totally miserable. We just moved here, he has no pediatrician yet, and the nearest urgent care facility was about to close. I had to do something for him. There's always the emergency room, but the last thing I wanted to do (for me OR him) was drag my poor, feverish-yet-shivering, puking-every-ten-minutes kid to the hospital where we'd inevitably wait for hours to be seen. (Not to mention be exposed to everybody else's yuckity germs.)

So out of desperation, I got on my phone and Googled something random like "online doctor visit." I had zero idea whether anything like that actually existed - so I was surprised when my search resulted in me finding something called Amwell.

Now, let me be the first to say that I was totally skeptical. I mean, I've crossed over to the world of ordering pizzas online and am pretty impressed with that technology. But a real, legit doctor visit?

Still, what did I have to lose? My kid was suffering. So I downloaded the app. (I have an iPhone, but I believe it's also available on Android; you can also do it via their website.)

It took me less than ten minutes to provide my personal info and get set up in their system - and that included adding all ten gazillion (okay, four) of my children. The ease of use didn't really help with my skepticism, but I pressed on.

As you can see from this lovely screenshot I took today (and yes I am the type of person who lets her phone battery run down to ten percent - don't judge), they offer a bunch of services. TWENTY FOUR HOURS A DAY. So no matter what time your kid starts barfing/coughing/generally waking you up from an otherwise-pleasant sleep, you can see a doctor without even putting a bra on.

Anyway, the app lets you know which doctors are available and how many patients are waiting to be seen. In order to help you choose, you can tap on each doctor and their bio comes up - including not only personal details about them, but other things like languages spoken, specialties, education, and how long they've been practicing medicine.

Once you've chosen your preferred physician and are waiting in the queue, you get the opportunity to tell them a little bit about your problem - it's just like sending a text. I even snapped a photo of Coby's poor horrible-looking throat and included it so the doctor could see. Then you can choose your preferred pharmacy. It even gives you a map so you can see which ones are closest to you.

With three patients ahead of us, we waited for about forty minutes. But I didn't care because number one, I was sitting on my couch watching my TV in my pajamas, and number two, that is SUBSTANTIALLY less time than I would have spent at an E.R. or urgent care facility. And Coby could continue his throw-up-and-fall-asleep cycle in ... well, I don't wanna say peace, but you know.

When we finally saw the doctor, I was very impressed - it was a live video chat, pretty much just like Face Time. Dr. Myers was warm and friendly and knowledgeable, and I felt like she was thorough in her questions and explanations. She looked at the photo of Coby's throat and said she had never seen such a textbook case of strep, even finding a similar photo on the Internet to show me how classic it was. She prescribed him an anti-nausea medication and an antibiotic, and both were called into my local pharmacy right away. (I couldn't pick it up until the next morning, but that's only because we have moved to a town where there doesn't seem to be a 24-hour ANYTHING.)

The best part was, it only cost $49 - and they work with a lot of insurance companies, so it may cost even less. (In contrast, my mom went to an urgent care clinic a few weeks ago and her bill was over $200.) Not only that, but the next day I got an email from Amwell with a coupon code for a FREE visit because we had to wait so long. And I was like, "Whaaaaat?" because I thought our wait time was very reasonable, and besides - COUCH AND PAJAMAS. But hey, you guys know I'm cheap, so I'm all over that coupon code like Axe body spray on a teenage boy.

Like I said - this isn't a sponsored post in any way, shape, or form. Nobody from Amwell was like, "Hey Rita, we love your blog, we'll pay you to write about it." (In fact, I hope their PR people are not embarrassed now that they're associated with such a prodigious teller of poop stories.) I just stumbled upon this amazing bit of technology and felt like sharing it with y'all because I had a good experience and thought it was awesome.

Not as awesome as not being sick in the first place, but hey. Sick happens. I'm just glad I don't have to put a bra on when it does.

Oh Hi, Ohio!

Okay. So, we moved to Ohio.

I know, I know. I said I was going to blog more often. I said I was going to keep you guys in the loop.

But I mean ... I also said I wasn't going to eat cake any more and we all know how that turned out.

It's just that I kinda underestimated the strain I'd be under. I can say this now, since the situation has changed - but for a couple of months, it was just me and the boys. ALONE. Curtis left right after New Year's to start work in Ohio, leaving the dudes and myself to pack up the house and take care of bidness. Naturally, I didn't want to get on social media and be like HEY GUYS I'M ALONE!!! so I didn't say anything about it.

There was plenty to blog about, but it would have been a steady stream of self-pity and rambling "hats off to single moms" posts. So I kept quiet, and focused on packing up my entire house and keeping my four children alive.

It mostly looked like this:

Because holy hell, you guys, it's been eight long years since we've moved and I am significantly less motivated these days. Plus, every time I thought about leaving my house, I got all sorts of depressed.

I kept plugging away, though. Day after day. Packing up all the boxes.

I mean, you have to keep things well-categorized.

In the meantime, I saw my husband like once a month, I was trying to pick a new home without actually seeing it in person, and there were a couple of disappointing times when someone beat us to making an offer on a house we liked. It truly did suck. In the grand scheme of things I should just quit griping because there are INFINITELY worse scenarios than moving, but for a while there my life was just a constant stretch of "ugh."

Puggy was a huge help, though. Obviously.

Anyway, we finally found a house in Ohio - and on a fittingly gray, depressing day, we left the Iowa home I thought we'd be in forever.


The next couple of days were a blur of hauling and unpacking boxes, as evidenced by this lovely photo (with some kind of whack filter) that my three-year-old snapped:

We eventually got all the boxes and furniture unloaded, and Curtis was able to return the U-Haul truck - but not before accidentally swiping the side of our van with it. BECAUSE OF COURSE.

As if driving a minivan weren't uncool enough.

Other than that, though, it's been great so far. The people here are really. Really. REEEAALLLY nice. Within the first forty-eight hours, one neighbor had brought us a spaghetti casserole and a sheet cake; one came bearing a huge bag of bagels and cream cheese; someone else brought a huge pan of sloppy Joes (plus buns and plates and forks and napkins), and a pan of macaroni salad, and cookies and a set of plastic cups bearing the name of the kids' new school. Since then, we've gotten MORE cookies and an invitation to a neighborhood get-together.

The kids have been at their new schools for a week now, and much to my relief, it's going great. I was really worried about Colin, my fifth-grader, because he's in a different building than his brothers - the "intermediate" school, where, for the first time ever, he has to switch between classes and have his own locker and all that. I literally cried myself to sleep the night before he started, haunted by visions of him in the future, sobbing on a therapist's couch that the day his parents moved him to Ohio was the day his life started to go downhill. But I guess I underestimated his ability to adapt, because he seems to be doing just fine. WHEW.



And it stops at our house.

No more school drop-off induced road rage or minor fiascos involving me in my pajamas. Just me, blissfully pushing sending my kids out the door with a cheerful, "See ya later, suckas!" "Have a great day!"

So all in all, Ohio is pretty decent so far. I miss my life in Iowa terribly, and all the people I had to leave behind, but I keep reminding myself that I was new there once, too.

I just hope Ohio is ready for the Templetons.


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