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Help! Sick of Struggling with Decisions on Doctors and Health Care?

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The occupation listed on the resume of a stay-at-home mom should probably read: “Chief Executive Officer: Home Front, et al.”

As the CEO of the home front, and everything related to the home front, our responsibilities are vast: We tackle mountains of laundry; we wash the same high-chair tray up to five times a day; we cook; we clean; we do event planning; and the list goes on and on.

I have been fortunate enough to stay home for almost two years now with my son. I thought I would struggle more with the transition from being a work-a-holic at a 60-hour-a-week job, but I’ve adjusted better than I expected. The only part of my new role that has ever truly made me doubt myself was when it came to doctors.

How do you pick the right doctor? How do you politely ask the pediatrician if she’s washed her hands before she starts examining your kiddo’s teeth? What hope is there of remembering all of your questions when your little one swings into full crisis mode? Help!

I lost sleep over choosing a pediatrician when I was 8 months pregnant with my son. It seemed to me like the future of my son’s health depended on my ability to make the right choice.

When it was time to choose a pediatric dentist, I asked every mom I could for recommendations, I spent full afternoons Googling names, and I still felt unsure about my choice.

Health care is an intimidating topic.

It’s hard to find the kind of information that you want to know about a doctor. When you go in for appointments it’s hard to keep all of your questions straight with a squirming, and sometimes screaming, infant or toddler. When your child is sick but can’t tell you what’s wrong, it’s scary.

I recently started working from home a few hours a week for a nonprofit organization called Think About it Colorado. This nonprofit organization is funded through grants and operated by a board of advisers that includes the Colorado Medical Society, the Colorado Hospital Association, the Colorado Nurses Association, Bonfils, COPIC and HealthONE.

Initially, I was asked to help them find resources and information that would be helpful to moms, to seniors, and to other patients who need help in their search for doctors, navigating appointments, or preparing for surgery.

It was actually a pretty daunting task. The more I worked on the project, the more I could see how this new website would be a good tool for people exactly like me. I definitely liked the idea of being able to go to a single website and find exactly what I needed in order to feel more comfortable about the health care decisions I made for my family and my son.

Before the new website for the organization went live, I found myself already using the information I had helped them find.

Carrying my son and a backpack full of his things on a family trip to Florida had caused me to have a hernia. I went to the Think About it Colorado information and read through suggestions on how to prepare for surgery, and I went armed with pages of questions when I went to see a surgeon. At the end of the visit she asked what I did for a living, almost like she was expecting me to say I was an RN.

When we found out that my son needed a pediatric urologist, I used “report cards” to check out the doctors I was considering taking him to see.

My research on health care had shown me that our health care system isn’t always as safe as it could be.

I want to make sure that I am doing my due diligence when it comes to my family’s health care, and it was a relief to know that I had tools to help. It was also really nice not to have to spend a lot of time Googling to find what I needed, especially since my toddler is so fond of “helping” me type on the computer.

We all have our favorite “go to” web sites that help us do everything from finding reputable babysitters to booking the rare (dare I say extinct) date night restaurant reservation. I wrote this post because I wanted to share a good thing with other moms who could probably use this kind of help as much as I could!

Melissa Baumgart is a life-long Coloradan who grew up on the Western Slope. She is the mother of 19-month-old Sebastian. After graduating from the University of Denver, she worked for eight years at the Colorado State Legislature before leaving her position there to stay at home with her son.

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Comments
  • comment avatar Lana March 19, 2013

    Looking into this. Thanks for the information.

  • comment avatar Hollis Moore March 23, 2013

    Great information Melissa- thank you for sharing!

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