26 March 2015

Medical Advice Purgatory

Monday afternoon the weather was fine and Little Man was playing with a friend after school. They were playing on the "big kids'" climbing thing at the school, and per usual, Little Man was jumping off the top of it. While this usually induces a mild heart attack in any adult witness, the Little Man's flying squirrel imitations typically end with him landing on his feet and climbing back up for another go.

But Monday, instead of landing on his feet, he landed on his arm. His friend's mother checked him out and took him back to their house, and checked him again. There was nothing noticeably wrong, but Little Man couldn't stop crying and didn't want to bend his elbow. The friend's mom sent me a What's App to let me know what happened and that she was bringing him back home. She gave me the whole story (and apologized profusely, she felt terrible about the whole thing) and then I brought him inside, preparing to make a visit to the huisartsenpost and find out if his arm was broken or just banged up. 

And then we hit our problem. I called the huisartsenpost and heard on the recording that the office didn't open until 5pm. Even though the huisartsenpost  is closer to our house than our doctor's office, I decided to call the doctor's to see if they could put us on the huisartsenpost's appointment list for when they opened up. As it turns out, our doctor's office stops taking phone calls at 4pm so staff can focus on the patients in the office. I called at 4:01pm.

So we waited through the hour of Medical Advice Purgatory - the time when non-life threatening emergencies just have to wait until the right phone line opens up before you can ask a professional about what you should do, and there doesn't seem to be any way around it. We sat on the couch and Little Man got more treats than a normal afternoon as we read books and kept the distractions coming.

As soon as 5pm struck, I was on the phone dialing again. I got through and got an appointment for an hour and a half later. Luckily, the doctor said that the Little Man's arm wasn't broken, just a deep-tissue bruise that would heal as it was ready and we should give paracetamol as needed. While Little Man didn't move his arm much the next day, you can tell he feels better and that there isn't any lasting damage. I just hope we don't ever have to sit through purgatory again.

Have you ever needed advice abroad and had to wait to get it? 


  1. O how annoying! Christmas 2013 Fredrik got really sick and it was so horrible since everything was closed we ended up having to go to the ER even though normally it would of been fine to see the regular doctor.

    1. Ugh, that's the worst! I really like having the huisartsenpost as an alternative to the ER - and I hope we never have to find out if they're open on holidays.


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