Clark Avenue Connection

Dr. Rick Gessner

Tuesday Notes

Written by Dr. Rick Gessner

Today is Tuesday, September 25, 2018

  • This morning we sign off from our answering service at 8:00 am to take calls directly from our office.
  • We will be in the office until we finish our On Call Evening Clinic (typically around 7:00 pm).

Walk-Ins

  • 8:00 – 8:30 am: Today if you arrive at the Duraleigh office during that time your child will be seen by our pediatrician(s) covering walk-in patients.
  • Walk-In appointments are for acute sick visits only (symptoms of a short duration).
  • As always, all other visits today are scheduled by appointment only.

Today’s Lineup

  • On Call PediatricianDr. Rick Gessner will be rounding on our newborns at Rex Hospital and running our On Call Evening Clinic.
  • In our Duraleigh Office today:  Drs. Muff Carr, Rick Gessner, Todd Harris and Tom Sena
  • In our Brier Creek Office today:  Drs. Jamila Fletcher and Ben Meares

After Hours Care

  • Our On Call Pediatrician manages our after hours care.
  • Urgent calls outside regular hours: 919-781-7490
  • After hours backup number: 919-831-5526
  • Poison Control: 1-800-222-1222

 


Dr. Todd Harris

September 21, 2018 Patients with private insurance may now call and set up an appointment for their child to get the flu shot in one of our Flu Shot Clinics.

Private-Supplied Flu Vaccine

For patients who have private insurance, we have received our shipment of private flu vaccine and are beginning to administer those shots. (Private insurance is through a health insurance company such as BCBS, United Healthcare, Cigna, etc.)

State-Supplied Flu Vaccine

For some, flu vaccine is supplied by the State of North Carolina:

  • Insured by Medicaid
  • Uninsured
  • Native Americans or Native Alaskans
  • Insured by a medical cost sharing plan

We have not received state-supplied flu vaccine, so we cannot begin vaccinating patients in these groups yet. We have no control over this and have no way to predict when we will receive it.

Check back here over the next few weeks. We will announce and start administering our state-supplied flu vaccine as soon as it arrives.

We dislike having two different flu vaccine start dates, but felt we simply have to begin with the vaccine that we have on hand.

Flu Shot Clinic

In an effort to prepare for the upcoming flu season with the goal of vaccinating as many of our patients as quickly as possible, Flu Shot Clinic is for getting flu shots only.

If you have other health concerns, call and make a regular appointment with one of our pediatricians.

We will also continue to vaccinate patients as they are seen in our office for routine visits.

Experts: Jury Still Out On FluMist

FluMist – the nasal spray flu vaccine – will unfortunately not be available again this year at RCAM.

You may be aware of reports that FluMist has returned as an option after being unavailable for 2 years due to concerns that is had become ineffective.

Infectious disease experts and the American Academy of Pediatrics are not yet convinced that the updated FluMist will be as effective as the Flu Shot. As a result, RCAM this year will only offer the shot version of the flu vaccine.

Decrease Your Chances of Catching a Bad Illness

Influenza illness – the Flu – can be very hard on the very young, the very old, and for those with certain underlying conditions like diabetes and asthma.

It can also be a very bad illness for anyone – regardless of health – so we recommend flu vaccine for just about all of our patients.

Decrease your family’s chances of catching the flu. Call RCAM 919-781-7490 to get your child’s Flu Shot.


Dr. Todd Harris

It’s the Weekend, September 15 and 16, 2018

The weekend notes are publishing just a little bit earlier to get the following word out to our families:

As of 10:00 Friday night, we plan to open for our typical Saturday morning on-call clinic. We will update if plans have to change before tomorrow morning.

  • No Walk-In Appointments on the Weekend
  • Patients are seen by appointment only on all holidays and weekends.
  • If you think your child may need to be seen this weekend, call 919-781-7490 in the morning after 9 am and speak to the nurse working with the On Call Pediatrician.
  • Saturday and Sunday Clinic begins at 10am. Clinic ending time varies depending on how busy we are.
  • After clinic, we are available to speak by phone about any urgent concerns you may have.

The Weekend Lineup

After Hours Care

  • Urgent calls 24 hours a day: 919-781-7490
  • After hours backup number: 919-831-5526
  • Poison Control: 1-800-222-1222

Dr. Todd Harris

Friday Notes: RCAM CLOSED TODAY Edition

Written by Dr. Todd Harris

Today is Friday, September 14, 2018

  • We hope today’s Friday Notes: Special Edition finds you and your family together and safe

WE ARE CLOSED TODAY due to the Uncertain Nature of Hurricane Path Prediction

  • No one here is blaming local meteorologists.
  • In fact, I am personally amazed and appreciative – we benefit from their knowledge, forecasting, and stamina.

Way to Go Dr. Lily!

  • As we grow weary of weather maps, this morning’s Friday Notes: Special Edition picture features a Special Addition to the RCAM-ily: Our very own Dr. Lily Harris, her husband Michael, and now big sister Carrie Anne this week welcomed Georgia Amelia (aka “Milly”).
  • For those of you keeping score at home: 6 lbs and 8 oz.
  • Also for those of you keeping score: we are at 2 down and 1 to go for August and September expectant RCAM Pediatricians.

Today’s Plan

  • On Call PediatricianDr. Emily Ross will be managing our after hours care
  • As stated earlier, both offices are closed today. We will be unable to see any patients today.
  • IF YOU HAVE AN URGENT QUESTION ABOUT A SICK CHILD: our answering service will be taking messages and a group of our nurses – backed by Drs. Emily Ross, Rick Gessner, Ben Meares, Todd Harris and Jamila Fletcher – will be happy to try and help on what no doubt will be a challenging day.

Tomorrow’s Plan

  • Stay tuned. Like you, we will continue to monitor local weather reports.
  • We are hopeful to open up the Duraleigh office for weekend hours on Saturday.

After Hours Care

  • Urgent calls 24 hours a day: 919-781-7490
  • After hours backup number: 919-831-5526
  • Poison Control: 1-800-222-1222

Dr. Todd Harris

September 13, 2018 – Due to concerns about the safety of our employees as well as patients traveling to our office, we make the following statement:

RCAM will close both offices for Friday, September 14, 2018 being so close to the predicted path of Hurricane Florence.

We will continue to follow the weather reports and hope to open our Duraleigh office for Saturday clinic on September 15, 2018.

You may call at anytime on Friday and speak to a nurse if you have an urgent need regarding the health of your child.

Stay tuned and stay safe.


Dr. Todd Harris

RCAM Phone Upgrade COMPLETE

Written by Dr. Todd Harris

September 12, 2018RCAM is upgrading its telephone system this morning.

This morning – Wednesday – September 12th – between 7:30 and 8:30 am – if you have an urgent need about a sick child that can’t wait, call our backup on-call number 919-831-5526

By 8:30 am on that day our regular number 919-781-7490 should be working just fine.

We have been reassured that this process takes about 15 minutes. We have scheduled 60 minutes for it. Fingers crossed that we don’t set any records and have a smooth telephonic transition.

10:10 am UPDATE – Upgrade is complete. You can now reach us at our regular number 919-781-7490. Thank you for your patience.


Dr. Todd Harris

Hurricane Florence and RCAM

Written by Dr. Todd Harris

September 10, 2018 – Raleigh Children & Adolescents Medicine will be following the advice of our Governor and other emergency agencies as North Carolina prepares for Hurricane Florence.

As with winter storms, we will update here if we have to close or otherwise alter normal office operations at one or both of our offices.

Some potential scenarios:

  1. If we have to close our BRIER CREEK office, we may reschedule patients or we may try to route them to our DURALEIGH office
  2. If we have to close our DURALEIGH office, we may reschedule patients or we may try to route them to our BRIER CREEK office
  3. If we have to close BOTH OFFICES, we will do our best to manage urgent concerns by phone and then recommending those who need it to the local emergency departments.

A note about the phones: If there is a problem with our main phone line and you have an urgent concern about a sick child, you can call our backup answering service number at 919-831-5526.

Please keep in mind that if that situation occurs, the number of people answering the phone will be limited, so only call with urgent concerns. Save routine calls for when things settle down.


Dr. Todd Harris

September 6, 2018 – As more information about children and automobile safety is gathered and analyzed, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) is becoming more convinced that rear-facing is the safest seating position for a child riding in a car.

Prior to 2011, the recommended age to transition from a rear-facing to a forward-facing car seat was 12 months old. The AAP in 2011 moved that recommendation to 24 months.

That same group – in an effort to make recommendations based on the best and most up-to-date information available – continues to monitor crash safety data and now is recommending that children ride in a rear-facing car safety seat as long as possible – up to the limits of their car safety seat.

Most rear-facing car seats have a maximum rear-facing weight in the 30 pound range – the average weight of a 3-year old. Convertible car seats – seats that can be used both rear-facing and forward-facing – have a maximum rear-facing weight in the 40+ pound range – the average weight of a 5 year old. This new information will therefore include virtually all children under 2 years of age and most children up to age 4.

Important links:

Discuss this with your pediatrician at your child's next well visit


Dr. Todd Harris

Welcome Back to School 2018-2019

Written by Dr. Todd Harris

August 27, 2018 – There has been lots of first days of school so far for 2018 since Tracks 1, 2 and 3 got started on July 9th.

This morning, 160,000 Wake County, traditional-calendar students get started and we at RCAM would like to say to all our student-patients a heart-felt,

Good Luck Today. Have a Great Year!”

Of course, many of our year-rounders have been in school for weeks to months. To you we add to the above, “Keep up the good work!”

One Reminder, Two Potentially Useful Links and a Video about a Fish’s First Day of Kindergarten:

  • Reminder: If your child suddenly tells you that they wish to play a sport and need a form completed, if they’ve been in our office in the last year for a well visit, we can fill out that form based on that visit. If they haven’t, give us a call and let’s get that scheduled. More information about getting forms completed here.
  • Useful Link #1: Last Monday, local affiliate ABC-11 compiled a county-by-county list of places offering FREE school supplies here.
  • Useful Link #2: Our friends at the American Academy of Pediatrics website HealthyChildren.org have compiled MANY back-to-school tips here.

On to the Video…

[NOTE: information that could be considered practical or useful ended above]

There are lots of great first day of school videos out there (and by “video” I am talking about a scene from a movie the depicts the first day of school).

I first thought of “Welcome Back Kotter” – which on further thought is more of a song than a scene so I’ve gone off theme here – also, RCAM parents are likely too young to get that reference. Those that did get it – they would know that song is about a former student returning as a teacher which is definitely not applicable to any current RCAM patients so… we keep moving.

Most movies that include the first day of school typically present the outsider / new student awkwardly arriving for their first day. That can be a lot of fun on a movie screen but not in real life. We see that theme in scenes from some all-time favorites like Footloose, Mean Girls, Diary of a Wimpy Kid, and – my personal favorite – Grease featuring the awkward Aussie, Sandy.

For our purposes here, I’d like to feature this scene from Finding Nemo.

You will find no cynicism whatsoever in this depiction of a Kindergartner’s unbridled enthusiasm.

And – how bout Marlin (Nemo’s Dad)? Who among us can’t identify with a parent’s unflinching anxiety when faced with the appropriate parental duties of letting go.

Been there myselfprobably still am but we’ll keep in the past tense; don’t want to overthink…

But wait… On second thought – Marlin was kinda right, wasn’t he? His out-of-this-world fears were actually founded. The decision to start school was almost tragic for Nemo.

I’m going to rethink my decision to drop my kids off at school today. In the meantime, try to enjoy (don’t let me start a panic – keep in mind – everything does turn out just fine for young Nemo):