It is the twelfth hour before camp, and you just discovered that your kid needs a camp physical or else he/she cannot participate in certain activities at camp. Like most parents, you probably cannot remember when your child last had a physical. You assume you are covered, but then the camp counselors inform you that you are not. What can you do? Clearly, this is going to be a rush job, and here is what you may encounter.

It May Feel Like an Emergency, but it Is Not

It feels like a crisis when you discover that something has to be done immediately, and your first thought is "emergency room." However, an emergency room is for very seriously injured and sick people, not a camp physical. In fact, you would be wasting the doctors' and nurses' time in the E.R., plus you would be wasting your own. In the two to four hours it would take to get your child through the waiting room, you could have found a better alternative, and the E.R. staff could have saved more lives and helped more people.

Your Child's Pediatrician Is Booked and Will Not Sign the Form

Despite the fact that your pediatrician just saw Johnny or Suzie for a cold two months ago and reviewed medical records then, your pediatrician cannot sign a camp physical form without actually doing a physical. When your child is not available for open appointment slots with any pediatrician in the same clinic, and your pediatrician is booked solid, you may feel the panic growing. Your next stop is probably going to be a walk-in clinic in a grocery store.

The Walk-in Clinic at the Grocery Store

Despite the fact that this would be so convenient, and that the person on the phone said that they take your insurance, that is not always the case. You get there, with your child in tow, excited that this will finally be completed only to discover that someone misspoke. This clinic does not take your insurance. Fortunately, because they are linked to your provider, they can tell you who is. It ends up being a walk-in clinic in a medical facility in the same city. If you hurry, you can get there before they close.

Finally, the Physical Is Complete--Lessons Learned

Finally, your child gets the physical and the paper is signed. Sighs of relief abound. Lessons are learned. One, always check three months in advance to camp to see if your child needs a physical. Two, get the physical done early and annually, just to be sure. Three, always go to either your pediatrician (when possible) or a walk-in clinic in a medical facility because not all walk-ins take your insurance.