“Send it to CVS” (a Flu Season Story)

A sick boy
I love my work. I see many interesting cases like “sore throat” that upon investigation came out to be a foreign body obstructing the child’s food pipe. I also meet many interesting people. Like a dad in the following true story.

Young parents brought their son to my clinic on Saturday. The boy presented with cough, body aches and temperature 103° F; his in-office test for influenza came out positive.

The flu is not something to sneeze at. I went with the parents over the recommended course of actions:

  • take an antiviral medicine that can decrease the duration of illness by 1-2 days and prevent potential complications of the flu (this medicine is only helpful if given within 48 hours of the onset of the flu),
  • drink lots of fluids to prevent dehydration,
  • get plenty of sleep and take it easy,
  • take acetaminophen or ibuprofen to relieve fever and aches,
  • stay home from school and childcare (to prevent the spread of the disease) until he is without fever for at least 24 hours without the use of a fever-reducing medicine.

Mom actively participated in the discussion of her son’s condition while dad was disengaged and silent for the whole duration of the visit. At the end of the visit I asked the parents to which pharmacy I should send the computerized prescription for that anti-flu medicine. Mom gave me the address of their CVS pharmacy. And then the dad woke up. “Wait honey,” he said to his wife, “let’s send the prescription to Rite Aid next door to that movie theater. We agreed to go to the movies after the doctor’s visit, haven’t we?”

Poor fellow. I still remember the look that his wife gave to him. “That’s OK, Dr. Strumba,” she told me. “Send it to CVS.”

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2014 Mom Approved Doc

2014 Mom-Approved DocThank you for nominating me to the Metro Parent’s 2014 Mom Approved Best Doctors! I received the following endorsements:

“Great doctor! Spends enough time with patients. She is kind, understanding, honest and trustworthy. Although she is busy, she never makes me feel rushed and returns my calls in a timely fashion. I would recommend this pediatrician to my friends.” – Marim A., Farmington Hills

“She is the absolute best doctor I have ever been to in my entire life! Spends the time to explain everything for our little girl. Provides the best advice for taking care of our newborn and makes you feel so welcome. I would recommend her to anyone with a baby and/or a child.” – Vlad L., Auburn Hills

“Dr. Strumba is so patient, welcoming and gentle! Every visit is a positive experience.” – Bayla B., West Bloomfield

Thank you again, you made my day!

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Choosing a Pediatrician for Your First Baby

Pregnant. Artwork by natasek.blogspot.com (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0)I received the following question from an expectant new mother:

Hello! My husband and I are expecting our first baby. We don’t know what we’re having. I just started researching Pediatricians in our area and came across your name on a number of review sites.

Everything looks good as I just started my 3rd trimester. We are delivering in Royal Oak Beaumont but want to find our baby’s doctor closer to home — West Bloomfield. Not sure when I should make an appointment or how this works. Please advise :)

Thank you Kindly,
K.

Hi K.,

While you still have time before delivery, you should meet with potential candidates for a pediatrician for your baby. We offer these visits for free, you just need to call our office and schedule a “new mom consult”. Your husband is welcome to accompany you to the visit. Our practice is located in Novi and West Bloomfield and we make newborn rounds at Royal Oak Beaumont Hospital, so it looks like a perfect fit. However you may want to visit other pediatric offices as well.

Thank you for your interest and good luck!

Anna Strumba

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2012 Mom Approved Doc, Officially

Thank you for voting me to the Metro Parent’s 2012 Mom Approved Docs! I received the following comment from one of the parents:

Dr. Strumba is very empathetic. Being a new mom, I have all kinds of worries and concerns, but she never makes me feel silly or brushes off questions I might have. Plus, she is a certified lactation consultant, which is a HUGE bonus, since I am a full-time nursing mom! My 11-month-old daughter has also not cried once while in her care. -– Sarah, Livonia

I have many other awards; the patient awards are the most precious of them all.

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Change in a Boy

The patient was a seven-year-old boy, who came to see me with his mom. She said that he complained of sore throat two days prior and was “spitting up” the “phlegm”. She denied any fever, cough or vomiting up food. She was concerned that her son was not able to eat or drink anything for past two days. The boy was seen on the previous day by a different doctor who examined him and took a throat swab, which showed no strep. During our conversation the boy was sitting on the exam table with a paper cup constantly spitting his saliva in it. He was not coughing and did not appear to be in pain. It looked like he was not able to swallow his saliva. “Does he have an abscess in his throat?” I thought. To my surprise his exam was absolutely unremarkable. He mentioned that his “neck hurts”, and pointed to the front of the neck. I asked the youngster if he remembered choking on something, but got no response.

I advised mom to take him to get X-Ray of his neck and chest immediately, on a suspicion of a foreign body. She did and a quarter was found is his food pipe! The quarter was uneventfully removed by a surgeon at the University of Michigan Hospital.

The lesson that can be learned from this story? — Even older children are capable of doing silly things; if you are dealing with a little child, a possibility of a foreign body should be very high on your list.

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Stool Questions

Checking baby diaper. Photo by keeping it real at flickr.

Parents often ask questions about their babies stool. So let’s discuss what is normal and what’s not.

Color. The stool is usually yellow in a breast-fed baby, greenish in a formula-fed one. When to worry? If you see blood, especially a lot of it. What to do? See your pediatrician.

Expected Frequency. Can be up to ten times a day in a breast-fed newborn; passing of the stool by a newborn is a sign of a good food intake. Babies should have at least one stool a day. There may be occasional healthy infant (not a newborn) that may have one stool in five days; this child is not [Continue reading…]

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Raising Teenagers Roller Coaster

Photo by erin leigh mcconnell at flickr.

A joke goes: “Mothers of teenagers know why some animals eat their young.” But all the jokes apart, raising a teenager can be a stressful and psychologically draining experience. I know it first hand. I am in no way an expert on this matter, just want to share some thoughts.

In some way having a child between the age of 12 and 16 is alike to having a newborn. They keep you up at night, you are worried for their well-being at every moment and you feel exhausted. The difference between taking care of a baby and raising a teen is that with newborns, though they are fragile creatures, a lot is in your power [Continue reading…]

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When a Toddler Refuses to Sleep in His Crib

A crying child. Photo by tanya_little at flickr

A 20 month old boy presented in my office with a chief complaint of refusing to fall asleep in his crib. The parents said that whenever they put him in his bed and try to leave the room, he starts screaming until he works himself up to the point of vomiting. They heard many different suggestions from family, friends and their former pediatrician on how to handle the situation, and tried them all: from taking their child out of the crib after every sound he made to not coming into his room and letting him cry. Neither approach worked. By the time they they came to my office, their son was spending every night in their bed and the [Continue reading…]

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Anna Strumba MD Receives 2011 Compassionate Doctor Recognition

Most Compassionate Doctor (2011)

It’s the second year in a row that Anna Strumba MD, a West Bloomfield/ Novi pediatrician and lactation consultant, has been recognized as one of America’s Most Compassionate Doctors. The award is based on patients’ reviews. “While physicians generally receive positive feedback from their patients, only a select few receive praise about the compassion that accompanied their care… Of the nation’s 720,000 active physicians, less than 3% were accorded this honor by their patients in 2011,” Vitals.com, who tabulates this award, says.

The Compassionate Doctor Recognition crowns the list of four other professional and patient awards that Anna Strumba received earlier in 2011: Patients’ Choice Award by Vitals.com, Mom-Approved Doc by Metro Parent Magazine, Continuing Medical Education/ Continuing [Continue reading…]

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New Dad’s Survival Guide

Eye to Eye. Photo by adhocbot at flickr. Licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

When a man becomes a father, he may feel lost and awkward about the task of caring for the baby. As much as he wants to be useful, the new dad does not know where to start and what to do. Considering that a new mom may not feel very upbeat and energetic after delivery and may be in pain or just sleep deprived and emotional, the first two weeks may be tough for the whole family. So what can dads do to make it easier for everyone in the family, including themselves?

The first and most important task is to take good care of your wife. Make sure [Continue reading…]

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