Stronger Prescriptions

I don’t remember writing prescriptions for antibiotics in the past 24 hours, though I’m sure I wrote a few. I also probably wrote a bunch of ADHD, anxiety, and depression medications, but I don’t remember those either.

I have been prescribing stronger stuff.

Stronger, more habit-forming stuff.

First there was the non-English speaking mother with newborn and toddler. I prescribed her a Parent Educator from ParentSmart who will make monthly home visits with books in hand, developmental assessments, and tips on how to play with her children, eat well, and prepare them for school. I prescribed her a visit with Miguel from the International Council of York County to make sure she was aware of the many resources our community has to offer, including English and GED classes for parents and a co-located preschool at the Rock Hill Family Resource Center. I prescribed her a book from Reach Out and Read, courtesy of the Early Learning Partnership of York County, and we discussed the infinite benefits of reading and reading and reading to babies and children.

For another child with bad asthma, I prescribed a home visit with Jan from Project Breathe Easy. Jan will come to her house and review the array of confusing medications I prescribed, when to use them, how to use and clean the spacer to deliver the medications effectively, how to tell when her medications should be refilled, when to be concerned about her child’s coughing or when to ignore it and keep shopping. Jan will teach her how to kill dust mites by putting stuffed animals in the freezer. Jan will make sure her air filters are not in even worse shape than the ones at our house, and she will talk to other family members about ways they can quit the smoking habit.

For the uninsured mama of four working two jobs and needing a lot of refills on her special needs child’s asthma medications because she was using them to save her own life, I prescribed a visit to Affinity Health Clinic, our new local federally qualified health center. I reminded her that her children need her to take care of herself so that she can keeping taking such good care of them. This prescription included a visit with Jackie, the women’s health specialist, who will make sure she has screenings for cervical and breast cancer too. It included a visit with their care coordinator to make sure she could afford her medications and help her find an affordable healthcare plan for herself. Her copay at the clinic will be $5.

For the busy family who had just moved to our area with four children under four (including tiny premature twins) and had to be out of their temporary housing in two weeks, feeling overwhelmed by the idea of finding the right place, I prescribed a virtual visit to where it appears there are many nice places which fit their needs and their budget. (Thanks , Dee Dee Rinehart, for that suggestion). I prescribed a phone call to the Medicaid Chief of Staff to figure out why everyone else in the family had been immediately approved for Medicaid a month ago, but the babies (the ones who really needed Medicaid ASAP) had mysteriously not been approved, and no one in the local Medicaid office could seem to tell them why. The babies had active health insurance too by the time they left our office.

For the single mom hero who came with the beautiful third child she adopted from foster care last year to discuss behavior concerns and to follow up a recent case of pneumonia, I prescribed a summer of gardening at the Children’s Community Garden in their neighborhood. They live just a few blocks away and crave access to healthy foods as well as fun, outdoor daily family activities.

The thing I realize about all these prescriptions is that the patient isn’t the only one who benefits from the therapy.

We all benefit from being connected.

We all benefit when children enter school healthy and ready to learn.


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