Last Thursday I had to do something that staggers the imagination. I had to leave work to pick up a kid from school who wasn’t sick, to take her to a doctor she didn’t need to see, to get a prescription from a doctor who said she was fine, for a condition she didn’t have, and then buy and administer a medication she didn’t need.
For anyone who has young children, I’m betting you have some idea already of what happened. It was so ridiculous I’m getting pissed off again just writing this.
It started Wednesday evening. My daughter was at a friend’s house, which has a cat. Dith is mildly allergic to cats, but nothing severe ever happened before. This time, however, her eye swelled up until she could hardly see. In my 40+ years of cat reactions I had gone though this many times, so I knew there was no reason to panic. We flushed her eye out after she came home but I had no money for any allergy drops that night, so she went to bed with a puffy, itchy eye.
By morning it was significantly better but still not quite back to normal. Off she went to school.
Five minutes after I arrived at work, the phone rang. It was the school. The conversation went something like this:
“Mrs. Hoadley, hello. This is (unidentified office lackey) at (typically myopic public school). We have Meredith in the office and it looks like she has pink eye. We’re going to need you to pick her up and take her to the doctor.”
“It’s not pink eye. She had an allergic reaction to a cat last night. It’s still a bit puffy but she’s fine.”
“Well, it can be hard to tell and we have a policy. Meredith will have to be checked by a doctor and given a prescription before she can come back to school.
“She doesn’t need to see a doctor. If she woke up like that and we had no idea why, then you’d have a reason to be concerned. But I know what this is, it happens to me all the time. She’s not sick.”
“I understand that and see your point, but it does look rather red and she’s going to have to be seen. Pink eye is very contagious and we can’t take any chances.”
“Am I hearing you right? You want me to leave work and take her to the clinic when I already know what’s wrong with her? IT’S NOT PINK EYE. There were no symptoms, no complaints, no discomfort. She was fine, she petted a cat, she blew up like a balloon five minutes later. NO PINK EYE.”
“I’m sorry Mrs. Hoadley but it is our policy – “
“It’s your policy to make me leave work for no reason? You want me to pick up a perfectly healthy kid and sit in a walk in clinic for 2 hours for nothing?!?!?!?!? Do you have any idea how much trouble I’d be in with my boss if he were here today?!"
“Mrs. Hoadley, I’m sorry, but she has to be seen by the doctor before she can come back –“
“Oh my God!! Fine, I will pick her up in five minutes. And let me tell you, lady, for your sake it better BE pink eye!”
So off I go to pick up my daughter, who is escorted out to the van by the principal, who tries to thank me again. I cut her off rudely and narrowly miss driving over her foot on my way out.
It gets better. After a half hour wait at the clinic, which wasn’t even open yet when we arrived, I told the doctor why we were there, who smiled knowingly and said yes, policy, very contagious, etc. etc. etc. Then, after confirming it was allergies and not pink eye, the doctor announces SHE’S WRITING ME A PRESCRIPTION ANYWAY. Reason: she doesn’t want the school giving me a hard time; says to just get it filled, give her a couple drops and then you can send her back to school. Ten minutes later I am in a pharmacy paying for a medication I don’t need to buy or administer.
This took two hours. I took her back to school and into the office to sign her in. Another file monkey (yes I am aware of the irony of the insult) tried to thank me again. I shot her a look that would have flayed steel and said “NO. PINK. EYE.” Then turned my back on her words and stalked out of the office. Then, just to put the icing on the cake, upon my return to work I found my parking space taken, the lot full, and had to then drive to the bank to get change so I could park elsewhere. I got back to my desk at 11:35 a.m.
Yes, I was rude. Yes, I lost control and threw a fit. I believe at one point I may have swore at the woman on the phone. But truly, by the time I got to the school I had tears in my eyes, almost incoherent with rage, all but spitting with anger and frustration. This was, hands down, the singularly stupidest thing I have been asked to do in 15 years of parenting. I know pink eye is contagious; blah blah blah...but I knew what this was. Further, I have seen pink eye only twice but I can tell when someone has it. These educational bureaucrats have seen pink eye hundreds of times. That knowledge combined with my explanation would have sufficed in my day. The principal would have just said, “Oh that’s fine then, we were concerned but that’s all good. Sorry to bother you; have a nice day.”
Our schools are so handicapped by rules and regulations they are just straight-jacketed. Common sense has gone clear out the window. When my older daughter was stabbed in the head with a ruler last year (missed her eye by an inch), the principal told me on the phone that he had taken pictures in case I needed them for possible plastic surgery. Ok; one, who does he think he’s kidding – he took pictures in case I sued the school. Two, he stopped to take pictures before he called me to tell me Madeline was hurt. My daughter was blindsided by an unprovoked attack by a supposed-to-be-constantly supervised special needs student who was left alone in the hall. She was in shock and terrified, and he’s taking Polaroids. Probably shitting his pants as he did so. I could have launched a lawsuit that may have resulted in him, the vice-principal and the missing-in-action teacher’s aide suspended, transferred or fired and he knew it.
I could go on for paragraphs about all the stupid things I see/hear nowadays. I usually give things the benefit of the doubt; times change, my age, whatever.
But this was just so stupid. And it’s almost always something to do with the kids, or parenting. Honestly, they take all the fun out of having children.
Why does today’s society have to make everything so damn difficult?
Common sense is the knack of seeing things as they are, and doing things as they ought to be done. ~ Josh Billings.