The Biggest Mistake I Made When Moving Cross-Country With a Baby
I made the biggest mistake. When we moved to our current city, I thought I had everything organized. I was on top of it. Housing figured out. Cars transported. Moving contract signed. Address changed.
The one thing I didn’t do was find a Pediatrician for Chulengo. Or research any pharmacies, urgent cares, or emergency rooms. I had superficially researched a couple of Pediatricians months before our move but never decided who would be Chulengo’s doctor. Unfortunately, we got wrapped up in unpacking, decorating, and exploring our new town that finding a Pediatrician slipped my mind.
Well, it wasn’t even a month after we moved that Chulengo came down with a fever. He also had become lethargic and had a deep cough. Normally, I would call up our Pediatrician and ask to be seen. But, we didn’t have a Pediatrician. I didn’t want to take Chulengo to the Urgent Care or ER. Being in the medical field I know two things would happen if we went to the Urgent Care or ER. One, Chulengo could get more sick being in a waiting room of other sick people. Two, we would be told to follow up with our Pediatrician. Well, I didn’t have a Pediatrician. Therefore, the Emergency Room was the last resort for us.
So, after a few days of unsuccessfully trying to treat his fever, I called a close family member who also lived in our new town. She had a little one close to Chulengo’s age. She gave me a recommendation for a Pediatrician. I immediately called the doctor’s office. It was after hours, and my call was sent to a messaging service. I explained that we were new to the area and had yet to find a Pediatrician, but my son had a very high fever and other worrisome symptoms. I requested they call me back to see if we could be seen tomorrow.
The doctor called me back within 30 minutes. We discussed what I should do that evening and then she put us on her schedule to come to see her in the office early the next day. She said if his fever got to a certain level or if he had difficulty breathing to take him to the ER.
I felt so alone that night. Yes, I spoke with the doctor, but I didn’t know her, and she had never seen Chulengo. How did I know if he needed to go to the ER? His fever was high but what is too high? His cough was deep. And he wasn’t sleeping. My husband and I were so worried about Chulengo. We had never seen him this ill before. He had never even had a cold.
That night, I made a bed out of blankets and a sheet on Chulengo’s floor. I put him on the sheet, and I lay there next to him all night long. He woke up crying every hour and nursed back to sleep each time. I checked his temperature every couple of hours. I put wet washcloths on his body to keep his from overheating. We had him wear only a diaper to keep his fever down. I didn’t sleep that night. Between our nursing sessions, I sat and watched his chest move up and down with each breath.
The next day we went to the Pediatrician’s office. Chulengo looked more miserable than the day before. He also tested positive for the flu. We were given a prescription to pick up from our local pharmacy. But, if I didn’t have a Pediatrician picked out, you can bet I didn’t have a pharmacy picked out. I called the pharmacy closest to our home to see if they had the medication in stock. They didn’t. Neither did the next five pharmacies I called. I ended up finding a small, local pharmacy about 10 miles from home that had the medicine in stock.
When I arrived at the pharmacy, they had given away their last batch of the medicine just before I got there. They so kindly found another batch and offered to deliver it to my home as soon as they received it. I was so grateful they would go above and beyond for me. But I was also nervous that I was delaying the administration of the medicine to Chulengo.
Over the next couple of days, Chulengo and I cuddled, napped, and nursed together. Time went by so slowly, especially at night time when his cough would get worse. But each day, he showed improvements. I was so thankful that my husband and I didn’t contract the flu from Chulengo. If either one of us would have been down for the count, I don’t know how we would have survived while Chulengo was sick.
So, I learned a very important lesson. When moving, I need to find a pediatrician and pharmacy ahead of time. I also need to know where the nearest Urgent Care and Emergency Room are located. Therefore, I have made a Medical To-Do List to complete before any move.
Find a Pediatrician
Ask trusted local friends, family, or coworkers for recommendations
Sometimes the best doctors are a close recommendation away
Ask local social media groups for recommendations
I did this on recently, and there was an overwhelming majority of people that recommended a particular practitioner, which made my decision a little easier.
Ask current Pediatrician for recommendations, potential contacts
Sometimes they may have a colleague from medical school or residency that resides in your new town
Browse through online reviews
This is where you can get a lot of information on how the front office works.
Check with your insurance provider for an in-network doctor
Keep costs down by seeing an in-network provider. I always call my insurance company to verify so that I can request an email with written proof that the doctor is in-network.
Review doctor’s background in education, training, and certification
Are they members of any special societies, associations, or academies
Call the doctor’s office to schedule an interview and confirm they are taking new patients
This is a good test to see how well the front office is run. Do they keep you on hold for a long period of time? Are they able to answer your questions efficiently
Find out what you need to do to transfer your records from the previous Pediatrician before you move
I have always needed to fill a form out. Some doctor’s offices have a specific form for you to fill out, while others just need a written note requesting transfer
Meet the Pediatrician before the first appointment
Either while visiting before the move or when you first arrive after the move. You want to make sure you and the doctor are on the same page. I even recommend interviewing a couple of different doctors. This way you can see the clinic and staff before committing to an appointment
Find out which hospital your Pediatrician has privileges
If your doctor doesn’t have privileges to work at your favorite or nearest hospital, they will not have access to your child’s treatment or plan of care at the hospital
Find a Pharmacy
Map out the pharmacies near home, work, and school
I made the mistake of not knowing where area pharmacies were located. Getting Chulengo’s medicine would have been much easier and faster I had done my research
Check with your insurance provider to find in-network pharmacies
Medication can be expensive, and you don’t want to be paying more for medication because the pharmacy is out of network
Check online reviews of pharmacies
Customer service is very important at a pharmacy. Typically, when you go to the pharmacy, you are not feeling great. You want to pick a pharmacy that is polite, efficient, and knowledgeable
Contact current pharmacy to have medications transferred to your new pharmacy
This can be completed online, over the phone, or in person. Which method is most efficient will depend on the pharmacy
Keep the new pharmacy contact info handy for your doctor’s office
I like to have a pharmacy copy of contact info in my email, in my phone contacts, and also in my moving binder
Find Urgent Care Center & Emergency Room
Map out nearby Hospitals & Urgent Care Centers
I made the mistake of not knowing where the local Urgent Care Center was located when we had family visiting soon after our move. My nephew needed to be seen, and we recommended the closest center. Big mistake — they did not specialize in treating children, and my nephew had to have some procedures done. The procedures were traumatizing for my nephew and his parents because they were not trained in the proper procedure for children. In hindsight, I should have looked for the best pediatric Urgent Care in our area.
Contact your insurance provider to find out which facilities are in-network
MEdical costs can be expensive. Especially, if you receive care from an out-of-network provider. Be sure to check which facilities are in-network with your insurance ahead of time. Don’t make the mistake of choosing one at the last minute and getting stuck with an enormous out-of-network bill.
Ask social media groups for recommendations and opinions on local hospitals and care centers
You will have to weed through some opinions, but look for people to comment on wait times, the effectiveness of care, communication, and billing. If you are looking for a provider in a specific specialty, this is also a great place to ask for opinions.
Read online reviews about local facilities
Again, you will have to pick out good reviews that are well-thought-out and appropriate. It is easy for a person to give a bad review because they didn’t get the care they wanted but instead the care they needed. But, if you see some consistent negative reviews, there may be some weight to their complaints.
So, in conclusion, it is important to have a medical care plan prepared before the move. Don’t get stuck like we did, not knowing who to call and choosing a practitioner at the last minute. Choose your doctors and pharmacy before you move. Make sure you know where local, reputable, in-network hospital and care centers are located in your new town. Use the Healthcare Transfer To-Do List I created to make your move easier.