The Day Program: Communication & Allergies

(This post is mentioned in my Halloween post – which has also not been completed, so it’s all getting a little bit confusing for me. Please bear with us. It seems as though I’ve lost all time management capabilities over the pandemic.)

Back in January – the day after New Years Day as a matter of fact (which also fell on a weekend) I took DC to the walk in clinic because I was convinced he had a sore throat. He would put his hand on my shoulder and brace himself before he swallowed. 

Of course if you asked DC, he would tell you that he was just fine, but I took him anyway, thinking he may have strep or something.

There was a form I had to fill out every morning for his day program, because DC does not really answer questions properly. Upon arrival, DC gives them the form, his temperature is taken and noted on the form and his arrival time is noted.

It asks the standard COVID questions – fever? coughing? sneezing? exposed to COVID or exposed to anyone that has tested positive? traveled out of state? etc…

A “yes” to any of these questions means the person will not be allowed to attend and is sent home until you speak with the nurse or a negative test can be supplied to the program.

Bottom line; the person is sent home.

A sore throat at the time was not one of the symptoms on his program list or any COVID symptom list that I could find, so I was not concerned about that. I just wanted his throat checked out. 

The doctor gave DC a strep test but also gave him a COVID test. She said that many people had begun presenting with a sore throat at that time. 

(Sore throat was later added to his work form and other COVID symptom lists I have come across.)

Now, what I could have done – since this all happened over a holiday weekend, was say nothing and send him to work the next day since his strep test had been negative and “sore throat” was not on the list at the time. (I say this because I have heard from a few people about relatives of theirs doing just that – getting exposed, being tested and going to work, school, etc. while waiting for the results before mentioning it to anyone).

But… I am not a jerk so I did what I was supposed to do. I notified his program, his driver and the other person who rides in the van with him. I also cancelled a few appointments that I had scheduled because we were both supposed to quarantine.

When his test came back negative, I sent the results to his program and he was allowed to go back.

This was back in January 2021, before vaccines, before many things had opened up.

May (Spring) had come around. DC was fully vaccinated as were many others at his program.

It was May. May means allergy season.

DC has seasonal allergies. He has been with this program since the age of  22 (he is 31 now). They know this.

As I said above… not being a jerk – I do understand that everything is different due to COVID, even now that things are loosening up a bit. 

A few weeks back, DC’s allergies kicked in full force. I always know it is allergies because it’s like he turns around and there is a red stripe under his nose. Just like that. It happens that fast.

I had just started giving him his allergy medication the week before so it hadn’t taken full effect at this point. 

The next morning, he woke up fine – no sneezing or coughing (no fever as I do check his temp every morning). He went to his program, but I guess being outside all day took it’s toll.  

His driver went to pick him up in the afternoon and texted me that the staff told him to tell me that DC was congested after lunch.

Now, because COVID, I was not sure if they wanted me to keep him home or what. Let me just add that relaying messages to parents via the driver, should not be happening. We have talked about this before. It’s not that our driver can’t be trusted to deliver a message, it is just not the way things should be communicated. It would be like a teacher sending you a message through your child’s bus driver – but that is a whole different issue.

I called his program right away to find out if this would be a problem the following day because I couldn’t honestly answer “no” to coughing and sneezing. I spoke with someone who told me that his boss was “not available” to speak at the moment.

I told her about the message and asked if this would be a problem if he came in the next day. She said it was not – they knew he has seasonal allergies.

Now, I called the program when DC’s driver texted me from the parking lot at pickup, so DC was not home yet. When he did arrive home – he was a ‘de-aster’ (DC-Speak), just a mess.

I decided I should keep him home anyway on Friday. Maybe a couple of days inside of the house would give his allergy meds some time to kick in. But because the protocols had loosened up (at the time), I was not sure if he needed a test before he came back, because I was keeping him home.

I called and left a message with his supervisor. I called again when I did not hear back from her. I also emailed.

When Friday was over and hadn’t heard anything, I left a message with the supervisor’s supervisor, hoping she would get it first thing on Monday and call me.

I didn’t want to send him and have them send him home, but I also didn’t want to keep him out for no reason because we had a few appointments coming up and would have to be out for them.

I spoke with his driver and he said he had no problem bring him back home if they decided he could not stay on Monday – but I really wanted to talk to someone to avoid all of that.

I decided not wait until Monday, in case they did require a test. If I waited until Monday and then have to wait for the results, he would have to stay home until the results came in, so I took him for a test on Saturday, just to get a jump on the results.

I called the supervisor’s supervisor on Monday morning as DC was on his way to work.

I called again at 10am after DC had arrived, at this point just to let them know that he had been tested in case there was a problem and that I was sure it was just allergies.

Finally at 10:30 (when I called back again) I got to speak with the supervisor’s supervisor, who began reading me all of the rules and protocols for allergies – which do not appear on the sheet I had to fill out each morning or really anywhere except whatever she was reading from.

I asked just how anyone was supposed to know any of this?

Crickets.

I told her just how many times I had called since Friday afternoon.

She told me that his supervisor is on medical leave!

How would anyone know that? Why had the other person I spoke with originally not mentioned that?

Her response? HIPPA Laws!

Me: I don’t need to know what’s wrong with her but it would be a good idea if someone told people that she will be out. Does anyone have access to her email because you all ask us to email and there could be lots of messages sitting there that no one is seeing.

Her: No, none has access, but you’re right, someone should have access. I’ll bring that up at the next meeting.

Really? This hadn’t occurred to anyone until I just brought it up?

She did say that the person I spoke with gave her my message on Thursday but, and I quote – “I was busy doing a project, well not really a project, but I was busy doing my job and did not get around to calling you back”.

Seriously? 

So basically the Allergy protocols that are not published anywhere except in whatever she was reading from meant that he really never needed to be tested – and that I put him through that for no reason.

A simple call back would have eliminated all of that “stress” for him.

I would think calling be back would be part of her job, wouldn’t you?

***

Edited to add: Protocols have changed since I began writing this post, but  COMMUNICATION from the day program being the point, I decided to finish it. 

More Tales From the Day Program – Here

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